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Feel real/Citizens of the world; Princeton Supplement;Culture/Speech of Woodrow

enigma33 2 / 44 3  
Dec 28, 2012   #1
Ok so I have to choose one of the following prompts and I wrote an essay for each one as I really can't choose between them. I'll really appreciate it if you can critique both essays and tell me which one I should choose. Thanks in advance and I'm willing to help anybody who asks for it!

P.S. to keep my identity undisclosed I'm going to assume that the city I live in is called blue and the country I live in is called red.

Using the quotation below as a starting point, reflect on the role that culture plays in your life.
"Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful."

I'm a peculiar man; I'm attracted to seemingly unattractive things. All the soot in the air, the shouting, people crammed into unfathomably narrow sidewalks and the over-abundance of litter that makes me think the sidewalk is constructed out of garbage. I love downtown Blue.

Coming from a wealthy family and going to a school that is filled with members of the upper class of Blue, some might even be surprised that I've even been to downtown Blue or "XXX" (as us locals call it). Many of the students that go to my school have never been there and I fear it is because they think it is below them. I, however, insist upon going there at least twice a week, firstly, stopping by "XXX" for a bag of roasted chickpeas, which I quickly wash down with a Tamarind cocktail from "XXX". I wind down the road that leads to my favorite restaurant, "XXX" where I order meat pies and Kufta immersed in Tahini sauce. I thank XXX for the food and walk to "XXX" for Knafa (an Arabic dessert).

"Don't tell me you've been to the place that serves cat meat!" my mother says when I return, referring to how cheap the, I assure you, beef is. I am the first to admit, I love fancy dining, but out of all the sensations the five star and Michelin star restaurants give me, nothing compares to the one I feel when I am in "name of restaurant". There I feel the essence of what it means to be real. At (insert name of restaurant), everybody is united by having paid an equivalent of one USD for a hearty meal. I always insist upon sitting outside to savor the sheer rawness of downtown Blue, watching people working hard to put some food on their table for that night.

Every time I go to downtown Blue, I reminisce back to the time when I worked in a dump outside of Blue. The five other workers, whom along with me were responsible for segregating rubbish, often asked me: "Why are you working here? We're here to make enough money to eat for the day, but you don't need to do that." I would just smile, for I knew I was there because it made me feel real.

Essay 2
Using the statement below as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world.

"Princeton in the Nation's Service" was the title of a speech given by Woodrow Wilson on the 150th anniversary of the University. It became the unofficial Princeton motto and was expanded for the University's 250th anniversary to "Princeton in the nation's service and in the service of all nations."

"Aren't you German? Why are you running yourself ragged trying to help Red?" I asked Mr. XXX, the environmentalist that took me under his wing when I decided to start the first waste management system in Red for public schools. The reason I was so perplexed by his avid involvement in starting a recycling project in Red, albeit only earning a salary that can barely put food on his table, is the way I was brought up. Although Red is an Arab country and there are various schools of thought trying to unite the Arab countries, Red has, even since the days of King XXX, cared about the welfare of its people before that of the other Arab countries. King XXX always did what was best for Red without taking into consideration the other countries in the region. Having this mentality inculcated into my mind since I was a kid, meant I also developed the idea of sticking together as Redonians for Red only, which of course isolated me in a 'Red First' bubble. Such were my beliefs anyway, until I met Mr. Ibling.

The next six words I heard from my new mentor displaced me from my former community and inspired the way I currently view the world. "I am German, but this is my planet." Those words shook my mindset so powerfully that they sonicated and even shattered the belief that was engraved in my mind since birth. Today I am proud to say that I belong to a community that contains a relatively small number of people, and my role in this community is that of any other member. Our goal is to recruit others to the belief of commonality in order to share our ideology with the world by forgetting political borders, the color of one's skin and most importantly banishing the idea of bias towards a certain group. We must do our part to improve the community in which we live in because ultimately, it is our community. We are, after all... citizens of the world.
linting2012 10 / 78 18  
Dec 28, 2012   #2
Both of the essay have great message. But I feel much more moved by the first essay. You explore a really difficult problem, what does it meant to be alive, to be real? and answer it greatly. I love the first one and I would suggest you to choose the first one. Please help with my Gap year and HKU essay please.
mela3 2 / 37 2  
Dec 28, 2012   #3
You are a very gifted writer. You are not oly writing an essay, you are telling a us a story. I agree with the changes ding337 has made, but I am unable to pick an essay like they did. They are both very well-written and, in my opinion, extremely insightful. It is very easy to get lost in the more material, superficial pleasures of this world. So much so that we lose contact with what is true, or "real" as you have phrased it. It is also easy to forget that, while we may be seperated geographically and ethnically, we are all inhabitants of this world. I do not envy you this choice; I wouldn't be able to choose one over the other. Go with your gutt instinct. At the end of the day, it is your opinion that outweighs any of ours. It was a pleasure reading this. I wish you all of the best.
aqualad 5 / 12 3  
Dec 28, 2012   #4
I would say go with Essay #1.

My primary issue with Essay #2 is that you do not describe how and why Mr. Ibling's words affected you so greatly. You explain your previous state of mind, and your current state, but you do not describe the transition. I don't understand what it was about those words, at that time, that so greatly affected your world view.

P.S. I skipped over your PS at first, so I thought these essays took place in some imaginary world that mirrored your own life.
umecollege 2 / 17 2  
Dec 28, 2012   #5
I agree with everybody else. Though both are great, the first one holds me in throughout the essay. It was a very fun read as well as informative enough to learn about you. Great job.
black and white 7 / 30 6  
Dec 28, 2012   #6
Both the essays are good, but I feel [b]the second one is better. Try to refine it and it will turn out to be a wonderful essay.

Please help me with mine
cofls12 2 / 6 1  
Dec 29, 2012   #7
I learned more about you as an individual from the first one! I felt like I was right there with you in Blue while reading it. Really vivid details and much originality.

Best of luck with Princeton!! :o)
Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 29, 2012   #8
Second one didn't move me emotionally. That said, the first one explores an interesting question and highlights an important aspect of your personality. Well done.
assdfghjkl - / 1  
Dec 29, 2012   #9
Both essays are good and extremely well written but I liked the second one better. I thought the second one was better because in the first one you say that you did it because it made you feel real but that almost suggests that your real life is fake and that you spent most of your time stuck in the nicer part of Blue and now you are trying to gain some experience and you are kind of forcing it by making sure that you go downtown at least twice a week.
bsabrine 2 / 2 1  
Dec 29, 2012   #10
I loved both essays, but I think you should go with the first one !! It was really awesome !
OP enigma33 2 / 44 3  
Dec 30, 2012   #11
Thank you everyone for your feedback! I most probably will go with the first essay but if I have time I'm going to try expanding the second one and seeing if I can make it better.
delicioapplepie - / 1  
Dec 30, 2012   #12
Great Essays,
But for the first essay, I don't know what country you are in, but is the "Tamarind cocktail " necessary, because alcohol is illegal for most high schoolers.
OP enigma33 2 / 44 3  
Dec 30, 2012   #13
A tamarind is a fruit cocktail (Like saying mango juice) no alcohol :)
Bighall 3 / 18 1  
Dec 30, 2012   #14
Personally I think the second is better. You could add more details and refine it a little bit more in 500 words limit.

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