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Is my personal statement "personal" enough? Does it tell the readers who I am? (Common App prompt 2)


khatanbuuveibold 4 / 8 2  
Dec 25, 2016   #1

"Just find yourself a good wife"



I'm not a good cook. In fact, I'm not even a bad one - I am completely terrible. My limited culinary skill set includes successfully "cooking" instant ramen, and making delicious peanut butter sandwiches, but when it comes to actual cooking, I could probably burn water. When my very first homemade meal, which would hopefully be a delicious mutton soup turned out to be more like a mix of spam and cold water, my brother teasingly offered me a piece of advice: "Just find yourself a good wife.".

There are three huge problems.
I'm not very dexterous. It's not uncommon for my mother to be yelling at the top of her lungs because I dropped an expensive teacup or pushed over her favorite vase. One time when I was 10, our family was shopping at the local supermarket. I was responsible for the shopping cart, but I somehow managed to completely tip it over, and next thing I know, a jar of pickles was shattered on the floor, potatoes were flying everywhere, a few apples were rolling around, and my parents were absolutely furious. When it comes to cooking, it's no different. I have accidentally put thrice the amount of salt I should, dropped dumplings into the water while steaming them, and burned my hands on the oil.

I let my mind wander too much. Surfing the internet, listening to music, and simply daydreaming is fun, but it's not fun when your feet are suddenly wet, because the water you left running in the bathtub overflowed. It's definitely not fun when you have to soak water with a towel and dispose it into the toilet bowl over and over again for the next hour. When it comes to the kitchen, my absent mind is especially dangerous. My mom apparently believes burning food is the eighth deadly sin, since she lets all hell break loose whenever I burn food, which is basically every few days.

I have absolutely no talent when it comes to cooking. Some people need no recipe and barely any ingredients to work miracles in the kitchen, but I need a recipe, my mother, and loads of ingredients just to craft something barely edible. I need a recipe to consult at all times to prevent anything going wrong, my mom nearby just in case something goes wrong, and backup ingredients for when something inevitably goes wrong.

Despite all this, I have no reason to say I can never be good at cooking. I might not be naturally dexterous, but I have learned to solve the Rubik's cube in under 20 seconds consistently, and reached 97 WPM on a keyboard, so I just need to practice. If I just stay in the kitchen while cooking, I can't possibly forget about the food and let it burn. Finally, I might not be very intuitive when it comes to cooking, but if I can recite who the NBA MVP of the Season was for the last 23 seasons, I can memorize a few delicious recipes.

Most importantly, however, I have the drive. My brother was only joking when he told me I needed a wife who can cook well, but my pride doesn't take that well. That wasn't the first time either - thanks to my brother's taunting and flaunting, I have become a better chess player than him, beaten him at a 3-point shootout, and taken extra math classes just to catch up to him. Our brotherhood is a strange thing, as it is obviously built upon antagonism, but still makes me a better person in the end. In short, if I have to be the next Jamie Oliver just to prove my brother wrong, I'll try without hesitation.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 11,224 3651  
Dec 25, 2016   #2
Khatan. I am wondering why your personal statement does not follow the common prompt for it. Are you responding to a specific prompt requirement for a particular university? If you are, you will have to share the prompt with us here because that will help us better review your work. Specially since it is quite extra ordinary in approach.

Normally, a personal statement talks more about yourself and the development of your interest in a particular field. It does not spend more than 80 % of the paper belittling and demeaning yourself on paper. The reviewer may wonder as to why you are so focused on your shortcomings and failure as a person and not as concerned about your strong points. When your personal statement talks positively about you for only 10-20 % of the essay, there is something tremendously wrong with it. I would like to find out if this approach is suggested by the prompt or if you misunderstood the instructions. Either way, this version is quite entertaining. I am just not sure if it is relevant to the prompt requirements.
shuprova 4 / 6 3  
Dec 25, 2016   #3
I think the theme of the essay is very engaging and overall a smooth read. also, i might be alone on this, but i think id like to read a little more about your achievements and less about your inability to cook. However it all adds up really well.
OP khatanbuuveibold 4 / 8 2  
Dec 25, 2016   #4
@Holt
Yes, I was worried about that too. The prompt reads, "The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?", and yes I agree, it doesn't feel like my essay does enough justice to the prompt. In fact, I think it doesn't fit into any of the common app writing prompts haha.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 11,224 3651  
Dec 25, 2016   #5
Khatan, well, don't trash this essay just yet. You may find it useful when you least expect it when you apply to other colleges and universities. I think that you will be able to use this for common app prompt 1 and, with a little adjustment, common app prompt 5. But that is for another essay discussion.

Going back to your original prompt, I am of the opinion that you will need to write a totally new essay for this prompt. You will also need to find a different discussion point for the focus of your prompt. In this instance, You can probably talk about being a bad cook but then direct the essay towards how you improved your cooking skills and what you learned about yourself based upon your failure to cook and your slow but sure process of learning how to "boil water without burning it" so to speak.

I am only throwing that idea out there because you may not have any other idea in mind for writing this essay. I would, however, like to see you write a totally new and more relevant essay for this prompt instead. The choice is yours. Either way, I'll be here to assist you for as long as you need it.


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