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'I purchased a discovery' - Help with essay--University of Washington


lw822 1 / 1  
Jan 14, 2009   #1
I was wondering if I could get some last minute help on my essay, which I'll be using for:

common app question 1:Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

University of Washington prompt: Tell us a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. (You may define experience broadly. For example, in option 2, experience could be a meeting with an influential person, a news story that spurred you to action, a family event, or something that might be insignificant to someone else that had particular meaning for you. If you don't think that any one experience shaped your character, simply choose an experience that tells us something about you.)

My main concern is that it is just too choppy. I'm also not sure if long enough (or feels overlong), and I'm very concerned that my intro just plain stinks. If anyone could help me out on that, it would be great. Help with grammar or word choice would be appreciated as well.

"
On July 4th, 2006, I purchased a discovery. For 500 dollars, my first digital SLR drastically changed how I thought about photography. My priorities quickly started to change: thoughts became more visual, and I infused more care into my photographs. Throughout the rest of the summer, I began actively searching for photographic opportunities, and composed thousands of pictures. Soon, I became the one who lagged behind instead of my younger siblings. How could I keep up with all of those photographs to make? In that summer, I had discovered how much I truly enjoyed capturing the world around me. I had discovered my passion. Through my experiences in photography, I have changed and matured as an individual, and have come to value the impact of that summer discovery.

Since that fateful purchase, I have experienced moments in which only my camera, my subject, and I remain. These moments don't come often, and any poor soul trying to deter me may have better luck with a land mass. Rarely will I respond in coherent sentences. Rather, I will issue some stock phrase, often unintelligibly. "Kay", "yeah", or "hold on" have emerged as favorites, without regard to what the other person has actually said. Often, I simply ignore words directed at me altogether. In these moments, I feel a definite sense of change: I become imbued with an inexplicable sense of focus and drive. Over the years, these moments of change have helped shaped me into a more driven person.

An element of this drive has translated into my greater capacity for patience. I focus on animal photography, a subject that invariably includes waiting. Often, I have waited several hours for an animal to appear or to wake up, but to no avail. The patience needed has only developed through firsthand experience. It has developed through long moments; though hours spent inches above the sand, waiting for elusive sand crabs to venture out. It has matured with every uneventful minute spent in pursuit of a photograph. Waiting never becomes any easier, but I have become a more patient character in spite of myself. In the midst of these experiences, I learned to accept waiting as a part of life.

(I'm not sure whether to put in a short paragraph here about how I learned not to place expectations too high/get too full of myself from not winning a certain art contest when I was sure I would. @ this point, I don't have anything written for it. What do you think?)

My drive for pursuing my passion has brought me further in a short period of time than I had ever expected. Despite my previous failures, I have achieved a satisfying success in photography. This winter, the North American Nature Photography Association honored me with one of only ten annual scholarships nationwide. Because of my selection, I know the value others see in my work and ambition. This acknowledgment has helped raise my sense of confidence in my abilities; I feel I have found my niche. Rather than feeling a sense of complacency, I feel a renewal of the drive I have developed. This trait will undoubtedly benefit me through my college experience and beyond.

My journey through photography represents a journey affecting my character. Taking pictures has helped shape my life, and has become a permanent part of my definition. It has shown me how to look at the world differently. It allows me to share my experiences and perspectives with others, and in doing so, has shaped them both. Photography has become more than a creative outlet for me, it has transformed into a mindset I gladly possess. Through it, I've garnered experiences and lessons I would not have otherwise. I perceive my surroundings differently on many levels, and I have changed into a more focused, disciplined individual. Photography undeniably has its drawbacks, but the enjoyable experience it provides has changed me. It has given me something to enjoy, to take pride in, and to make my own. Whatever direction my life takes, I know it will include photography.

Alt. ending?: On July 4th, 2006, I purchased a discovery: whatever direction my life takes, it will include photography.
(I feel I need something to tie it together, but it might be too wordy, and I'm not sure it works)
sumantneo 5 / 9  
Jan 15, 2009   #2
a short paragraph on about how u learned not to place expectations too high won't harm....otherwise it is good.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 15, 2009   #3
In the first paragraph, you might improve it by using a better word that "discovery." How about "revelation." I thought, at first, that you were talking about a vehicle the make of which is called Discovery (Dodge or something?). Anyway, discovery is a common word, and revelation might be better. I really like your idea of saying you "purchased" a discovery!

And here is some more help:

Since that fateful purchase, I have experienced moments in which the whole world melts away, and only my camera, my subject, and I remain.

Rarely will I respond in coherent sentences. <-----This is a great part!!

Rather, I will issue some stock phrase, often unintelligibly. "Kay", "yeah", or "hold on" have emerged as favorites, without regard to what the other person has actually said. Often, I simply ignore words directed at me altogether. In these moments...

Awesome, just get rid of that part with "kay," and "yeah"... (not necessary or helpful)

(I'm not sure whether to put in a short paragraph here about how I learned not to place expectations too high/get too full of myself from not winning a certain art contest when I was sure I would. @ this point, I don't have anything written for it. What do you think?)

I think you will have a fascinating essay if you stick with the idea of that transcendental experience you described above. Toward the end, you can connect this experience, which you continue to enjoy again and again, with the field of study that interests you. ou can actually make that discovery/revelation the focus of the essay. You discovered a new state of mind that is available in the creation of photographic art. Keep that state of mind for use in school as well. Tell them about that experience, and don't digress too much. Only digress in order to explain that experience, that meditative experience.

Good luck!!!
OP lw822 1 / 1  
Jan 18, 2009   #4
Kevin and sumanteo, thanks for the help.

Didn't see your responses until too late for one batch of schools, but I still have 2 more to apply to--where I can use the same essay--and I will go ahead and take your suggestions into consideration :)

I'm glad my little attempt at a hook worked; I thought my beginning was somewhat lacking before, so I sort of worked that in there. I did get a few more comments on that "since" sentence, and I fixed it in a way similar to your suggestion. I have to agree with you on deleting that other sentence, though I feel my word count has gone down too much--it's only about 580 words or so, but supposedly length doesn't matter...

Thanks!
vkwang 7 / 16  
Jan 19, 2009   #5
i had the same concer, but my english reassured me that admissions love reading short papers, its a break from reading pages and pages of essays. a short response tells them you can put a lot into a little words


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