A College Admissions Essay Gone Wrong
By: Jordan Unatin
In theory, I can drive. Does that mean I can actually drive? In theory, I can assume the role of Bruce Lee, and defeat 40 trained assassins, by myself, in a swift, stylistic manner. Does that mean I can actually physically dominate 40 trained assassins, by myself? Of course!
No. Seriously, I cannot physically dominate 40 trained assassins by myself, and at a certain point, I couldn’t drive either. Though I am driving now, my inability was not long ago. But, for now, lets take a drive down my Memory Lane.
The year was 2009 and I just graduated high school. In front of me was the opportunity to explore life. In front of me was a car (college) that served as a vessel (opportunity) to transport me to each and every destination (goal) I desired. In theory, I could drive, but only in theory. Though the majority of my peers, in the similar situation, seemed to transition with ease, I couldn’t help but fail. I wondered, what is “theory”?
“Theory” is high school. Though I do not doubt that everyone is different-individualism is a fundamental link in my personal beliefs- I do believe that the same vague, generalities present themselves to all: mainly in the form of a conflict-resolution relationship. We all will face conflicts and we all will form resolutions. And for the fortunate, such as myself, the years leading up to high school graduation, serve as a safety net, in the unpredictable trapeze of life.
Furthermore, “theory” is the time spent between the moment we hatch from an egg and the moment we leave the nest, taking flight under our own wings. Subject to variability, we are all birds, nurtured in our nest-like communities of parents and mentors, and until we leave this nest our survival is only “theory”. In order to survive the nature of our world, in order to survive the exposing skies, we must fly. Theory means nothing; only the action of flight will keep us alive.
Graduating high school, I met all requirements asked of a student aimed at college, and my résumé painted me in the image of an extraordinary driver like Jeff Gordon-I am no NASCAR fan- or, on par with the bird analogy, I looked like a fierce eagle. However exceptional my résumé looked, however exceptional I looked, I could only drive in theory. Awards and achievements told me that I could drive, but I had never physically driven. I knew that in theory I was limitless, but in reality I had no idea what I was capable of.
Thus, in my first attempt driving the battered roads of opportunity, I crashed horribly. Not only did I injure myself, but I also wrecked my vehicle- my car, my vessel. I wrecked my résumé. My résumé was my extravagant “theory”, and the main reason college was a viable option. This was my opportunity to find opportunity, my door to other doors, and I destroyed it.
In this world blind credibility is questionable, therefore, we take proper precautions in citing our sources. A résumé is a reflection upon our capability and accomplishments and serve as that credible source. Though that reflection is incredibly binding and dictating, there is error. I know this error. For we are imperfect humans striving for perfection, and these imperfections become our nurtured mistakes. I made mistakes, and those mistakes ripple through my reflection. The shaky boy unsure of responsibility, frightened of change, blinded of opportunity, hopeless of progress, is only my disheveled image. Socrates, father of logic, stated it well, one must first drive, in order to be in the act of driving: action comes first. So let these words serve as my first action, my first shift into drive, my first lift off the break, my first steer of the wheel, my first drive in this world.
A limitless world lies ahead of me, and access to this world’s discovery is only granted by testing the world’s current limits, taking the road less traveled. After my first accident, I saw my first limit, and I am breaking past that limit.
My whole life was built like a skyscraper, from ground floor and up. I had a stationary list, piling my achievements in one direction. And though this skyscraping-pedigree may have been elite in high school, its pinnacle only scratches at the surface of this world’s opportunity (post-secondary school).
Omnidirectional, today’s world has no boundaries. And to survive in a boundless world, one must think with a boundless mind. Fresh out of homeroom, lockers, and prom, my mentality was far from limitless: I was stuck running unidirectional. Practicing theory was dangerous for me because I had become so focused, so possessed with creating theory (theory’s cause) that I had lost sight of its after-effect, what theory creates (theory’s effect)-I am an introverted thinker with extroverted moments. I became so consumed with assembling and building my car, from the engine to the windshield wiper fluid, that I completely lost sight of the car’s purpose! I did not build this car for show; I built this car to drive, and to drive far.
Failure in my first attempt gave me a new goal, a new destination. Hatched from a new shell of adversity, a new opportunity was born. I had the chance to learn from my history, and take a step forward with my life. The first model of my car broke down, but I could fix it. My wing was clipped, but I could nurse myself to flight again.
Determination, motivation, and perseverance helped me transition my “theory” into my “experiment”-apparently the scientific method resonates with me. I started building by focusing on each and every experience. I earned a job working in a Publix Deli. There I learned about labor, cooperation, teamwork, management, and politics. For example, at work, I studied every insignificant piece of interaction, analyzed its utility, and incorporated its lesson into my values and beliefs. From methods of routine cleaning, to corporate policy ideology, I observed trends in my coworkers and managers. I found enlightenment at every turn. Publix Deli helped facilitate my independent experience, outside the safety net of secondary school.
Also, the study of philosophy presented itself as an area of interest. I finally found a major that would direct me through my education and beyond. I found another destination to drive towards.
In addition, working labor ignited a fire of motivation and urgency that before I did not have. I must hurry up and move forward with my education to reach my goals.
Independence, under the wing of my job, repaired my car’s faulty mechanics. Again, I am behind the wheel, engine on, gear in park. Another opportunity has surfaced, and opposed to my first drive, I’m not driving based solely off theory. This time around, I have invaluable experience. I also have the will, but I must use it. Now, I will drive to my goals, and I will reach my destinations.
Simply, don’t judge a book by its cover. In today’s world, the résumé, what is seen on paper, serves as the cover to our life’s novel. But only through a detailed reading of every chapter, every page, every trial and tribulation, can someone credibly assess the characters and themes in a piece of writing. The cover of my biography, my résumé, is captivating and meets most requirements asked by readers. However, you still don’t know me, by my cover alone. You do not know that I am limitless, that I am capable of extraordinary goals and achievement. Yes, you do know of my past tangibles, but, no, you do not know of my present and future intangibles. As the author of my story, I have abridged my history, its mountainous amount of pages, still building; abridged to fit this platform. And I hope that I have enlightened you, as I have enlightened myself, to the permanent and fundamental utility of my intangibility, in a world with a shifting market of tangibility’s credibility—give this sentence ample time to marinate because it is of prime importance, and is the premise of my logic.
What makes me credible? What makes my story credible? I believe where we are now, in this dialogue, is my credibility: a dialogue where I aim to win your approval. In Socratic terms, I must be credible before I am credible. Thus, this mark of my intentions is my first credible act, which will accumulate down my path of credibility.
If I had not learned anything from my first failure, if I had not matured past adversity, if I had not found insight through other resources outside of my collegiate-experience, then I would not be here, wasting our time. My effort is proof of my intentions, therefore, I plead that you recognize the limitless possibilities of these two traits I possess. Combining effort with intentions is an equation that equals boundless goals. Together, these traits pierce though existing limits, and stretch the boundaries of this limitless world.
You may acknowledge that my previous statement is, ironically, a theory: something I just denounced of credibility. Yes, theory is incredulous. I stand by this. However, my theories will always be reinforced by my unquestionable, indisputable resolve. Because I have shown you, though theories may not always prove factual, my resilience and my results do prove factual! Theory becomes fact through me; I am the catalyst, my subjective willpower. And these priceless traits are noncyclical, in the forever fluctuating, forever vacillating, forever changing, experiment of life. These traits will adapt to change and they refuse defeat.
If I did not believe this, if I did not believe that I was a worthy investment, then I would not be here, pleading my case.
I will succeed. I am merging into the unyielding, traffic of limitless reward and adversity. I am navigating my own path of success. I am defeating 400 trained assassins, and I am continuing to grow and improve with every mile docked in my odometer. I wield theory into fact.
We all can.