College Essay | Teen Ink

College Essay

September 27, 2012
By Anonymous

Hello my name is [blank] and I’d like to be part of your college. I think that I would make a great addition to your academia because I am smart, capable and hardworking especially when it comes to subjects that I love such as history or writing. I love history because I find it fascinating to learn about how the world was before our times, all these different civilizations and their rises and falls, and comparing those times to ours. I love writing because it allows me to tell my own stories in my own way. Writing allows me to create my own universes and characters infinitely and make them both so fleshed out that they jump out of the page and seem real. The only real limit in writing is your imagination. Often I combine these two things and write or compose stories in different time periods. Both subjects are a passion of mine.

I learned a lot in high school but the one thing that stuck out at me is that sense of community that you get not only at the school but in the neighborhood. I had to do community service my junior year and I decided to do my service at a local Presbyterian church with a couple of my fellow students. For three hours a day after school we would clean the church: sweeping, vacuuming, dusting etc. I think that it was a learning experience since I got to learn a little bit of the history of the church (like how it was founded in the 1890s) and I honestly feel that it is important to keep a scared place like a church or any other place of worship clean.

Since writing is one of my passions reading naturally comes into the mix. I’d say since I was in 4th grade or so I was a bookworm. I’d read anything and everything and I never had problem with book reports. I just loved reading and read a lot of books but one book which had such a profound affect on me would be The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I like Hemingway’s style especially since he used such simple language or vocabulary to express so much with so little. He had a very minimalist style and this is seen the most in The Old Man and the Sea which, at a superficial level, seems like a simple tale: An old Cuban fisherman named Santiago has been having a bad run of luck going for him since he hasn’t caught any fish for months and has become something of a laughing stock/ pity case in his town. In order to regain his dignity and respect he decides to go on a one man journey far out into the sea to where the catches are huge and fierce. Naturally, at first, you assume that he’ll go through some troubles but eventually will come out on top at the end with a huge fish that he will bring back to his town but that’s not at all what happens. He manages to catch a gigantic marlin but as he is heading back to town his boat gets attacked by sharks. The sharks start eating away at the giant marlin he caught and even as they are tearing away at his catch, Santiago still fights back. In the end though it is not enough and he pulls into his town’s harbor with nothing but the skeleton of his once great marlin. However it truly doesn’t matter because he gained a victory for himself and proved to everyone around him that he was still a great fisherman. The Old Man and the Sea is about gaining a victory from something that seems like a defeat and this is what life is often all about. You truly fail when you don’t try and even if you do fail it doesn’t matter because
you had the personal courage and the effort to try.

Books can inspire people, but it’s the real life examples that can compel you to get off your feet and succeed. My mom is my real life example whom I associate with success and determination. When my mom was growing up with her five brothers and sisters in Haiti she didn’t have a lot. She wasn’t poor per say but its not like her family could afford something like a car. My grandpa was an army mechanic and my grandma was a vendor. Despite all of this my mom managed to graduate from high school and get a degree in accounting while in college. Around that time she married my dad and she had already had my older sister and eventually they moved to the United States. Now when my mom got to the U.S. she didn’t speak a lick of English and was pregnant with me so when my dad divorced her she was all on her own. I was born a couple of years before they divorced. She had to find babysitters, drop us off and go to night classes for nursing at community colleges all while managing on child support from my dad. When she finally got her degree she had to work night shifts at Cardinal Cooke Hospital so that she could drop us off at school in the morning. She basically did that along with all of the cooking and cleaning that needed to be done around the house. We’d help occasionally but it was she who did it all. She also paid all the bills for everything including our school tuition. She took care of the entire house and our family all on her own. She never gave up on us or our situation even when it seemed so dire especially in the beginning. The reason why is that she knew that it was her duty as a mother to take care of her kids no matter what. No matter how tired or exhausted she was when she came home from work or being outside all day shopping for food and clothes, she always put us first because she loved us. That determination and grit is what inspires me to be all that I can be and not squander the chances and gifts my mother gave to me.

There is one place in particular that has had a profound influence on me and that would be the American Southwest mainly because of how vast it is and the history that surrounds it. I don’t know exactly why, but I feel peaceful in the desert and its vast, empty expanses fascinate me. It is so empty yet many important things in American, Spanish and Mexican history happened there. The Spanish came there in the 1500s and colonized such an arid and unforgiving land. They fought a constant seesaw conflict with the same tribes and people for 300 years before they were eventually overtaken by the Mexicans in the 1800s. The Mexicans took on the burden of fighting the natives and eventually the United States stole it all in a land grab conflict called the Mexican-American War and inherited an Indian War that’s been going on for over three centuries. The Southwest was also the site of the first “true” Western settlers in places like modern day Utah, Texas, and Nevada. Another thing I like about the Southwest is its beauty: those craggy rock formations and foreboding mountains. Those long sandy plains that are now separated by highways but were once nothing but vast and featureless landscapes. I mainly like the Southwest because its vastness reminds me of my freedom to go anywhere in life and in any direction that I choose.

While the American Southwest’s vastness reminds me of my own personal freedom, comparatively, I’m not exactly what you’d call an open person upon first meeting me. If I had to use adjectives to describe myself it would be: calm, wry, perceptive and quiet because that is how I’ve been my entire life. I remember growing up and going to my block’s barbershop and the guys who cut my hair knew who I was but didn’t know my name or where I was from since I was so quiet. The first time I actually talked to the barbers, they were shocked. They figured that since I was so quiet that I didn’t know how to speak English. I usually just sat in the background and enjoyed things, not being in the limelight. That’s just how I am.

In conclusion, I think that I would make an excellent addition to your college because I’m dedicated, hardworking and willing to do my work and do the absolute best that I can. I want to succeed in life and not waste any of my potential. That’s my main goal in life: reaching my full potential and being all that I can be.

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