When exploring colleges in high school, it took Emily and her mother 14 hours to drive from Metairie to the North Carolina campus of Duke University. But it was time well spent. After her visit, Emily fell in love with the college. This is one of the essays she wrote to gain admission to and earn a full-tuition scholarship from Duke. In all, the self-described “science nerd" earned over $250,000 in scholarships. A graduate of Archbishop Chapelle High School, she plans to earn an M.D.Ph.D. in immunology or oncology.
Lessons from Harry Potter - Duke University
Like millions of 8-year-olds around the world, I have delighted in the wonder of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. Although I am not 8 and I do not dart around my house with a broomstick, bathrobe and magic wand, Harry Potter is my hero. He gives a refreshing outlook of a benevolent world in which happiness can be achieved, villains can be conquered and the means of success can be learned. His intuition, intelligence and magic powers allow him to view the world as no one else can. He notices things that others do not, such as a tiny wizard shop on Diagon Alley or the train platform “nine and three-quarters." He is an intuitive, intelligent orphan with a destiny to triumph over evil. While most adopt a cynical view of the world, Harry’s positive character gives hope that good can prevail. He defends his friends against the school bully and even defeats the evil wizard Voldemort in his quest to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry is able to accomplish these feats because he has faith in himself. Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster at Hogwarts Academy, provides Harry with the support and guidance he needs to become a self-confi dent wizard. When Harry was disappointed, Dumbledore encouraged him, saying, “It’s our choices, Harry, that show who we really are, far more than our abilities."
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE challenged me to look for things that others cannot see, to have faith that good will prevails and to believe in myself. I have learned to notice things that others often overlook, such as a homeless person begging for food, or even a friend who looks depressed. I have embraced an optimistic perspective of the world and I believe that people are good at heart. Most of all, I have gained confi dence in myself and my choices. I have learned to become secure with my insecurities, to be fair when justice is unpopular and to have courage in the face of adversity.
Why This Essay Succeeded
Who says a book has to be a classic to be infl uential? There is nothing wrong with selecting a book that has mass-market appeal. By choosing HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, Emily shows her less serious side. This is, after all, a children’s book! But even though she selects a children’s book, she does not write about it in a childish or immature way. In fact, she analyzes the characters in the same way she would had she chosen a classic read in English class. Emily also makes sure to relate Harry’s life philosophy to her own. We see in her the same optimistic perspective on life and personal courage that Harry displays in the novel.
When selecting a book to write about, it’s important to follow your heart. In other words, choose the book that truly speaks to you. If it’s a children’s book or comic book, so be it. As you can see from Emily’s essay, it doesn’t really matter if the book is from your senior English class or your childhood. What counts is how inspired you are to write about it.