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Touching the dogs / Coding months / Mirage life - Stanford

GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 1, 2014   #1
Hello! I would really appreciate it if you could briefly spend some time shortening and critiquing some of these short essays. It would mean a lot to me, and I could most definitely help out with your essays. Also, the more harsh you are, the better! :)

Stanford supplement. No issue with the word limit here, just please critique, thank you!
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences(150 word limit):

"Don't not touch the dogs, they have fleas." The kids were touching the dogs; I touched the dogs. "Do not drink the water, you will get a disease!" The kids were drinking the water; I drank the water. "Please, don't play with that boy, he is sick." I played with Eduardo to his hearts content.

My primary task in the impoverished village of Madre Salve, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was to install the solar water heaters I had created in conjunction with the non-profit PledgeToHumanity. This was supposed to be something phenomenal that we were doing for these people, yet I couldn't help but feel a considerable lack of emotion, and hardly any fulfillment. However, by breaking the boundary of these people, and getting to know the kids as individuals by attempting to walk in their bodily small yet (adjective) heavy shoes, I came to appreciate the impact of my trip ten-fold.

Stanford supplement. Major word limit issue, I'm about 100 words over. Please try to shorten this essay as much as you can, and critique if possible. Thanks!

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (250 word limit.):

It had been a coding-intensive and often-grueling 3 months that summer at NextBio. My team of 4 other interns and I were tasked with implementing a large portion of the company's database onto an iOS platform via an app that we had constructed and perfected for almost the entire breadth of the summer. Our internship would be over the day after tomorrow, however, tomorrow would be laden with our most daunting task yet; presenting our summers work in a board meeting with almost the entire company in attendance. Before stepping out into the cold that night to catch the 6:10pm Caltrain home, I decided to stay a little later than usual, just to look over our program again, and also to ease my methodical tendencies/compulsions. There I was, sitting behind my desk for what I thought was going to be the last time, admiring/fingering the soft cushion-like material that lined my cubical, when I noticed a part of our app wasn't receiving data from the company's APIs. I jerked forward in my seat, having realized this problem was a lot more serious than I had expected. The fix required the use of a coding language called PHP, something that was completely foreign to me, as I was versed in another language called Objective-C. There simply was not enough time to scour the internet to learn as much PHP as I could stomach, so instead, I frantically scurried around the office floor, introducing myself to as many employees that had not left yet, listening to their insights on how to fix the problem using PHP, all while learning something about their lives on a personal level. With their collective input, I was able to concoct a solution and fix our program, all while catching the 7:35pm train in the knick of time.

While the world of computer programming requires logical, algorithmic thinking, and a methodical approach to finding solutions, this way of thinking cannot be the sole formula for success in this field.

There is an interpersonal aspect to the work environment that I learned is paramount for a programmer to develop, which strengthens both the work pertaining to programming tasks, and being a holistic person.

Stanford supplement. No issue with the word limit here, just please critique, thank you!
What matters to you, and why? (250 word limit.)

We drudgingly drag our bodies through the desert of life, developing an unquenchable thirst for truth. We slap our faces into the sandy slabs of earth while wandering around the desert, mouths bone dry, as we look for signs of water and vegetation, anything to shield us from the jarringly cruel conditions of this world. Miraculously, some are able to spot something promising out of the corner of their eyes: Their perceived utopia; that is, the mirage of "success" as defined by our current socioeconomic constructs.

My life is this mirage. It is the realization of success that so many dream of, and few confront. I wake up every morning to the sound of an old car horn on an iPhone 4s, frantically reaching for the snooze button so that I can soak my fingers and toes back into the plush blanket and pillow of a memory foam bed. I wake up to the presence of the amiable California sunlight gleaming into my own room through French window panes, the rays gently warming my checks and caressing my eyelids open. The taste of perfectly tempered hot chocolate prepared by my working mother who considers my needs and wants before hers on a daily basis, finds me. Most importantly, I awake every single morning with the knowledge that I'm living in a dream so far flung from reality, that it is a mere mirage to ninety-nine percent of my fellow inhabitants on this planet.

Some would consider these physical amenities that I am fortunate to be surrounded by the real truth and realization of supreme success. However, I would highly disagree with this notion.

While my world is very comfortable, copious with luxuries that I take for granted at times, it is the stark contrast of my life with the realities of the vast majority of people on earth that has spurred me to help improve the lives of others. One of the most significant outlets in my life that allows me to contribute to others' lives is computer science. Through writing code, I have been able to create solar water heaters for an underserved community in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and help implement a company's database onto a secure iOS platform, endeavors that attest to not only the revolutionizing power of code, but my journey, characterized by a longing to change the world for others and help them realize their true potential and oasis amidst the economically barren circumstances that find them.
plee24 3 / 21 8  
Jan 2, 2014   #2
However, by breaking the boundary of these people, and getting to know the kids as individuals by attempting to walk in their bodily small yet (adjective) heavy shoes, I came to appreciate the impact of my trip ten-fold.

In your first supplement about experiences in Mexico, I'd suggest that you clarify either who told you those rules or that they are rules- it took me until the second paragraph to realize they were warnings that supervisors might have given you while on your trip. Why couldn't you previously feel emotion and fulfillment in such a great project? Perhaps elaborate that you were only going through the motions, building the water heaters piece by piece, until you realized exactly how much these children needed clean, hot water when you placed yourself in their shoes. It'd probably be better to give examples of the children going about their days without water, or maybe something like, "Don't touch the dogs- they haven't had a bath in days," and then bring it full circle at the end where you can say something around the lines of how something as simple as hot water, usually taken for granted, can provide so much happiness/security/comfort/etc.
OP GokuKetchum 3 / 18  
Jan 3, 2014   #3
BachChaconne2, thank you so much. I did edit and shorten these a bit more before submitting a few days ago, and I will use your edits to further develop these essays if I feel they can be recycled on other apps. Plee24, thank you for you advice too. I will try to make that essay more clear.

Thank you!

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