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UVA Supplement Essays - College of Arts and Sciences and "The Dumbest Generation"

JC21 1 / 1  
Dec 28, 2010   #1
I would appreciate a critique/advice on these two short essays, they are supposed to be 250 words minimum btw:

Prompt: What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?

I perceived the truth as factual and concrete. What I believed tended to be supported by logic and prudence. Throughout my life, I was hesitant to believe in things that I was not certain about. However, as I found myself finishing "The Things They Carried", I was overwhelmed with perplexing emotions. Tim O'Brien, the author of the novel, conveyed the regretful feeling of taking a life through a series of disturbing war stories regarding his role in combat during the Vietnam War. Once O'Brien revealed that the war experiences he wrote about in his novel were "invented", I was initially compelled to disappointment. However, upon further thought I became satisfied with what I gained from reading the novel; I realized that what I felt from reading the novel had more truth, as opposed to the actual occurrences of O'Brien's experiences. The heartrending sentiments invoked from reading the novel mirrored the emotions felt by O'Brien when he fought in the Vietnam War. As a result, I began to realize that what I feel is perhaps the greatest truth.

"The Things They Carried" challenged me to look past what I can detect through my senses, and observe truth in a different light. My eyes and ears are capable of deceiving me through muddled images, but the emotions invoked by an experience are natural; they are unaffected by external environments and obstacles. O'Brien's gruesome war stories about trekking through the land-mine infested jungles of Vietnam successfully portrayed the harsh realities of war. They allowed me to "feel what I felt", as Tim O'Brien put it. Nowadays, my perception of the truth has evolved into a more intimate and deeper understanding. No longer do I subjugate my beliefs to the tangible aspects of life; I am now more inclined to believe in an emotional truth where "facts" are less significant.

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Prompt: In The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein asserts that social media and youth culture undercut the skills necessary to be a global citizen when he writes: "We need a steady stream of rising men and women to replenish the institutions, to become strong military leaders and wise political leaders, dedicated journalists and demanding teachers, judges and muckrakers, scholars and critics and artists. We have the best schools to train them, but social and private environments have eroded." Do you agree with his assessment of not?

From the caveman ages to modern-day society, men and women have evolved culture and social media to reach unimaginable plateaus. Ironically, these plateaus can be pin-pointed as the cause of what is now being considered "The Dumbest Generation". I believe social media and youth culture has progressed to a level where people are lacking the necessary practical skills involved with being a global citizen. People's inability to balance checkbooks and low voter turnout may seem laughable, but I believe they reflect a morose reality of pragmatic incompetence.

The lack of aptitude Mark Bauerlein is referring to can be attributed to social and private environments that promote an inept generation. Ambition and motivation is seemingly at an all-time low as a result of a youth culture focused around sex, drugs, and violence. Material items and advanced technology, such as smartphones and cars, are gravitating youth towards indolence and self-entitlement as opposed to dedication towards meaningful goals.

As communication has grown exponentially faster through social media, young men and women have regressed when it comes to their own capabilities and values. Nowadays, people are more inclined to believe in what they see rather than what they feel; citizens align their views with what they observe through social media, such as the internet, and conform to the majority. People are also continually relying on social media such as texting and Facebooking and replacing face-to-face interactions, which are pivotal for building interpersonal and leadership skills.

I believe that what sets a leader apart is their ability to make their own choices, especially in tough circumstances. Strong political leaders and military leaders are dedicated individuals who grow through their thirst for ambition. Great scholars and critics strive off of pressure and display tenacity behind ideas they have strong beliefs in. If young men and women are to be the leaders and professionals of tomorrow, they must formulate beliefs free from outside social media influences and strive to obtain a culture of success.
sidbush 3 / 26  
Dec 28, 2010   #2
Great Essays and good for you for doing the "Dumbest Generation" Uva essay! I stayed far, far away from that.

Your grammar and structure in these essays are close to perfect. Some sentences, however, do get a bit wordy and lengthy. Overall, wonderful!

Good Luck!
yenna 9 / 23  
Dec 28, 2010   #3
greaaaat job! I can see "you" and you're really a great writer!
good ideas, good grammar and everything :) Like above stated some setences do get a bit wordy... I also salute you for picking the dumbest generation prompt. My first look at it was my last ahhaa. Gooooood luck!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 14, 2011   #4
If you can avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, that will be better:
...to believe in things about which I was not certain. about . However, as I found myself finishing "The Things They Carried", Do put titles of books or films in " " marks. Italicize them.) The Things They Carried, I was overwhelmed with perplexing emotions.

Do not give the reader every little bit of info. Let the reader put 2 and 2 together:
Tim O'Brien the author of the novel, conveys the...---Also, I put "convey" in the present verb tense. If you think it is unclear that he is the author... I think you should do this at the beginning:

However, as I found myself finishing Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, I was ...

Excellent... what I feel is perhaps the greatest truth. Yep... subjective experience is all...

The Things They Carried challenged me to ...
Instead of the title, use the author's name... O'Brien challenged me to ...


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