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"How to Choose a Major in Two Weeks" - Common App "significant experience" Essay


Frito 2 / 2  
Dec 24, 2010   #1
Hello, I would like any form of feedback over my commonapp essay:

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Response:

Strict packing lists, time away from family, travelling alone; summer school was an experience completely alien to me before last summer. Never before had I embarked on one of these journeys of self-discovery where things are learned, friends are made, and skills are acquired. As a child I actually used to scoff at such programs where my peers would go to learn over summer-what an absurd concept it was to me! It wasn't until last summer that I discovered how truly naïve I was when I began what would become the two most influential weeks of my life.

In December of last year, a unique opportunity was presented to me by a couple of peers: the chance to represent the United States in International Space School where I would design a mission to Mars. My first impressions were skeptical at best; why should I be interested in wasting two weeks of my summer in Houston's blistering heat? However, as their presentation unfolded, so did my stubborn stance. The trip transformed from a waste of time into a good note on my resume; little did I know it would become so much more than just that. I quickly jumped at the chance to apply and was accepted later in the year.

So, with two weeks left of summer vacation, I boarded the plane that would bring me to Houston. Day one consisted almost entirely of new faces, the first being my new roommate, Jean, from South Africa. Suffice to say, I never knew I could have so much in common with someone from halfway across the world! We soon got to meet the others, a group of about forty people representing roughly twenty nations spanning the globe. Since I had plenty of knowledge of Hispanic culture and speak Spanish myself, I was able to instantly relate with the students from Spanish-speaking countries-I didn't limit myself to that group, however. Given time to socialize, a topic of discussion I encountered often was what I wanted to do when I was older. This question caught me off-guard time and time again as I hadn't ever given it much thought before; it was set aside as a bridge I would cross at another time, but I realized then that that time was now!

As the two weeks progressed, my peers and I were exposed to a variety of field trips and presentations while we developed our mission to Mars. We had the opportunity to visit Ad Astra to witness and learn about the plasma rocket which would possibly be able to send astronauts to Mars in just over a month. We were also visited by a variety of professionals who worked with NASA; everyone from astronauts to scientists to engineers. My mind soaked up every detail of what they said. I was instilled with fascination and respect for engineers as I witnessed the work they created with my very eyes. I was also able to implicate engineering in designing a Mars habitation facility. I realized during these two weeks that I wanted to take my abilities and use them to create something. I've always thought of myself as a man of science-more specifically, chemistry-but wanted to take that skill further. I now had two dreams that fit together perfectly, all thanks to the catalyst that was international space school.

After presenting our mission to Mars to a wide audience, the other students and I realized that our time together was up. I left Houston with many things-souvenirs, friends, and knowledge among them. However, I also left with something much bigger than those things: ambition. For the first time in my life I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted, but in a completely different way than when I was kid aspiring to be an astronaut. Space school was the nudge in the right direction that I needed to find out what I wanted to do. It is the reason I want to be a Chemical Engineer.
oOCiCiOo 6 / 8  
Dec 24, 2010   #2
As a child I actually used to scoff at such programs where my peers would go to learn over summer-what an absurd concept it was to me!

Why absurd?Maybe need elaboration...

I don't think you need to say so much about your doubts before you came, but to elaborate more on the experience and its impact on you. For instance:

Since I had plenty of knowledge of Hispanic culture and speak Spanish myself, I was able to instantly relate with the students from Spanish-speaking countries-I didn't limit myself to that group, however.

this is something you could elaborate on--come on! Diversity! Americans love it!!...:P
What does diversity mean to you? What change did it bring to you?

I hope this helps...

And please take a look at my stanford essay~~XD


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