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"As we outgrow..." - UChicago essay

rimafadlallah 2 / 4  
Sep 22, 2009   #1
Hey guys, please tear this APART. I really need help with it, I often have trouble with clarity. I'm not done with it, this is all i have so far but I want to know if i'm going somewhere with this.. here's the prompt:

The late-eighteenth-century popular philosopher and cultural critic George Lichtenberg wrote, "Just as we outgrow a pair of trousers, we outgrow acquaintances, libraries, principles, etc. at times before they're worn out and at times-and this is worst of all-before we have new ones." Write an essay about something you have outgrown, perhaps before you had a replacement-a friend, a political philosophy, a favorite author, or anything that has had an influence on you. What, if anything, has taken its place?

Through our glass doors, I watched my father sit alone on the front porch staring somewhere in the distance. I had been watching him for a while, waiting for him to notice me standing behind him. My younger sister finally broke the silence by tapping on the door. My father looked at us, smiled, and signaled for me to come outside. He had me sit on his lap just as I used to when I was much younger. I figured he was beaming because it was the morning of our Eid Holiday. He kissed my cheek and spoke in his Lebanese accent: "In case you don't already know, I'm very proud of you. I am proud of your study habits and the way you have been lately. You've been fasting, and now all you need to do is start praying and you'll be complete." Mixed feelings of happiness and guilt swept over me as I nodded my head and smiled.

The truth was I had been longing for a while to feel like my father was actually proud of me. In the process, I developed pride in myself when I began growing passionate about learning and influencing others to do the same. I excelled in my most challenging classes, grew more involved in various extracurricular activities, and participated in several leadership projects with hopes that my father would take pride in my achievements. This morning, when he explained why he was proud, I was not so sure I deserved or even wanted his blessing. True, I had grown more responsible with my studies, school-involvement, and housework; however, due to certain shifts in my beliefs, I did not choose to fast during this year's Holy month of Ramadan.

As I thought about what had just happened, my guilt quickly overshadowed my temporary happiness. I do not feel guilty that I did not fast, I feel guilty that I led my father to believe I did. I cannot possibly tell him I am not sure I believe in Islam; he would only take it personally and feel he has failed as a father, once again. My father just recently watched his two sons replace their faith with logic and despite their accomplishments and the fact that both are extremely moral beings, he cannot let go of the fact that they do not practice the religion of which he is so convinced. His reaction to such a confession would only be characterized by his emotions.

When I took my first philosophy course at the community college my junior year of high school, I knew aside with English, philosophy would be my college major. What I did not realize at the time was the impact my readings continue to have on my religious views. The more I read, the less I can identify with the beliefs and principles that I had never questioned before. As I expose myself to different philosophies, I question whether there are ulterior motives hidden behind the lines of the supposed "Holy" book. Philosophies such as Deconstruction, (the belief that language is arbitrary because the power a word holds lies only in the way it differs from another word), continue to appeal to me because they encourage me to read everything with a skeptical eye, analyzing every possible motive.

In this very essay, I am revealing to you a secret that prior to today, I had not admitted to anyone. Some of my classmates may have noted this change of thought during many discussions in my Ethics course, when I blatantly expressed my opposition to the divine-command theory, or to cultural relativism. Though I am outspoken in the classroom, it is difficult for me to be open about such beliefs in my community, considering the city of Dearborn is the most highly concentrated Arab-Muslim community in the United States. Such a community does not promote challenging the Quran, let alone opposing it.

When my father expressed his pride to me that morning, all I could do was nod my head and reflect on my recent changes. I am proud of myself for being independent in my thought, but I am also disappointed in my inability to communicate this transition to my father. It seemed impossible at that moment for me to admit that I would probably never start praying. It seemed even less viable for me to confess that I had not fasted during Ramadan. My failure to participate during this Holy event marked my resignation from Islam, and perhaps by voicing it, I was afraid I would commit to this choice.
acat6332 4 / 12  
Sep 22, 2009   #2
im a student so im not really the best source but i really like it, you are not only describing a problem that many young people go through (including myself) but you also include a story which attracts the reader and describes the two things that you wree struggling with, your father being proud of you which shows the guilt that a child made have (not saying that is childish) yet you are still expressing how you are becoming independent from that :)

the only thing is that i dont think you should include the part where it says that you have never told anyone this before idk it makes it more personal that the essay should be i think...but is your decision:)

and i really like university of chicago ;'( but there is no way that im getting in :(
OP rimafadlallah 2 / 4  
Sep 23, 2009   #3
Lol thanks for your feedback..and yeah it's a unique struggle all right...but why don't you apply? A school as liberal as CHicago focuses more attention on the essays than do most other universities..basically, the essay is your shot at showing something about yourself that the college would really want..i think it's worth a shot, what have you got to lose? (besides around 70 bucks, of course. lol)
acat6332 4 / 12  
Sep 26, 2009   #4
jajaja thanks :) the thing is that my sats are nowhere close to the ones they ask for i have a 1400 out of the 2400 and my sat is a 3.4 without all the electives, i would really really like to but there is a really small chance and lol i need to write a pulitzer prize essay to get in jajaja that would be my only chance lol...but you see i really love this university because they are amazing at humanities and thats the area where i want to study in and i want a mentally stimulating university and i think this one would be perfect for that

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