What is the point of a college essay? From what I gathered after talking to admission officers and counselors, a college essay should explain who you are and show off your strengths.
That was my first problem. I’m not good at showing off. My first essay turned into a very generic sports essay, with the whole, “I worked so hard to climb up to where I was” spiel. I wasn’t happy with it. After writing and pondering over countless drafts, it was clear that I didn’t know much about myself. Or at least, I wasn’t being true to myself. I felt pressured to write an essay about how good I was because that’s what everyone did, and that’s how you get into colleges; but those essays felt superficial because they didn’t represent who I really am.
I have a tendency to see the negative side. It’s kind of ironic because I still remember when I was around seven, I complained to my mom about how negative people were, and how we should always look towards the bright side. And here I was, criticizing others, without realizing that I was the same. Although I have been trying hard to practice my seven-year-old theory, I still can’t help but see the flaws. But there is a bright side: the more flaws I see in myself, the more I can grow.
For example, I get too obsessed with the things I do. There was a t-shirt design contest for our language festival, and I was very excited. I thought about it day and night, even doodling designs during classes. I wanted my design to be perfect, so I kept changing my ideas and didn’t put my design together in Photoshop until the night before the deadline. Then around 2 a.m., my computer crashed. I hadn’t saved in at least three hours, and I knew I wouldn’t have an entry for the competition. I just broke down. But in retrospect, I realized that I was more upset about losing all that work than not having a submission. From that night, I learned two things. One, save often. Two, figure out what is really important to me. Decide what is worth sinking hours into and what is just a fun project.
I think my obsession stems from a fear of missing out. Even when I was little, I wanted to try everything. I begged my mom sign me up for activities like taekwondo, piano, dance, soccer, girl scouts, robotics, and drama, to name a few. As I got into middle school, the activities became more demanding, and I didn’t have time to juggle them all. Some extracurriculars were dropped, but others were also added. Even now, I’m still busy. Just the other day, I was thinking, “Well, I have colorguard practice 9-4 Saturday, so I should be able to tutor Chinese from 6-8 and have enough time for dinner.” It’s a tight schedule, but I’ve come to enjoy it.
My English teacher once said: we all want to go to our favorite school, but we should also want to go to a college that wants us. That’s why I’ve decided to take a risk and write this essay. I would just like a college to accept me for who I am, flaws and all. Then, when I see my flaws, I will try to turn them into strengths. If I fail, I will climb back up and try again. I always strive to be better, but I also accept that I am not perfect. So next time I’m in my dorm ready to slam my head into the wall, I will remind myself that I’m not here to be perfect. I am here to learn, to grow, and to become better than before.
I am human. Just a human doing her best.