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"Brett, you're so fat." "Lose some weight!" - Experience; Common App

bam1992 2 / 4  
Oct 4, 2009   #1
I'm using this for the common app's "Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you" prompt. Any advice is appreciated! Please don't be nice.

"Brett, you're so fat." "Lose some weight!" These were not uncommon statements heard at my lunch table during middle school. I have been unusually underweight for the majority of my life, and dealing with the comments, opinions, and envy directed toward my physical condition has certainly been an interesting experience, one that has and will continue to alter my life and my perception of others, as well as myself.

I suppose my friends at the lunch table saw this type of sarcasm as entertaining, but I certainly did not. It wasn't because I was uncomfortable with my thinness, but was more associated with not appreciating the attention that it drew. My introvert instincts told me to sit there and quietly laugh along. This memory is one of the few blemishes on my otherwise positive middle school experience.

I would often wonder if I should have been offended by the comments. What if I were obese? An obese person would almost inevitably become angry or upset if one of his friends jokingly said, "you're so thin." Why is being underweight any different? Many might answer that being thin is perceived as desirable, but I don't feel this is true when others consistently draw attention to it.

I've also had countless discussions with counselors and peers genuinely concerned with my health, asking me about my eating habits and eating disorders. At one point, my parents attempted to encourage me, saying I should try to "beef up." I half-heartedly complied, but never dedicated myself to this cause because I saw no imminent need to gain weight. I was perfectly fine how I was.

Eventually, of course, the sarcastic comments and semi-awkward discussions began to fade away. Either my friends grew tired of using the same lines, or they actually began to mature. Now, I am still occasionally reminded of my lack of fat, but most people have come to accept my diminutive width. There are still the times when a stranger will approach me and say, "ohmygosh, you're so thin!" But I just thank them and move on to the next subject.

Living as an underweight male in a world where over one billion adults are overweight and in a country where nearly a third of the population is obese isn't easy. Everything from school food to ??? is optimized for overweight people. At least those affected by obesity have strength in numbers: there are enough to create a huge market for weight loss services and products, a luxury that is unquestionably more widely available than weight-gain services. However, I am not saying I have no empathy for people who are overweight. In fact, my experiences have shown me just how difficult it can be to change your weight.

I truly don't resent any of the comments my friends made about me because I don't believe they were intended to be malicious in any way. In fact, I am still good friends with most of the people who sat at that lunch table. I continue to be content with being underweight, and appreciate the difference in my life that this condition has created.

verily - / 25  
Oct 4, 2009   #2
I'd give several comments to the more technical things about this essay, but I'm concerned about the topic in general.

You always have to remember in your essays: So what? What is the point of this essay? You described an experience, but you didn't exactly tell us why it was so significant. How did it change your life? To me, it just sounded like you were describing a pet peeve for longer than it deserved.

It seems to be a serious mistake in making yourself the "underdog" in your second to last paragraph. Sure, there's a market for weight loss services, but 1/3 is not a majority. There are plenty of technically underweight people, perhaps just as many as those who are obese. You need to give more details or cut that out.

The problem with this essay is that it doesn't have much direction. You don't reveal much about yourself (besides barely touching on the surface about self-image problems), you do not truly tell us how this is significant, this does not delve into a social issue.
OP bam1992 2 / 4  
Oct 4, 2009   #3
Yeah, I've been having trouble deciding on a topic...I wasn't sure if this would be a good one to write about. Do you think it's worth trying to fix?

I can add more about why the experience is significant.

I couldn't find statistics for the U.S., but in 2001 4% of males in the U.K. were underweight. Although it's probably higher for just the teenage demographic. And 67% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese...that's a majority. I guess I should put that in.

I'll see what I can do.

verily - / 25  
Oct 4, 2009   #4
Yes, but you wrote "nearly a third." And you're wrong about 67%; about 31% of adults are overweight/obese. That's not a majority. We would have obese people walking all over the streets and it would be pretty apparent if it was that large of a majority, and Congress would enact a lot more health-obesity programs.

Thing is, you address how you don't fit in the "obese world," but what about the "normal world?" If you don't want to change yourself and gain fat, then why do you even want products aimed at becoming fatter? The products aimed at "obese people" is so that they can loose weight.

Well, if you can fix up the essay to tell how it is significant to you, by all means go for it. But if you have something that is even more significant, you should write about that. The topic is all your decision. But yes, your essay needs definite work in that category.
OP bam1992 2 / 4  
Oct 4, 2009   #5
cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm - just saying what I found.

I'm probably going to take out that paragraph anyway, because what you said was true, and now that I read it, it seems like just complaining.
verily - / 25  
Oct 4, 2009   #6
Oh, wait, I take that back, I forgot about the difference between overweight and obese. :) But judging from the scale of underweight~overweight, it takes quite a lot to be overweight. In any case, a lot of products are aimed towards the normal/underweight, so yes, taking it out seems to be best unless you can make it more relevant.

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