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Brown Supplement Essay---Intellectual Experience. Failure is the new Success.


dramacratic 6 / 27  
Oct 25, 2009   #1
Hi everyone!

The prompt is: Tell us about an intellectual experience, project, class, or book that has influenced or inspired you. It's a 500 word limit essay, and I'm just at 488.

I appreciate any and all criticisms!

I was a one liter solution of nerves with 75% anxiety and 25% excitement. My commute from suburbia to disturbia was spent [working on] my new hobby of nail-biting. A year-long effort was being held in 25 milliliters of Tryptic Soy Broth agar. I entered my molecular pathogenesis lab at the NYU Medical Center, silently praying my Petri dish would yield positive results (such is the life of a researcher). Remaining optimistic, I walked with confidence and enthusiasm, an unexpected bounce in my steps. I open the incubator door and...failure.

It was never supposed to happen this way. Success was all I anticipated when I first met Dr. Richard Novick. His uncanny resemblance to Einstein instantly put me at ease. With a grandfatherly demeanor, he offered me a chair from which I had to clear off a year's worth of Scientific American. That feeling of tranquility subsided within minutes of small talk, when he decided to get "down to business" and discuss my research proposal. "A novel route to treating MRSA, huh?" His lack of enthusiasm caused a wave of panic to wash over me. How could I execute my project without the proper lab or support?

I felt like I was bartering for a kidney (and I already have three). The more intimidated I became, the more incapable I was of addressing his thoughts or concerns. I was losing my cool. Would I lose out on the opportunity to experience the real scientific world, too? Before I could explore the rest of that thought, Dr. Novick's gentle voice interrupted with, "Promising. How often will you be able to come into the lab for the next year?" I had just been offered an internship with the King of Staph Infections. Life was good.

Instantly, my new constant companions were micropipettes and 1.5% agarose gels. I was elated and terrified. Surrounded by tremendous post-doctorates, the Fish-Out-of-Water became my self-proclaimed title. I became consumed by the need to bring myself up to their intellectual levels, spending countless nights with PubMed as my only caffeine rush. I went from scratching my head at each abstract to delving into the language of research, eagerly recounting my findings to my parents. I was even approached by several colleagues to discuss our various experiments! Could it be that I actually comprehended scientific jargon? Or was I inhaling too much sodium citrate?

Fast forward one year. Without having been given a moment to gather myself and take a breath, my world became measured by conversions, potent bacterial colonies and pipette tips. I welcomed it with open arms. The challenge to connect to my fellow lab members and to execute my project without aid became my own scientific puberty. Although my results did not yield as hoped, I was able to catalyze my own growth. My failed experiment was surpassed by my ability to assimilate myself into an analytically driven world. Failure is the new Success.
marissavessels 2 / 4  
Oct 26, 2009   #2
This is a super good essay! I absolutely love it! Nice opening. :)

And yes, ironically enough, this is the Marissa that you were talking to with Paul not too long ago. haha!
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Oct 26, 2009   #3
Hahaha. Thanks, Marissa! Post something of yours for me to read (even though I'm reading your Stanford supplement as I'm typing this)! =]
Dark Horse--Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Is there anything that either of you think needs tweaking?

Again, thank you. =]
marissavessels 2 / 4  
Oct 26, 2009   #4
IucohjskmcSOUDUVBIJK. The one I just posted is actually my first essay. I've been putting them off. Ha. But I'm working on a second as we speak. lol.
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Oct 26, 2009   #5
I was told by someone that my essay deviates too much from the prompt. What do you all think??
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 29, 2009   #6
Great intro sentence!!
Active voice: I spent my commute from suburbia to disturbia working on my new hobby of nail-biting.

You ave 3 kidneys? Wow, is that a common thing, I have ever heard of it. anyway, it is not relevant to the essay! Unless I am missing something... but if it is not relevant, you should probably take it out.

And here is one more idea:
My failed experiment was an important part of my assimilation of myself into the analytical world of _________. Failure is the new Success.
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #7
Thank you for your comments, Kevin!

I actually applied Early Decision to Brown (got deferred), but I did change the last sentence just before I submitted. And I took out the three kidneys thing. It was merely there for comic relief, but I altered that, too, just before my submission. Looks like we're on the same page!
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Dec 31, 2009   #8
Amazing!!!
Sorry, no criticisms. Your essay is just superb!
I am wondering why you din't get into Brown in ED. :)
(Do you really have 3 kidneys???)

If you have time please read my commonapp essay
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 31, 2009   #9
heres the problem i found, this is very good although unfortunately essays dont mean nearly as much as people think even at liberal arts type colleges like brown, the conclusion was too generic, catalyze my own growth, failure the new success, it feels like you just rushed it which i can see since the word limit was being reached, but its like you just overlooked your dissapointing results, your failure, which i can see is trying to support your positive attitude, but still, your failure is the new success was too broad, not enough in the essay to support it, sounded like jargon almost, and while your a great story teller, the idea of your essay is basically you were able to gain despite your failures, but theres nothing to show those failures and how you learned off the failures. You just talk about your memorable experiences in the lab, in a way you never show how you gained from the experience in terms of failure, you just show how you gained from the lab experience and how it became obsessed from you. I'm playing a little devil's advocate here and I could be completely wrong so dont take this last thing to seriously but maybe the ad coms were not that thrilled w/ the idea of you being very concerned, almost obsessed over your results, because you say that failure was the new succss later, i dont know, if there was something that ad coms didnt like in your essay, that would be my best success.

Anyway, overall nice job w/ the essay dont take what i said as critcism, alot of it is speculation, remember lots of kids get in who were previously deferred, i would actually be really interested in what you thought about my common app essay because we write about practically the same topic but we have kind of diff interpreations. See what you think, thanks alot, good luck

more importantly if your only going to look at one , if you get a chance could you take at my brown supplement to see if it answers the questoin


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