Hey everyone, I would really appreciate a critique on these two pieces I wrote for the Common Application:
Essay # 1: In the space provided below, please elaborate on one of your activities (extracurricular, personal activities, or work experience) - (150 words or fewer).
The heat was almost unbearable that afternoon, but I remained stoic because I knew that day was important. It was finally time for the first event that the Environmental Society at my school had organized: a hiking trail clean-up. Using only garbage bags, shears, and gardening gloves we managed to clear up many of the malignant weeds growing in the area, and we also managed to liberate the trail of much of the litter it had accumulated over the years.
I had signed up for the society hoping to assist the group with its noble environmentalist endeavors; fortunately we accomplished more after the clean-up. Joining the society and participating in its activities was an enriching experience. I truly felt like I was helping save the world, and making a few good friends on the way was a wonderful bonus.
Essay #2: Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
Reading Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code intrigued me greatly and made me wonder: could Leonardo da Vinci really have been intelligent enough to have hidden all those secret codes in his artworks? Of course, I realized Brown's novel was a work of fiction, but the imaginative story he had crafted inspired me to research da Vinci and learn more about this enigmatic polymath. Upon reading more about da Vinci, it dawned on me that he was the archetypal figure of who I wanted to be.
Leonardo da Vinci was the epitome of a Renaissance Man. Not only was he an accomplished visual artist, but he was also widely recognized for his breakthroughs in science and engineering. Much like da Vinci, my interests lie in both the humanities and the sciences. Even though I would prefer to choose research science as a career, I still hold a deep appreciation for the arts and their beneficial effect on the human psyche.
Da Vinci's seemingly superhuman ingenuity was evident in his detailed diagrams and essays. Long before proper calculators were even invented he had already made his own prototype, which he called an Adding Machine. He even had ideas down to build a helicopter! These amazing facts inspired me to look into a research-based career. I dream of one day making a breakthrough discovery to help humankind; even laying the groundwork for future discoveries would fulfill my aspirations. My hopes of contributing to society in such a way motivate me to always do my best.
A somewhat little-known fact about da Vinci was that he was a vegetarian entirely for ethical reasons. Back in his time, that was extremely rare. Da Vinci was one of the many great thinkers I admired, along with the likes of fellow vegetarians Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, who inspired me to become a vegetarian myself. He taught me that being yourself and standing up for what you believe in is much more rewarding than conforming to society's sometimes cruel standards. Becoming a vegetarian has been truly liberating and I feel like I'm making a positive impact on the world even by doing something as small as this. Hopefully I can inspire others in the future just like da Vinci inspired me.
Today, even centuries after da Vinci's death, he still lives on through his accomplishments. His paintings Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are still two of the most widely recognized and loved pieces of art in the entire world. His sketch entitled Vitruvian Man has become a universal symbol for the human body. I know that I want to be the same way. Not famous exactly, but significant. I yearn to explore the frontiers of science, especially biology. Being remembered for my achievements, however small, would be an honor. Hopefully I can contribute to the progress of humankind just like the great Leonardo da Vinci!