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"Ignorance is bliss"- I disagree; Stanford Sup/ What matters to you and why?

503dannyk 8 / 25 1  
Dec 29, 2012   #1
Any critiques or edits are appreciated. Only a few days away!

What matters to you and why?

"Ignorance is bliss". Though I've heard this phrase my entire life, I disagree with it. As an inquisitive person growing up, I've asked a lot of questions for the simple reason that I want to be informed. From defining words that I don't know to watching the news and being aware of current events, knowing has been what matters to me. Knowing about the issues of our day, knowing about the policies of our government, knowing even when it hurts to know. For with knowledge, one can begin to solve the issues and problems the world faces. I had this naive thought that if I was aware, I could change the world for the better. As a result, knowing, above all else, became my objective, my motivation and my passion.

But it wasn't until I saw this quote by Thomas Jefferson that I really understood that knowing is not enough. You have to inform others about what you know. "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." Seeing this quote inspired me to take a hard look at the American public. Are we informed? The answer is no. Ignorance is more prevalent in our country today than ever before. Many people do not understand nor wish to understand the issues facing them. But, more importantly, ignorance has led many people into deep apathy towards important matters that define our political, economic and social state as a country and as people. This simple realization led me to the discovery that I if wanted to change the world for the better, I not only needed to be aware, but I needed to help others become aware. I needed to help others have a voice. My passion of knowing had evolved into a need of informing others.

As a result of this discovery, I can say today that I want to inform others in the world and live in a place where ignorance is not bliss. Why? Because being informed is the only sure way to express concern that leads to action. That is what really matters to me.
kellyjanemartin 3 / 18 2  
Dec 29, 2012   #2
I love your writing style and the way you've used the Jefferson quote. Not only did this essay give me a peek into who you are, but it also got me thinking about the importance of an informed public.

Now, little things:
- I think ending with "That is what really matters to me " is a little weak. Just because the it asks what matters to you doesn't mean you have to reiterate the prompt. I think it would be stronger to link the first sentence of your closing paragraph with the sentence beginning with "because", and then end it there.

- "You have to inform others about what you know": Do we really have to? Or is it best to? Because a lot of people would say that it's not their responsibility to teach others. I'd play around with the wording there and see what else you could come up with.

- "Are we informed? The answer is no. ": Something about this sentence pair rubs me the wrong way. I see the point you're trying to make, but it's really abrupt and harsh. Because, truth is, we (and the very educated admissions officers who will read your essay) are informed about a lot of things. Either you're going to need to be more specific, a little more gentle, or cut this phrasing out altogether. In fact, go ahead and cut it out. The second paragraph is more powerful without it.

Overall, great essay! Best of luck!!
OP 503dannyk 8 / 25 1  
Dec 29, 2012   #3
Thanks for the advice! I changed what you said, and I think it did improve. Please look at my other Stanford essay, the one on intellectual vitality.

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