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'invigorating history' - Stanford (intellectual vitality) - Berlin


Mel77 3 / 9  
Dec 25, 2009   #1
Hi, I've been trying to write this essay and I'm not sure if i'm on the right track. I'm having trouble fitting everything that I want to say in the word limit, so feel free to suggest anything that i can take out to put more in. I would appreciate any feedback you could give me!

Here it goes.

Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging.

My opinion about history changed a year ago during my summer holidays, when I visited Berlin.

I did not find history invigorating before. It was not appealing to me because of the sense that events had happened so long ago they were not important. I used to think history was very slow and ambiguous which I have now discovered is not the case.

In school, I studied the effects of the Soviet control over Berlin, and the devastating outcome that the Berlin Wall had on families and the country as a whole. Even so, I was never really aware of how recent these events were, let alone their social implications.

The city is clearly divided in two, something which I have not seen in any other city. One half is the new, technologically-advanced area, competing with other world powers. The other half is lagging behind, trying to catch-up. Ironically the jump from one half to the other is done simply by crossing a now happy and colorful wall that still reminds the city's residents of the devastating events the city went through, along with the monuments to the victims of the Holocaust, and the run-down buildings which have managed to survive the attacks of the Second World War.

This trip made me see the impacts that a historical event had on Berlin in a way that no history class could have ever shown me, but it also made me discover so much more: I became intrigued and invigorated by each country's history. I did not just climb up the Acropolis, walk into every cathedral in Rome, or trudge up to the top of the Eiffel Tower to say that I had been there. I wanted to explore the history and beliefs of every culture in first person, as I now see that it is essential to learn about the past in order to understand what is going on in the world today.

Please be brutal. Thanks
gemma2345 5 / 15  
Dec 25, 2009   #2
The city is clearly divided in two, something which I have not seen in any other city yet

On one side, there is the new, technologically-advanced area, and the other half, which is still lagging behind, trying to catch-up to its other halftautology (other half) . i think your essay is really nice.

goodluck
jeovanshadow 2 / 5  
Dec 25, 2009   #3
I did not find history invigorating before. It was not appealing to me because of the sense that events had happened so long ago, and because I enjoy the more concise, exact outcomes of science which history is famous for not having.

Hey there,
I like your response very much. I just have one suggestion. In the sentence above, I do not think you should include your liking of "consicise, exact outcomes of science". Mainly because it is contradicting to the rest of your response. I can clearly see why you have included it, but i think that the essay will be just as strong with out it. :D Instead of saying.. science is fast.. say.. History used to be slow..

hope this helps :) Thanks for your help.
Mellzzer 1 / 14  
Dec 25, 2009   #4
"It was not appealing to me because of the sense that events had happened so long ago, and because I enjoy the more concise, exact outcomes of science which history is famous for not having."

You might want to split it up into two sentences. You also use the word "because" twice in the same sentence. There are a couple more really long sentences you might want to tighten up a little, but you might prefer it that way so whatever.

"On one side, there is the new, technologically-advanced area, and the other half, which is still lagging behind, trying to catch-up to its other half. "

Reword this. It sounds a little bit awkward.

"Ironically the jump from one half to the other is done simply by crossing a now happy and colorful wall that still reminds the city's residents of the devastating events the city went through, along with the monuments to the victims of the Holocaust, and the run-down buildings which have managed to survive the attacks of the Second World War."

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think "ironically" is the appropriate word...

Overall, I think it's good :] Try to think of a catchier opening though. Admissions reads hundreds and hundreds of essays, so you want to stand out.
OP Mel77 3 / 9  
Dec 26, 2009   #5
is the ending OK though? i'm not too sure if i answered the question clearly.

thank you for your advice!
paranormale 4 / 32  
Dec 26, 2009   #6
I like the majority of the essay one thing I don't particularly like is this sentence:
"Ironically the jump from one half to the other is done simply by crossing a now happy and colorful wall that still reminds the city's residents of the devastating events the city went through, along with the monuments to the victims of the Holocaust, and the run-down buildings which have managed to survive the attacks of the Second World War. "

What I don't like is that it's well... One sentence. It's really heavy. Try to break it up into two sentences because that particular part of your essay was difficult to read.
wallacethedog 1 / 2  
Dec 26, 2009   #7
I like it. My only suggestion would be to say how it still is engaging, and to extend your story to your current exploration of the ideas put forth in the piece.


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