Ah, college. How mystical and eye-opening exposure to the American higher education system is. I am undoubtedly stoked to dip my toes in, but I have already hit an inevitable admissions road block: writing the essay. And this is coming from a writer….
Recently I discovered that no matter how many essay drafts I write, no couple of paragraphs will accurately sum up my struggles, my personality, or my (currently unknown) goals in life. It just isn’t happening. In fact, I am cleverly avoiding writing some college admissions essays by writing this very blog post. Not because I am scared of the daunting prompts – nay, I’ve seen a few odd writing requests in my time. Rather, I know my limitations as a writer. I can live and breathe a fictional character’s experiences with accurate faux-ness and ease, but it is far more difficult recounting a tale of my own. Truly, pinpointing my best qualities or hardest moments is a struggle; I would rather play darts with my eyes closed, as I would be much more accurate at something so objective. Unfortunately subjective admissions essays require a depth and insight that perhaps takes more caffeine than usual to unleash.
Essays are, arguably, the most human aspect of any college application. After all, they are meant to be manuscripts of conversations – only edited, proofread, over-thought, sanitized, and devoid of error. Where are the cute stumbles of a chat over coffee? The charming pitfalls? The relieving letting of the guard down? They were present in the earnest first drafts, but cast aside during a quest for something more impressive. I could not imagine the frustration associated with being a college essay reader, reading the same words and phrases over and over – diversity, adventurous, mature, studious, “live life to the fullest”, want, “seize opportunities,” need, and desire.
I suppose I could call for an end to essays in general. In reality, all I want is for the students to not stress over their essays so intensely. I am a writer, and every college will know that, so it is fair to assume that my essays will be scrutinized for correctness and general awe. I hope to charm universities with my quirky stories and a quick peek inside my heart, not the mind I have carved to be intelligent over my lifetime. Let me provide a quiet glance at some beating, lively and raw organ that has been engraved by exposure to both words of love and slight odium. Allow me to make my essays more of a photograph than a painting: realistic. I could change the lighting if I wanted to, or even pose, but candid shots are hard to recreate as they were never created. Finally, I will express a good story rather than some admirable adjectives or the thoughts and dreams of others. A mere snapshot of life will provide more information than a screenshot of the world on Google Maps.
To those of you entering this personal, odd and at times uncomfortable world of endless drafting, I wish you luck on your journey.
– Miss Musings