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Common Application Essay: The Life of a Mind Detective


ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 2, 2009   #1
The Life of a Mind Detective

It may sound a little strange, but I have found everyday of my life a detective novel, full of mysteries.

Since kindergarten days, I have developed an interest in things that most people usually neglect. When I was 3 years old, one day, escorted by my grandfather, I went to kindergarten on a bus which ran so slowly as it could never get to the destination--that must have been too boring for a lively little child like me. A strange thought, however at that time, jumped into my tiny little brain: Why can people think? Isn't mind some sort of gas dwelling in the human body? Then why is it the gas demonstrating "me" inhabits in my now-self, instead of my grandfather? Am I the only person who can think, or actually everybody holds the ability? These questions, together forming an inescapable net, confused me for quite a long time. However, after unremitting pondering, reasoning and reflecting, I eventually drew a conclusion which I as a 3-year-old girl found very convincing: No one in the world has thoughts except me; when people talk or act, instead of using their free will, they are, like puppets, manipulated by an unknown formidable power. Therefore, I am the only creature in the world that has minds.

Many years later, as a big girl, I found out from a psychology book that, the question which puzzled me through my entire childhood was coincidently the psychology circle's unsettled point called "Mind-Brain Problem"--"Does the brain produce the mind? If so, how and why? Or does the mind control the brain? Then, how can a nonphysical entity control a physical substance? Or are the mind and the brain just two names for the same thing?"

Ever since then my intense interest has been aroused. Each day, observing various people around me in the street, I will wonder in amazement: Among so many people, they carry how different hearts and stories! What kind of moods are they in? What stories have happened to them? Can I help to solve their problems? Therefore I observe tirelessly everyone passing me by, thinking that all their tones of talking, postures of walking, and even ways of pushing hair are connected with their mood, intention and past experiences--how miraculous it is!

However, the thoughts of making psychology my career had not been intensified until the death of my neighbor, a kind and warmhearted man. I remembered in my childhood I often had to wait outside the door because my parents would not come back from work until late. Every time when he saw me waiting comfortlessly, he would pick me up to his home, provide me toys and snacks, and play with me. I had always assumed his daughter the luckiest girl in this world. However, a few years later, everything changed. Since employment became more and more competitive, rumors about him facing discharge spread out. A stress quickly overdrove him; he could not fall asleep at night, worrying about dismissal, and turned old in days. He turned to his best neighbor for help, but my father did not know how to comfort him. Without help, he started to suspect others, assuming everyone maligning him secretly. Nevertheless, no one took him seriously until his disappearance. His body was found 3 days later on the railway. In the next few months, I could often hear his wife and parents crying at mid of the nights and his daughter refused to go back school. A luckiest family was destroyed.

Even now, I can not believe that I had watched a vivid life devoured by depression in front of my eyes, incapable to stop. Suddenly, I realized how tender and vital human spirit is--a little injury could broke it, thus the whole body damaged. I assume that had there been a little consolation at the first step of my neighbor's depression, or any advice that brings him the confidence and courage, the tragedy might not have taken place. How better the world will be if there will be more and more mind-problem solvers! Then, like enlightened by fate, I recognized my mission: I should be a psychologist, trying my best to heal pains of others' hearts, making more and more people "live happily ever after".

After this decision was made, my target changed from knowing others' thoughts to solving problems. I go to local colleges twice a week to have psychology classes, expecting more knowledge. As a student from high school, I never meet any profound case which requires sophisticated science, but little troubles function well in practicing my knowledge gained from basic textbooks of psychology. In campus, many classmates pour out their worry to me, hoping for my advice. I remembered once in 11th grade I helped my classmate Yong to regain her confidence in friendships and ascertain her goal to seek. Last month I also persuaded my friend to confront his love, because avoiding can only add to his sorrow. These episodes offer me confidence, and confirmed my thoughts of majoring in psychology in college, gaining professional knowledge to help people effectively.

This is how I become a mind detective. I have always known that my encounter with psychology was the best thing ever happened to me; it has made my ordinary world a fantasy, and shaped me into who I am. Sometimes I feel psychology my old time lover: In the crowded and brilliant world, we simply recognized each other at first sight.

Maybe I did not choose psychology myself. Maybe psychology picked me.
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 2, 2009   #2
It's a bit too long...Thank you for your patient and time!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Oct 2, 2009   #3
It's a bit too long

You've hit the proverbial nail, as it were. The essay is too long. I like the way the essay opens, and how your childish questioning led you into a deep and abiding interest in the philosophy of mind, which is indeed a fascinating subject.

After your first three paragraphs, though, you should deal more specifically and concisely with how you plan to pursue this interest when you get to university. The rest of the essay at the moment just isn't particularly relevant to you as a candidate.
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 2, 2009   #4
Er...My first thought on writing this essay is to say that my hobby is to explore human thoughts, and how this interest has influenced me in my growth...

But you are right, it seems now that it's not so relevant at applying to a college.
kristinbrianne /  
Oct 2, 2009   #5
This is a really good essay, but it is very very long, you might want to try shortening a bit as most admission essays dont allow you to write this much
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 3, 2009   #6
Please reply more...Thx...
Liebe 1 / 542 2  
Oct 20, 2009   #7
I only read your first sentence and the paragraph that proceeded that. I am not a fan of the detective novel simile, for starters, given it's cliched nature and relative lack of creativity.

I can note that you have a lot of grammatical errors, that make understanding this essay more tasking than it should be. Also,

jumped into my tiny little brain:

^I understand how children's brains can be comparitively smaller compared to an adult, however 'tiny little brain' sounds more self-degrading than cute.
I also thought that the remainder of that particular paragraph featured a lot of rambling jibberish that bored me, rather than caught my attention.

EDIT:
If you still want to go for this essay, then I suggest that some serious revisions take place. You should focus on grammar, and focus on ways to grasp your reader's attention. Readers typically do not like superfluous detail and ramblings, and these generally do tend to result in a loss of reader interest.

Having decent grammar can only do the essay writer favors.
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 20, 2009   #8
Thanks for your advice, Liebe. I'm working hard on my grammar.
Liebe: Readers typically do not like superfluous detail and ramblings
Er...Can you help me to point out what is the superfluous detail and ramblings in my essay?
Thanks a lot.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Oct 20, 2009   #9
Can you help me to point out what is the superfluous detail and ramblings in my essay?

You could tighten up your writing throughout by using fewer words to say the same things you say now. For instance:

"However, the thoughts of making psychology my career had not been intensified until the death of my neighbor, a kind and warmhearted man"

"The death of my neighbor, a kind and warmhearted man, intensified my interest in psychology."

Making your readers slog through an extra 8-10 words per sentence for no good reason will not endear you to them.
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 20, 2009   #10
Thanks you, Sean. I've got your point.
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 22, 2009   #11
There's a problem: In the fifth paragraph, the sentence"I had always thought his daughter the luckiest girl in this world. However, a few years later, everything changed." Which should I use, "had" or "have"?

Thanks for your patient and time!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Oct 23, 2009   #13
You're getting there. Some more minor fixes and suggestions:

Therefore, I am the only creature in the world that has minds.

And how many minds do you have?

A luckiest family was destroyed.

"A lucky family," perhaps? Something is either the "*est" or "one of the *est."

"Sometimes I even feel that psychologyis like an long-time lover"
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 24, 2009   #14
I've taken your advice.
Thank you sooooooo much, Sean!
aclarkelyons 1 / 2  
Oct 24, 2009   #15
wow thats one creative essay.. kudos!
maybe its just me but wow you use alot of commas... kinda wordy =D
for instance when i first started reading "When I was 3 years old, one day, escorted by my grandfather, I went to kindergarten on a bus which ran so slowly as it could never get to the destination--too boring for a lively kid like me." i automaticly felt overwhelmed by what you were trying to say.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Oct 24, 2009   #16
Again, this is a case of being able to tighten up your writing to save on words:

"When I was 3 years old, my grandfather escorted me to kindergarten on a bus which ran so slowly it seemed it would never reach its destination--too boring for a lively kid like me."
OP ayida365 7 / 33  
Oct 25, 2009   #17
Thank you so much.
I'll read it again and again...try to tight up


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