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What matters to you? Fuzzy Socks. (+ stanford letter to roommate)

12lewisa 1 / 9  
Dec 23, 2011   #1
Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate - and us - know you better.

To my future roommate,

I'm an open book. I don't believe in hiding things. Here's a little about me:

I value my friends more than almost anything and have stayed close to many of them for over ten years, despite going to different schools. I am an only child so my friends fill in for siblings. I treasure my relationships with them, but I'm always excited to meet new people.

If we watch a romantic comedy, expect snarky comments throughout.

I like to laugh a lot. But I also like being able to sit with someone and not feel uncomfortable in the silence. I am happy to go out and having exciting weekends, but a cup of tea and some music are sometimes better.

I had quite the imagination growing up-I believed in fairies until fifth grade.

I had never really played sports until my freshman year. I took a few tennis lessons over the years but somehow my high school turned me into an athlete. I had never played volleyball or lacrosse before, but from the extensive time commitments and the emotion that I invested in them, those two teams became a really important part of my life.

I hope you like to play cards.

I am messy, but not filthy. My clothes will probably end up on the floor, but I'll take the trash out.

I have never lived anywhere outside of Orange County, but I've traveled pretty extensively. Traveling to me isn't just going to hotels and seeing ruins. The experiences I've enjoyed the most have been things like home-stays with local families, living in a hut in a rainforest, going on safari.

If it exists, I can make a "Friends" reference out of it.

I like to scuba dive. It feels like cheating nature. Anywhere on the water is my home away from home. A lot of people laughed when I told them that some of the colleges I applied to are on the east coast. I guess they know just as well as I do that deep down I am just a California girl at heart.

I pride myself on my ability to balance my social life with my classes, and still take enough naps.

I can't wait to meet you, let's make this year great.
Alayna Lewis

What matters to you and why?

Fuzzy socks, a comfortable couch, a warm blanket, and my Mumford and Sons CD. These are some of the things that matter the most to me. It might not seem like much, certainly nothing worth bragging about like saving the world one whale at a time, but to me, my nights off are just as important as the ones I spend studying for exams.

The fact that slacking off for an hour is so important probably doesn't come off too well at first. But in reality, I don't mean to belittle the importance of other things in my life, but rather to exaggerate it. Those quiet moments mean so much to me because they give me a chance to catch up, reflect, and recharge after putting everything I have into school, sports, and family. Vacations mean nothing if you don't leave anything behind when you go. A catnap in front of the fire is my version of a three-day weekend. Watching TV in my sweats is like a night out on the town.

After coming home from a full day of school, a rigorous three-hour practice, and finishing homework, there is almost nothing better than eating popcorn and enjoying an episode of a cheesy sitcom. My mental health breaks let me stay up to speed with all my other commitments without burning the candle from both ends. I can even see concrete benefits by looking at my team's track record in volleyball. Any one of us could tell you that we play our best when we use bus time to have fun as a group instead of stressing before an away game. Those added hours of team bonding gave us the chemistry we needed to pull off the first division championship for my school's volleyball team in six years.

Could I have used thirty of those minutes here and there on bus rides or on my couch to learn Japanese? I probably could have, but I have always maintained that my balanced lifestyle of working hard and knowing when to just enjoy a cup of chamomile has helped me make the most of those activities that I do dedicate myself to.
Rajman333 2 / 15  
Dec 23, 2011   #2
your letter to roommate has some awesome ideas. Still, is it an essay? The thoughts seems to be broken up, like individual notes, rather than a fluid essay. I might be wrong, and this might just be how you wanted the piece to be. Nevertheless, i feel that if you put these great insights together, and added some transitions and connecting sentences, there wouldn't be anyone who wouldn't want to be your roommate.
OP 12lewisa 1 / 9  
Dec 23, 2011   #3
Yeah, the broken up thoughts tend to just be how I think. I thought if I was going to use that style it'd be best in an essay that describes itself as a "note" in the prompt. I'll consider smushing it all together though. Do you think the broken up format is distracting?
Rajman333 2 / 15  
Dec 23, 2011   #4
I just saw your comment on my essay, and i think I'd have to agree on that. We seem to have the same style of multiple interests, except i like to put it together, and you chose to spread it out. My only concern for you is that the AO might side with the smushed essay rather than this style. I don't think it's random, becase they all have the same purpose, but i do think there are leaps involved for the reader to get from idea to idea. Like i said before though, I like it either way.
OP 12lewisa 1 / 9  
Dec 23, 2011   #5
Alright thanks, I'll try to consolidate it a bit. I doubt I can bring myself to completely jumble it together, but I'll do what i can :)

Would you mind skimming my second essay? I like it, but I feel like I'm taking a risk saying that what matters to me is relaxing haha. Do you think I bring it back enough to what I actually accomplish or does it sound slackerish?
ctchrssmnky 2 / 17  
Dec 23, 2011   #6
I loved your "what matters to you" essay. Mumford and Sons are the absolute best, and I have a crazy obsession with socks -- I probably have over thirty, so strong is my love for the humble footwear.

I just adored it all. I'm also applying to Stanford, and you sound exactly like the type of roommate I'd love to have!
Rajman333 2 / 15  
Dec 23, 2011   #7
-intro paragraph seems fine to me, and leaves me wanting to learn more

-second paragraph, i wouldnt want to write "come off well", because although you are addressing the AO, you dont want to sound like you're writing to please. Also, i'm not sure i understand what you mean by "leaving something behind" on vacations.

-third paragraph, i like the volleyball part a lot, but the beginning half, not as much. I think in this paragraph especially, your fear comes true, and you come off as wanting to stop working hard and do a little "slacking".

-fourth/conclusion, are you trying to defend yourself in the first sentence? Otherwise, the relaxing factor is good here.

Overall, i think your essay has three faces. After reading it, i see you as overworked and looking for relaxation, a great team player in volleyball, and someone who wants to take a breatk, and just lay down for a while. What were you trying to say? Also, only place i felt relaxing was justified was in your volleyball team's records.

Sorry for the criticism.

After reading the other comments, i see what you were trying to get at. Maybe introduce this a little bit better? otherwise, in this aspect, once i reread it, it was better.
ctchrssmnky 2 / 17  
Dec 23, 2011   #8
Also, I totally understand your love for a warm blanket -- my worn Pendleton camp blanket is one of my most prized possessions.

I think the adcoms will love your second essay. There's something universal about just wanting to stay in and watch trashy tv and snuggle up in cozy clothes that transcends all of the usual barriers people put up to protect themselves. You might disagree with someone, but its difficult to feel animosity towards them when you're cuddled up in a Snuggie and wearing toe socks. You're exposed, but not alarmingly so. It reminds me of this quote (I don't remember the speaker) -- we are who we are when no one is watching.

You've given the adcoms a very personal look into who you are, one that doesn't need to be defined by how many volunteer hours you have or how many AP classes you've taken, and I think they'll appreciate it. This is very well done.
OP 12lewisa 1 / 9  
Dec 23, 2011   #9
would it be better, for the first line of the 2nd paragraph, to take out the part that addresses the AO or embrace it by saying something like "The fact that slacking off for an hour is so important in my life probably isn't what most students would choose to brag about." Not necessarily in those words but kind of break the fourth wall and acknowledge the reader?
ctchrssmnky 2 / 17  
Dec 23, 2011   #10
I think you can delete that sentence up until "but in reality," or you can rephrase it.

"That relaxing for a few hours takes precedent over ______ may not be the best portrayal of myself, but _____" or something like that.
Walden 2 / 30  
Dec 26, 2011   #11
well it does not matter if it sounds slackerish as long as you display how you can handle your other responsibilities. Plus this idea is great because it show that you are not so interested in education just because it is competitive but that you are an actual intellectual who enjoys everything humbly(if humbly is even a word) It also gives a new twist to what they usually read giving an honest tone to it. It works as long asyou put education first.

PLZ PLZ give me some feedback on my stanford essays i need some editing any help is appeciated. :))
StevenWong206 5 / 13 2  
Dec 27, 2011   #12
Well, for your letter to your roommate, if you feel confident and cool about it, and that listing part was your intention, that go ahead. For me, I just want have fun with the application, because my chances are for Stanford, is really low. For my letter to my roommate, I might just write a poem or a rap that reflects my city and me. Like I said, I want to have fun, and I am sure the admission counselors would like to see some fun. But yeah, I love your note to your future roommate, it really shows who you are, but it kinda does get jumpy. maybe make some better transitions. But like I said, if you feel confident about your note, then I'd say it is fine.

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