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Common App Essay: What have you learned? (Topic of Own Choosing) - feedback


bryanwildekim 1 / -  
Dec 26, 2009   #1
Hello all,
This is my first post on EssayForum.com, and I greatly appreciate any help.
This essay has been hammered, thrown away, and reworked many times now, but I believe it is near final.
This is the Common Application Essay, and the Topic is of My Own Choosing (which is another problem, considering that I am not sure if my topic fits the essay. If anyone has any better topic suggestions, please send them my way):

What have you learned?

-Essay starts below-

So get this. I'm seventeen, and I'm already preoccupied about the lessons I want to pass on to my children.
I admit it. I'm stuck sometimes speculating about something in the distant future As queer as my "speculation fixation" may sound, speculation is a normal human behavior. The human animal is a speculative creature, one that lives in the present but always has the future on mind. Speculation is a powerful force of mind, allowing the human animal to act in ways that will alter his future. However, too many people live their lives completely in speculation mode, and as result are blinded to the the traps of the present. Therefore, in my mind at least, I believe it makes perfect sense to share lessons I have learned from my past so that my children can unbind themselves from the chains of speculation and carpe diem.

Lesson one: "The blessings of infinite patience" I have been told that I am infinitely patient. I agree, but only if "with people" is tagged on to the fact. I may occasionally yell at a microwave in hopes that it will reheat my food faster, but I will never yell at someone who is in distress. By doing so, I am acknowledging the common humanity that binds us all. We all have our bad days, and by allowing others to vent vocally, we are giving them a sort of therapy. There should be moments in our harried lives when others can frustrate us and we are patient not because we wish to get something out of it, but simply because we are our brother's keeper. I remember spending one saturday in the library. I had my work cut out for the week, and needless to say, I was a bit stressed. A close friend of mine came in rather consternated, and I invited her to take the seat next to me. I spent thirty minutes listening her tale of an unappreciative boyfriend. I could have just as well pretended to be lost in my homework, or I could have cut her off, but I just sat and listened. I felt undeniably content when she left, simply because I had the patience to listen to someone who needed it.
 Lesson two: "Be nice to the new kid." Let's face it: We've all been new at one point in our lives, whether we were starting a new school or joining a team. Being the new kid doesn't stop when we age either. We will eventually have to take up a new job, meet a new half of our family, or even join a new retirement community. Being nice to the new kid is a practice in acknowledging the fragile nature of our lives, how quickly we can go from being in the top to being in the bottom. It's good to be humbled by the undulating stages our lives take.

Lesson three: "Cottleston Pie". Featured as a poem in Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh, Cottleston Pie is a lesson in being. There is a great lesson to be learned in the verses, "A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly" and, "A fish can't whistle and neither can I." We try too often to be something we're not, and in the end, we pay the price. My freshman year persona was completely fabricated, and it worked great for a while. But when people discovered how fake I was, I lost every friend I had. Combine that with the turbulence of early pubescence, and what results is a messy situation. What I didn't realize is that I had been trying to squeeze a triangle through a circle, a feat that was (and still is) impossible. I spent the next year and a half regaining the respect of those whose respect I had lost. By the end of my sophomore year, I had learned the crust of the cottleston pie. The middle of my junior year is when I filled that empty crust with the fruit of the cottleston berry. I was given the recipe for the mix during junior retreat, a weekend where the junior class bonds over shared stories of self. I shared my story of my difficulties with identity and my brief crisis with my sexual identity. That is what freed me. By sharing the ugliest parts of me, I was able to finally come to terms with my actuality: I am what I am, and I'm going to be okay with that. That's when things started looking up for me and I was able to fully regain the trust of my peers.

Although I think that all three lessons are important ones, Cottleston Pie has a place that is especially near to my heart. Cottleston Pie was a lesson especially hard for me to learn, and the one that cost me the most when I was trying to learn it. Our sense of self is the basis of our characters, and losing it (as I found) can be quite painful. Not being able to accept the reality of self is an attempt to block out the negative parts of life. And as I experienced, the rose tinted version of the world is a delight to live in until it shatters (and it always shatters, at one point or another) rather unceremoniously. For a while, I attempted to glue the rosy pieces back together, and every time the pieces just fell apart again. After a while, it became clear that I would just have to rebuild reality as it is. And in the process of doing so, I learned that I had to accept myself, the good and the bad, to enjoy life and carpe diem.

-Stop Essay-

I thank you in advance, and wish you happy holidays,
bryan
Alibaba 1 / 5  
Dec 26, 2009   #2
Hey I'm new on this site also but I'll tell u what i think if u want. Overall I liked it but there are a few grammar mistakes that you may see once you reread it. also there are some redundant sentences or much flowery language thats unnecessary that is if you want to cut it shorter.

Ex. Cottleston Pie was a lesson especially hard for me to learn, and the one that cost me the most when I was trying to learn it.

Maybe. Cottleston Pie was my costliest and most difficult lesson to learn.

I also think that there should be more of a personal story towards YOU. MAYBE (just my opinion) you can focus on one of the lessons?

But again it is a Topic of Your Choice essay, it is very unique I think. If you have time maybe you can look at my essays later?
indianajones015 1 / 1  
Dec 26, 2009   #3
Ha ha in the first sentence you use "as queer as" ... this can definately come across in many different ways. just a suggestion. You have good ideas!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 30, 2009   #4
Also, no need to capitalize "as"...in the distant future as strange as my "speculation fixation" may sound, speculation is a normal human behavior.

...I'm seventeen, and I'm already preoccupied with thinking about lessons...

I like that informal first sentence, but I can only hope the Admissions Office reader is not put off by it.

Therefore, in my mind at least, I believe it makes perfect sense to share lessons I have learned from my past so that my children can unbind themselves from the chains of speculation and carpe diem.

Your first paragraph makes me want to recommend The Power of Now by Tolle.

You have a great writing style!
I agree, but only if "with people" is tagged on to the assertion .


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