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Going outside my "bubble" - Common App Essay


eugene_611925 1 / 1  
Oct 23, 2014   #1
Hi everyone!! I was hoping for some feedback regarding my Common App essay. Please feel free to be critical, and tear apart my essay as you see fit :)

Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

January 12, 2012. Thursday. I slammed my locker door shut and took a detour past my humanities teacher's room prior to heading to my school bus. I see two friends wave at me from inside the room, urging me to go inside. That's when I discovered the World Scholar's Cup, an international team academic event centered around debate.

A week later, I stood in a compact room crammed with 40 other students. I grasped a wrinkled piece of A4 paper scribbled with notes, while my palms were drenched in sweat. Somewhere on the page were the words, "Resolved: Social media brings more harm than good." As for the rest of my first experience with debate, I don't remember much. Like most, if not all new debaters, perhaps it was because I was too nervous.

Over the course of the next several months, I went to every single training session with my team, often staying late after school. Countless hours of grueling practice, criticism, and contention later, I improved. I learned the basics of signposting, and the importance of rebuttals. I developed my own "speech hamburger" - one permanently engraved in my memory. Eventually, I mastered the ability to speak without using any note cards.

With it, I discovered the beauty of debate.

Ask any friend from middle school, and they would probably say that I'm a reticent and even introverted person. I never pestered my parents before each birthday so that I could get a particular Lego police station, or a copy of the latest Sims video game for my computer. I simply found it too difficult to speak up and let my thoughts be heard. Likewise, I eventually overcame my aversion towards dairy products - which I consumed almost every day during breakfast - because I never found my voice to advocate for what I wanted to eat in the mornings. It therefore wasn't surprising to see even my own parents scoff at my decision when I first joined the World Scholar's Cup.

Looking back, my middle school self never would have imagined that I would end up being so involved in an activity like World Scholar's Cup. Back then, it would have been hard to comprehend the fact that my achievements would eventually take me from regional competitions in Beijing and Hong Kong to the global scale against like-minded students in Bangkok over the course of my high school career. Neither could I have ever expected to be invited by the World Scholar's Cup founders to represent my entire school in a debate tournament at Yale against Academic Decathlon finalists.

What's more important, however, is that I found my voice through debate. World Scholar's Cup provided me with a lesson on advocating well for either side of a given argument, which is not only important within debate, but beyond as well. Because if I don't speak up for myself, no one ever will.

I have to admit that being awarded a medal for finishing in the top five out of nearly 300 debaters in both the Beijing and Hong Kong regional competitions makes me extremely proud. With it, comes a stark contrast between the outspoken Eugene and the silent Eugene from years before. Now, every time I share my own experiences as a World Scholar's Cup club president and debate coach for younger peers wishing to try something new, I can't help but reflect on my own journey the past few years.

It is interesting to see how such a small decision has had such a profound effect on my high school career. At times, I ponder where I would be today if I hadn't taken that detour. Perhaps I would continue to be the diffident student who most people ignored. But for now, I take pride in the fact that I escaped from my "bubble" and into that classroom that day.
bratt99 1 / 1  
Oct 23, 2014   #2
I see two friends wave at me from inside the ( change it to a room ) room, urging me to go inside.

What is A4 paper?
Why were they drenched in sweat?
Maybe include 'going through' countless hours of grueling practice, criticism, and contention.
later, I improved. I learned {learning} the basics of signposting, and the importance of rebuttals.

This is really good. Just minor grammer things, could you please help me too?


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