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(How I Learned to Learn) - Princeton Supplement - Option Four


ailibai 8 / 21  
Dec 23, 2010   #1
The Prompt: Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years 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. Please write the quotation at the beginning of your essay.

My Quote: "The power of doing anything with quickness is always prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance."

-Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

My Essay:
My math teacher for my freshman year always asked the question, "When are people going to stop doing homework just to get it done?" Since I was in kindergarten, I have always loved school, but my freshman year was the first year I found challenging. I loved having honors classes that pushed me further, but I was lost. I learned very quickly that I could not rely on natural brainpower to get me through this time. I needed to study, but I had no idea how. My geometry teacher's question helped me realize that learning is about much more than doing homework.

I started looking at schoolwork as more than something I had to do. As soon as I saw homework as an opportunity to learn more, it became more enjoyable. I trained my mind to make connections that cemented information and further understanding. Even during my "relaxation time," I found myself thinking about topics I was studying in school. Instead of pushing them away as I used to do, I realized how interesting these things were. For me, the difference was how I helped myself learn it. I learn using connections, emotions, and visualization. When I started spending more time on my schoolwork, I noticed that I absorbed much more information. Not only did I improve my "World History Jeopardy" game, what I learned meant more to me because of the personal connections I made. Now I know that it is the time and effort put into things that makes them meaningful.

The goal should be to create something to be proud of, not to produce it quickly. The best things take time. A diamond can take up to 3 billion years to form. The most popular diamond substitute, cubic zirconium, takes no time at all in comparison. The two may look the same from a distance, but inspect closely, and the impostor is obvious. The same goes for almost anything in life. When given an assignment, I could do it according to the minimum requirements, or I could take more time and effort to go above. The difference is more than the quality of the product; I will have gained that much more knowledge and experience. What is important to me is knowing that I embraced my process of learning and came out with as much understanding as I could.

Why would I want to go to Princeton? I could get accepted and graduate from many schools much more easily. I do not want to graduate from college; I want to graduate from college knowing that I took the opportunity to learn all that I could. It will be more difficult, and it will definitely be more time-consuming. I choose to challenge myself because I know that the time spent will be worth it. The more I learn, the more I get to know myself. My experiences during my freshman year taught me to value the process of learning as much as the knowledge itself.
onimpulse 2 / 17  
Dec 23, 2010   #2
A few suggestions:

My math teacher for my freshman year always asked the question, "When are people going to stop doing homework just to get it done?" Since I was in kindergarten, I have always loved school,I've enjoyed school since I was in Kindergarten, but my freshman year was the first year I found challenging. I loved having honors classes that pushed me further, but I was lost. I learned very quickly that I could not rely on natural brainpower to get me through this time. I needed to study, but I had no idea how. My geometry teacher's question helped me realize that learning is about much more than doing homework.

Good, but I stumbled when you said "geometry teacher" instead of "math teacher." I mean, I get that geometry is math, but it makes more sense in an essay to refer to them by the same thing.

Now, I could try to suggest fixes for rather minor things in the following two paragraphs, but instead I suggest this: Instead of saying "As soon as I saw homework as an opportunity to learn more, it became more enjoyable. I trained my mind to make connections that cemented information and further understanding," focus on a singular event, and describe that event in detail for the next two paragraphs. Then, modify your current third paragraph to serve as a conclusion.

I don't feel that the "Why would I want to go to Princeton?" paragraph makes very much sense in this essay. It seems to stick out like a sore thumb, because really, the rest of the essay is not about Princeton.


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