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Stanford - Intellectual Vitality (learning), Roomate (redneck) What Matters to You


LeeD 1 / 1  
Oct 6, 2011   #1
I'd love to get some first impressions of what these essays say to you. Thanks!

1.) Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

In the last year I've learned that learning is not simply confined to the classroom. Since I started my blog this past summer, I've learned how to run a business, create compelling content, and collaborate with strangers. The first challenge I had was getting off the ground on a limited budget. I was able to do so after reading posts by top bloggers on the subject. Lesson #1: Learn from others' experiences. Then, I had to rewire myself to abandon the dull, five-paragraph essay format and create content that people actually wanted to read. This challenge took more time than the first one. I learned how to use Google Web Optimizer and used A/B testing with different versions of the same post to see what worked and what didn't. Lesson #2: Write for my audience; not myself. Last, I had to overcome my bashfulness and learn how to contact people whom I didn't know. The world of blogging was new, and I needed all the help I could get to succeed. I followed author Tim Ferriss's advice when he said, "a person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have," and contacted several big names in blogging. To my surprise, several responded and their advice fast-tracked my blog. Lesson #3: No matter how famous someone may be, he or she will almost always help the one who asks in a sincere, polite fashion. Ferriss also said, "the fishing is best where the fewest go." My blogging trek cemented the fact to me that learning is not just theories in textbooks, but also the experience you gain in everyday life.

2.) Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate - and us - know you better.

Dear roomie,

First off, I'm excited to be rooming together. My name is Lee, and I'm from Mississippi. If you subvocalized the word "redneck", please keep reading so I have a chance to make you reconsider. As I type this letter, I'm listening to Train and eating some sushi. I'm very curious about the world around me, so I'm "experimenting" constantly. Is that yerba mate? I've never drank any. Can I have some? Want to see if we can make a viral Youtube video? I'm open-minded and like to try new ideas. I'm an avid reader, and get many of my creative bursts when I have my nose in a book. From short story authors like Richard Russo to nonfiction ones like Tim Ferriss, it's all good. Don't worry, my library will not consume our dorm; I'm getting a Kindle e-Reader soon! Lastly, I'm somewhat of a fitness nut. I'm not the food-weighing zealot I once was, but I will have a number of pills and powders in my supplement arsenal. Feel free to join me when I go lift weights or jog. Look me up on Facebook; I'd love to chat.

See you at the Farm,
Lee

3.) What matters to you, and why?

It is important that my work be meaningful, not only to myself, but also to others. As Steve Jobs once said, "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me ... Going to bed at night saying [I've] done something wonderful... that's what matters to me." That's what I want. What I hope to find in my professional work later in life, I now find in my church youth group. I once found the outings to movie theaters and ballgames as the chief benefit of youth group, but now I find it in the local and global missions we do. Whether it's a combination of serotonin and dopamine or just a "fuzzy tingling", seeing someone smile in gratitude for your help is the best feeling in the world. The clearest example I think of is when I participated in a Broken Chains Outreach cookout for homeless people this past summer while I interned in Las Vegas. Our youth group helped serve food and then conversed with the twenty or so homeless people present. It was eye-opening for me to realize that I didn't have to give these people a house to make them happy; all I had to do was simple as sharing a meal and listening to their story. Although they left with their stomachs full and a smile on their face, they weren't the only ones to get something that night. I got that "fuzzy tingling" within and realized that money should not be the chief incentive for my work. It should be having that sense when I go to bed that I've done something wonderful.
daniel44992 13 / 29  
Oct 7, 2011   #2
All three are good, just some advice on each:

Essay 1: It makes you sound really impressive but it is kind of dry. Being someone who knows nothing about blogging, I was confused reading it. I don't know if all the admission officers would know about everything you are talking about (e.g. a/b testing) so maybe dumb it down a bit? Also, don't put 2 quotes that close together.

Essay 2: I really like this one because it is informal. Only complaint is you ask a lot of questions which is kind of awkward as the reader because we can't respond.

Essay 3: I like it, makes you sounds involved and that you have something you are truly passionate about.
etron 5 / 17  
Oct 7, 2011   #3
I agree with Daniel for the most part. Only, with the third essay, DO NOT NAME DROP with Steve Jobs. When I talked to the Stanford admissions people this last summer, they said that was a big pet peeve for them; people constantly name drop alums or current students, etc of Stanford, so the admissions folks probably get sick of it really quick.

Also, get to your point a lot faster. You only have like 10 seconds to catch the attention of the reader. If you're still introducing yourself or your idea at that point, it's a little dull. Try not to structure these essays so much. It is really not about what you think Stanford would like to hear, it's about what YOU want them to hear. You need to relax and let your words flow more. Really try to think about why YOU would do well at Stanford and use that train of thought to draft more essays.
OP LeeD 1 / 1  
Oct 8, 2011   #4
Thanks for the feedback! I've revised the essays a bit.

Etron, which essay(s) and sentence(s) appear to be dragging to you?

Does essay #1 now have more color?
1.) Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

Since I started my blog this past summer, I've learned how to run a business, create compelling content, and collaborate with new people. Being a minimum-wage, snack-hustling movie theater employee, I had to learn how to work with a shoe-string budget. After I sifted through the bowels of Google, I read enough start-up stories to get going. Lesson #1: Learn from others' experiences. Then, I had to rewire myself to ditch the dull, five-paragraph essay and create short, choppy content that people actually wanted to read. This challenge took more time than the first one. I learned how to use Google Web Optimizer and used parts of the scientific method to test different versions of the same post to see what worked and what didn't. Lesson #2: Write for my audience; not myself. Last, I had to overcome my bashfulness and learn how to contact people whom I didn't know. Blogging was new to me, and I needed all the help I could get. I followed author Tim Ferriss's advice when he said, "a person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have," and contacted several big names in blogging. To my surprise, several responded and their advice fast-tracked my blog. Lesson #3: No matter how famous someone may be, he or she will almost always help you if you ask in a sincere, polite fashion. My blogging trek has taught me that success isn't a multiple-choice question, but a group-effort response.

I took out the rhetorical questions; does this help?
2.) Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate - and us - know you better.

Dear roomie,

First off, I'm excited to be rooming together. My name is Lee, and I'm from Mississippi. If you subvocalized the word "redneck", please keep reading so I have a chance to make you reconsider. As I type this letter, I'm listening to Train and eating some sushi. I'm very curious about the world around me, so I'm "experimenting" constantly. Brewing different flavors of espresso and attempting to shoot viral Youtube videos is what I do. I'm open-minded and like to try new ideas. I'm an avid reader, and get many of my creative bursts when I have my nose in a book. From short story authors like Richard Russo to nonfiction ones like Tim Ferriss, it's all good. Don't worry, my library will not consume our dorm; I'm getting a Kindle e-Reader soon! Lastly, I'm somewhat of a fitness nut. I'm not the food-weighing zealot I once was, but I will have a number of pills and powders in my supplement arsenal. Feel free to join me when I go lift weights or jog. Look me up on Facebook; I'd love to chat.

See you at the Farm,
Lee

I dropped the Steve Jobs quote b/c of his ties to Stanford and his recent death; I don't want to come across as name-dropping. I picked another quote. Do you think it's acceptable?

3.) What matters to you, and why?

It is important that my work be meaningful, not only to myself, but also to others. As President Roosevelt once said, "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." That's what I want. What I hope to find in my professional work later in life, I now find in my church youth group. I once found the outings to movie theaters and ballgames as the chief benefit of youth group, but now I find it in the local and global missions we do. Whether it's a combination of serotonin and dopamine or just a "fuzzy tingling", seeing someone smile in gratitude for your help is the best feeling in the world. The clearest example I think of is when I participated in a Broken Chains Outreach cookout for homeless people this past summer while I interned in Las Vegas. Our youth group helped serve food and then conversed with the twenty or so homeless people present. It was eye-opening for me to realize that I didn't have to give these people a house to make them happy; all I had to do was simple as sharing a meal and listening to their story. Although they left with their stomachs full and a smile on their face, they weren't the only ones to get something that night. I got that "fuzzy tingling" within and realized that money should not be the chief incentive for my work. It should be having that sense when I go to bed that I've done something wonderful.
daniel44992 13 / 29  
Oct 9, 2011   #5
It's me again!

Essay 1: Definitely better except for the fact that you changed the organizational structure. You put the "lesson" at the end of the anecdote explaining the lesson. THis really confused me while reading through it so I think you should put the lesson first, then the anecdote.

Essay 2: I like this one because you can see who you really are which I guess is the point of the essay.

Essay 3: Like I said before, it's good.

Hope this helps!
jennifercapp - / 7  
Oct 23, 2011   #6
I really like you intellectual vitality essay, I too, love to blog! it really shows your learning experience and how it changed your outlook on things. however, like mentioned above, there are a few things people at the admissions office might not understand about blogging - might want to change that a bit. but other than that..its great :)


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