What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given, and why?
"Be sexy", said the boisterous, slightly chubby woman in front of me. Hannah, who sat cross-legged in front of a room filled with high school girls, certainly did not appear sexy to me. Twirling her ponytail, she continued, "And by that I am not telling you to wear low cut shirts and makeup. Being sexy has nothing to with those superficial characteristics, but has everything to do with confidence. Be confident being a woman. Exude the feeling that you know what you are doing, and that you are surefooted in your identity." Now, this was an unfamiliar concept. I was at a church retreat, listening to an unprecedented sex talk from a guest pastor. After discussing rape and sexual impurity, how was I supposed to be glad I was born female? As a woman, I was going to face so much more than the average male-childbirth, a bumpy career, greater insecurity, and physical vulnerability.
Even growing up, being "female" did not hold positive connotations. Traditional Korean culture dictated a male-oriented society. My father was the head of the household and my mother, the meek homemaker. Once married, she gave up her career, and after giving birth to two daughters, she was pressured to have a son, even if it meant enduring her third caesarean section.
The same restrictions applied to me. There were rules, apparently, about what was proper and what was not. For one, I was not allowed on sleepovers. I was the girl whose father picked her up from a birthday party at ten, while everyone else was decorating cookies. My sister and I were expected to set the table, cook, and clean. When my younger brother and I fought, I would be grounded for "psychologically harming" him, although he had used physical violence on me. At a very young age, I was assigned a status of inferiority to males. I vocalized my opinions, but even so, I was never able to fully nurture pride in being a woman. I was constantly met with a "Why try?" attitude in reference to my education. Others overwhelmingly assumed that I would get married and have children. They believed that a job would be unnecessary, as I would depend on my husband and spend the rest of my days cooking and cleaning.
So when Pastor Hannah told me to have confidence, I finally uncovered my most formidable opponent: myself. I had let others assign me a level of importance. Only confidence in my identity will affirm and solidify my aspirations, and only confidence in my abilities will generate success. Life as a woman is certainly difficult, but emerging from adversity battered, but relatively alive, only arms me with greater conviction, a tougher skin. I am going to pursue scientific research, despite the fact that my parents had wanted me to major in an easier field. I am a sexy woman, not because I wear a mini skirt, but because I do not let others limit what I am capable of.
I was wondering if this contradicted my common application essay. In my common application, I wrote about how I had high expectations from my life, and how I discovered that nothing is certain. In my common app I learned that I must stop planning out my life, and enjoy the present.
This doesn't contradict your common app essay. To me, it kind of explains it. You have high expectations in your life because of this experience. You thought it was certain that you were inferior because you're a woman and you never thought there was any other alternative, but this experience made you realize that nothing is certain. It makes sense! It's very well written.
If you get the chance in between applications, I'd appreciate it if you look over mine. Good luck!
This is a sexy essay.
I am not sure that that can actually be said, but I really enjoyed it. Your Korean culture examples made it very specific to you, and quite original. It is edgy, and yet very perfect. I do not think it contradicts your commonapp essay at all, you're just worrying too much I'm sure. Well done!!!!
Would you mind reading mine?