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sociology undergraduate essay for Cornell CALS

essayhelp 4 / 8  
Oct 24, 2009   #1
This is an essay for Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It is for the department of developmental sociology. Could someone help me edit this and give me some comments. Thanks.

Argentina and Sociology

When I was young I eagerly anticipated my family's annual trip to visit my maternal grandparents in Argentina. Buenos Aires was a booming beautiful city with manicured gardens, tree-lined streets, and a prosperous population. I do not need to look at photo albums to remember and see myself hand in hand with my grandfather cheering on his favorite soccer team, Huracan, at their fabulous stadium. Then the next moment visiting the beautiful zoo, walking down Avenida Libertador lined with impressive shops and restaurants, and frequent trips to an ice cream shop called Freddo for big cones of dulce de leche ice cream. I remember time spent with friends and the infectious optimism that I felt when I went down there.

As time passed, however, the trips were far less pleasant. The gardens were brown, the zoo run down and almost abandoned, and the soccer stadium full of violence by fans frustrated by unemployment and inability to provide for their families. The people were in upheaval. I would see some of my same friends that years ago used to stand in line with me at the ice cream shop, Fredo, now cleaning car windows at street stoplights for money just to eat. The lines of people, instead of outside luxurious restaurants and coffee shops, were formed at the local churches waiting to receive their only meal of the day. The optimism I knew as a boy had transformed into violence and unrest. I had heard and read about the collapse of the Argentine economy, but actually witnessing firsthand the social displacement that it caused impacted me deeply. For me the determinants and consequences of societal development are not theoretical exercises, they are a part of my life experience.

What makes Cornell's Department of Sociology so appealing is that it is devoted to understanding the causes and mitigating the adverse impacts of the type of wrenching change that I witnessed in Argentina. Population dynamics and institutional restructuring have real and profound consequences on ordinary people. Lives are changed and communities are destroyed by forces that seem beyond control or understanding.

As a student in the Department of Sociology, I hope to be able to use my background in mathematics to aid in our understanding of the factors that cause so much unrest and displacement. Moreover it is my desire to learn better ways to predict and measure these destructive phenomena so that we can prevent or at least mitigate some of the adverse impacts on the lives of everyday people.

The idea that I will spend the next four years working to alleviate social problems instead of just trying to explain them has special meaning for me. I respect the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, but I feel compelled by experiences in Argentina to do more. I simply cannot sit by and pad my resume while childhood friends worry about finding their next meal. Fortunately as a student of Cornell, I won't have to.
kyleroland 4 / 7  
Oct 24, 2009   #2
Very good. What could help is provide an underlying tone in your first two paragraphs about your aspirations. I was waiting for the moral of your story for a tiny bit too long, which could harm the impact your essay has on the reader.

Last line is good.

"I simply cannot sit by and pad my resume while childhood friends worry about finding their next meal"
Im confused about the meaning of the "pad my resume"
youngeebs 4 / 12  
Oct 24, 2009   #3
personally i think this essay is very well written and sincere. obviously your trip to south america has left a huge impression. i like the last sentence and the idiom "pad my resume" adds a good touch to the conclusion. you should leave it in.

When I was young , I eagerly anticipated my family...

Oh and if you're applying to CALS, I think you might have the wrong prompt. Check the application again, I think it should be something like, "How have your interests and related experiences influenced your selection of major?" But even then, you should be able to adjust your essay accordingly to fit the new prompt.
EF_Stephen - / 264  
Oct 26, 2009   #4
This is very well done. You connect real-world experience with the experience of college, and have plans for your future that are realistic also. The best part is that you are able to articulate this so that the reader can feel your passion and your hope.

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