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A Bit Unlikely, Common App Personal Essay-Influential Fictional Character Prompt


mattsaysfierce 3 / 13  
Oct 29, 2009   #1
This is my personal essay for the Common App essay requirement. All constructive criticism is welcome, specially ones concerning diction, style, and flow. It's currently 606 words.

The prompt I chose: Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

A Bit Unlikely
A brilliant man once hailed books as "the best weapons in the world" and libraries as "the greatest arsenal we can have". Eight minutes later, he used the Koh-i Nur diamond as a prism to drown a werewolf in moonlight to protect Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Hailing from the Doctor Who television series, this man is known as The Doctor. He is from an alien race called the Time Lords and wields the ability to travel through time and space. He spends his days journeying through eras and galaxies, helping the noble and the wicked, anytime and anywhere, from twenty-first century Earth to the planet Malcassairo in the year one hundred trillion. The Doctor utilizes his brains and never uses guns or violence, running rather than fighting. He never stops. He never stays. He never asks to be thanked.

Following the Doctor on his televised adventures, I was swept away by his vivid universe that captured my equally vivid imagination. I was first introduced to the Doctor when he traveled to the year five billion and twenty-three. Within a corrupt hospital on New Earth, he discovered a farm filled with artificially grown human beings infected with every disease in the universe for the sake of developing cures. The Doctor saw the beauty of this newborn race and did everything in his power to give them life and purpose. Armed with medicine loaded into an emergency sprinkler system to combat an army of diseased humans, this Doctor won my admiration. An unlikely role model, he was resourceful, clever and had gravity-defying hair.

In addition to his epic heroism and eccentric wardrobe choices (he pairs Converse hi-tops with pinstriped suits), I appreciated the Doctor's fervor for learning. Despite being nine hundred years old, he admits that he does not know everything about the universe. He loves not knowing and considers pursuing the unknown to be "the best part". Watching him squeal with glee at the discovery of an alien species or the exploration of an exotic planet, I learned to love my ardent curiosity about the world around me. Every time the Doctor uses his intellect to defeat terrible creatures, be it giant wasps or microscopic piranhas, the galactic geek in me longs to do the same. Granted, I lack the powers of time and space travel, but I still I grew to share a zest for knowledge with the Doctor. While I cannot apply that same keenness to exterminating horrifying monsters, I draw on it to conquer the beasts that are my academics and extracurricular activities. With each scholarly accomplishment, I am positive the Doctor would grin at me and exclaim, "Brilliant!"

I like to think of myself as one of the Doctor's companions, the humans that accompany him on his adventures. He showed me endless possibilities and I saw things that I never saw before I met him. The struggling classmate, the gloomy coworker, I learned to help them as the Doctor helped others. The Doctor has his sonic screwdriver and his Time Lord technology, but I have my smile and good humor. Rather than emulating him exactly, I opened my mind and allowed the Doctor to influence me in order to better define my way of thinking. I developed an appetite for the unknown, for that new frontier. Today, my new frontier is college and with my geeky enthusiasm, I will tackle the next four years with "the best weapons in the world": books. I will bring my avid passion for learning and when in the face of demanding trials, I will remind myself, "What would the Doctor do?" He would wink, click his tongue and say, "Not impossible. Just a bit unlikely!" I will not be limited to the constraints of my home or the walls of college, because while I pursue my bachelor's in The Universe, I will have planets to save, civilizations to rescue, creatures to defeat, and an awful lot of running to do.

Again, any kind of constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Oct 30, 2009   #2
You have written a clear and coherent essay. I worry, though, that you focus a bit too much on the Doctor, and so do not elaborate enough on the ways in which he has inspired you. After all, the purpose of the essay is to show the admissions officers how great *you* are.
OP mattsaysfierce 3 / 13  
Oct 30, 2009   #3
Yeah, that was my worry. It's not an even balance. Any ideas on how I can tie in more of me into the essay? I feel like, while it's a clear and coherent essay as you said, anyone could have written it. That's my major concern.

Thanks.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Nov 1, 2009   #4
I often recommend that people condense the story they told, like yours, and make room to talk about a clear vision for the future. Who has the audacity to deny admission to a student who has planned out her/his life meticulously!? If you write a paragraph about how this helped you to decide on a major -- and give details -- that will do the trick.


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