Better Barbie MAG

By Jesse Kurowski, Grand Ledge, MI

I don’t have any alumni ties to Brown, though it’s possible I could be the long-lost granddaughter of James S. Miller. Never have I sailed the Pacific Ocean on the back of a humpback whale, nor can I wrap sushi with the skill of former Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. I haven’t done much research regarding podiatry, and chances are I will never win the Michigan Mega-Millions lottery. I am, however, the proud owner of a Little Mermaid Edition Barbie.

At some point in almost every little girl’s life, she becomes engrossed in the Pepto-Bismol-pink world of Barbies, a place I entered at the age of seven. My sister, Hannah, and I decided to take our collection of 11-inch plastic friends for a dip in the pool one sweltering summer day. Hours of giggling resulted from tossing the Barbies as high as we could into the air and watching them dive gracefully into the waves. Three … two … one, I launched my Little Mermaid doll in the same fashion as Apollo 11. We watched her rocket into the sky. I glanced at my sister, who was scrambling through her scorecards to make sure she had the well-deserved “10” ready. My eyes returned upward, anticipating the gymnastic stunts Barbie would undoubtedly deliver to her enraptured audience. Where was she? The crowd was growing restless. Had she landed on the moon?

Utterly bewildered, we combed through the freshly mown grass and woods, but unfortunately, our search bore no fruit. After a moment of sorrow, our tiny attention spans directed us to a different game, and our minds fluttered away.

Over the years, I encountered many of my own quirky adventures. As a field biologist intern, I camped for 15 days on an uninhabited island, purified my own water, surveyed the endangered Piping Plover, tested the water quality of lakes, and found my way out of 70,000 acres of northern Michigan wilderness. My view of the world broadened through travels and encounters with the Costa Rican, German, French, and Australian cultures. I won varsity letters, had my poetry published, and volunteered at a local hospital, and as I grew older, the mystery of the once-beloved Little Mermaid Edition Barbie faded into a misty memory.

One recent fall day, rainbow-colored leaves swirled through the air and the chilly breeze carried its pleasant scent, an amalgamation of bonfire and pumpkin. Upon the rooftop was not good Saint Nick, but rather my dad, cleaning the leaves off our house. Tied to the branch of an ancient oak tree, the tire swing moved my body in a pendulum motion. My dad approached with something dark in his hands. “Eh … does this belong to you, or Hannah?” he said with a look of perplexity painted on his face. I couldn’t believe my eyes: It was the Little Mermaid Edition Barbie! The poor girl – she was an absolute disaster. I affirmed my ownership of the traveler, and took her battered body in my hands.

Nine years had passed since I had seen the almost-world-renowned Olympic diver. I recalled that summer day and smiled as memories flooded my mind. She looked as though she’d been struck by lightning a few times, weathered heavy monsoons, and held onto the gutter for dear life during tornados. Her mangled arm appeared to have been mistaken for a worm by a ferocious momma bird. Leaves, dirt, and other debris were entwined in her once shiny, cherry locks. Her attire was tattered – she seemed to have fashioned herself a Tarzan-esque ensemble. Her ingenuity was impressive; it reminded me of an experience in which I had to craft socks out of a garbage bag and medical tape, then wear them for three days in pouring rain. Nevertheless, one thing stood out as I ogled my long-lost friend: her face.

She wore a radiant smile, a look of contentment, self-confidence, and accomplishment. With head held high and a positive attitude, she had battled life’s unexpected challenges. She knows now what it means to strive and succeed. I realized the world of pink doesn’t fit someone with so much potential, so much passion for learning, so much heart, independence, and creativity. I looked at her and saw myself reflected in her sapphire eyes.

Like her, my dreams lie far beyond those of a Stepford wife, and with the ability to bend and not break, I am ready to step out of my plastic box society, through the Van Winkle gates, and into a world of endless possibilities. I crave the works of Thoreau and Emerson, not mall directories or grocery lists. I desire adventure and the opportunity to study new cultures. I long to write what I want and voice my opinions with my whole heart behind them. And as the Little Mermaid Edition Barbie sits on my shelf, next to musical and athletic trophies, behind silly pictures of friends, and alongside books by Maya Angelou and Lewis Carroll, she reminds me of myself. For this ambitious girl, pink is not enough; she is ready to dive into Brown.



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This article has 136 comments.


pollito said...
on Dec. 2 2011 at 12:47 pm
Sonn :DD

Mimi said...
on Dec. 1 2011 at 7:59 pm
I love your essays. they rock. keep going

writersblock said...
on Nov. 13 2011 at 11:30 pm
I absolutely love the essay! There is so much imagery and your play on words is incredible. After reading the essay, one simply must smile at how well BARBIE was portrayed. HOWEVER, although I personally have not read the book 100 college essays or whatnot, I read the excerpt and I really think it is an exact plagiarism. I'm really sorry to say, but it is disappointing to know that the magazine actually allowed your essay to be written. 

Jessbug SILVER said...
on Nov. 13 2011 at 4:55 pm
Jessbug SILVER, Jersey City, New Jersey
9 articles 22 photos 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

I agree so much that it seems like the writer of the article wanted to brag just a little more about how oh so nature-loving and accomplished they are. In my opinion, the essay seemed kind of fake, but maybe that's the cynic in me.

on Nov. 7 2011 at 7:46 pm
Sarahhhhhhh BRONZE, Malden, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence."
- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

AND IT WAS IN THE MAGAZINE??? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! 

Plagarism is disgusting. 

Alright I'm done. 


on Nov. 7 2011 at 7:42 pm
Sarahhhhhhh BRONZE, Malden, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence."
- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Congrats honey, you blew your chances at Brown. I'd bet money that EVERY SINGLE admissions counselor has read the essay book you plagarized from. They'll recoognize the premise and introduction in a heartbeat. Writing a mediocre essay is better than stealing someone else's. With this kind of thing, I doubt you'll get in anywhere. 

on Oct. 31 2011 at 1:56 pm
CocoHorsager BRONZE, Ladera Ranch, California
1 article 1 photo 3 comments
I really liked this essay!! but its just too close to one i have read in the book "100 Succesful College Application Essays"

DoingMyBest said...
on Oct. 25 2011 at 1:46 pm
Harvard is NUMBER 2 worldwide. Cambridge is #1.

Meghan said...
on Oct. 19 2011 at 1:18 am
I guess I'll be in the minority when saying that I really didn't think this was a very good essay. While the theme was interesting, it wasn't exactly extraordinary. If you "sail into Brown," hopefully your other credentials are high, because this essay isn't top notch. The analogy is much too abstract, and it seems like you simply used it to get a chance to list your resume in case they forgot to read your application. I only really enjoyed the last paragraph, and it seemed a little contradictory in comparison to the rest of the essay; I was just really thrown off and distracted by your breaks to make sure the reader knows just how "nature-loving" you are. Furthermore, the comments have plenty of people telling you that your introduction is nearly plagiarized; that alone would be enough for me to stop taking your essay seriously if I were an admissions counselor. It isn't "inspiration" when there are pieces that are verbatim. I really hope the colleges that you've used this essay for catch the resemblance and deny you, or at the very least, chastise you harshly. Plagiarism is wrong, and if you didn't learn that in high school, you probably missed it because you were on a field trip in the jungle. 

angie said...
on Oct. 18 2011 at 10:56 am
Your essay is very well written. However, I've read that essay in the book '100 Successful College Application Essay' and I would say your essay is more than 'inspired' by that one. You open with the same introduction and link same things. Well written, but it's a rip-off... Be more original.

on Oct. 17 2011 at 6:51 pm
ExileOnMainstreet, Edmonton, Other
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows. " Andy Warhol

HAHAHA Harvard is ranked number one worldwide... nice try though!

on Oct. 12 2011 at 8:52 pm
Kelso1093 BRONZE, Stanardsville, Virginia
4 articles 4 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of the unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.
~Tuck Everlasting

Wow, this essay was extremely well written! It made me laugh throughout the whole thing, and I love how you tied everything up in the last paragraph, relating the barbie to you. I don't care what anyone else says about this, I thought it was absolutely brilliant and I wish you the best of luck of getting into Brown!

BullShit said...
on Oct. 12 2011 at 6:34 pm
Yeah, well I'm an admissions officer at an even more highly rated school and I think its phony bs.

on Oct. 12 2011 at 6:32 pm
you ripped this essay off! you'll fit in perfectly at brown.

on Oct. 11 2011 at 10:02 am
JBowley96 BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
I really enjoy this essay's word choice, it creates wonderfully vivid imagery and really puts you into the story.

Josie<3 said...
on Oct. 10 2011 at 10:46 pm
I really liked this essay. Great job. :)

mimi said...
on Oct. 10 2011 at 12:07 am
I'd say it is inspired.

English said...
on Oct. 6 2011 at 1:15 pm

I think this is plagarized. yes? no? You be the judge... in the book "100 Successful College Application Essays" edited by the staff at The Harvard Independent, Jamie Metzl's essay to Brown University's first paragraph reads: "I do not have a father on the alumni board of Brown, I don't even have an uncle there. All right, I was not elected to the presidency of soem huge, national corporation. I can't (if you promise to keep it a secret) tell you of my Olympic trial in the javelin throw. (Probably because I've never seen one of those long, wormy things.) I do, however, have a seven-inch-tall plastic Godzilla."

Interesting comparision, nonetheless. 


Harvard said...
on Oct. 1 2011 at 9:24 pm
seriously? I'm college admissions officer at a top ranked school and this is one of the best essays I have ever read.

Mumof2 said...
on Sep. 26 2011 at 10:20 am

*cringes* 

D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y

 





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