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Books/Singapore/Mind - Stanford (intellectual vitality, roommate, matters)

nanoflame 2 / 3  
Oct 18, 2012   #1
Please help!! Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

1. Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.
Before I was sixteen, I hardly touched books. Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes" dominated much of my childhood literature. I've never read Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia or any of Jodi Picoult's works. As a result, my level of English proficiency was mediocre at best.

Concerned about my performance, my mother signed me up for supplementary English class. At this learning centre, I was taught by Ms Wong. Unlike most other places, her teaching was far from exam-focused. I still had to do essay writing and passage-based reading exercises, but the level of engagement was much greater than that. Often, she would let us watch films, discuss ideas and prompt us to express our opinions on the subject matter in question.

Fascinated by her breadth of knowledge, my query for her sources of information led me to magazines like Foreign Policy, Monocle and The Economist. Alas, my love for reading took off. It began with international politics, fuelling my interest in Model United Nations conferences.

Subsequently, I began to broaden my horizon, looking beyond the headlines of daily news. I came across writers like David Rothkopf, Thomas Friedman and Malcolm Gladwell. I finally began picking up books. With a book to keep myself entertained, long commutes were never boring.

By the time I was seventeen, English lessons were no longer monotonous. I often looked forward to class because we could discuss issues concerning us and society today - technology, media, politics, religion, rights, and ideals - just to name a few.

I owe the beginning of my intellectual development to two important individuals - Ms Wong, for motivating me to learn more about our world beyond my textbooks; and my mother, for being able to afford to send me for this class. While there may be little palpable use in my learning, I believe it is important to possess an understanding of our surroundings to improve human development and grasp the truths behind our purpose of existence.

2. Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate - and us - know you better.

Greetings my dear roommate!
I come from the faraway land of Singapore and I'm ethnic Chinese. I speak English far better than Mandarin, so we won't have a language barrier between us.

I try to stay healthy by eating fruits and avoiding junk food as much as possible (although I love sweets). Coffee is a habit of mine - I start the day with a cup of it. I play the piano and I love to read. Share with me any books that you have!

One thing that you'll soon notice about me is that I am allergic to nuts, seafood, eggs, alcohol (unfortunately) and I suffer from eczema. Don't worry; I can keep these conditions well under control.

I like to be organised, so you will often see me packing and reshuffling my belongings around. If you're the kind that leaves things lying around, I might clean up after you!

I love outdoor activities. I like outdoor activities, especially running and cycling. I hope you do too! It would be great if you play basketball, then I'll be able to learn the game from you.

I'm planning to study computer science and it won't be easy, but I'll make sure that I won't spend all my time studying away. I love exploring new places and meeting new people - hopefully I can get to know you better through the times we hang outside classes!

Oh yes, and I can be very talkative at times. Hopefully our time spent together won't be mundane.
Looking forward to meeting you soon!

3. What matters to you, and why?
Like many other children, I too had an inquisitive mind. Often, I asked many questions concerning the workings of things that I observed. Many of them went unanswered. As my thinking grew, I began to search for my own answers. From palpable objects like cars and computers to intangibles like the economy, society and God, I desired to find out the inner workings of our world.

Through this process of seeking, I realised that what mattered to me was answers. In any situation, I look for the solutions. This gives me aplomb and certainty - I know and I am in control.

Answers enable me to grow and I can make better decisions that will benefit society and me. When I wanted to understand the stories of success, I have learnt the importance of being proactive in seizing opportunities, on top of doggedness.

Yet, answers would not be possible without the presence of others who guide me. While I seek answers, I gain understanding about others and I learn to empathise with their conditions.

There is much that others have that I can learn from. I enjoy uncertainty in seeking new things, meeting new people and gaining new perspectives. In a society where change is a diurnal process, I want to remain adaptable and tolerant while remaining true to my roots.

Being "answer-less" often vexes me - I demand quick responses. Because of my impatience, I neglect the process of learning and simply look at the end-result. I need to set aside more time for quiet contemplation and thinking, to consider multiple views before arriving at any conclusion.

While I grow through seeking answers, I too grow so that I have something to give. Through giving I feel alive - I know that my existence revolves around the lives of others. I believe that God has placed me in this world to make an impact on the lives of those around me, and answers enable me to develop my capacity to give.
dealaus 5 / 21 1  
Oct 26, 2012   #2
Very nice! As a fellow stanford hopeful, I would say your essays are solid. I know you were trying to be funny, but I would recommend taking out the "(unfortunately)" after alcohol. Although it is part of college life, I would not emphasize that in a college app essay.

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