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'new kid in the school district' - Football essay for Princeton App


voteforandy1 5 / 15 1  
Sep 3, 2012   #1
I took the advice to stay away from a more generic coming of age essay, so I expanded on my (not so great) experience in football. Please be harsh. I'm applying to Princeton. Yes, the Princeton with the 8% acceptance rate. They have to be harsh, so should you. Thanks in advance!

Sweaty and straining to see, I hunch down for the play. The boy in front of me appears joyous and determined. I am scared, caged in by my helmet. Waiting for the screech of the whistle, my heart beat quickens. The boy collides with me, and I quickly plummet backwards. Getting up slowly, I look at the large clock on the side of the field, knowing that it has been stuck on the same time for years. I wished that it was 10:12 am, the time suggested by those two black hands. At 10:12 am, I would be in school, listening to a teacher, perhaps writing notes. But instead of that relative paradise, I was on a field being tackled repeatedly. Despite fear and pain that I felt so often, I continued to play football and pretended to enjoy it. Football was an opportunity at the age of 14. Wearing that jersey was my chance for the conformity and acceptance that I desired.

As the awkward new kid in the school district, I hoped that playing football would be my all-access pass to the unknown wonders of popularity. I joined the team during my eighth grade year, and when I told my friends from elementary school, they were surprised. "Isn't it cool?" I asked them proudly, "I'm not a nerd anymore." I lost weight, grew taller, and slowly moved up the food chain from my previously autotrophic position. Although I didn't become extremely popular, I was excited about my social climb. I was gaining friends, and I was invited to sit at the "cool" table most days.

As eighth grade ended and I started practice for freshmen football, I started to become extremely unhappy. The tackles were harder, personalities tougher, and commitment larger. I was rarely put into the game, a situation both my coach and I were happy with, but the time and energy required to be popular was no longer worth the pain. When the games ended and the bus rides home began, I would tell people how angry I was that the coach wouldn't play me more often. I was living a lie, and I think that most people knew it. I listened to show tunes on the bus, tried to bring up politics at practice, and I was one of the few team members who did his homework. When I told people that I wasn't going to play during sophomore year, I doubt that there was much surprise. I was discovering the kind of person I wanted to be, and football was not a part of that.

Reflecting on this experience, I realize that, despite my previous immaturity, I am still that same boy. I was focusing my energy on a childish goal, but I did it with determination and purpose. I was willing to jump out of my comfort zone to achieve. Instead of popularity, I now focus on my academic and extracurricular passions, but my methods of reaching my goals are the same. With determination, passion, and the ability to adapt, I believe success to be probable. Because I now strive in activities that I love and excel in, I believe it to be inevitable.
Rechy 11 / 73  
Sep 3, 2012   #2
The first sentence in the last paragraph is a bit confusing. What do you mean by saying

Reflecting on this experience, I realize that, despite my previous immaturity, I am still that same boy

?
OP voteforandy1 5 / 15 1  
Sep 3, 2012   #3
I mean to say that I've changed in regard my maturity and what I focus my energy on, but the same, passionate boy is still there.
Dactylic126 - / 5  
Sep 3, 2012   #4
Not sure about the Princeton application process, but is this for the common app or princeton supp? And what is the word limit?

And sorry I can't give you a detailed feedback as of now, but you should have more regarding how you matured, or came to realize, what you have described in your conclusion. While you have a story going on there, its more about how you describe and personalize yourself. Tap more into who you are as a person.

But with all honesty, I believe you can find a better topic, or at least take a different approach. Your story may sound trite -not in terms of the story itself, but in the way it is told- and will not distinguish yourself. By this I mean you should make it sound more intriguing and special. Heck, a friend of mine got into Cornell with an essay about his bad eyesight -no he wasn't blind and his Academics/ECs didn't stand out much...
OP voteforandy1 5 / 15 1  
Sep 3, 2012   #5
Thanks for the feedback! How do you recommend taking a different approach? Writing is in no way my strongest suit (I want to go into Princeton Engineering), so I'm not sure what you mean by a different approach. Change the content or change the format? Thanks again for the feedback!


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