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Reed College Supplement? "I know I'm not unique."

Nyxness 1 / 2  
Dec 16, 2012   #1
Hi! I could use some feedback on this. I wrote it pretty quickly and I feel like it could use a lot of tightening up.

I started to use sign language at 4 months old, talk at 5 months, and by a year I was speaking in full sentences. I had a talent for language at a very early age - and I used that language to ask questions. There was just too much to know about everything, and not enough people to give answers. At 4 years old, in 2000, I remember watching all the election coverage with my parents and reading over all the initiatives on the Arizona ballot, and I wanted to analyze all the propositions and get explanations for whatever I couldn't understand. My parents encouraged my curiosity and gave me plenty of opportunities to learn.

I'm not saying this to brag. I'm not some child prodigy; far from it, and whatever potential I have, I feel I haven't reached yet. I'm not unique. But where I am right now, I feel pretty unique. There are other smart kids in my school, probably many smarter than me. What makes me unique in my school is my desire to learn. All of my friends are intelligent, but they don't love learning. I do. I'm surrounded by people who are content with being good enough, whether that's just barely passing a class or getting straight A's, but who don't care about the concepts or connections behind what they're learning, or why things are as they are. In Psychological terms, one might say I'm intrinsically motivated by my desire for knowledge, while the vast majority of students I interact with on a day-to-day basis are extrinsically motivated by their desire for a good grade. I've taken four languages in high school, and almost everybody who learns that looks at me like I have two heads. Why would I torture myself like that? Isn't it difficult? But languages, to me, are exceedingly important to understand the world. How can I understand someone else's point of view if I don't even know the way their most basic communication is structured? I study them because I need that understanding, not because they're easy.

In Economics, we learned a particular way of calculating the inflation rate, a way that I understood perfectly well. What I couldn't understand was why another method wouldn't work equally well - so I tried to figure it out. When I conferred with my friends about why they thought it might not be working, they just laughed at me and asked why I wasn't just doing it the way we had been taught. But I see no value in doing things the way I'm taught if I don't have a thorough understanding of it, and so I didn't stop until I did understand. This sort of situation has been repeated, again and again, throughout high school. When others try to pass, I try to understand.

This has made some things difficult. I have a tendency to perseverate on things long after others have moved on, like that one problem in Economics, and that can alienate people. My friends can all agree that I'm a little too intense sometimes. I'm always spending countless hours researching some obscure topic when I should be doing other, "more important" things, like writing my essays for my college supplements. I have a hard time finding people to have the sorts of discussions I want to have, both about schoolwork and extracurricular studies. I keep finding links between my classes, particularly this year between Economics, Psychology, and Statistics, but I don't have anybody to discuss them with. I've had my moments of despair, wishing I could think like everybody else and, therefore, be a lot closer to everybody else, but now I realize that I can find others who think like me without giving up my own intellectual drive. People who will look for answers to my questions with me, and give me new ones to ask, instead of telling me to stop asking.

I know I'm not unique. I know there are other people out there who are as interested in understanding as I am. There's a college out there that will encourage my curiosity as much as my parents have. Somewhere I can meet the potential that I feel to stifled to strive for here. I believe that place is Reed College. Throughout all my intense hours of research into various colleges, the one that truly calls to me the most and sounds like home, though I haven't had the chance to visit, is Reed. There are other great colleges, sure, but Reed I know I'm a Reedie; I have been since birth.
dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Dec 16, 2012   #2
I started to use sign language at 4 months old, talk at 5 months, and by a year I was speaking in full sentences.

....... Is this true? sounds exaggerated, especially whe you say that you were able to talk .... :D
My suggestion;
According to my parents, I began expressing myself from an early age of four months. They say that I was able to speak full clear sentences when I was barely one year..... This is more believable :D

I had a talent for language at a very early age - and I used that language to ask questions. There was just too much to know about everything, and not enough people to give answers.

My talent for language enabled me to explore knowledge from an early age. However, I had not always been answered for my endless questions.
AryanK 5 / 20 3  
Dec 17, 2012   #3
I might be wrong but while reading your essay I felt like as if you have exaggerated a few things like when you write about inflation calculation, you argue that you couldn't understand that why inflation was calculated that way n then you later go on to say that you understood why inflation was calculated by employing any specific method but here you do not come up with any reason as to what did u find or researched. I suggest that you should try not to sound too different otherwise it might give them a wrong impression. When you speak about "important things" I guess it would give the admission officer a view that you cannot prioritize things and do not understand what to do and when, he might take you as "confused" person. I don't know what is the question but this is how I felt while reading your essay.

hope my remarks help.
OP Nyxness 1 / 2  
Dec 18, 2012   #4
Hahaha, I totally appreciate being accused of lying, but I really did start talking at 5 months old. Thanks for the meaningful feedback.

Also, AryanK, I'd suggest you read my essay again, because I specifically said that I DID understand the economic principle, but that I wanted to explore why another, similar method didn't come up with the same answer. Of course I'm not going to go into details about that in the essay, as that would just bog it down, in my opinion.

Also, if you knew anything about Reed, you'd know that they like "different." Maybe don't comment on what the college is looking for if you don't know anything about the college.
AryanK 5 / 20 3  
Dec 19, 2012   #5
Yeah well you may be right that was just my opinion, I read your essay and gave you my opinion. Best of luck for the future!

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