Every fall thousands of high school seniors stare blankly into their computer screen and ponder the same thing: college essays. The stories of triumph, the stories of hardship, and the stories of significant events begin to flow from students’ brains into their computers one tale at a time. However, what they do not realize is that there are millions of stories like theirs out there, being read simultaneously by college administrators who have more often than not read their story before. The truth is after so many life changing college essays they are typically no longer unique, they are simply common. Administrators say it is the only way for their college to “look inside the person on their transcript”, so after reflecting what will make me stand out from the crowd of other smart ambitious applicants, I conclude that it is best to just focus on the small details that make me who I am.
Ever since the age of three my life has been dedicated to my education, my skating, and most importantly my family. My mother was an army child who grew up in three different countries, and my father immigrated to the United States from Costa Rica at age twelve. My parents are my anchor, both of whom consistently support and help me learn from their hardships and obstacles. I have friends from all over the world, whom I have met traveling with U.S Figure Skating and, because of the miracle of I-chat; I am able to talk to them constantly. This past year I competed in three different countries (The Netherlands, Italy, and Belarus), which was certainly difficult when it came to making up school work, but these were life changing moments, that not your average seventeen year old gets to experience.
Everyone has flaws, including me. Most of the greatest characters in literature have them. But unlike Macbeth, Odysseus and Victor Frankenstein, mine do not lead to a tragic downfall. We could get into my occasional sarcasm and pessimism; however, it would be irrelevant for they are frequently counteracted by my great sense of humor, overpowering motivation, and sincere concerns for my friends and their issues. I love to help people, and more often then not I am there for my friends before I am there for myself.
But there is always the catch, the characteristics that make me different, that set me apart from everyone else. I could talk about the fears I have overcome, the places I have gone, the sacrifices I have made; however, this will make me sound pompous and arrogant, where I am the opposite: humble and modest. No matter which way I write, “I am the 2008 National Figure Skating Junior Ladies Bronze Medalist” it always sounds self-important, so why would I write it if I would never bring it up in a daily conversation? This is a part of me that I keep separate from my school life even as I juggle a training schedule of four hour a day, six days a week, fifty two weeks a year, and maintain honor roll status with a semblance of teenage life. My schedule is not exactly common, and may seem hectic to most people; however, it is what I love to do, it is a part of who I am.
After so many applications of “who has changed my life, what I have overcome, and why I have changed,” it all becomes too cliche and monotonous. It seems as though everyone has an exclusive story to tell. So how do the truly unique people of the world, like I stand out? Maybe there is a reason the college essay is called a “common application” after all, maybe it is the application for those who are common. Because in the end those who are common will always want to be different, and those who are distinct will always search for something a little more humble, and a little more down to earth. I have never really led a typical life like most students, so why change now and write a typical college essay? Instead I have tried to convey you something about my personality, my brains and my talent, that make me a great friend, student and athlete who stands out from the crowded pile of life defining essays on your desk.
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