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Math Circle Program - common app essay


perplexity215 3 / 17  
Oct 8, 2010   #1
This is the first half of my essay. It is the significant experience topic. Please critique! Any suggestions welcomed. Thank you!

NOTE: LSU is short for Louisiana State University and the name has been changed to protect the innocent.

"What are you doing for the summer? You can't just sit at home." These words flowed endlessly from my mom's mouth as sophomore year was winding down. I couldn't deny the truth behind them. For the first time, I had trouble finding a way to spend my summer. Any other break, I would have been visiting relatives in China or sitting in a summer course class at LSU. However, I wasn't doing either. I could count the number of weeks till summer on one hand, but I still had no clue what I would do. Time was running out.

After all my research, I came up with volunteering at the local hospital. However, wanting to help me find more options, my mom did some of her own research. What she dug up was Math Circle, a math-enrichment program, as its name suggests. Not to say math was utterly boring, but the idea of learning and doing math for another summer did not appeal to me. Even if it was just for three weeks, what would I do at Math Circle? Spend hours using the quadratic formula to find the zeros? Or maybe use the shell method repeatedly to find how much water that darn imaginary cup could hold? I was obviously reluctant. I was looking forward to volunteering at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. Ultimately, I conformed to my mother's wishes since I'd still have the chance volunteer afterwards. I participated in Math Circle, never expecting is how much this would influence me.

Finals came and went and June 8th arrived. That day would mark the beginning of either an extremely dull summer or a completely riveting summer. As the first week dragged, my fears felt confirmed. Except for a few activities, Math Circle was boring. I felt as if I was in school again, except the lectures elaborated concepts too complicated for my brain to comprehend. "The conjugate of z-x= y is x = -x-iy. The modulus of z is ..." What does that mean? There were handfuls of new symbols and jargon thrown at me like a barrage of snowballs, melting as they hit my head. I could not catch any and they made no sense. On top of being confused, I couldn't pay attention to these lectures. To keep myself from falling asleep, I copied pages of what seemed like hieroglyphics. How was I going to survive the next two weeks?

Soon I noticed the enthusiasm my friend Luke possessed. He devoured everything in the lectures with eagerness. I couldn't understand how anyone could find these dull lectures fascinating. Somehow he did. He took up new problems with glee and never gave up easily. His face was an emotion projector; anyone could see how much he enjoyed anything we did. I was in awe of how deep his interest expanded. I wanted to experience that same feeling. I decided that I needed to change my attitude: I would be more open-minded. I would follow the cliché "Don't knock it till you try it." Thus I began to pay more attention to lectures and to actually try every problem we receive. I even went back to notes from the first week and tried to understand what I had ignored. No more melting snowballs. I was beginning to catch them. With a new attitude, I realized how that these math concepts were different than the regular school topic, and they were interesting. Once, we had been given a lecture on knots and I loved. I even conquered a problem on my own. I began to want to know more. The feeling was enthralling, even addicting.

My thirst for knowledge did not apply to just math, but all subjects. Math Circle was simply the spark in my love for learning. With this change in attitude, my interests and views transformed. This was evident in my junior year. Before, science did not hold much meaning to me, but I suddenly it all seemed captivating. Especially in chemistry, with every word I read, I was in love.

While Math Circle fulfilled its purpose as a math-enrichment program, it achieved much more for me. It made me grow and mature. It changed the maneuverings of my brains and helped me be more open-minded and eager to take on new ideas. Now I am ready for the next snowball fight. I might even have a few of my own to throw this time.
daisiekae 3 / 7  
Oct 8, 2010   #2
This is really good, but I feel like you could comment more on how that experience has helped you in other areas of life? Right now it's like ok, you thought it was boring, now you're giving it a second chance...what significance does it hold to you personally?

It's written really well though I just think it could be better with a little more explanation.
OP perplexity215 3 / 17  
Oct 10, 2010   #3
Yes, the significance is in the 2nd part of the essay. I just didn't put it up b/c that part isn't very well developed yet. But thank you for your comment! It made my day to know I'm not the only who thinks my essay is coming out okay.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 11, 2010   #4
the idea of learning and doing math for another summer did not appeal to me as a fun way to spend summer break.

I agree!!

Nice job with this... is it supposed to be so long? (i.e. 2 x the length of this when complete) I don't see much reflection and discussion of the significance of this, but i guess that will come later. Spend plenty of time discussing the moral of the story. You have nothing to worry about, though, because they will see how smart you are when they read your excellent writing.
OP perplexity215 3 / 17  
Jan 1, 2011   #5
PLEASE READ. And tell me what you think! I rather know how good and convincing it sounds than a whole bunch of edits.

I'll read yours if you read mine! Thanks!
sina 3 / 6  
Jan 1, 2011   #6
I think you've suddenly jumped into the 4th paragraph. you should cut some of the negative points and clarify the positive ones; I would think your essay is about weaknesses of Math Circle. But totally, your writing is fluent and interesting.

****please read my summer essay!thanks
OP perplexity215 3 / 17  
Jan 1, 2011   #7
Thanks!

PLEASE. Can someone read my essay real quick?? No editations needed! just how it sounds overall. Will return the favor!
OP perplexity215 3 / 17  
Jan 1, 2011   #8
UPDATED. PLEASEE SOMEONE READ IT? I ONLY NEED 5 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME TO TELL ME IF ITS GOOD OR BAD. I WILL RETURN THE FAVOR!!!

"What are you doing for the summer? You can't just sit at home." These words flowed endlessly from my mom's mouth. I couldn't deny the truth behind them. Tenth grade was ending and for the first time, I had trouble finding a way to spend my summer. Any other break, I would have been visiting China or sitting in a LSU summer course class. However, I wasn't doing either. I could count the number of weeks till summer on one hand, but I still had no clue what I would do. Time was running out.

From my research, I discovered volunteering at the local hospital. However, my mom thought I should spend it in other ways too, so she did some of her own research. What she found was Math Circle, a math-enrichment program. Not to say I thought math was completely boring, but I just had enough summers of math. Even if it was just for three weeks, what would I do at Math Circle? Would it be any different from summer courses? I was obviously reluctant. Ultimately I conformed to my mother's wishes knowing she was right. I'd still have the chance volunteer afterwards. I participated in Math Circle, never expecting is how much this would influence me.

Finals came and went and June 8th arrived. That day would mark the beginning of either an extremely dull summer or a completely riveting summer. As the first week dragged, my fears felt confirmed. Except for a few activities, Math Circle was boring. It felt like school again, except the lectures elaborated more complex concepts. "The conjugate of z-x= y is x = -x-iy. The modulus of z is ..." What did that mean? Handfuls of new symbols and jargon were thrown at me like a barrage of snowballs, melting as they hit my head. I could not catch any and they made no sense. As an attempt to keep myself from falling asleep, I copied pages of what seemed like hieroglyphics. How was I going to survive the next two weeks?

During the second week, I noticed the enthusiasm my friend Luke possessed. He devoured every lecture with eagerness. How anyone could find these dull lectures fascinating? He did somehow. When he attacked problems, pleasure projected from his face. I was in awe of how much he enjoyed Math Circle. I decided, if I wanted to enjoy Math Circle, then I needed to change and be more like Luke. I figured what I needed was a new attitude. So, I decided be more open-minded. I would follow the cliché "Don't knock it till you try it."

With this new attitude, I began to pay more attention to lectures. Though I did not understand every lecture after my transformation, I found many of them interesting. No more melting snowballs. I was beginning to catch them. Soon, I realized these lessons were different from typical school concepts; there much more than math than I though. I even fell in love with one topic-knots. I also attempted each problem we received and even conquered some. I even went back to those hieroglyphics and tried to decipher what I had ignored. By the time Math Circle was over, I was filled with a thirst for knowledge. This new feeling was enthralling, even addicting, and would follow me into my junior year and now.

My thirst for knowledge did not apply to just math, but all subjects. Math Circle was simply the spark in my love for learning. With this change in attitude, my interests and views transformed. This was evident in my junior year. For example, before, science did not hold much meaning to me. Once school started, science suddenly seemed captivating. The indifference I had towards chemistry disappeared. With every word I read, I was hooked to the point that I knew this is what I wanted to study.

While Math Circle fulfilled its purpose as a math-enrichment program, it achieved much more for me. It made me grow and mature. It changed the maneuverings of my brains and helped me be more open-minded and eager to take on new ideas. Now I am ready for the next snowball fight. I might even have a few of my own to throw this time.
lapetitecygne 7 / 16  
Jan 1, 2011   #9
i don't really like the overall negative feeling for the first half of the essay, but the positive change is good. that snowball metaphor at the end really threw me for a loop though.

i'd say mostly watch out for grammar, and change up some of your sentences to either take out or include a lot of the filler phrases. good luck!

take a look at mine? thanks!


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