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"My intellectual curiosity, Doorbells" - Personal Statement


boyohboy17 3 / 6  
Oct 24, 2010   #1
This is my Common app personal statement. It is topic of your choice, so it was really vague. If you post any criticisms/thoughts on my essay, i promise that I will read yours as well. Thanks

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I've always been a bit different. My parents frequently tell stories to friends and family about how overwhelming my curiosity was as a toddler. They reminisce of the times when we would go down to the beach and walk along the bike path in my hometown of Manhattan Beach. I would regularly stop bike riders and skateboarders and ask them questions. Questions like "where are you going?" or "when are you coming back?" seemed to evoke only blank and stupefied looks. Even when just walking down the street with my nanny, questions constantly hummed in the back of my brain. Like the insistent buzzing of a fly trapped in a room during the night, the questions I had drowned out all my other thoughts and desires, making me unable to focus on anything but the buzzing. After passing an interesting house, I would squirm free from my nanny's grasp and dart to the door that had become the center of my universe. I didn't care that she was yelling at me from the sidewalk in Spanish, because, weather she liked it or not, I had to know what was hiding behind that door. I was a bird. I was a plane. I was superman; not even kryptonite could stop me as I flew to that barrier shielding me from the unknown. After ringing the doorbell, I would stand there and wait for someone to appear. I had to know what was behind that door. I had to find that fly that was buzzing in my head.

I look up at the door.

The low drone of curiosity was always loudest when I thought of Mr. Beals. He was an crusty old man of about sixty who lived in my neighborhood and who seemed to be at odds with the world. Kids were convinced that he was secretly an alien from Jupiter, sent on a mission to observe and report on the human race. He lived in "The Alamo House," dubbed by the children of the block due to its eerie resemblance to the Alamo. It had a door with grey wood and a black, wrought iron doorknob, and two windows that were perpetually covered with a thin coat of dust, which seemed to watch you while walking on the sidewalk. However, it was that door that captivated me.

I ring the doorbell.

I would have dreams of space ships and aliens emerging from the Alamo House, of Mr. Beals asking me if I wanted to go with him to Jupiter. They were never scary dreams; I never woke in the middle of the night in a cold sweat like in the movies. If anything, these dreams drove my curiosity. One day, while walking by the Alamo House, the droning of the fly in my head became unbearable. I sprinted up Mr. Beals' redbrick steps that led to the Count-Chocula like door and I rang the doorbell.

I wait.

The world around me went silent. I was a prisoner of my own thoughts. Filled with pictures of aliens and firefighters, secret agents and evil masterminds, anticipation of who would answer the door overwhelmed my senses. As I stood there in my Velcro sketchers and Power Rangers t-shirt, the anticipation of an alien opening the door did not frighten me. It excited me.

I wait.

As a seventeen year old about to make the transition to college, I find myself looking back on my childhood more and more often. I am amazed at how much I have changed- how the freckly little kid with a bowl cut has grown into a 6'6'' adult. Yet I am more amazed at how little I have changed. I have kept all of the habits that I had as a five year old. In my Calculus class, for example, I still count with my fingers, and at restaurants I still make my mom cut my cheeseburger in half. The curiosity that permeated into my soul as a kid, that made me ring Mr. Beals' doorbell, has never really gone away. It manifests itself today in my addiction to history. Men like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt fascinate me, but their ideas captivate me. Ideas are fickle things. They can hide in the farthest reaches of the mind or they can jump to its forefront; they can be ideas of humanitarian endeavors, or they can be ideas of egocentric, individual glory. However, no matter how different or controversial they may be, ideas are what define the world we live in. Lurking within the confines of historical biographies, petrified by the ink of a pen, are the ideas of some of the greatest minds to have ever walked this earth. It is my obsession to search for these creatures that play such crucial roles in the grand scheme of things. Although my doorbell-ringing craze ended twelve years ago, the constant buzzing of curiosity continuously drones on in the back of my mind.

I have a need to understand the world around me, a drive that cannot be satisfied by the bare minimum. I have to go above and beyond to be fulfilled, and once I get there, I have to keep going. My intellectual curiosity keeps me from ever becoming complacent, but I would have it no other way. I am the five year old that has questions for everyone and everything and who rings doorbells no matter what people say. I am the five year old who is not scared of aliens, of the unknown, of the future. I am the five year old who is searching for the endless droning of a fly.

The door opens
theTalkingRice 5 / 17  
Oct 24, 2010   #2
geez, imo this is almost perfect. I don't think I'm a good enough writer to do anything except express how stylistically monumental your writing is. The only thing that I noticed was some spelling/mechanics errors in the first paragraph.

"whether" not "weather" when talking about your nanny
"Superman" not "superman"

but really other than that, your essay is terrific :x
RyanVi16 12 / 91  
Oct 24, 2010   #3
This is an excellent essay, I would strongly advice to cut out the phrase "In my calculus class for example". It sounds much better to continue with "I still count with my fingers". I just think that the weakest part of the essay.

Oh, and this sentence "Men like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt fascinate me, but their ideas captivate me" sound weird because of the word "but". Put a semicolon after me, and take out but.

" I am the five year old who is searching for the endless droning of a fly."
I think it would make more sense if you say "..who is trying to be free from the endless droning..." since your whole essay is about how unbearable it was.

Excellent ending :)
juliogarcia93 1 / 3  
Oct 25, 2010   #4
I agree. This is gonna get you somewhere. Excellent personal statement. I love the overall style of the essay. Very thoughtful. Good luck on your application process! Hope everything goes well!
alicezung 1 / 2  
Oct 25, 2010   #5
it's just entertaining reading your essay :)
i think you resemble Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, haha, xD

i think the first 2 sentences can just be more concise.
You can just say "I was known for my overwhelming curiosity since I was a toddler."

the nanny part is really vivid, but "the nanny yelling" sounds to me a bit violent.
but that might be just me..
oh, and, when you stand and wait in front of the door, i have this "buzzing" in my head that what about your nanny that stands and waits for you? When you take such a long time waiting for Boo Radley to come out. :)

and in the first paragraph:
After passing an interesting house, I "would" squirm free from my nanny's grasp and dart to the door that had become the center of my universe.

why would you say "would" if that is something that really took place?

something contradictory I see is that, you say that the house is just "interesting", but then, throughout your essay, the house symbolizes your great curiosity. I just dont think that the word "interesting" is enough.

On my first reading, i thought that this Doorbells incident is just one of the things you listed to prove that you are really a curious person (besides the conversation with the skaters and passerby's).

I believe that you should emphasize more on the house.

"Men like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt fascinate me, but their ideas captivate me."
:O you can just say that the ideas of the great leaders captivate you. Mentioning the owners of the ideas doesn't help clarify your ideas.

Again, it's really entertaining.
Those are suggestions from me.
would be great if you find them helpful!

Hop you the BEST!
Kaiser - / 9  
Nov 6, 2010   #6
Nicely expressed, although I would recommend making the first paragraph a bit more engaging - to ensure that admissions officers won't be able to take their eyes away from the screen for a moment. Some of the sentences were a bit boring, starting with the first: "I've always been a bit different" strikes me as possibly the most hackneyed opening sentence an applicant could write. As a suggestion, I'll rephrase the rest of the paragraph down here. You can work on it, if you like. I would also recommend revising the entire essay once again to make the transitions seamless. I like it, by the way. There are some very nice nuances in it that bring out the depth of your character and curiosity.

I would also recommend not overusing the word "curiosity". It's the theme of your essay - your reader is supposed to get that. Finding it all over the essay makes the reader think you're giving that facet of your personality more importance than it deserves.

Those were just suggestions. Even still, there seems to be a disconnect somewhere that you will need to fix. Your ideas seem to trip over each other, and emerge with noticeable effort. And don't overdo the fly analogy, for the same reason as I told you not to overuse the word "curiosity".

Okay, that's about it. Work on the first paragraph, and work on making the essay seamless and consistently engaging.


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