Smell that? That’s senior university application stress sweat. Ick. I’ve been having a hard time with the essay section. I keep feeling as if they’re trick questions. “Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.” (Commonapp.org). Operating word being believe. Oh, I believe. I believe I have a story that is central to my identity. Here, have my story that I believe makes me the person who I ammmmm. So fruity and condescending.
In trying to be original, or at least unique, I don’t want to come off as a try hard. In trying to share my story, I don’t want to be pitied for it. And a part of me just refuses to let anybody know my innermost desires, so I feel like showing the university my talents and goals is too intimate. In that, I risk not being genuine. It’s a Catch-22. Is it? I’ve never read the book.
I like to consider myself a good writer; but what type of writer is afraid of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard. Whoah, it’s the 21st century already?!)? So far I have six sentences written and I’m not sure how I feel about them. I guess I just need to keep on going and quit having the compulsive need of producing perfect sentences for my first draft.
For all the high school seniors out there struggling with the same thing right now, I leave you off with the following tips:
1. Present yourself. This university has never met you. Show them who you are beyond your statistics and grades.
2. You can be unique, but only if you can pull it off. Sure, sending in a Shakespearean sonnet is impressive, but don’t it attempt if you know poetry isn’t your strong point.
3. Don’t go for pity. Never go for pity. Incite thoughtfulness, approval, rage … but not pity.
4. This one seems to matter the most: show them the elements of your personality. Your goals, your interests, your talents, your strengths, your sensitivities. Show them that you’re a person.
5. Go and start writing your essay. Stop browsing for advice and just start. Throw out random sentences, phrases, words even, that you want to use and your essay will eventually come together.