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"unless a man has has courage.." - Common App: "Pick Me!" DRAFT


crackhamster 5 / 10  
Aug 24, 2011   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Pick Me!

"A fireman!" As far back as I can remember kindergarten was the first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Like any docile toddler, I dreamt to become what every other young child had once dreamt of. But after seeing the 1999 Disney film Inspector Gadget, I realized it was time I set my sights on becoming an inventor. Later, I was somehow convinced that I was meant to become a professional basketball player, then soccer player, chef, programmer, musician, graphics designer, video producer, and the list goes on. My parents loved and supported me with every path I took, but never did I find a subject that clicked with me. I wanted to pursue a career that impacted individual's lives, all the while still retaining the allure I found in that of modern technology. After I met my cousin, then an aspiring medical student, I realized both could be found in the field of medicine.

From a young age I was fascinated with computers and robotics. But for a long time I saw it as just a hobby, and thought this field could never satisfy my ambitions. When I talked to my cousin, he introduced me to robotic surgery. The sheer concept of it enchanted me. Using telemanipulation one could wield innovating technologies to further enhance minimal invasive surgery. With robotics, surgeries could be executed with more precision, less blood loss, quicker healing time, and improved ergonomics. I finally found my calling.

At the time my first year of high school was approaching, and when I looked into it, my high school was one of few in my county that offered the Academy of Information Technology (AOIT) which set kids on IT paths ranging from programming to microcomputer technologies. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to lay a foundation for my future aspiration. But a few weeks before the end of my last term in 8th grade, my parents came to me and told me they wished for me to attend another high school. The high school that they looked at was part of a magnet program and would focus on literary humanities. As much as I wanted to attend my high school of choice, up to this point my parents had supported me no matter what. How could I say no to them?

A week later as I sat in the entrance examination room getting ready to finish up my test, I stopped to take a quick break. As I sat gazing around a room filled with soon to be classmates I thought to myself, "Is this really where I want to be the next 4 years?" Was I really about to dismiss my opportunity at getting into AOIT? Yes, it might have been a phase, as had been so many of my previous ambitions. But never before had I experienced such a passionate pull towards a discipline, and the way I saw it I had two choices. 1: I could turn in my exam, which I was most likely going to pass, and spend my next 4 years delving into sub-parts of humanities, or 2: I could throw the test.

It's now been 4 years later and I am approaching my senior year at Damascus High School and am anticipating graduating through AOIT later this year. Looking back, my decision was one of cowardice and egoism. I never wanted to disappoint my parents, but I didn't want to let this academic opportunity slip away. And I didn't want to study literature. What I learned about myself was even though I aimed to please my parents, when it came down to it I put my wants ahead of theirs. I don't regret my choice, with AOIT I have advanced farther in the field of technology then I would have ever at most other schools. But I wish to go into a career where I will help people on a daily basis, and I would like to think in the future I will put others needs ahead of my own. If nothing else, my decision has inspired me to look ahead and find ways to balance my values and what should be sacrificed for my vocation.

MYOMAO 1 / 2  
Aug 25, 2011   #2
I think your essay is good. You used a great example and demonstrated your maturity. :)
OP crackhamster 5 / 10  
Aug 25, 2011   #3
Thank you! Do you have any suggestions on what could be added, taken out, or rearranged in terms of syntax or word choice? Greatly appreciated :)
Dark blue - / 5  
Aug 26, 2011   #4
The transition between the second and third paragraph was really abrupt. Also, explain more of what you learned from the experience. When did you learn that what you did back then was wrong?
tmiplease 4 / 7  
Aug 28, 2011   #5
Cut out the entire first paragraph. It's not pertinent to your actual essay. A college essay is short--it should get straight to the point.

The best essays, I believe, are the ones that narrow in on a tiny moment and just elaborate on it, dissect it.

You're describing a journey here--a realization--which is fine too.. but focus in on it. The entire first paragraph is really sidetracking and has little to do with your actual point..

Btw on a last note... I'm confused as to why this is the answer to the first question. What is your ethical dilemma/significant risk? Explain why it was a risk in depth..
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Sep 3, 2011   #6
I'll show you how to take out some sentences that do not help to give the reader a powerful experience:

"A fireman!" As far back as I can remember kindergarten was the first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Like any docile toddler, I dreamt to become what every other young ...

I took away the sentence that slows down the reader's experience. Keep it rolling forward. If you omit that sentence, it is even better, because the reader can figure out on her own what you mean. It is more dynamic when you do not explain every little detail.

...child had once dreamt of. But after seeing the 1999 Disney film Inspector Gadget, I realized it was time I set my sights on becoming an inventor. Later, I was somehow convinced that I was meant to become a professional basketball player, then soccer player, chef, programmer, musician, graphics designer, video producer, and the list goes on I don't think all this is helpful. Do you think there is any kid in the whole world who could not write a similar paragraph? Think of it from the reader's perspective. The reader will be motivated to give you an opportunity if you make the WHOLE essay, especially the beginning, all about a concept that is unique and special to you.

The whole first paragraph is all about unrelated stuff, and at the end you say you settled on medicine. I think this is not a helpful approach. I want to see a CONCEPT that the reader will associate with you. Introduce that concept in the first paragraph.

It's now been 4 years later Four years later, I am approaching...

:-) I like the ending a lot!!! You write very well. Now, some of the details in the "story" part are unnecessary. Like I said above, I think you should replace them with a discussion of a particular concept.


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