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The Shiny Girl: Everyone's Buddy - Common App Essay


ekim226 5 / 29  
Oct 8, 2010   #1
Hi! This is just my first draft and it's definitely too long, but I would love to receive any feedback (best parts, worst parts, specific things to improve, etc.). I'm applying Early Decision, so quick feedback would be great.

I'm particularly not sure how to go about the structure because there's so much I want to say. How can I condense it? And I'm planning to provide more context about the Shiny Girl moniker in my next draft. :)

Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

I've managed to cut it down to 858 words, but I'd still like to condense it. I also changed the structure.

Amidst a candy-colored world that could only be found in a pop-up book, filled with snowflakes, penguins, snowmen, and boldly colored elves alive and whistling Christmas chimes, there existed an anomalous human being - Buddy from the movie Elf. This misplaced character grew up in the isolated North Pole where elves wrote to-do lists on etch-a-sketches and aspired to build toys in Santa's workshop to prepare for the "big dance" - Christmas. In contrast to Buddy's towering stature and masculine bone structure, I am 4'10" and fit into kid's jeans, but I know one thing is for sure, I'm not an elf. As Buddy grew up in a community of foreign elves, I have thrived in a society of pessimistic pedestrians. Just as he squeezed his big self into the elves' bathroom stall contemplating his identity and believing "I don't belong anywhere," I sat alone in my closet a few years ago, wondering which road of life I should take. I cried tears not of a Hollywood drama, but of real life anguish. I was facing an important fork in my life - should I mimic the cool kids, or should I be me.

The answer seems obvious - do the good thing. But I didn't want to walk through the halls having students think "Oh, there's the goody-two-shoes that's always happy and will never understand reality." Seattle darkness began to permeate my character. When I entered classrooms with those ignorant stares, I hated that I loved school, I despised my thirst for life and I wished I didn't have the ability to turn the negative into positive. Should I take the road of raves, partying, and procrastinating nights of complaining and swearing? But remembered, I had visions to change the world - plans so big that could only be accomplished with God's aid. Then, I remembered there were students who looked up to me, who called, "Hey Shiny Girl!" in the hallways because of that one time when I ran for sophomore class representative and made a few people smile. Fortunately, I trekked across terrains abound with enticing swirly-twirly gum drops, and negative Nancy's, but I've used my naturally cheerful and active mind to combat life's downtrodden darkness to embrace who I am, as Buddy travelled to NYC to find his identity. After passing through several levels of thorny candy cane forests, I'm ready to enter my own magical New York City where possibilities are endless and where Buddy found - and I will find - home.

While a world of Christmas toy creation bustles in Buddy's North Pole, I wake up to a typical Seattle morning of rain pattering outside my window, of students rushing to class, and of purple and gold paper mache plastered in hallways. A typical initial thought: "Oh Snooze, just last a little longer!" But no, for me, school is my source of joy and passion, not just because of the academics, but because of the whole package: creating bonds with new students and teachers, expanding my knowledge and knowing I can change the world with it! To me, there is no purer excitement as that of a night before school.

Papa Elf once divulged, "Elves love to tell stories." From daily blog divulgences to quick hallway talk, I'm constantly eager to share my opinions, thoughts and stories about anything. As Buddy believed in singing Christmas carols loudly, I am equipped to boldly share not only my story, but also the individually captivating stories of those around me, to let the whole world know that life is good no matter who you are and where you've been.

Beyond Buddy's love for life, I admire his character as a man of change. By watching his adventures of transforming darkness and misunderstanding through his tenacious positivity, I was swept away by his undying courage to care for others at any time and place. Just as Buddy's optimism permeated the lives of his lonely brother, the shy Gimbel's employee, the mailroom alcoholic, and even his impossibly close-minded father, I aspire to reach out to as many people as I can, from the barista at the local café, to the Prime Minister of England; I want to be known as the world changer who cares about everyone. I am ready to combat all negativity by placing myself outside of my comfort-zone, diving into reality and combating the stereotype that "work stinks" and "life sucks." Through my writing, speech or simply my personality, I want every individual to know they aren't lifeless cotton-headed-ninny-muggins, but individuals of powerful life and influence. I believe my "nimble elf fingers" - my words - have the same ability to transform a sketchy mail room into a bumpin' party celebration with employees working to "Whoomp, There It Is."

Life gets aggressive and gruff, but the ebullient tenacity of a visionary like me can surpass anything. The Shiny Girl has become a name that no longer insinuates angelic pureness, but emulates bright and bold individuality. I poise in front of my school's TV screen flaunting my shiny smile for daily announcements, knowing that I can beat the system: happiness doesn't have to be fluffy, happiness is real and life can be shiny.
chelseet 1 / 2  
Oct 8, 2010   #2
I enjoyed reading you essay, but maybe don't use such big words because it take attention away from it and also always be sure to proofread and spell check . But other than those few glitches your essay was good :)
OP ekim226 5 / 29  
Oct 8, 2010   #3
Thank you so much Chelsee! :) I'm glad you enjoyed reading it - I guess that's an important part of the essay. And I'll for sure proofread it, that was my very first draft so there's still a lot to do. Thanks again! :)
krystalperry 1 / 2  
Oct 9, 2010   #4
Reading you essay was delightful. I found it much better in this structure then the first one and I love how you describe everything that you can really imagine it.
tensplyr4eva 7 / 13  
Oct 10, 2010   #5
first off, i LOVE the last sentence. but i think it would be more powerful if you said: ...I can beat the system: happiness doesn't have to be fluffy. Happiness is real and life can be shiny.

...it just places more emphasis on what you've learned, by separating it into two sentences.

also, i'd be really careful about the "god's aid" part. even if this is a subtle reference, it's really risky to put religion into a common app essay--especially if you never know who's reading it.

the biggest suggestion i have for you is to show more, and tell less. cliche, yes. but there are parts where the essay suddenly states something that the reader might not have known before: such as "i had visions to change the world." i thought this idea was a little underdeveloped and you could demontrate WHAT kinds of change you had in mind, instead of stating...i wanted to change the world.
zengrz - / 92  
Oct 11, 2010   #6
Hi.

I think this essay is really well written. There is adequate death in the discussion and brilliant transition between the life of Buddy and that of your own, not to mention the awesome language.

The biggest suggestion that I have for your is to maybe state a solid problem that cause all your distresses. Yes, you have talk about your desire to be yourself, but what has caused you to raise this doubt in the first place?

You have mention that

When I entered classrooms with those ignorant stares

.

However, I think it isn't always clear enough for everyone to understand your situation. Like I have said before, this essay is really good. Overcome this problem and present a clear image to the readers will make your essay stronger in my opinion.

G L~

BTW, There're some problem with this sentence.

When I entered classrooms with those ignorant stares

.

Is it you with the ignorant stares, or your classmates?
Rechy 11 / 73  
Oct 11, 2010   #7
its awesome,the way you were able to use the qualities of an elf in describing your qualities is fabulous;and is the ignorant stares yours or your classmates?


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