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"been surrounded by nature" - Yale - significant experience that shaped your outlook


anonymous93 1 / 1  
Oct 13, 2010   #1
Tell me what you guys think. Please comment because I'm applying early action and I need feedback!

Living in Vancouver, British Columbia, I have been surrounded by nature since the day I was born. When I was a kid, I would stand outside and gaze in awe at the mountains in the distance. As I got older, however, I stopped paying attention to the scenery and by the time I reached high school my life was fully entrenched in the concrete jungle.

I don't know how long I might have missed out had it not be for that day two years ago when my dad asked me, seemingly out of nowhere, to accompany him on a weekend kayaking trip. He claimed that I by not experiencing the wilderness I was missing out on an important part of growing up. Tempted to remind him of his own preference for city life, I laughed but agreed to go with him to the Thompson River.

Over the two days of the trip, I had an experience I will never forget. As expected, having never kayaked before, getting into the boat proved to be a challenge at first. However, after the compulsory initial spills a new world opened up for me. As I sliced my paddle through the sun-dappled waters, I heard the cries of the birds circling above and marveled at the size of the trees lining the calm river. Though I had often...
deenz - / 5  
Oct 13, 2010   #2
This is really good, your descriptions of nature are the best part. The only problem is you need to avoid directly stating things, for example instead of saying that it has shaped your outlook, you need to describe why and how your outlook has changed. Also saying that you had an experience you would never forget weakens the essay a little. Obviously you would never forget it, the prompt is about a significant experience, so again show why instead of telling. Other than that though, its a great essay! Good Luck!
iceui2 - / 70  
Oct 14, 2010   #3
I completely agree with deenz - show not tell! "getting into the boat proved to be a challenge at first". Use an example rather than just coming out and saying it!

I also, I recommend you cutting right into the action - no need to for the "living in British Columbia" fluff. Spend more time on how the experienced shaped your outlook.

Overall, I think you're on the right track. But the essay is too shallow - as I read it, I keep hoping for more, but it never came. Things like "my problems always seem smaller on the way back" and "it is often the simple and the small that can bring a person the greatest satisfaction" are still too shallow. Anyone can write that. You have to do something that make you stand out! Connect it to the things that you do. What problems are smaller? What is the "greatest satisfaction" that you elude to? A good applicant mentions those. A great applicant explains them.
OP anonymous93 1 / 1  
Oct 14, 2010   #4
Thanks for your comments. You're completely right. Here is an updated version. Please read it? Also, I need a word for the blank in the last paragraph. Any suggestions would be welcome.

I don't know how long I might have missed out had it not be for that day two years ago. Two summers ago, my dad asked me, seemingly out of nowhere, to accompany him on a weekend kayaking trip. He claimed that by not experiencing the wilderness I was neglecting an important part of growing up. Tempted to remind him of his own preference for city life, I laughed but agreed to go with him.

When we arrived at the Thompson River, the situation looked promising. The sun was out, the water was clear and there was nary a rapid in sight. I took in a deep breath of morning air, placed my boat into the water...and promptly fell in with a splash. After righting my kayak and collecting what remained of my pride, I decided to continue on my journey. It did not take long for me to realize that I had made the right choice. As I sliced my paddle through the sun-dappled waters, a new world opened up to me; the cries of the birds of prey circling overhead and the majesty of the trees lining the calm river were like nothing I had seen before. From my vantage point in the kayak, I had the opportunity to experience a part of my province that, to me, had previously existed only on posters.

Everything around me - from the largest pine to the smallest fish under my kayak - came together to form a portrait so beautiful and so harmonious that my heart ached. Not once over those two days did I think of how many points I would score in my next basketball game or my upcoming Chemistry test. Maybe for the first time in my life, I was entirely at peace.

Leaving the Thompson River filled me with a vague sense of sadness, but I realized I had taken an important gift back home. The clean forest air had awoken in my soul something that I had never known before - a love and appreciation for the power of nature. Since that trip, I have been drawn to the comfort of the wild many times. Whenever I am hiking through a silent wood or paddling down a murmuring stream, I am bathed in a feeling of serenity and repose. Nature can make seemingly insurmountable challenges lose their edge - after blasting through the 3-kilometer Grouse Grind trail up the side of a mountain, there is not an exam or opposing basketball player in the world that can faze me!

Perhaps most importantly, nature, that ultimate example of simple beauty, has given me the ability find calm in any situation. At times when the pressure is high and the panic is beginning to set in - on the free-throw line in the dying seconds of a deadlocked game - I call on the well-worn memory of that first kayaking trip with my dad, take a deep breath, and nail the shot.

Nature has allowed me to find myself in the faceless crowd. It has opened my eyes to a new world, and in the process it has made me a better person - better at dealing with stress, better at overcoming obstacles, and better at _________. Forever a part of nature, nature has become a part of me.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 16, 2010   #5
This sentence has a "blank," too:
I don't know how long I might have missed out had it not be for that day two years ago.----- the end is blank. "that day two years ago" has no face, no substance. But you can replace it with "the day my dad introduced me to the wilderness." If you do that, it will have crazy personality because of the coolness of the word wilderness.

At the end...maybe it can be something about understanding your place in nature.

This is some good description of excellent scenery... nice use of "sun-dappled."


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