twelve college essay examples that worked 2018

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They will instead make a cash settlement, which reflects the market value at the time the loss happened. This is so a prospective buyer knows a vehicle was previously written off when conducting vehicle history checks. These checks also cover whether the vehicle is stolen or has outstanding finance, too. So, what do the categories mean?

Twelve college essay examples that worked 2018 gcse statistics coursework using mayfield data

Twelve college essay examples that worked 2018

These entries are distinct and unique to the individual writer; however, each of them assisted the admissions reader in learning more about the student beyond the transcripts and lists of activities provided in their applications.

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How to write a good song on the piano I brought this desire home to a volunteer position at a homework writing services program for immigrant children. I present to you, the iTaylor. Use these outstanding college essay examples to learn how to write your personal statement and supplemental essays for college applications. Questions or Feedback? A lot of people have a single passion that defines them or have a natural talent for something specific. Each morning, I wake up ten minutes early simply to eat breakfast with my mother and spend time with her before our busy days begin. Otherwise, I am as cruel as the man in the plaid shirt, taking away the opportunity to overcome ignorance.
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OLEANNA EXAMPLE ESSAYS

He also goes one step further. Q: So what am I going to do with all these lessons? Identify your single greatest strength in this case, it was his ability to adapt to whatever life gave him. Ask: how did I learn this? Show 1: "By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone. Show 2: "the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family" implication: he doesn't have this with his own family.

Show 3: "the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children. Show 4: "Mrs. Ortiz taught me the value of discipline. For years, processed snack foods ruled the kitchen kingdom of my household and animal products outnumbered plant-based offerings. I fully embraced this new eating philosophy to show my support. I became entranced by the world of nutritional science and how certain foods could help prevent cancer or boost metabolism. Each new food I discovered gave me an education on the role diet plays on health.

I learned that, by eating sweet potatoes and brown rice, you could cure acne and heart disease. I discovered eating leafy greens with citrus fruits could boost iron absorption rates. I loved pairing my foods to create the perfect macronutrient balance. Did you know beans and rice make a complete protein? Food has also turned me into a sustainability nut. Living plant-based also saves the planet from the impact of animal agriculture.

For the same amount of land space, a farmer can produce kilograms of soybeans versus 16 kilograms of beef. I do my part to have as small of an ecological footprint as I can. I stopped using plastic snack bags and instead turned to reusable beeswax wraps.

My favorite reusable appliance is my foldable straw. We are currently working on a restaurant campaign to encourage local eateries to create a plant-based, oil-free menu option and become PlantPure certified. After discovering how many restaurants use oil in their cooking, I decided I needed to open a plant-based oil free cafe to make up for this gap. This allows me to educate people about nutritional science through the stomach.

Finally, I am a strong proponent of hands-on experience for learning what good food looks and tastes like, so cooking is one of my favorite ways to teach the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Our society has taught us that delicious food has to make us feel guilty, when that is simply not the case.

The best feeling in the world is falling in love with a dish and then learning all the health benefits that it provides the body. While my classmates complain about being tired, I have more energy because my body is finally getting the right macros, vitamins, and minerals it needs. But the foods I am particular about have changed.

Rather than a carboholic, I choose to call myself a vegeholic. Its instructions are simple: Open the Google Sheet, enter a number between 1 and 20 that best represents my level of happiness, and write a short comment describing the day. But the practical aspect of the spreadsheet is only a piece of what it has represented in my life. What had started as a farcical proposition of mine transformed into a playground where high school classmates and I convene every two weeks to prepare a savory afternoon snack for ourselves.

Hard-fought days of mixing cement and transporting supplies had paid off for the affectionate community we had immediately come to love. If happiness paves the roads of my life, my family is the city intertwined by those roads — each member a distinct neighborhood, a distinct story. In times of stress, whether it be studying for an upcoming derivatives test or presenting my research at an international conference, I dash to my father for help.

Coming from the dusty, people-packed backstreets of Thiruvananthapuram, India, he guides me in looking past the chaos and noticing the hidden accomplishments that lie in the corners. When in need of confidence, I find my mother, who taps her experiences living in her tranquil and sturdy tatami-covered home in Hiroshima, Japan, helping me prepare for my first high school dance or my final match in a tennis tournament.

The Happiness Spreadsheet is also a battery monitor for enthusiasm. Other times, the battery is depleted, and I am frustrated by writer's block, when not a single melody, chord, or musical construct crosses my mind. The Happiness Spreadsheet can be a hall of fame, but it can likewise be a catalog of mistakes, burdens, and grueling challenges. The idea was born spontaneously at lunch, and I asked two of my friends if they were interested in pursuing this exercise with me.

To this day, I ponder its full importance in my life. With every new number I enter, I recognize that each entry is not what defines me; rather, it is the ever-growing line connecting all the data points that reflects who I am today. Where will the Happiness Spreadsheet take me next? I was a left-handed kid who wrote from right to left, which made my writing comprehensible only to myself.

Only after years of practice did I become an ambidextrous writer who could translate my incomprehensible writing. As I look back on my life, I realized that this was my first act of translation. As I deciphered complex codes into comprehensible languages like rate of change and speed of an object, I gained the ability to solve even more complicated and fascinating problems. Now, I volunteer to tutor others: as a Korean tutor for friends who love Korean culture and a golf tutor for new team members.

Tutoring is how I integrate and strengthen new concepts for myself. I often put myself into their situation and ask, "What emotional support would I want or need if I was in this situation? However, my translation can't accurately account for the experiences I have yet to go through. After realizing the limitations of my experience, I created a bucket list full of activities out of my comfort zone, which includes traveling abroad by myself, publishing my own book, and giving a lecture in front of a crowd.

Although it is a mere list written on the front page of my diary, I found myself vividly planning and picturing myself accomplishing those moments. My knack for translating has led me to become a real-life Korean language translator. As an English to Korean letter translator in a non-profit organization, Compassion , I serve as a communication bridge between benefactors and children in developing countries, who communicate through monthly letters.

This experience has motivated me to learn languages like Spanish and Mandarin. As I get to know more about myself through different languages, I grew more confident to meet new people and build new friendships. While translating has been a huge part of my life, a professional translator is not my dream job. I want to be an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist who manages the medication of patients with chronic diseases.

In fact, translating is a huge part of the job of a clinical pharmacist. In one form or another, I've always been and will be a translator. I sit, cradled by the two largest branches of the Newton Pippin Tree, watching the ether. The Green Mountains of Vermont stretch out indefinitely, and from my elevated vantage point, I feel as though we are peers, motionless in solidarity. But a few months ago, I would have considered this an utter waste of time.

Prior to attending Mountain School, my paradigm was substantially limited; opinions, prejudices, and ideas shaped by the testosterone-rich environment of Landon School. I was herded by result-oriented, fast-paced, technologically-reliant parameters towards psychology and neuroscience the NIH, a mere 2.

Subconsciously I knew this was not who I wanted to be and seized the chance to apply to the Mountain School. Upon my arrival, though, I immediately felt I did not belong. I found the general atmosphere of hunky-dory acceptance foreign and incredibly unnerving. So, rather than engage, I retreated to what was most comfortable: sports and work. In the second week, the perfect aggregate of the two, a Broomball tournament, was set to occur.

Though I had never played before, I had a distinct vision for it, so decided to organize it. That night, the glow-in-the-dark ball skittered across the ice. My opponent and I, brooms in hand, charged forward. We collided and I banana-peeled, my head taking the brunt of the impact. Stubborn as I was, even with a concussion, I wanted to remain in class and do everything my peers did, but my healing brain protested. I began wandering around campus with no company except my thoughts.

Throughout those days, I created a new-found sense of home in my head. I am most enamored by ideas that cultivate ingenious and practical enrichments for humanity. I enjoy picking some conundrum, large or small, and puzzling out a solution. Returning from a cross country meet recently, my friend and I, serendipitously, designed a socially responsible disposable water bottle completely on accident.

Now we hope to create it. I am still interested in psychology and neuroscience, but also desire to incorporate contemplative thought into this work, analyzing enigmas from many different perspectives. My internships at the NIH and the National Hospital for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery in London have offered me valuable exposure to research and medicine.

But I have come to realize that neither of my previous intended professions allow me to expand consciousness in the way I would prefer. After much soul-searching, I have landed on behavioral economics as the perfect synergy of the fields I love. All it took was a knock on the head. Suddenly, a miniature gathering of the European Commission glares straight at me. I feel the pressure of picking one option over the other.

What do I choose? Like the various nations of the European Union, the individual proponents of these culinary varieties are lobbying their interests to me, a miniature Jean-Claude Junker. Now, you may be asking yourselves: why would I be so pensive over a meal choice?

Every year, that same family gathers together in New York City to celebrate Christmas. These exact conversations drove me to learn more about what my parents, grandparents, and other relatives were debating with a polite and considerate passion. In turn, participating in debate has expanded my knowledge regarding matters ranging from civil rights reparations to American redeployment in Iraq, while enriching my capacities to thoughtfully express my views on those and other issues, both during P.

This awareness incited a passion for statecraft within me — the very art of balancing different perspectives - and therefore a desire to actively engage in government. With my experiences in mind, I felt there was no better place to start than my own neighborhood of Bay Ridge. Most importantly, my family has taught me an integral life lesson.

As our Christmas Dinner squabbles suggest, seemingly insurmountable impasses can be resolved through respect and dialogue, even producing delicious results! On a grander scale, it has elucidated that truly inclusive discourse and toleration of diverse perspectives render tribalism, sectarianism, and the divisive aspects of identity politics powerless over our cohesion.

I fundamentally value cultural, political, and theological variety; my own microcosm reflecting our global society at large has inspired me to strive to solve the many conflicts of bitterness and sectionalism in our world today. This vocation may come in the form of political leadership that truly respects all perspectives and philosophies, or perhaps as diplomacy facilitating unity between the various nations of the world. Before I came to America, I drank Puer Tea with my father every morning in my bedroom, sitting cross-legged on Suzhou-silk mats beside a view of the Lakeside reservoir.

Beside a dark end table, we picked up teacups as the mild aroma greeted our noses. As we faced the French window, my father would share the news he read in China Daily : the Syrian civil war, climate change, and gender equality in Hollywood. Most of the time, I only listened. With each piece of news, my curiosity piqued. Secretly, I made a decision that I wanted to be the one to discuss the news with him from my perspective. So, I decided to study in America to learn more about the world.

But, my new room lacked stories and cups of tea. Fortunately, I found Blue House Cafe on my walk home from church, and started studying there. With white walls, comfortable sofas, and high stools, Blue House is spacious and bright. Similarly, as president of the International Students Club, I invited my teammates to have meetings with me at the cafe.

Coordinating the schedule with other members in Blue House has become a frequent event. Consuming several cups of coffee, my team and I have planned Lunar New Year events, field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinese lunch in school to help international students feel more at home. Straightening my back and bracing my shoulders, I stood up behind the conference table and expressed my creative ideas passionately. After each meeting, we shared buttermilk coffee-cake.

In my spot next to the window, I also witnessed different kinds of people. I viewed visitors dragging their luggage, women carrying shopping bags, and people wandering in tattered clothes --the diversity of San Francisco. Two years ago I saw volunteers wearing City Impact shirts offering sandwiches and hot chocolate to homeless people outside of the cafe.

I investigated more about City Impact and eventually signed up to volunteer. No longer was I a bystander. At holiday outreach events, I prepared and delivered food to homeless people. While sharing my coffee, I listened to a story from an older Chinese man who told me, in Mandarin, how he had been abandoned by his children and felt lonely. Last summer, I returned to Xiamen, China, and taught my father how to drink coffee.

Now, a Chemex and teapot are both on the end table. Instead of simply listening, I shared my experiences as a club president, a community leader, and a volunteer. I showed him my business plan and prototypes. I am so proud of you. Together, we emptied our cups while the smell of coffee lingered.

I add the critically measured sugary tea mixture to the gallon jar containing the slimy, white, disc-shaped layers of the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. I place it on my kitchen counter, periodically checking it to relieve the built-up CO2. Finally, after an additional seventy-two hours, the time comes to try it. I crack the seal on the bottle, leaning over to smell what I assume will be a tangy, fruity, delicious pomegranate solution.

The insufferable stench fills my nostrils and crushes my confidence. I'm momentarily taken aback, unable to understand how I went wrong when I followed the recipe perfectly. My issue wasn't misreading the recipe or failing to follow a rule, it was bypassing my creative instincts and forgetting the unpredictable nature of fermentation. I needed to trust the creative side of kombucha— the side that takes people's perfectionist energy and explodes it into a puddle of rotten egg smelling 'booch my preferred name for the drink- not "fermented, effervescent liquid from a symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast".

I was too caught up in the side that requires extreme preciseness to notice when the balance between perfectionism and imperfectionism was being thrown off. The key, I have learned, is knowing when to prioritize following the recipe and when to let myself be creative.

Sure, there are scientific variables such as proximity to heat sources and how many grams of sugar to add. But, there's also person-dependent variables like how long I decide to ferment it, what fruits I decide will be a fun combination, and which friend I got my first SCOBY from taking "symbiotic" to a new level. I often find myself feeling pressured to choose one side or the other, one extreme over the alternative.

I've been told that I can either be a meticulous scientist or a messy artist, but to be both is an unacceptable contradiction. However, I choose a grey area; a place where I can channel my creativity into the sciences, as well as channel my precision into my photography. I still have the first photo I ever took on the first camera I ever had. Or rather, the first camera I ever made. Making that pinhole camera was truly a painstaking process: take a cardboard box, tap it shut, and poke a hole in it.

Okay, maybe it wasn't that hard. But learning the exact process of taking and developing a photo in its simplest form, the science of it, is what drove me to pursue photography. I remember being so unhappy with the photo I took; it was faded, underexposed, and imperfect. For years, I felt incredibly pressured to try and perfect my photography. It wasn't until I was defeated, staring at a puddle of kombucha, that I realized that there doesn't always have to be a standard of perfection in my art, and that excited me.

So, am I a perfectionist? Or do I crave pure spontaneity and creativity? Can I be both? Perfectionism leaves little to be missed. With a keen eye, I can quickly identify my mistakes and transform them into something with purpose and definitude.

On the other hand, imperfection is the basis for change and for growth. My resistance against perfectionism is what has allowed me to learn to move forward by seeing the big picture; it has opened me to new experiences, like bacteria cross-culturing to create something new, something different, something better.

I am not afraid of change or adversity, though perhaps I am afraid of conformity. To fit the mold of perfection would compromise my creativity, and I am not willing to make that sacrifice. I hold onto my time as dearly as my Scottish granny holds onto her money. Precious minutes can show someone I care and can mean the difference between accomplishing a goal or being too late to even start and my life depends on carefully budgeting my time for studying, practicing with my show choir, and hanging out with my friends.

However, there are moments where the seconds stand still. It is already dark when I park in my driveway after a long day at school and rehearsals. Not paying attention to the clock, I allow myself to relax for a brief moment in my busy life. Laughter fills the show choir room as my teammates and I pass the time by telling bad jokes and breaking out in random bursts of movement. This same sense of camaraderie follows us onstage, where we become so invested in the story we are portraying we lose track of time.

My show choir is my second family. I realize I choreograph not for recognition, but to help sixty of my best friends find their footing. At the same time, they help me find my voice. The heavy scuba gear jerks me under the icy water, and exhilaration washes over me. Lost in the meditative rolling effect of the tide and the hum of the vast ocean, I feel present.

I dive deeper to inspect a vibrant community of creatures, and we float together, carefree and synchronized. My fascination with marine life led me to volunteer as an exhibit interpreter for the Aquarium of the Pacific, where I share my love for the ocean. Most of my time is spent rescuing animals from small children and, in turn, keeping small children from drowning in the tanks. Finding this mutual connection over the love of marine life and the desire to conserve the ocean environment keeps me returning each summer.

She had just fallen while performing, and I could relate to the pain and fear in her eyes. The chaos of the show becomes distant, and I devote my time to bringing her relief, no matter how long it may take. I find what I need to treat her injury in the sports medicine training room. Saturday morning bagels with my family. Singing backup for Barry Manilow with my choir. Swimming with sea turtles in the Pacific. These are the moments I hold onto, the ones that define who I am, and who I want to be.

My whole life has been others invading my gender with their questions, tears signed by my body, and a war against my closet. Soon after this, I came out to my mom. My mom cried and said she loved me. She scheduled me an appointment with a gender therapist, let me donate my female clothes, and helped build a masculine wardrobe. With her help, I went on hormones five months after coming out and got surgery a year later. I finally found myself, and my mom fought for me, her love was endless.

Even though I had friends, writing, and therapy, my strongest support was my mother. On August 30th, my mom passed away unexpectedly. My favorite person, the one who helped me become the man I am today, ripped away from me, leaving a giant hole in my heart and in my life. Life got dull. Learning how to wake up without my mom every morning became routine. Nothing felt right, a constant numbness to everything, and fog brain was my kryptonite.

I paid attention in class, I did the work, but nothing stuck. It took over a year to get out of my slump. I shared my writing at open mics, with friends, and I cried every time. I embraced the pain, the hurt, and eventually, it became the norm. I grew used to not having my mom around. My mom always wanted to change the world, to fix the broken parts of society. Not just for her, but for me, and all the people who need a support branch as strong as the one my mom gave me. I am determined to make sure no one feels as alone as I did.

I want to be able to reach people, and use motivational speaking as the platform. Are you tired of seeing an iPhone everywhere? Samsung glitchy? I present to you, the iTaylor. I am the iTaylor. On the outside, I look like any smart phone, but when you open my settings and explore my abilities, you will find I have many unique features. Thanks to my positivity, I was chosen to give the morning announcements freshman year.

Next up, language settings. Inspired, I began creating family events and even making efforts to grow closer to my second cousins. At eight years old, I was diagnosed with what some might call a glitch: epilepsy. Fortunately, a new IOS software update cured my condition by the age of 15, but through epilepsy, I gained a love of exploration. Overcoming epilepsy taught me to take risks and explore new places. This brings us to the iTaylor location settings.

I brought this desire home to a volunteer position at a local program for immigrant children. I helped the kids make presentations about their places of origin, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Sulu campaign, a regional pageant in the Philippines. It became clear that the English language, one I took for granted, is the central feature that brings groups together.

This past summer, I brought my talents to Scotland, playing the dual role of Artistic Director and leading character for Geek the Musical. I worked to promote the show in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival against 53, shows, reinventing ways to motivate the cast and connect with strangers from all over the world. We learned the more we connected, the more our audience grew.

I applied these skills to my leadership positions at home, including my High School Theater Group, Players. The rollout plan for the iTaylor is to introduce it to the theater market. My goal is to use performance and storytelling to expose audiences to different cultures, religions, and points of view. Perhaps if we all learned more about each other's lifestyles, the world would be more empathetic and integrated. So what do you think?

Would you like an iTaylor of your own? The iTaylor College Edition is now available for pre-order. It delivers next fall. Upon graduation, I will be able to analyze medieval Spanish poems using literary terms and cultural context, describe the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative problem.

Despite knowing how to execute these very particular tasks, I currently fail to understand how to change a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a good insurance policy. A factory-model school system that has been left essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development.

I have been conditioned to complete tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding. I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, thinking my scores were the only aspect that defined me; and they were. I was getting everything right. Then, I ran for Student Government and failed.

How could that be? I was statistically a smart kid with a good head on my shoulders, right? Surely someone had to have made a mistake. Little did I know, this was my first exposure to meaning beyond numbers. I had the epiphany that oh wait, maybe it was my fault that I had never prioritized communication skills, or open-mindedness qualities my fellow candidates possessed. Maybe it was me. That must be why I always had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help--no one ever asked me for it.

I resolved to alter my mindset, taking a new approach to the way I lived. From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills. I had never been more uncomfortable. I forced myself to learn to be vulnerable by asking questions even if I was terrified of being wrong. My proficiency in using data evidence could not teach me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores show me how to be more open to criticism.

The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, happened to be learning from those around me. The process of achieving this new mindset came through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the new perspectives each person in my life could offer if I really took the time to connect. Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I began to consider the big-picture consequences my engagements could have.

People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to learn to pay more attention to detail to understand every point of view. I took on the state of what I like to call collaborative independence, and to my delight, I was elected to StuGo after my third year of trying. Not long ago, I would have fallen apart at the presence of any uncertainty.

As I further accept and advance new life skills, the more I realize how much remains uncertain in the world. Hopefully, my wings continue enabling me to fly, but it is going to take more than just me and my wings; I have to continue putting my faith in the air around me. I was ecstatic. We would become the first Mother-Son Indian duo on Food Network peeling potatoes, skinning chicken, and grinding spices, sharing our Bengali recipes with the world.

Always watching YouTube and never talking! The worst time came when my parents tried to fix their relationship. Repeated date nights induced more arguments. Enduring the stress of her restaurant, my father, and her mistakes, my mom attempted to end her life.

Fortunately, I found her just in time. Over the next two years, things were at times still hard, but gradually improved. My parents decided to start anew, took some time apart, then got back together. My mom started to pick me up from activities on time and my dad and I bonded more, watching Warriors and 49ers games. I wanted back the family I had before the restaurant--the one that ate Luchi Mongsho together every Sunday night.

So I looked for comfort in creation. I began spending more time in our garage , carefully constructing planes from sheets of foam. I found purpose balancing the fuselage or leveling the ailerons to precisely 90 degrees. I loved cutting new parts and assembling them perfectly. Here , I could fix all the mistakes.

In high school, I slowly began to forge a community of creators with my peers. Sophomore year, I started an engineering club and found that I had a talent for managing people and encouraging them to create an idea even if it failed. I also learned how to take feedback and become more resilient. Here, I could nerd-out about warp drives and the possibility of anti-matter without being ignored. I would give a weekly report on new technology and we would have hour-long conversations about the various uses a blacker material could have.

While building a community at school rebuilt my confidence, I still found I enjoyed being alone at times. Looking back and perhaps inadvertently , the conflicts from the restaurant days have taught me valuable lessons. Helping my mom through her relationship taught me to watch out for those in emotional distress. Spending nights alone made me more independent--after all, it was then that I signed up for advanced math and programming courses and decided to apply for software internships.

Most of all, seeing my mom start her restaurant from no food-industry experience inspired me to found two clubs and a Hydrogen Car Team. Even though we eat Luchi Monsho on a monthly basis now, I know my family will never be the way it was. But I can use them to improve the present.

I stayed up all night reading through documents related to Army support contracts in Iraq and Kuwait in I asked my dad about it the next day and he said, "It was a mistake I made that has been resolved. I was always scared of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Violence has always surrounded me and haunted me. After 14 years of living in a region destroyed by violence, I was sent away to boarding school in a region known for peace, Switzerland.

That year my father was found guilty and imprisoned for the charges related to his Army support contract. My parents got divorced and my childhood home was bulldozed to the ground by the Saudi government after my father was sent to prison. My mom had always been a hub of stability, but she was too overwhelmed to support me.

I started eating to cope with my anxiety and gained pounds in a year and a half. As I gained weight, my health started to deteriorate, and my grades started to drop. Things began to change at the beginning of my sophomore year, however, when I met my new roommate, Nico.

He had grown up with someone whose father was also in prison, and was able to help me better understand the issues I was facing. Through my friendship with Nico, I learned how to open up and get support from my friends. Because we faced similar issues, we were able to support one and other, share tactics, and give advice.

My friends gave me a family and a home, when my own family was overwhelmed and my home was gone. Slowly, I put my life back on track. I started playing basketball, began working on a CubeSAT, learned to program, changed my diet, and lost all the weight I had gained.

Now my friends in Switzerland come to me asking me for advice and help, and I feel as if I am a vital member of our community. My close friend Akshay recently started stressing about whether his parents were going to get divorced. Leaving home in the beginning of my adolescence, I was sent out on a path of my own. While for some, high school is the best time of their lives, for me, high school has represented some of the best and, hopefully, worst times.

It has brought me to a place that I only thought was fictional. In this new place I feel like a real person, with real emotions. This place is somewhere where I can express myself freely and be who I want to be. I am a much stronger, healthier, and more resilient person than I was two years ago. This essay was written for the U of Chicago "Create your own prompt" essay. The author included the following explanatory note:. I plan to double major in biochemistry and English and my main essay explains my passion for the former; here is a writing sample that illustrates my enthusiasm for the latter.

In my AP Literature class, my teacher posed a question to which students had to write a creative response. A: A manicured green field of grass blades cut to perfectly matched lengths; a blue expanse ornamented with puffy cotton clouds; an immaculately painted red barn centered exactly at the top of a hill--the chicken gazes contentedly at his picturesque world.

Within an area surrounded by a shiny silver fence, he looks around at his friends: roosters pecking at a feast of grains and hens lounging on luxurious cushions of hay. On a day as pristine as all the others, the chicken is happily eating his lunchtime meal as the nice man carefully gathers the smooth white eggs when it notices that the man has left one behind.

Strangely located at the empty end of the metal enclosure, highlighted by the bright yellow sun, the white egg appears to the chicken different from the rest. The chicken moves towards the light to tacitly inform the man of his mistake. But then the chicken notices a jagged gray line on the otherwise flawless egg. Hypnotized and appalled, the chicken watches as the line turns into a crack and a small beak attached to a fuzzy yellow head pokes out.

Suddenly a shadow descends over the chicken and the nice man snatches the egg--the baby chick--and stomps off. The chicken--confused, betrayed, disturbed--slowly lifts its eyes from the now empty ground. For the first time, it looks past the silver fence of the cage and notices an unkempt sweep of colossal brown and green grasses opposite its impeccably crafted surroundings.

Cautiously, it inches closer to the barrier, farther from the unbelievable perfection of the farm, and discovers a wide sea of black gravel. Stained with gray stones and marked with yellow lines, it separates the chicken from the opposite field. The curious chicken quickly shuffles to Mother Hen, who has just settled on to her throne of hay and is closing her eyes.

I-I just saw one of those eggs, cracking, and there was a small yellow bird inside. It was a baby. Are those eggs that the nice man takes away babies? And that black ground! What is it? Her eyes flick open. Frozen in disbelief, the chicken tries to make sense of her harsh words. It replays the incident in its head.

Maybe Mother Hen is right. She just wants to protect me from losing it all. What if it was hers? The chicken knows it must escape; it has to get to the other side. Then the man reaches into the wooden coop, his back to the entrance.

With a backwards glance at his friends, the chicken feels a profound sadness and pity for their ignorance. It wants to urge them to open their eyes, to see what they are sacrificing for materialistic pleasures, but he knows they will not surrender the false reality. Alone, the chicken dashes away. The chicken stands at the line between green grass and black gravel. As it prepares to take its first step into the unknown, a monstrous vehicle with 18 wheels made of metal whizzes by, leaving behind a trail of gray exhaust.

Once it regains its breath, it moves a few inches onto the asphalt. Three more speeding trucks stop its chicken heart. He gives us food, and a home. But the chicken dismisses the cowardly voice in its head, reminding itself of the injustice back in the deceptively charming prison. Over the next several hours, it learns to strategically position itself so that it is in line with the empty space between the tires of passing trucks.

It reaches the yellow dashes. A black blanket gradually pushes away the glowing sun and replaces it with diamond stars and a glowing crescent. It reaches the untouched field. With a deep breath, the chicken steps into the swathe, a world of tall beige grass made brown by the darkness.

Unsure of what it may discover, it determines to simply walk straight through the brush, out on to the other side. For what seems like forever, it continues forward, as the black sky turns to purple, then blue, then pink.

Just as the chicken begins to regret its journey, the grass gives way to a vast landscape of trees, bushes, flowers--heterogeneous and variable, but nonetheless perfect. In a nearby tree, the chicken spots two adult birds tending to a nest of babies--a natural dynamic of individuals unaltered by corrupt influence.

We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Max was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified. I am acutely grateful for the conversations he and I shared around all of this, because I believe our relationship has been fundamentally strengthened by a deeper understanding of one another. Further, this experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me.

You just have to be clear and say something that matters. This essay is simple and beautiful. It almost feels like having a conversation with a friend and learning that they are an even better person than you already thought they were. We also learn a lot about their values—notably, the value they place on awareness, improvement, and consideration of others.

Though they never explicitly state it which is great because it is still crystal clear! The only part of this essay that could use a bit of work is the introduction. A short introduction can be effective, but this short first paragraph feels thrown in at the last minute and like it is missing its second half.

If you are keeping your introduction short, make it matter. Was I no longer the beloved daughter of nature, whisperer of trees? Knee-high rubber boots, camouflage, bug spray—I wore the garb and perfume of a proud wild woman, yet there I was, hunched over the pathetic pile of stubborn sticks, utterly stumped, on the verge of tears. As a child, I had considered myself a kind of rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees, who could glide through tick-infested meadows and emerge Lyme-free.

I knew the cracks of the earth like the scars on my own rough palms. Yet here I was, ten years later, incapable of performing the most fundamental outdoor task: I could not, for the life of me, start a fire. Furiously I rubbed the twigs together—rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers. No smoke. The twigs were too young, too sticky-green; I tossed them away with a shower of curses, and began tearing through the underbrush in search of a more flammable collection.

My efforts were fruitless. Livid, I bit a rejected twig, determined to prove that the forest had spurned me, offering only young, wet bones that would never burn. But the wood cracked like carrots between my teeth—old, brittle, and bitter. Roaring and nursing my aching palms, I retreated to the tent, where I sulked and awaited the jeers of my family.

Rattling their empty worm cans and reeking of fat fish, my brother and cousins swaggered into the campsite. Immediately, they noticed the minor stick massacre by the fire pit and called to me, their deep voices already sharp with contempt. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame. In the tent, I pondered my failure. Was I so dainty? Was I that incapable? I thought of my hands, how calloused and capable they had been, how tender and smooth they had become.

Crawling along the edge of the tent, a spider confirmed my transformation—he disgusted me, and I felt an overwhelming urge to squash him. I still eagerly explored new worlds, but through poems and prose rather than pastures and puddles. That night, I stayed up late with my journal and wrote about the spider I had decided not to kill. When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.

This Common App essay is well-written. The student is showing the admissions officers their ability to articulate their points beautifully and creatively. In addition to being well-written, this essay is thematically cohesive. Quite simply, this essay shows how quality writing can make a simple story outstandingly compelling. When I was younger, I was adamant that no two foods on my plate touch.

As a result, I often used a second plate to prevent such an atrocity. In many ways, I learned to separate different things this way from my older brothers, Nate and Rob. Growing up, I idolized both of them. Nate was a performer, and I insisted on arriving early to his shows to secure front row seats, refusing to budge during intermission for fear of missing anything. Rob was a three-sport athlete, and I attended his games religiously, waving worn-out foam cougar paws and cheering until my voice was hoarse.

My brothers were my role models. To me, they represented two contrasting ideals of what I could become: artist or athlete. I believed I had to choose. And for a long time, I chose athlete. I played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse and viewed myself exclusively as an athlete, believing the arts were not for me. I conveniently overlooked that since the age of five, I had been composing stories for my family for Christmas, gifts that were as much for me as them, as I loved writing.

So when in tenth grade, I had the option of taking a creative writing class, I was faced with a question: could I be an athlete and a writer? After much debate, I enrolled in the class, feeling both apprehensive and excited.

When I arrived on the first day of school, my teacher, Ms. Jenkins, asked us to write down our expectations for the class. I just want this to be a place where I can write freely. For the first two submission days, I had passed the time editing earlier pieces, eventually pretty quickly resorting to screen snake when hopelessness made the words look like hieroglyphics. I must not have been as subtle as I thought, as on the third of these days, Ms. Jenkins approached me.

After shifting from excuse to excuse as to why I did not submit my writing, I finally recognized the real reason I had withheld my work: I was scared. I yielded to Ms. By the time the letter came, I had already forgotten about the contest. When the flimsy white envelope arrived in the mail, I was shocked and ecstatic to learn that I had received 2nd place in a nationwide writing competition.

The next morning, however, I discovered Ms. Jenkins would make an announcement to the whole school exposing me as a poet. I have since seen more boys at my school identifying themselves as writers or artists. I no longer see myself as an athlete and a poet independently, but rather I see these two aspects forming a single inseparable identity — me. Despite their apparent differences, these two disciplines are quite similar, as each requires creativity and devotion.

I am still a poet when I am lacing up my cleats for soccer practice and still an athlete when I am building metaphors in the back of my mind — and I have realized ice cream and gummy bears taste pretty good together. This essay is cohesive as it centers around the theme of identity and the ability for two identities to coexist simultaneously an interesting theme! At times, this essay is also confusing. In the first paragraph, it feels like the narrative is actually going to be about separating your food and is somehow going to relate to the older brothers?

It is not entirely clear that this is a metaphor. Also, when the writer references the third submission day and then works backward to explain what a submission day is and that there are multiple throughout the semester, the timeline gets unnecessarily confusing. Reworking the way this paragraph unfolded would have been more compelling and less distracting. Skittering around the room, eyes wide and pleading, I frantically explained my situation to nearby coaches.

The seconds ticked away in my head; every polite refusal increased my desperation. Despair weighed me down. I sank to my knees as a stream of competitors, coaches, and officials flowed around me. My dojang had no coach, and the tournament rules prohibited me from competing without one. Although I wanted to remain strong, doubts began to cloud my mind. I could not help wondering: what was the point of perfecting my skills if I would never even compete?

The other members of my team, who had found coaches minutes earlier, attempted to comfort me, but I barely heard their words. Since my first lesson 12 years ago, the members of my dojang have become family. I have watched them grow up, finding my own happiness in theirs. Together, we have honed our kicks, blocks, and strikes. We have pushed one another to aim higher and become better martial artists.

Although my dojang had searched for a reliable coach for years, we had not found one. When we attended competitions in the past, my teammates and I had always gotten lucky and found a sympathetic coach. Now, I knew this practice was unsustainable. It would devastate me to see the other members of my dojang in my situation, unable to compete and losing hope as a result.

My dojang needed a coach, and I decided it was up to me to find one. However, these attempts only reacquainted me with polite refusals. I soon realized that I would have become the coach myself. At first, the inner workings of tournaments were a mystery to me. To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side. I learned everything from motivational strategies to technical, behind-the-scenes components of Taekwondo competitions.

Though I emerged with new knowledge and confidence in my capabilities, others did not share this faith. My self-confidence was my armor, deflecting their surly glances. Every armor is penetrable, however, and as the relentless barrage of doubts pounded my resilience, it began to wear down. I grew unsure of my own abilities. Despite the attack, I refused to give up. To quit would be to set them up to be barred from competing like I was.

Now that my dojang flourishes at competitions, the attacks on me have weakened, but not ended. I may never win the approval of every parent; at times, I am still tormented by doubts, but I find solace in the fact that members of my dojang now only worry about competing to the best of their abilities.

Now, as I arrive at a tournament with my students, I close my eyes and remember the past. I visualize the frantic search for a coach and the chaos amongst my teammates as we competed with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our respective divisions.

I open my eyes to the exact opposite scene. Lacking a coach hurt my ability to compete, but I am proud to know that no member of my dojang will have to face that problem again. This essay is great because it has a strong introduction and a strong conclusion. The introduction is notably suspenseful and draws readers into the story. Because we know it is a college essay, we can assume that the student is one of the competitors, but at the same time, this introduction feels intentionally ambiguous as if the writer could be a competitor, a coach, a sibling of a competitor, or anyone else in the situation.

As we continue reading the essay, we learn that the writer is, in fact, the competitor. This is a very compelling strategy! Plus, learn how to improve your own writing by providing peer reviews for other students. Submit or Review an Essay — for free! Submit or Review an Essay — for fr. Tears streamed down my face and my mind was paralyzed with fear.

Sirens blared, but the silent panic in my own head was deafening. I was muted by shock. A few hours earlier, I had anticipated a vacation in Washington, D. My fear turned into action as I made some of the bravest decisions of my life. Throughout her surgery, I anxiously awaited any word from her surgeon, but each time I asked, I was told that there had been another complication or delay. Relying on my faith and positive attitude, I remained optimistic that my mother would survive and that I could embrace new responsibilities.

My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work.

I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover. Each day was a stage in my gradual transformation from dependence to relative independence. I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process.

Although I have become more independent, my mother and I are inseparably close, and the realization that I almost lost her affects me daily. Each morning, I wake up ten minutes early simply to eat breakfast with my mother and spend time with her before our busy days begin. I am aware of how quickly life can change. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence.

Though I thought the summer before my freshman year would be a transition from middle school to high school, it was a transformation from childhood to adulthood. This essay feels real and tells readers a lot about the writer. It has drama, it has emotions, and it has the reader wanting more. And, when you keep going, you get to learn a lot about a very resilient and mature student.

It is simply a fact that they have proven! Sometimes writing about adversity can feel exploitative or oddly braggy. This student backs up everything they say with anecdotes that prove and show their strength and resilience, rather than just claiming their strengths. When I read this essay, I want to cheer for its writer! And I want to be able to continue cheering for them perhaps, if I were an admissions officer, that would make me want them at my school!

Armed with a red pen, I slowly walked across the room to a small, isolated table with pink stools. Swinging her legs, my young student beamed and giggled at me, slamming her pencil bag on the table and bending over to pick up one of her toys. Natalie always brought some new toy with her to lessons—toys which I would sternly take away from her and place under the table until she finished her work.

At the tutoring center where I work, a strict emphasis on discipline leaves no room for paper crowns or rubber chickens. Today, she had with her a large stuffed eagle from a museum. As she pulled out her papers, I slid the eagle to the other side of the table. She looked eagerly around, attempting to chat with other students as I impatiently called her attention to her papers. I cringed—there was no wondering why Natalie always had to sit by herself.

She was the antithesis of my academic values, and undoubtedly the greatest adversary of my teaching style. As the lesson progressed, Natalie became more fitful; she refused to release her feathered friend, and kept addressing the bird for help with difficult problems. We both grew increasingly more frustrated. Determined to tame this wryly, wiggling student, I stood my ground, set on converting this disobedient child to my calm, measured ways of study. Much like myself. Both the eagle and I were getting nowhere in this lesson—so we hatched a quick plan.

Lifting the eagle up in the air, I started reading in my best impersonation of an eagle, squawking my way through a spelling packet. The result provided a sense of instant gratification I never knew I needed. Despite my ostensibly dissatisfied attitude toward my students, I did not join the tutoring center simply to earn money.

I had always aspired to help others achieve their fullest potential. As a young adult, I felt that it was time for me to step out of the role of a pupil and into the influential role of a teacher, naively believing that I had the maturity and skill to adapt to any situation and help these students reach their highest achievements academically.

For the most part, the role of a stern-faced, strict instructor helped me get by in the workplace, and while my students never truly looked happy, I felt that it was part of the process of conditioning a child to learn. Ironically, my transition to adulthood was the result of a stuffed animal. It was indisputable that I always had the skill to instruct others; the only thing needed to instruct someone is knowledge of the subject.

However, it was only upon being introduced to a stuffed bird in which I realized that students receive the most help not from instructors, but teachers. While almost anyone can learn material and spit it back out for someone, it takes the maturity and passion of a teacher not only to help students improve in their students, but also to motivate them and develop them into better citizens.

From my young pupil and her little bird, I have undergone a change in attitude which reflects a growth in maturity and ability to improve the lives of others that I hope to implement in my future role as a student, activist, and physician. In this essay, the student effectively explores their values and how they learned them! While the writer humbly recognizes the initial faults in their teaching style, they do not position their initial discipline or rigidity as mean or poorly intentioned—simply ineffective.

My favorite part about this essay is its subtlety. The complexity of this narrative comes through reflection. The final sentence of this essay ties things up very nicely. Readers are left satisfied with the essay and convinced that its writer is a kind human with a large capacity for reflection and consideration.

That is a great image to paint of yourself! My newt, Isaac, fascinated me to no end, and I spent hours admiring his tenacity and resilience. For Christmas, I received a California newt and named him after Isaac Newton, for the wordplay and their unique personalities.

Real Newton, Isaac the newt, and I shared the same personality type: creative, ambitious, bold; however, I grew increasingly passive as my fear of failure overwhelmed my natural drive. Meanwhile, Isaac dauntlessly wrestled with earthworms twice his size. Even when he was sick, he continued to swim and climb, all despite the infection. He inspired me most with his courage, resourcefulness, and resilience, and I tried to regain confidence to be like him.

My interest in studying newts began when my former AP Biology teacher suggested an animal behavior project. Though I hoped to gather some information about the sensitivity of their skin, I discovered something even more interesting: tetrodotoxin, or TTX. Few researchers had studied TTX, and I was excited by its huge potential to alleviate human suffering as a non-addictive alternative to mainstream painkillers.

Since so few had studied it, I was shocked to discover a UCSF professor who studied toxins and ion channels. It took me hours to craft an email to inquire about his research, and I debated for another two hours on whether I should send it; I was afraid of appearing ignorant in front of such a respected scientist.

I kept worrying, Why would he want to meet a high schooler? Surprisingly, he responded that he was interested in meeting with me. During some discussion in his lab, he initially dismissed my suggestion of using electron microscopy in their research.

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My mom had specifically asked the waitress if there were peanuts in it, because when I was two we found out that I am deathly allergic to them. When the waitress replied no, I went for it. Suddenly I started scratching my neck, feeling the hives that had started to form. I rushed to the restroom to throw up because my throat was itchy and I felt a weight on my chest. I was experiencing anaphylactic shock, which prevented me from taking anything but shallow breaths.

I was fighting the one thing that is meant to protect me and keep me alive — my own body. All I knew was that I felt sick, and I was waiting for my mom to give me something to make it better. I thought my parents were superheroes; surely they would be able to make well again.

But I became scared when I heard the fear in their voices as they rushed me to the ER. After that incident, I began to fear. I became scared of death, eating, and even my own body. Ultimately, that fear turned into resentment; I resented my body for making me an outsider. In the years that followed, this experience and my regular visits to my allergy specialist inspired me to become an allergy specialist.

Even though I was probably only ten at the time, I wanted to find a way to help kids like me. I wanted to find a solution so that nobody would have to feel the way I did; nobody deserved to feel that pain, fear, and resentment. This past summer, I took a month-long course on human immunology at Stanford University.

I learned about the different mechanisms and cells that our bodies use in order to fight off pathogens. My desire to major in biology in college has been stimulated by my fascination with the human body, its processes, and the desire to find a way to help people with allergies.

To find out if your essay passes the Great College Essay Test like this one did, go here. This essay could work for prompts 1, 2, 5 and 7 for the Common App. Watkins was the coordinator of the foreign exchange student program I was enrolled in.

She had a nine year old son named Cody. I would babysit Cody every day after school for at least two to three hours. He would talk a lot about his friends and school life, and I would listen to him and ask him the meanings of certain words. He was my first friend in the New World. She had recently delivered a baby, so she was still in the hospital when I moved into their house. The Martinez family did almost everything together.

We made pizza together, watched Shrek on their cozy couch together, and went fishing on Sunday together. On rainy days, Michael, Jen and I would sit on the porch and listen to the rain, talking about our dreams and thoughts. Within two months I was calling them mom and dad. After I finished the exchange student program, I had the option of returning to Korea but I decided to stay in America. I wanted to see new places and meet different people.

After a few days of thorough investigation, I found the Struiksma family in California. They were a unique group. The host mom Shellie was a single mom who had two of her own sons and two Russian daughters that she had adopted. The kids always had something warm to eat, and were always on their best behavior at home and in school.

In the living room were six or seven huge amplifiers and a gigantic chandelier hung from the high ceiling. The kitchen had a bar. At first, the non-stop visits from strangers made me nervous, but soon I got used to them. I remember one night, a couple barged into my room while I was sleeping. It was awkward. In the nicest way possible, I told them I had to leave. They understood. The Ortiz family was my fourth family.

Kimberly, the host mom, treated me the same way she treated her own son. She made me do chores: I fixed dinner, fed their two dogs Sassy and Lady, and once a week I cleaned the bathroom. I also had to follow some rules: No food in my room, no using the family computer, no lights on after midnight, and no ride unless it was an emergency.

The first couple of months were really hard to get used to, but eventually I adjusted. I lived with the Ortiz family for seven months like a monk in the deep forest. It was unexpected and I only had a week to find a new host family.

I asked my friend Danielle if I could live with her until I found a new home. The Dirksen family had three kids. They were all different. Danielle liked bitter black coffee, Christian liked energy drinks, and Becca liked sweet lemon tea. After dinner, we would all play Wii Sports together.

I was the king of bowling, and Dawn was the queen of tennis. Afterward, we would gather in the living room and Danielle would play the piano while the rest of us sang hymns. Of course, those 28 months were too short to fully understand all five families, but I learned from and was shaped by each of them.

By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone; the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family; the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children; Mrs. In short:. He buries a series of essence images in his first paragraphs one per family.

When he reveals each lesson at the end, one after the other, we sense how all these seemingly random events are connected. We realize this writer has been carefully constructing this piece all along; we see the underlying structure. Each of the first five paragraphs works to SHOW. See how distinct each family is? He does this through specific images and objects.

Q: Why did he just show us all these details? A: To demonstrate what each family has taught him. He also goes one step further. Q: So what am I going to do with all these lessons? Identify your single greatest strength in this case, it was his ability to adapt to whatever life gave him.

Ask: how did I learn this? Show 1: "By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone. Show 2: "the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family" implication: he doesn't have this with his own family. Show 3: "the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children. Show 4: "Mrs.

Ortiz taught me the value of discipline. For years, processed snack foods ruled the kitchen kingdom of my household and animal products outnumbered plant-based offerings. I fully embraced this new eating philosophy to show my support. I became entranced by the world of nutritional science and how certain foods could help prevent cancer or boost metabolism.

Each new food I discovered gave me an education on the role diet plays on health. I learned that, by eating sweet potatoes and brown rice, you could cure acne and heart disease. I discovered eating leafy greens with citrus fruits could boost iron absorption rates.

I loved pairing my foods to create the perfect macronutrient balance. Did you know beans and rice make a complete protein? Food has also turned me into a sustainability nut. Living plant-based also saves the planet from the impact of animal agriculture. For the same amount of land space, a farmer can produce kilograms of soybeans versus 16 kilograms of beef. I do my part to have as small of an ecological footprint as I can.

I stopped using plastic snack bags and instead turned to reusable beeswax wraps. My favorite reusable appliance is my foldable straw. We are currently working on a restaurant campaign to encourage local eateries to create a plant-based, oil-free menu option and become PlantPure certified.

After discovering how many restaurants use oil in their cooking, I decided I needed to open a plant-based oil free cafe to make up for this gap. This allows me to educate people about nutritional science through the stomach. Finally, I am a strong proponent of hands-on experience for learning what good food looks and tastes like, so cooking is one of my favorite ways to teach the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.

Our society has taught us that delicious food has to make us feel guilty, when that is simply not the case. The best feeling in the world is falling in love with a dish and then learning all the health benefits that it provides the body. While my classmates complain about being tired, I have more energy because my body is finally getting the right macros, vitamins, and minerals it needs. But the foods I am particular about have changed.

Rather than a carboholic, I choose to call myself a vegeholic. Its instructions are simple: Open the Google Sheet, enter a number between 1 and 20 that best represents my level of happiness, and write a short comment describing the day. But the practical aspect of the spreadsheet is only a piece of what it has represented in my life. What had started as a farcical proposition of mine transformed into a playground where high school classmates and I convene every two weeks to prepare a savory afternoon snack for ourselves.

Hard-fought days of mixing cement and transporting supplies had paid off for the affectionate community we had immediately come to love. If happiness paves the roads of my life, my family is the city intertwined by those roads — each member a distinct neighborhood, a distinct story. In times of stress, whether it be studying for an upcoming derivatives test or presenting my research at an international conference, I dash to my father for help.

Coming from the dusty, people-packed backstreets of Thiruvananthapuram, India, he guides me in looking past the chaos and noticing the hidden accomplishments that lie in the corners. When in need of confidence, I find my mother, who taps her experiences living in her tranquil and sturdy tatami-covered home in Hiroshima, Japan, helping me prepare for my first high school dance or my final match in a tennis tournament. The Happiness Spreadsheet is also a battery monitor for enthusiasm. Other times, the battery is depleted, and I am frustrated by writer's block, when not a single melody, chord, or musical construct crosses my mind.

The Happiness Spreadsheet can be a hall of fame, but it can likewise be a catalog of mistakes, burdens, and grueling challenges. The idea was born spontaneously at lunch, and I asked two of my friends if they were interested in pursuing this exercise with me. To this day, I ponder its full importance in my life. With every new number I enter, I recognize that each entry is not what defines me; rather, it is the ever-growing line connecting all the data points that reflects who I am today.

Where will the Happiness Spreadsheet take me next? I was a left-handed kid who wrote from right to left, which made my writing comprehensible only to myself. Only after years of practice did I become an ambidextrous writer who could translate my incomprehensible writing.

As I look back on my life, I realized that this was my first act of translation. As I deciphered complex codes into comprehensible languages like rate of change and speed of an object, I gained the ability to solve even more complicated and fascinating problems. Now, I volunteer to tutor others: as a Korean tutor for friends who love Korean culture and a golf tutor for new team members.

Tutoring is how I integrate and strengthen new concepts for myself. I often put myself into their situation and ask, "What emotional support would I want or need if I was in this situation? However, my translation can't accurately account for the experiences I have yet to go through. After realizing the limitations of my experience, I created a bucket list full of activities out of my comfort zone, which includes traveling abroad by myself, publishing my own book, and giving a lecture in front of a crowd.

Although it is a mere list written on the front page of my diary, I found myself vividly planning and picturing myself accomplishing those moments. My knack for translating has led me to become a real-life Korean language translator. As an English to Korean letter translator in a non-profit organization, Compassion , I serve as a communication bridge between benefactors and children in developing countries, who communicate through monthly letters.

This experience has motivated me to learn languages like Spanish and Mandarin. As I get to know more about myself through different languages, I grew more confident to meet new people and build new friendships.

While translating has been a huge part of my life, a professional translator is not my dream job. I want to be an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist who manages the medication of patients with chronic diseases. In fact, translating is a huge part of the job of a clinical pharmacist. In one form or another, I've always been and will be a translator. I sit, cradled by the two largest branches of the Newton Pippin Tree, watching the ether. The Green Mountains of Vermont stretch out indefinitely, and from my elevated vantage point, I feel as though we are peers, motionless in solidarity.

But a few months ago, I would have considered this an utter waste of time. Prior to attending Mountain School, my paradigm was substantially limited; opinions, prejudices, and ideas shaped by the testosterone-rich environment of Landon School. I was herded by result-oriented, fast-paced, technologically-reliant parameters towards psychology and neuroscience the NIH, a mere 2. Subconsciously I knew this was not who I wanted to be and seized the chance to apply to the Mountain School.

Upon my arrival, though, I immediately felt I did not belong. I found the general atmosphere of hunky-dory acceptance foreign and incredibly unnerving. So, rather than engage, I retreated to what was most comfortable: sports and work. In the second week, the perfect aggregate of the two, a Broomball tournament, was set to occur. Though I had never played before, I had a distinct vision for it, so decided to organize it.

That night, the glow-in-the-dark ball skittered across the ice. My opponent and I, brooms in hand, charged forward. We collided and I banana-peeled, my head taking the brunt of the impact. Stubborn as I was, even with a concussion, I wanted to remain in class and do everything my peers did, but my healing brain protested. I began wandering around campus with no company except my thoughts. Throughout those days, I created a new-found sense of home in my head.

I am most enamored by ideas that cultivate ingenious and practical enrichments for humanity. I enjoy picking some conundrum, large or small, and puzzling out a solution. Returning from a cross country meet recently, my friend and I, serendipitously, designed a socially responsible disposable water bottle completely on accident.

Now we hope to create it. I am still interested in psychology and neuroscience, but also desire to incorporate contemplative thought into this work, analyzing enigmas from many different perspectives. My internships at the NIH and the National Hospital for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery in London have offered me valuable exposure to research and medicine. But I have come to realize that neither of my previous intended professions allow me to expand consciousness in the way I would prefer.

After much soul-searching, I have landed on behavioral economics as the perfect synergy of the fields I love. All it took was a knock on the head. Suddenly, a miniature gathering of the European Commission glares straight at me. I feel the pressure of picking one option over the other. What do I choose? Like the various nations of the European Union, the individual proponents of these culinary varieties are lobbying their interests to me, a miniature Jean-Claude Junker.

Now, you may be asking yourselves: why would I be so pensive over a meal choice? Every year, that same family gathers together in New York City to celebrate Christmas. These exact conversations drove me to learn more about what my parents, grandparents, and other relatives were debating with a polite and considerate passion.

In turn, participating in debate has expanded my knowledge regarding matters ranging from civil rights reparations to American redeployment in Iraq, while enriching my capacities to thoughtfully express my views on those and other issues, both during P. This awareness incited a passion for statecraft within me — the very art of balancing different perspectives - and therefore a desire to actively engage in government.

With my experiences in mind, I felt there was no better place to start than my own neighborhood of Bay Ridge. Most importantly, my family has taught me an integral life lesson. As our Christmas Dinner squabbles suggest, seemingly insurmountable impasses can be resolved through respect and dialogue, even producing delicious results! On a grander scale, it has elucidated that truly inclusive discourse and toleration of diverse perspectives render tribalism, sectarianism, and the divisive aspects of identity politics powerless over our cohesion.

I fundamentally value cultural, political, and theological variety; my own microcosm reflecting our global society at large has inspired me to strive to solve the many conflicts of bitterness and sectionalism in our world today. This vocation may come in the form of political leadership that truly respects all perspectives and philosophies, or perhaps as diplomacy facilitating unity between the various nations of the world.

Before I came to America, I drank Puer Tea with my father every morning in my bedroom, sitting cross-legged on Suzhou-silk mats beside a view of the Lakeside reservoir. Beside a dark end table, we picked up teacups as the mild aroma greeted our noses. As we faced the French window, my father would share the news he read in China Daily : the Syrian civil war, climate change, and gender equality in Hollywood. Most of the time, I only listened. With each piece of news, my curiosity piqued. Secretly, I made a decision that I wanted to be the one to discuss the news with him from my perspective.

So, I decided to study in America to learn more about the world. But, my new room lacked stories and cups of tea. Fortunately, I found Blue House Cafe on my walk home from church, and started studying there. With white walls, comfortable sofas, and high stools, Blue House is spacious and bright.

Similarly, as president of the International Students Club, I invited my teammates to have meetings with me at the cafe. Coordinating the schedule with other members in Blue House has become a frequent event. Consuming several cups of coffee, my team and I have planned Lunar New Year events, field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinese lunch in school to help international students feel more at home.

Straightening my back and bracing my shoulders, I stood up behind the conference table and expressed my creative ideas passionately. After each meeting, we shared buttermilk coffee-cake. In my spot next to the window, I also witnessed different kinds of people. I viewed visitors dragging their luggage, women carrying shopping bags, and people wandering in tattered clothes --the diversity of San Francisco.

Two years ago I saw volunteers wearing City Impact shirts offering sandwiches and hot chocolate to homeless people outside of the cafe. I investigated more about City Impact and eventually signed up to volunteer. No longer was I a bystander. At holiday outreach events, I prepared and delivered food to homeless people.

While sharing my coffee, I listened to a story from an older Chinese man who told me, in Mandarin, how he had been abandoned by his children and felt lonely. Last summer, I returned to Xiamen, China, and taught my father how to drink coffee. Now, a Chemex and teapot are both on the end table. Instead of simply listening, I shared my experiences as a club president, a community leader, and a volunteer. I showed him my business plan and prototypes.

I am so proud of you. Together, we emptied our cups while the smell of coffee lingered. I add the critically measured sugary tea mixture to the gallon jar containing the slimy, white, disc-shaped layers of the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. I place it on my kitchen counter, periodically checking it to relieve the built-up CO2. Finally, after an additional seventy-two hours, the time comes to try it. I crack the seal on the bottle, leaning over to smell what I assume will be a tangy, fruity, delicious pomegranate solution.

The insufferable stench fills my nostrils and crushes my confidence. I'm momentarily taken aback, unable to understand how I went wrong when I followed the recipe perfectly. My issue wasn't misreading the recipe or failing to follow a rule, it was bypassing my creative instincts and forgetting the unpredictable nature of fermentation. I needed to trust the creative side of kombucha— the side that takes people's perfectionist energy and explodes it into a puddle of rotten egg smelling 'booch my preferred name for the drink- not "fermented, effervescent liquid from a symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast".

I was too caught up in the side that requires extreme preciseness to notice when the balance between perfectionism and imperfectionism was being thrown off. The key, I have learned, is knowing when to prioritize following the recipe and when to let myself be creative. Sure, there are scientific variables such as proximity to heat sources and how many grams of sugar to add.

But, there's also person-dependent variables like how long I decide to ferment it, what fruits I decide will be a fun combination, and which friend I got my first SCOBY from taking "symbiotic" to a new level. I often find myself feeling pressured to choose one side or the other, one extreme over the alternative. I've been told that I can either be a meticulous scientist or a messy artist, but to be both is an unacceptable contradiction. However, I choose a grey area; a place where I can channel my creativity into the sciences, as well as channel my precision into my photography.

I still have the first photo I ever took on the first camera I ever had. Or rather, the first camera I ever made. Making that pinhole camera was truly a painstaking process: take a cardboard box, tap it shut, and poke a hole in it. Okay, maybe it wasn't that hard. But learning the exact process of taking and developing a photo in its simplest form, the science of it, is what drove me to pursue photography. I remember being so unhappy with the photo I took; it was faded, underexposed, and imperfect.

For years, I felt incredibly pressured to try and perfect my photography. It wasn't until I was defeated, staring at a puddle of kombucha, that I realized that there doesn't always have to be a standard of perfection in my art, and that excited me. So, am I a perfectionist? Or do I crave pure spontaneity and creativity? Can I be both? Perfectionism leaves little to be missed.

With a keen eye, I can quickly identify my mistakes and transform them into something with purpose and definitude. On the other hand, imperfection is the basis for change and for growth. My resistance against perfectionism is what has allowed me to learn to move forward by seeing the big picture; it has opened me to new experiences, like bacteria cross-culturing to create something new, something different, something better. I am not afraid of change or adversity, though perhaps I am afraid of conformity.

To fit the mold of perfection would compromise my creativity, and I am not willing to make that sacrifice. I hold onto my time as dearly as my Scottish granny holds onto her money. Precious minutes can show someone I care and can mean the difference between accomplishing a goal or being too late to even start and my life depends on carefully budgeting my time for studying, practicing with my show choir, and hanging out with my friends.

However, there are moments where the seconds stand still. It is already dark when I park in my driveway after a long day at school and rehearsals. Not paying attention to the clock, I allow myself to relax for a brief moment in my busy life. Laughter fills the show choir room as my teammates and I pass the time by telling bad jokes and breaking out in random bursts of movement.

This same sense of camaraderie follows us onstage, where we become so invested in the story we are portraying we lose track of time. My show choir is my second family. I realize I choreograph not for recognition, but to help sixty of my best friends find their footing. At the same time, they help me find my voice. The heavy scuba gear jerks me under the icy water, and exhilaration washes over me. Lost in the meditative rolling effect of the tide and the hum of the vast ocean, I feel present.

I dive deeper to inspect a vibrant community of creatures, and we float together, carefree and synchronized. My fascination with marine life led me to volunteer as an exhibit interpreter for the Aquarium of the Pacific, where I share my love for the ocean.

Most of my time is spent rescuing animals from small children and, in turn, keeping small children from drowning in the tanks. Finding this mutual connection over the love of marine life and the desire to conserve the ocean environment keeps me returning each summer.

She had just fallen while performing, and I could relate to the pain and fear in her eyes. The chaos of the show becomes distant, and I devote my time to bringing her relief, no matter how long it may take. I find what I need to treat her injury in the sports medicine training room. Saturday morning bagels with my family. Singing backup for Barry Manilow with my choir. Swimming with sea turtles in the Pacific. These are the moments I hold onto, the ones that define who I am, and who I want to be.

My whole life has been others invading my gender with their questions, tears signed by my body, and a war against my closet. Soon after this, I came out to my mom. My mom cried and said she loved me. She scheduled me an appointment with a gender therapist, let me donate my female clothes, and helped build a masculine wardrobe. With her help, I went on hormones five months after coming out and got surgery a year later.

I finally found myself, and my mom fought for me, her love was endless. Even though I had friends, writing, and therapy, my strongest support was my mother. On August 30th, my mom passed away unexpectedly. My favorite person, the one who helped me become the man I am today, ripped away from me, leaving a giant hole in my heart and in my life.

Life got dull. Learning how to wake up without my mom every morning became routine. Nothing felt right, a constant numbness to everything, and fog brain was my kryptonite. I paid attention in class, I did the work, but nothing stuck. It took over a year to get out of my slump. I shared my writing at open mics, with friends, and I cried every time. I embraced the pain, the hurt, and eventually, it became the norm.

I grew used to not having my mom around. My mom always wanted to change the world, to fix the broken parts of society. Not just for her, but for me, and all the people who need a support branch as strong as the one my mom gave me.

I am determined to make sure no one feels as alone as I did. I want to be able to reach people, and use motivational speaking as the platform. Are you tired of seeing an iPhone everywhere? Samsung glitchy? I present to you, the iTaylor. I am the iTaylor. On the outside, I look like any smart phone, but when you open my settings and explore my abilities, you will find I have many unique features.

Thanks to my positivity, I was chosen to give the morning announcements freshman year. Next up, language settings. Inspired, I began creating family events and even making efforts to grow closer to my second cousins. At eight years old, I was diagnosed with what some might call a glitch: epilepsy. Fortunately, a new IOS software update cured my condition by the age of 15, but through epilepsy, I gained a love of exploration.

Overcoming epilepsy taught me to take risks and explore new places. This brings us to the iTaylor location settings. I brought this desire home to a volunteer position at a local program for immigrant children. I helped the kids make presentations about their places of origin, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Sulu campaign, a regional pageant in the Philippines. It became clear that the English language, one I took for granted, is the central feature that brings groups together.

This past summer, I brought my talents to Scotland, playing the dual role of Artistic Director and leading character for Geek the Musical. I worked to promote the show in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival against 53, shows, reinventing ways to motivate the cast and connect with strangers from all over the world. We learned the more we connected, the more our audience grew. I applied these skills to my leadership positions at home, including my High School Theater Group, Players.

The rollout plan for the iTaylor is to introduce it to the theater market. My goal is to use performance and storytelling to expose audiences to different cultures, religions, and points of view. Perhaps if we all learned more about each other's lifestyles, the world would be more empathetic and integrated. So what do you think? Would you like an iTaylor of your own? The iTaylor College Edition is now available for pre-order. It delivers next fall. Upon graduation, I will be able to analyze medieval Spanish poems using literary terms and cultural context, describe the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative problem.

Despite knowing how to execute these very particular tasks, I currently fail to understand how to change a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a good insurance policy. A factory-model school system that has been left essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development. I have been conditioned to complete tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding. I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, thinking my scores were the only aspect that defined me; and they were.

I was getting everything right. Then, I ran for Student Government and failed. How could that be? I was statistically a smart kid with a good head on my shoulders, right? Surely someone had to have made a mistake. Little did I know, this was my first exposure to meaning beyond numbers. I had the epiphany that oh wait, maybe it was my fault that I had never prioritized communication skills, or open-mindedness qualities my fellow candidates possessed. Maybe it was me. That must be why I always had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help--no one ever asked me for it.

I resolved to alter my mindset, taking a new approach to the way I lived. From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills. I had never been more uncomfortable. I forced myself to learn to be vulnerable by asking questions even if I was terrified of being wrong.

My proficiency in using data evidence could not teach me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores show me how to be more open to criticism. The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, happened to be learning from those around me.

The process of achieving this new mindset came through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the new perspectives each person in my life could offer if I really took the time to connect. Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I began to consider the big-picture consequences my engagements could have. People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to learn to pay more attention to detail to understand every point of view.

I took on the state of what I like to call collaborative independence, and to my delight, I was elected to StuGo after my third year of trying. Not long ago, I would have fallen apart at the presence of any uncertainty.

As I further accept and advance new life skills, the more I realize how much remains uncertain in the world. Hopefully, my wings continue enabling me to fly, but it is going to take more than just me and my wings; I have to continue putting my faith in the air around me. I was ecstatic. We would become the first Mother-Son Indian duo on Food Network peeling potatoes, skinning chicken, and grinding spices, sharing our Bengali recipes with the world.

Always watching YouTube and never talking! The worst time came when my parents tried to fix their relationship. Repeated date nights induced more arguments. Enduring the stress of her restaurant, my father, and her mistakes, my mom attempted to end her life. Fortunately, I found her just in time.

Over the next two years, things were at times still hard, but gradually improved. My parents decided to start anew, took some time apart, then got back together. My mom started to pick me up from activities on time and my dad and I bonded more, watching Warriors and 49ers games. I wanted back the family I had before the restaurant--the one that ate Luchi Mongsho together every Sunday night.

So I looked for comfort in creation. I began spending more time in our garage , carefully constructing planes from sheets of foam. I found purpose balancing the fuselage or leveling the ailerons to precisely 90 degrees. I loved cutting new parts and assembling them perfectly. Here , I could fix all the mistakes. In high school, I slowly began to forge a community of creators with my peers. Sophomore year, I started an engineering club and found that I had a talent for managing people and encouraging them to create an idea even if it failed.

I also learned how to take feedback and become more resilient. Here, I could nerd-out about warp drives and the possibility of anti-matter without being ignored. I would give a weekly report on new technology and we would have hour-long conversations about the various uses a blacker material could have.

While building a community at school rebuilt my confidence, I still found I enjoyed being alone at times. Looking back and perhaps inadvertently , the conflicts from the restaurant days have taught me valuable lessons. Helping my mom through her relationship taught me to watch out for those in emotional distress.

Spending nights alone made me more independent--after all, it was then that I signed up for advanced math and programming courses and decided to apply for software internships. Most of all, seeing my mom start her restaurant from no food-industry experience inspired me to found two clubs and a Hydrogen Car Team. Even though we eat Luchi Monsho on a monthly basis now, I know my family will never be the way it was.

But I can use them to improve the present. I stayed up all night reading through documents related to Army support contracts in Iraq and Kuwait in I asked my dad about it the next day and he said, "It was a mistake I made that has been resolved. I was always scared of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Violence has always surrounded me and haunted me.

After 14 years of living in a region destroyed by violence, I was sent away to boarding school in a region known for peace, Switzerland. What if my parents had not won that Green card? What if we had stayed in the USA and had not come back to Bulgaria? These are the questions whose answers I will never know unless, of course, they invent a time machine by Hidden behind that short statement is my journey of discovering where I belong.

My parents moved to the United States when I was two years old. For the next four years it was my home country. I was an American. I fell in love with Dr. It took just one day for all of that to disappear. Twenty hours later I was standing in the middle of an empty room, which itself was in the middle of an unknown country.

It began to follow me on my way to school. It sat right behind me in class. No matter what I was doing, I could sense its ubiquitous presence. Just when it seemed to have faded away, it reappeared resuming its tormenting influence on me—a constant reminder of all that could have been. What if I had won that national competition in the United States?

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RESUME OF LECTURER

We know about them too. Aah, the power of Google Pick one topic and stay with it. You don't have a lot of room to discuss a variety of different topics, so strive for depth on one subject versus breadth. Make sure your essay can stand alone. Avoid saying something along the lines of, "As I stated earlier in my application You get a gold star for putting your name and 8-digit U of M ID number on top of the essay pages as well.

Be careful with humor. It can be tough to pull off in writing and remember — you don't necessarily know your audience. Your essay will be read by a number of different people from a wide array of ages and backgrounds. Tell us what is unique about you. Is there something different about your personal experiences? Your response should provide us with an opportunity to get to know you on a more personal level, beyond your G. Use recent examples. It's always best to focus on issues that occurred while you were in high school since we're only reviewing your high school performance when determining if you'll be admitted.

If something happened when you were younger, that has significantly affected you, talk about it, but then put the focus on how this event has affected you in recent years. Watch your tone. There's a big difference in focusing your essay on "U of M needs me as a student because Don't make excuses. If you've had a poor or inconsistent grade performance due to unusual or stressful circumstances, feel free to share that information with us; it can be useful.

Don't strain credibility by making up false excuses. Be honest — we'll respect that. Be truthful, but make sure you're comfortable with your potential audience. Students often feel compelled to share extremely personal and even traumatic experiences in their responses — health issues, death of a family member, abuse, etc. We will absolutely keep your information confidential; however, if you decide to reveal something deeply personal, be aware that a number of people will potentially be reading your essay.

Tell us why we're great. Talk about campus programs you've attended. Tell us why you're a great fit. Remember that athletics can be a reason, but should not be the only reason you want to come to! Essay fright?

Most fail. That's because they are writing either what they think a college admissions representative wants to read or they don't understand the objective of the essay. Sports Victory — how our team won the big game in the last few seconds because of my commitment, drive, and focus. Miss America — how performing community service has taught me the importance of helping others and achieving world peace.

Grandma — how she overcame so many obstacles. The 3 D's — how I endured the hardship of divorce, drugs, or death. Sense of Entitlement — how my travel and numerous enrichment experiences have broadened my horizons.

Value of Life — how the death of a pet inspired introspection. The Resume — how my entire life from preschool until today has prepared me for life at your college campus. A laundry list of character traits — how my commitment, leadership, eagerness, determination, and discipline make me a great applicant. Here are some essay rules that should help get the creative juices flowing: Brainstorm with family and friends — ask them, "what makes me different from my friends and siblings?

Keep the scale manageable — don't try to tell your life's story, better to focus instead on a simple moment in time. Grab them with your lead — after reading your introductory sentence, you want someone to think, "Wow, this is going to be an interesting essay. I'd like to meet this student. Use humor , but only if it works for your topic, and it speaks to your personality. Let the readers get to know you , what makes you tick.

Reveal the inner you, and you'll be certain that no one else has written the same essay. Proof your work. Bad grammar and mechanics can hurt you. Write a draft. Let it sit for a day or two, revisit and edit and then pass it along to someone who knows you well who you feel is a strong writer. Incorporate his or her comments and redraft the essay. Proof again. Skip to Main Content. District Home. Select a School Select a School. Sign In. Search Our Site. The student has a solid grasp of language, a high-level vocabulary, and a valuable message, though they would be better off if they avoided summarizing their point and created more seamless transitions.

Growing up, I always wanted to eat, play, visit, watch, and be it all: sloppy joes and spaetzle, Beanie Babies and Steiff, Cape Cod and the Baltic Sea, football and fussball, American and German. My American parents relocated our young family to Berlin when I was three years old. My exposure to America was limited to holidays spent stateside and awfully dubbed Disney Channel broadcasts.

As the few memories I had of living in the US faded, my affinity for Germany grew. As a child, I viewed my biculturalism as a blessing. Until that moment, my cheers had felt sincere. Caught in a twilight of foreign and familiar, I felt emotionally and psychologically disconnected from the two cultures most familiar to me.

After moving from Berlin to New York at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment. Looking and sounding American furthered my feelings of dislocation. Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. I wanted desperately to be a member of one, if not both, cultures.

In between games and snacks, Emily would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama. Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. American culture was no longer completely foreign to me. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past.

My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself. Now, I have an appreciation of myself that I never felt before. By helping a young refugee find comfort, happiness, and home in America, I was finally able to find those same things for myself. Though the essay shifts from this lighthearted introduction to more serious subject matter around the third paragraph, the shift is not abrupt or jarring.

Ultimately, this essay is successful due to its satisfying ending. As the student describes how, in the end, their complicated cultural identity still exists but transitions to a source of strength, readers are left feeling happy for the student. This means that they have formed a connection with the student, which is the ultimate goal! New record! Pleased with my progress, I gazed down at my worn-out pointe shoes. The sweltering blisters, numbing ice-baths, and draining late-night practices did not seem so bad after all.

Next goal: five turns. For as long as I can remember, ballet, in all its finesse and glamor, had kept me driven day to day. As a child, the lithe ballerinas, donning ethereal costumes as they floated across the stage, were my motivation. As I devoted more time and energy towards my craft, I became obsessed with improving my technique. I would stretch for hours after class, forcing my leg one inch higher in an effort to mirror the Dance Magazine cover girls. I injured my feet and ruined pair after pair of pointe shoes, turning on wood, cement, and even grass to improve my balance as I spun.

I believed that, with enough determination, I would one day attain their level of perfection. Reaching the quadruple- pirouette milestone only intensified my desire to accomplish even more. I walked into my first session eager to learn from distinguished ballet masters and worldly dancers, already anticipating my improvement. Yet, as I danced alongside the accomplished ballerinas, I felt out of place. Despite their clean technique and professional training, they did not aim for glorious leg extensions or prodigious leaps.

When they performed their turn combinations, most of them only executed two turns as I attempted four. Taken aback and confused, I wondered why our teacher expected so little from us. The other ballerinas seemed content, gracing the studio with their simple movements. As I grew closer with my Moscow roommates, I gradually learned that their training emphasized the history of the art form instead of stylistic tricks.

Rather than show off their physical ability, their performances aimed to convey a story, one that embodied the rich culture of ballet and captured both the legacy of the dancers before them and their own artistry. As I observed my friends more intently in repertoire class, I felt the pain of the grief-stricken white swan from Swan Lake , the sass of the flirtatious Kitri from Don Quijote, and I gradually saw what I had overlooked before. My definition of talent had been molded by crowd-pleasing elements—whirring pirouettes , gravity-defying leaps, and mind-blowing leg extensions.

This mindset slowly stripped me from the roots of my passion and my personal connection with ballet. With the Bolshoi, I learned to step back and explore the meaning behind each step and the people behind the scenes. My journey as an artist has allowed me to see how technical execution is only the means to a greater understanding between dancer and spectator, between storyteller and listener. The elegance and complexity of ballet does not revolve around astonishing stunts but rather the evocative strength and artistry manifested in the dancer, in me.

It is the combination of sentiments, history, tradition, and passion that has allowed ballet and its lessons of human connection to become my lifestyle both on and off stage. It is purposefully reflective. Intentional language creates a clear character arc that begins with an eager young ballerina and ends with the student reflecting on their past. The main weakness of this essay though this is a stellar essay is its formulaic beginning. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain.

Despite being twins, Max and I are profoundly different. Having intellectual interests from a young age that, well, interested very few of my peers, I often felt out of step in comparison with my highly-social brother. Everything appeared to come effortlessly for Max and, while we share an extremely tight bond, his frequent time away with friends left me feeling more and more alone as we grew older. When my parents learned about The Green Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also — perhaps more importantly — a community.

This meant transferring the family from Drumfield to Kingston. And while there was concern about Max, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. I was ecstatic to discover a group of students with whom I shared interests and could truly engage.

Preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned. Max, lost in the fray and grappling with how to make connections in his enormous new high school, had become withdrawn and lonely. It took me until Christmas time — and a massive argument — to recognize how difficult the transition had been for my brother, let alone that he blamed me for it.

Through my own journey of searching for academic peers, in addition to coming out as gay when I was 12, I had developed deep empathy for those who had trouble fitting in. It was a pain I knew well and could easily relate to. In my heart, though, I knew that regardless of who had made the decision, we ended up in Kingston for my benefit.

I was ashamed that, while I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. We stayed up half the night talking, and the conversation took an unexpected turn. He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain.

We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Max was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified. I am acutely grateful for the conversations he and I shared around all of this, because I believe our relationship has been fundamentally strengthened by a deeper understanding of one another. Further, this experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me.

You just have to be clear and say something that matters. This essay is simple and beautiful. It almost feels like having a conversation with a friend and learning that they are an even better person than you already thought they were. We also learn a lot about their values—notably, the value they place on awareness, improvement, and consideration of others. Though they never explicitly state it which is great because it is still crystal clear!

The only part of this essay that could use a bit of work is the introduction. A short introduction can be effective, but this short first paragraph feels thrown in at the last minute and like it is missing its second half.

If you are keeping your introduction short, make it matter. Was I no longer the beloved daughter of nature, whisperer of trees? Knee-high rubber boots, camouflage, bug spray—I wore the garb and perfume of a proud wild woman, yet there I was, hunched over the pathetic pile of stubborn sticks, utterly stumped, on the verge of tears. As a child, I had considered myself a kind of rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees, who could glide through tick-infested meadows and emerge Lyme-free.

I knew the cracks of the earth like the scars on my own rough palms. Yet here I was, ten years later, incapable of performing the most fundamental outdoor task: I could not, for the life of me, start a fire. Furiously I rubbed the twigs together—rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers. No smoke.

The twigs were too young, too sticky-green; I tossed them away with a shower of curses, and began tearing through the underbrush in search of a more flammable collection. My efforts were fruitless. Livid, I bit a rejected twig, determined to prove that the forest had spurned me, offering only young, wet bones that would never burn.

But the wood cracked like carrots between my teeth—old, brittle, and bitter. Roaring and nursing my aching palms, I retreated to the tent, where I sulked and awaited the jeers of my family. Rattling their empty worm cans and reeking of fat fish, my brother and cousins swaggered into the campsite.

Immediately, they noticed the minor stick massacre by the fire pit and called to me, their deep voices already sharp with contempt. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame. In the tent, I pondered my failure. Was I so dainty? Was I that incapable?

I thought of my hands, how calloused and capable they had been, how tender and smooth they had become. Crawling along the edge of the tent, a spider confirmed my transformation—he disgusted me, and I felt an overwhelming urge to squash him. I still eagerly explored new worlds, but through poems and prose rather than pastures and puddles. That night, I stayed up late with my journal and wrote about the spider I had decided not to kill. When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.

This Common App essay is well-written. The student is showing the admissions officers their ability to articulate their points beautifully and creatively. In addition to being well-written, this essay is thematically cohesive. Quite simply, this essay shows how quality writing can make a simple story outstandingly compelling.

When I was younger, I was adamant that no two foods on my plate touch. As a result, I often used a second plate to prevent such an atrocity. In many ways, I learned to separate different things this way from my older brothers, Nate and Rob.

Growing up, I idolized both of them. Nate was a performer, and I insisted on arriving early to his shows to secure front row seats, refusing to budge during intermission for fear of missing anything. Rob was a three-sport athlete, and I attended his games religiously, waving worn-out foam cougar paws and cheering until my voice was hoarse. My brothers were my role models. To me, they represented two contrasting ideals of what I could become: artist or athlete. I believed I had to choose.

And for a long time, I chose athlete. I played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse and viewed myself exclusively as an athlete, believing the arts were not for me. I conveniently overlooked that since the age of five, I had been composing stories for my family for Christmas, gifts that were as much for me as them, as I loved writing. So when in tenth grade, I had the option of taking a creative writing class, I was faced with a question: could I be an athlete and a writer?

After much debate, I enrolled in the class, feeling both apprehensive and excited. When I arrived on the first day of school, my teacher, Ms. Jenkins, asked us to write down our expectations for the class. I just want this to be a place where I can write freely.

For the first two submission days, I had passed the time editing earlier pieces, eventually pretty quickly resorting to screen snake when hopelessness made the words look like hieroglyphics. I must not have been as subtle as I thought, as on the third of these days, Ms. Jenkins approached me. After shifting from excuse to excuse as to why I did not submit my writing, I finally recognized the real reason I had withheld my work: I was scared.

I yielded to Ms. By the time the letter came, I had already forgotten about the contest. When the flimsy white envelope arrived in the mail, I was shocked and ecstatic to learn that I had received 2nd place in a nationwide writing competition. The next morning, however, I discovered Ms. Jenkins would make an announcement to the whole school exposing me as a poet. I have since seen more boys at my school identifying themselves as writers or artists. I no longer see myself as an athlete and a poet independently, but rather I see these two aspects forming a single inseparable identity — me.

Despite their apparent differences, these two disciplines are quite similar, as each requires creativity and devotion. I am still a poet when I am lacing up my cleats for soccer practice and still an athlete when I am building metaphors in the back of my mind — and I have realized ice cream and gummy bears taste pretty good together.

This essay is cohesive as it centers around the theme of identity and the ability for two identities to coexist simultaneously an interesting theme! At times, this essay is also confusing. In the first paragraph, it feels like the narrative is actually going to be about separating your food and is somehow going to relate to the older brothers?

It is not entirely clear that this is a metaphor. Also, when the writer references the third submission day and then works backward to explain what a submission day is and that there are multiple throughout the semester, the timeline gets unnecessarily confusing.

Reworking the way this paragraph unfolded would have been more compelling and less distracting. Skittering around the room, eyes wide and pleading, I frantically explained my situation to nearby coaches. The seconds ticked away in my head; every polite refusal increased my desperation. Despair weighed me down. I sank to my knees as a stream of competitors, coaches, and officials flowed around me.

My dojang had no coach, and the tournament rules prohibited me from competing without one. Although I wanted to remain strong, doubts began to cloud my mind. I could not help wondering: what was the point of perfecting my skills if I would never even compete? The other members of my team, who had found coaches minutes earlier, attempted to comfort me, but I barely heard their words. Since my first lesson 12 years ago, the members of my dojang have become family.

I have watched them grow up, finding my own happiness in theirs. Together, we have honed our kicks, blocks, and strikes. We have pushed one another to aim higher and become better martial artists. Although my dojang had searched for a reliable coach for years, we had not found one. When we attended competitions in the past, my teammates and I had always gotten lucky and found a sympathetic coach. Now, I knew this practice was unsustainable.

It would devastate me to see the other members of my dojang in my situation, unable to compete and losing hope as a result. My dojang needed a coach, and I decided it was up to me to find one. However, these attempts only reacquainted me with polite refusals. I soon realized that I would have become the coach myself.

At first, the inner workings of tournaments were a mystery to me. To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side. I learned everything from motivational strategies to technical, behind-the-scenes components of Taekwondo competitions. Though I emerged with new knowledge and confidence in my capabilities, others did not share this faith. My self-confidence was my armor, deflecting their surly glances.

Every armor is penetrable, however, and as the relentless barrage of doubts pounded my resilience, it began to wear down. I grew unsure of my own abilities. Despite the attack, I refused to give up. To quit would be to set them up to be barred from competing like I was. Now that my dojang flourishes at competitions, the attacks on me have weakened, but not ended. I may never win the approval of every parent; at times, I am still tormented by doubts, but I find solace in the fact that members of my dojang now only worry about competing to the best of their abilities.

Now, as I arrive at a tournament with my students, I close my eyes and remember the past. I visualize the frantic search for a coach and the chaos amongst my teammates as we competed with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our respective divisions. I open my eyes to the exact opposite scene. Lacking a coach hurt my ability to compete, but I am proud to know that no member of my dojang will have to face that problem again.

This essay is great because it has a strong introduction and a strong conclusion. The introduction is notably suspenseful and draws readers into the story. Because we know it is a college essay, we can assume that the student is one of the competitors, but at the same time, this introduction feels intentionally ambiguous as if the writer could be a competitor, a coach, a sibling of a competitor, or anyone else in the situation.

As we continue reading the essay, we learn that the writer is, in fact, the competitor. This is a very compelling strategy! Plus, learn how to improve your own writing by providing peer reviews for other students. Submit or Review an Essay — for free! Submit or Review an Essay — for fr.

Tears streamed down my face and my mind was paralyzed with fear. Sirens blared, but the silent panic in my own head was deafening.

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Four College Essay Mistakes to Avoid

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Some essay samples below are by students who chose to write about a liver cancer, I was twelve and I was angry--mostly with myself. The value in reading college essays is in understanding why admission officers thought they worked. Review these college essay examples and. If you write about one of these topics, you have to work harder to stand out, so working with a more nuanced topic is often safer and easier.