College Admission Essay to Bard College :
Jessica Haskins - Saratoga Springs - New York
Jessica is not one to hide what she really cares about in her writing. For her college applications, she wrote about Dr. Seuss, becoming an atheist and Star Trek. She advises, “If you let your own personality come through, your essay will be much more powerful and striking.” At Saratoga Springs High School, she avidly wrote in a heavy load of AP courses and by keeping a daily diary and nightly dream journal. In the future, she hopes to use her “wild imagination” in fantasy novels and short stories. College Admission Essay to Bard College
All right, I’m going to do it. I’m going to write an essay about Star Trek. I hope you haven’t read many Star Trek essays before this one. They tend to be formulaic, lauding Trek’s vision of a brighter, better future, its daring in employing a multiethnic cast, its inspiring mission “to boldly go”... I think all that stuff is cool too, but everything about it has already been said and I don’t want to add to the mountain of pages already written on those subjects. I’ll attempt to come up with something marginally more original by discussing a different facet of Trek, one that has had a larger impact on me personally.
I understand that you may have never seen an episode of Star Trek in your life. You may be thinking, “Isn’t that the one with the guy with the funny ears?” You may be thinking, “Isn’t that the one with that Yoda guy?”, but I hope not. (That’s Star Wars, by the by.) I’m going to talk about the people with the “funny ears,” people who I think are rather neat. They’re called Vulcans, and they live according to a philosophy called IDIC. (Aha! I remember that word from the title! But what does it mean?)
“IDIC” stands for “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” It is the Vulcan national symbol and one of their highest principles. What it means is that we should respect everyone and everything in the universe and appreciate, rather than attempt to eradicate, their differences. At the core of this concept there is also a sense of awe at the beauty and complexity of the universe and consequently a deep reluctance to corrupt it by forcing conformity upon naturally diverse elements. Another way to sum it up is with this quote from Surak, the “father of Vulcan philosophy”: “Any given group is far more than the sum of its infinite parts, and the parts all infinitely less for the loss of one of them.” This philosophy of recognizing value in everyone, even those who may disagree with you, is an appealing one that I’ve strived to embrace.
The more oft-remarked-upon characteristic of Vulcans is their strict adherence to the principles of logic. Vulcans eschew outward displays of emotion, preferring to reason out a situation instead of reacting instinctively. The discipline of choosing logic over emotion is called CTHIA, though the name is not commonly known. I’ve seen people around me react to problems irrationally, maybe snapping at someone in a moment of anger, blaming them for something that wasn’t their fault. They’ll regret the words later, but CTHIA is a reminder to me to think before I speak, to consider the effect my words and actions will have on other people.
The ideas I’ve mentioned so far are the lessons to which I refer most often. Vulcans have much more to recommend them: They are pacifists, vegetarians, philosophers and scientists. They value knowledge and learning above almost all else. They have a saying: “The spear in the other’s heart is the spear in your own. You are he.” They are very empathic, determined to “ideally, do no harm.” They are at peace with the world.
That is why I have adopted the Vulcans as role models. I believe that we look for teachers to teach us the lessons we’re convinced we need to learn and Vulcan characters in Star Trek are very convenient teachers, modeling the way I’d like to view and fit into the world. Watching them hasn’t defined my way of thinking, but it has influenced it and helped me to define it a little better myself. They say that the best way to tell the truth is through fiction.
And I’ve just got to say it : Live long and prosper. Why This Essay Succeeded…
Even though you’ve never met her, can’t you just picture what Jessica may be like? Doesn’t her essay convey her personality through the description of what she finds so appealing about the Vulcan philosophy? Essays that leave the readers with a clearer idea of who the writer is are always good. While Jessica’s essay at first appears to be an analysis of Star Trek, it’s really a portrait of herself.
Throughout the essay Jessica doesn’t just describe, she analyzes. Colleges want students who are introspective, who can take a step back from their own lives and examine them. Instead of merely reporting the values she has learned from the Vulcans, Jessica interprets why these values (which are, after all, from a fictional people) are important to her and how they affect her. It’s clear that Jessica has thought a lot about the deeper philosophical themes of this television show.
Finally, who wouldn’t admire Jessica’s bravery for admitting that she is a “Trekkie?” Most people imagine a “Trekkie” as a dork without a life. But Jessica unapologetically and proudly admits her love for Star Trek and convinces us that even if we are not fans of the show that we, too, can learn something from the underlying message of the show’s characters. And Jessica is certainly not a dork.
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