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Bursting My Bubble - "Intellectual Vitality" Stanford Supplement


GoonerTH14 2 / 4 1  
Dec 27, 2013   #1
I have a few concerns: would an anecdote be inappropriate for this prompt? Is it too flowery? Does it actually show my intellectual vitality? Also, any comments/corrections would be greatly appreciated.

Bloop. With the poke of his finger, the tangerine-sized bubble burst into soapy vapor. Jacob let out a triumphant squeal of delight. "Jacob...c'mon, that's the fifth one." With a heavy sigh, I took my bubble wand and proceeded to make the sixth.

For the last couple hours, my time volunteering at the Bubble Learning Station of Discovery Science Center's Bubblefest had gone without a hitch. The kids would listen intently as I explained the marvels of the humble bubble. To me, they were absolutely fascinating: the molecular properties of soapy water, the filmy display of spectral colors, the bubble inside a bubble. Everything about them sparked the mind.

Yet how could I explain all this to Jacob without live bubbles? Bubble after deceased bubble, I grew frustrated. But then it hit me. Yes, of course! With a single scientific bubbly property, his inquisitive hands became my advantage. "Jacob, stick your hands in this." Instinctively, he plunged his hands into the soapy solution I put before him. With a puff of air, I blew the bubble. His hand instantly shot up for the soapy sphere, but to his amazement, the bubble clung to his finger, perfectly intact. He looked at me wide-eyed; he needed an explanation. "You've got soap molecules all over your hands. That's why it won't pop." And for the first time, he listened; the bubbly science - concepts like surface tension and hydrophillic-and-phobic - filled his curiosity. That March afternoon, I discovered sometimes we truly learn hands-on.

Also here's my "letter to my future roommate." How's the tone? Too laid-back?

iHola amigo!

One word...STANFORD! Can you believe it? The very thought tickles me silly. I can just taste it; this year will be an apple burrito on a breezy beach day: out-of-bounds...

Before moving in, I have one request: no stinky socks all over the place! I know it's inevitable; socks are for sports (and gliding on freshly-polished hallways), but please, keep your socky stank confined! Other than that, I'm pretty laid-back. As long as our dorm's not on fire, we'll be fine.

But I digress; more on-point, here's a bit about me: I'm a crazy Arsenal F.C. fan, and I duly apologize if my full-spirited celebrations get out of hand. Though if you want, I've got a spare Arsenal jersey with your name on it. In fact, I'll bring you a pair of cleats so we can kick it later around The Farm.

For the most part, I like to take it easy. You'll find me under a tree (fear it!) or at the coffee shop, reading news, listening to NPR, or doing some homework. But don't be fooled by my easygoing nature. By all means, if something outrageously cool is about to happen, let me know; I'm all about taking opportunities. Maybe there's a Vampire Weekend concert or all-you-can-eat sundae at Branner Hall, I'll be there. At Stanford, a school full of vibrant, dynamic kids, I'll never know what to expect. And so, my fellow Cardinal, in the words of Calvin and Hobbes, "It's a magical world...Let's go exploring!"
micelle - / 1  
Dec 27, 2013   #2
agh your intellectual vitality essay is the cutest! I think it does show what it means to show (in that you had to come up with a new way to teach something--which, really, you shouldn't discount!). I think both your essays have a lot of voice to them; don't second-guess if they're too "flowery" or not--if you're flowery, then so be it!
iacero 3 / 17 2  
Dec 28, 2013   #3
I agree with micelle.
You worry that your letter is laid-back when you describe yourself as laid back. You talk about yourself and the school so I think it's good.

For the first one
I think an anecdote is great. Vitality means strong and active- I think you show the active part by thinking on your feet on how to entertain the kid. Strong- well your essay is littered with scientific terms and it's well-written. So yes, I think your essay shows intellectual vitality.
impatient101 8 / 17 3  
Dec 28, 2013   #4
You've got a great sense of humour in your writing which I think the Admissions officer will like very much. Don't worry about anything else. Its fun to read!

Please help with mine!
Kristoria 3 / 51 1  
Dec 28, 2013   #5
I really enjoyed this. I think you managed to answer the question while still giving a bit of humour which makes the essay all the better.
OP GoonerTH14 2 / 4 1  
Dec 28, 2013   #6
Thanks guys! I guess I'm not changing too much, hahaha. Anyways, good luck on your guys' apps!
ericeric 1 / 3 1  
Dec 28, 2013   #7
I think the first essay is nigh perfect, I wouldn't take anything away but I would add something about the value of hand on learning, or how you will use this knowledge in the future, or how it will help Jacob, or something that gives this very nice story a tangible impact and importance.

-"He looked at me wide-eyed; he needed an explanation. "You've got soap molecules all over your hands. That's why it won't pop." And for the first time, he listened; the bubbly science - concepts like surface tension and hydrophillic-and-phobic - filled his curiosity" ==> "He looked at me wide-eyed, jaw dropped; he needed an explanation. "You've got soap molecules all over your hands. That's why it won't pop." For the first time, he listened; the bubbly science - concepts like surface tension and hydrophillic-and-phobic - placated his curiosity"

-i think a little more sensory description and detail could work here to illustrate his amazement

The second essay I would say honestly needs work. I think some parts are a little cliche. I also try to use humor in my essays, but I usually air on the side of caution. Unless you are SURE the admissions officer will find something funny, don't include it.

-"You'll find me under a tree (fear it!) " i have literally no idea what (fear it!) means here

-"At Stanford, a school full of vibrant, dynamic kids, I'll never know what to expect" this sounds more fit for a why stanford essay, not a letter to someone when your already there.

-"words of Calvin and Hobbes, "It's a magical world...Let's go exploring!"" i LOVE calvin and hobbes, but i have intentionally refrained from using it in my essays because i think its a little overdone, but maybe you feel differently. Still, i think this is a really corny way to end a letter, maybe have it earlier, or choose a different quote

in general i think it really should be more of a letter to a roomate than a why stanford, im not sure its necessary to inlcude all the stanford buildings and places, it sounds a little forced to me at least

All in all, great work, i really enjoyed reading the first essay, hope this helped
darketernaly 2 / 4 2  
Dec 28, 2013   #8
Jacob...c'mon

probably shouldn't use internet slang on your essay other than that it's fine. change to come on
Akuhah 4 / 10  
Dec 29, 2013   #9
hey, i struggles with my intellectual vitality essay as well. I think you did very well on yours though. the idea is to show them what simple thing has had a profound impact on your life. The innovative thinking was a good way to show it and the fact that its something the average person can relate to makes it interesting. your roommate essay was a bit laid back but i didnt get some parts like the reference to the tree (fear it).
Kristoria 3 / 51 1  
Dec 29, 2013   #10
Oh, I never saw the 2nd essay. I agree with the above comments. Try to bring back the essay to you as that is what the admission officers are looking for.

Could also look at my Stanford essays?
OP GoonerTH14 2 / 4 1  
Dec 29, 2013   #11
The "tree (fear it!)" is a reference to Stanford's unofficial mascot, the tree, present at all football games. But yeah, I might be forcing it.

The Calvin and Hobbes quote is something I find really endearing. For the "what matters" essay, I wrote about Calvin and Hobbes in the context of childhood memories (and how they still apply to my life today).

I'll work on making it sound less like a "why Stanford" essay. Thanks for the feedback!


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