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The Brink of Insanity on a Submarine (University of Washington Transfer Essay)


jbow808 2 / 5  
Sep 9, 2009   #1
Any comments and suggestion are appreciated.

Living onboard a submarine can drive a man insane. That is exactly what my wife thought when I unexpectedly announced I was done with the Navy. She thought my decision was rather impetuous, since I had no real plans for life after the Navy. I told her things have a way of falling into place for me. She called it a leap of faith; I saw it as a calculated move to get ahead in life. After 13 years I was done with the extended deployments and time away from home. Burnt out physically and emotionally I was ready to move on to other endeavors. The months leading to my decision where extremely difficult times for my family; my stepfather had a major stoke and my father, whom I had just reestablished a relationship with after 15 years, died. I fell into a deep funk, and began to question my calling in life. Luckily I went on a 6-month deployment, which allowed me to clear my head without the distractions of everyday life.

Life onboard a submarine is anything but routine, 18-hour days and very little sleep were a regular occurrence. Often I would lay awake in my 2' x3'x 6' coffin style bunk, reminiscing about the past and pondering my future. To alleviate my insomnia I rediscovered an old hobby, reading. I started with science fiction and horror novels and short stories, but quickly grew bored of both genres. Then, one of my shipmates introduced me to Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.

I was hesitant to read the book at first, like most people I had some misconceptions about Nietzsche and associated his work with anarchism and the teachings of the Third Reich. I was immediately impressed with themes of the story; self-mastery to achieve his full potential, the concept of eternal return, and will to power.

I never realized how powerful a book could be and the profound effect it would have on my life. I did a lot of self-analysis and upon returning to port, immediately enrolled myself in a program offered by the military to find my educational and personnel interest and match them to a major. I wanted to maximize my full potential. After taking a battery of test the anthropology came up repeatedly.

Anthropology was not really the field I had hoped for; I was expecting along the lines of engineering or business. Disregarding my educational advisors advice I enrolled in an online degree engineering technology program shortly after my discharge from the military, I quickly realized that online education was not for me and after one course withdrew from Devry.

Last spring I took class in Biological Anthropology, getting my first taste of anthropology. Human evolution and genetic diversity has always been a fascinating subject to me. Before the course I never realized how many academic disciplines were involved in the study of anthropology, not only did I have to know anthropology, knowledge about geology, biology, and sociology proved to be invaluable. This cleared any misconceptions I had regarding anthropology just being about studying bones and fragments of broken pottery. After the course I developed a greater appreciation for anthropology, but I was still not ready to commit to it.

It was not until I sat down with Dr. Hartse, my anthropology professor, that I gained a deeper understanding of what anthropology truly is. Unlike other academic fields, anthropology does not have clear-cut rules or ideals, instead anthropologist rely on observing different cultures and people, studying their subjects for who they really are rather than how they think they should be, for that is the only way to get a full picture of what it means to be human. She also explained to me that anthropology helps bring the world into focus, helping people understand other cultures and societies and at the same time understanding how the over six billion people living on this planet interconnect in one way or another. I knew after that meeting anthropology was the field for me.

It seemed like the more I resisted anthropology the more it drew me in. Anthropology allows me to experience and explore new realities, whether by learning other languages, examining different cultures, or simply traveling the world. Through my travels, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the wonderful differences between different cultures. I have learned that it only takes one person to make a difference in the world and that I want to be that catalyst for change. In our society, tolerance is simply not enough. Instead, I want to encourage others to accept our cultural diversity and explore other realities, and I believe that the University of Washington will put me on that path.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 9, 2009   #2
* How will the UW help you attain your academic, career, and/or personal goals?

I don't see this answered.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 9, 2009   #3
I know you have to include a lot of material to meet the prompt, but it would help if you could find a unifying theme. At the moment, the essay just sort of meanders, and while a lot of it is sort of interesting, the lack of focus makes it difficult for the reader to keep paying attention.
CalLover 2 / 14  
Sep 10, 2009   #4
Living onboard a submarine can drive a man insane This definitely caught my attention, and made me wonder what the heck you were doing on a submarine :DDDD .

She called it a leap of faith;, but I saw it as a calculated move to get ahead in life. After 13 years, I was done with the extended deployments and time away from home. Burnt out physically and emotionally, I was ready to move on to other endeavors

Often I would lay awake in my 2' x3'x 6' coffin style bunk, reminiscing about the past and pondering my future :) I like the details . To alleviate my insomnia I rediscovered an old hobby, reading. I started with science fiction,and horror novels, and What kind of short stories? short stories, but quickly grew bored of both genres . Suggestion: However, none of these genres appealed to me as much as...did

I was immediately impressed with themes of the story; self-mastery to achieve his full potential, the concept of eternal return, and will to power Incomplete sentence .

I never realized how powerful a book could be and the profound effect it would have on my life How did these themes/teachings affect your life or views? .

This cleared any misconceptions I had regarding anthropology just being about studying bones and fragments of broken pottery :) .

I don't know if it's a good thing to go back and forth with liking anthropology, and suddenly after one meeting you are convinced it is the field for you. I think it would be good to first state that anthropology didn't appeal to you, but after some courses, the meeting, and traveling trips, your interest in anthropology developed. A developing interest shows more dedication to your major.

It seemed like the more I resisted anthropology the more it drew me in : |... .

Through my travels to where? , I have gained a deeper appreciation for the wonderful differences between different cultures.
OP jbow808 2 / 5  
Sep 10, 2009   #5
Thanks for the input..I'll post my next revision soon.
I'm still trying to find a way to express how going to UW will help me obtain my career/ academic goals. I would eventually like to get into Epidemiology and feel that the medical anthropology program at UW would prepare me for that career path. The courses offered at UW would allow me to to gain a more holistic view and research how environment, diet, and history play a role in community and global health patterns.

I'm trying to tighten up and focus my essay, the rough rough draft was over 2800 words long and I'm so used to being detailed in my reports (Damn that Navy training)that I tend to get wordy and overly descriptive and delve into too much detail, which is a great thing when writing intelligence reports, not so great when trying to write a hard hitting personnel statement. It's just difficult to do when there were lots of circumstances leading me to chose anthropology.

Once again thanks for the comments and I'll post real soon.


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