I wrote a (rather weak) essay on skiing too, if anyone could give me some heads-up on that after they tear through this, That'd be great. This is a first draft, I havent gone back yet, Im just letting it mellow while someone else gives me feedback on what's there so far. Thanks.
Oh and i borrowed the "I once believed.." format from Freezard7734 and his "Enigma of Success" essay (which is awesome and a GREAT example of exemplary writing) and although I stated passion as the root of education in my conclusion (as he did in his) i was not merely copying his word; i truly do feel that the only reason to pursue a higher education is because of your passion for a subject, not for money or prestige or potential earnings. Freezard, thanks for the format, but this is in NO WAY a rewording or a copy or anything of the sort. *whew* with the thank-you and the copyright and the disclaimer and whatever else out of the way, here we go:
Education. We all want it; some pay thousands of dollars and traverse continents to get it. But what truly is an education? Why do these people, myself included, want it so much? I once thought that an education meant success: that it meant happiness. However, my views have been refined and remoulded by the fires of experience in the furnace of introspection; like an alloy made of unknown metals, I have now seen that the concept of an education can't be described in simple terms. It is a mixture that can only be discovered through experience.
I once believed was that education led to happiness, and that was why everyone wanted it. However, I have been witness to people who had the greatest education possible, yet were still not happy. A friend of the family received his Masters in Computer Science, but he was talking about going back into school, since he didn't feel happy with where his education was taking him. This confused me; if he was so educated, so smart, how could he not get whatever he wanted? It was then that I discovered that simply going through school, merely going through the motions, was not enough. I discovered that you have to love what you do; that you had to love it and wish to spend the rest of your life pursuing this subject, rather like a lovestruck fool pursues the elusive object of his romance. I now see that education does not lead to happiness, but that an education should be the result of pursuing a subject you love.
I once believed was that education led to intelligence. I thought that by going through school, through university and through courses, that I would become intelligent. I think this belief is still held by most people; but it is false. University gives you knowledge; yet knowledge alone does not equate intelligence. University gives you methods; yet knowing how to use these methods is also not intelligence. Intelligence is what so many people seek yet so few attain; it is the ability to know, yet still learn. It is the ability to apply processes and solve through proven methods, yet still improvise and adapt. It is the ability to contribute to the world in ways that no one else has before you, and this is not what an education gives you. An education gives you the tools to become an intelligent person, yet I now know that it is up to me to use these tools, and that intelligence takes a lifetime to attain.
I once believed was that education led to success. But then, what is success? If success is measured by happiness, then education does not give happiness, as discussed previously. What if money is a measure of success, then? This is most people's measure; they judge how successful someone is by the size of their house or by their salary figures. But an education does not necessarily lead to money, and some people make money without any education. Taxi drivers hold PhDs; hillbillies find themselves sitting on oil reserves. No, money can't be a measure of success, nor does education lead to it. I believe that success is a much more intrinsic concept; I believe the best measure of success is the respect one earns from his peers. This, education does lead to. The taxi driver is well respected in his field, while the hillbilly is merely seen as a lucky kook. So yes, I do still believe that education leads to success, but my view of what success is, and how education affects it, has been altered over time.
So why then, do people seek education if it brings neither money nor happiness, intelligence nor excellence? This is a question I grappled with for a long time. These were the things that the world sought after; if achieving them was not guaranteed through education, why do they bother? I then realized that the world sought them for the wrong reasons. They wanted an education to bring them happiness, but instead they should have wanted happiness to bring them through their education. They wanted money from it, but money should be a footnote compared to the joy of learning. They wanted schooling to shape their lives, but I now know that your life, your loves and your personality should instead shape your education, and that learning in a field you love should bring you all the happiness, intelligence, and success you'll ever need. I have seen the composition of this mysterious substance, and I know that you should pursue an education for one reason and one reason only; passion.
Alrighty then, that's that (It might be a bit long, 774 words at I remember, but its not too bad i *hope*)
Literary sharks, go!
I have to say that this essay is rather difficult to follow.
I think that, instead of using this format, beginning each paragraph with "I once believed that education led to this or that" and using that phrase to lead into an anecdote, you should use one powerful anecdote to frame the whole essay.
Perhaps this essay is also too philosophical. Adcoms don't need to ponder the question, "What is success?" Rather, they want to see you in a more personal way than is displayed here.