Common Application Essay: My Inimitable Background
My story is not a story; my story is a fingerprint, both distinctive and exclusive, that makes me unique. My story started in June, 1997, and has taken place primarily in Monroe, Michigan. Sixteen years later, my story, filled with both good and bad times, is about to take transition into a new chapter. But this chapter, like most others, must be read with the context in mind to visualize the whole picture.
Coming from a mixed African American-Caucasian background, I grew up near the border of the poverty line, but I tried not to succumb to the societal stereotypes of many other African Americans. I didn’t participate in or promote any heinous or felonious actions; additionally, I made certain that I made education my utmost priority. As of today, my friends find it astonishing that I don’t curse under any circumstances. My father would be glad that I kept up this moral integrity, but sadly he passed away this year in early December. Even though this still fills me with grief and mixed emotions I always try to remember his axiom of “always – keep your head up.” He was a great man, whose words served to support me through the harshest of times.
Switching off to a more joyful subject, my years as a 4-Her were very influential in my upbringing. I started off as an 8 year old explorer, with my family already being involved in 4-H, and I am still an active member. Being involved with certain crafts and animal projects, 4-H taught me many skills like: leadership, speechmaking, and perseverance. Most importantly, 4-H gave me the courage to try new things-despite the risks. Without 4-H, I wouldn’t be involved in as many extracurricular activities like quiz bowl, wrestling, Interact Rotary Club, Upward Bound, freshman ignition mentor, and National Honor Society. As a supplement to this, I was also able to do various other programs like: College 101 (U of M), MI HOBY (student leadership) and various other undertakings.
Being so involved in many organizations, I saw the plethora of opportunities before me to take some kind of leadership role. Through 4-H, I started off shy and timid, but eventually I was voted in as group treasurer in 2012; the subsequent year (2013) I was group president. For Upward Bond, I strived to be a model participant, and now I’ve been attending the state student leadership conference for two years (our program has only been involved for two years so far). In NHS, I am currently the group treasurer, yet I plan to run for its presidency this upcoming election. At school I am a member of our Student Council, organizing and running various school functions, with aspirations of taking a leadership role in the next academic school year. I choose not to be a class officer for my graduating class simply because I don’t have the spare time.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” —Mark Twain. This quote serves as an overarching guide to how my life has played out. I didn’t exactly grow up dirt poor, but I did mature enough to see that we weren’t fortune 500 either. The world never owed me anything; the world only gave me what I took from it. Nothing was ever given to me, so I have had to work hard and preserve through all of life’s road blocks-no matter how big the challenge was, I always kept my head up. Knowing this, I can accurately see what I need to do in order to get anywhere else in life. The first step, though stupendous and life changing, is to make it to college in order to pursue what I want in life.
Princeton Supplement Essay
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (About 150 words)
Upward Bound has been an integral part of my high school life. It has given me the time to develop my skills, test my abilities, and explore my interests. The after school tutoring that is available has been a safety net for assistance as I try to tackle harder classes every year. I do my best to be a student leader by helping other people out to the best of my abilities. Through Upward Bound, I have been to able to become more culturally aware through our summer programs, and it has really opened my eyes to the world around me. Without it, I would be a few rungs short on my ladder to success.
Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (About 150 words)
I have spent my last two summers in pretty much the same fashion. Every year, early on in our summer break, my sisters and I participate in the 4-H Exploration Days festivities held at Michigan State University. After that, we start to attend the summer program for our Upward Bound charter at Monroe County Community College. In the middle of this, I take a few days off to go to wrestling camp and learn new skills. My wrestling team even competed in summer duals in order to get a competitive edge for the school year. Our summer duals and UB summer program end in August, where now my sisters and I enter our 4-H projects into the county fair. So this summer routine eats up most of my free time, but I rather enjoy having it this way.
Princeton Short Questions
Your favorite book and its author: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Your favorite movie: Major Payne
Your favorite website: Google
Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you: Trustworthy and reliable
Your favorite recording:
Your favorite keepsake or memento: I don’t really have one
Your favorite source of inspiration: My dad
Your favorite word: Inconsequential
Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title: “You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized” -George Orwell, 1984
In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no less than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event, or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application.
5. Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.
“You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized” -George Orwell, 1984. This quote from the third page essentially grabbed my attention and propelled me through the rest of the book when I started reading it over the summer. And when I took the time-well, several times, actually-I couldn’t dispute the natural truth that was found in these few words. For in 1984 and in 2014, I really started to make the connections on how it seems that the world has the potential to monitor you daily.
This led me to the idea that within the world, people need to become more focused on what they think about themselves, and not what the world thinks about you. Everywhere you turn, it seems like someone is watching you. Edward Snowden revealed to us how the government is spying on us for national security reasons. But it’s not just that. A majority of people are constantly engaged in social media outlets, with their thumbs blistering from many tweets. And thanks to the limitless transfer of information across the internet, people you will never meet could always be monitoring you. While that extreme would likely not be thought about, the cyberbullying resulting from this is all too real. Too many people live in fear of this shadow hanging over their head, so they become trapped liked caged mice. But it’s this exact reason why people need to become re-focused on themselves: If the whole world is watching, your show, shouldn’t you decided what goes on in it?
Standardized Test Scores:
- ACT Composite: 33
- SAT Subject Tests
- Physics: 610
- Math 1: 680
- Math 2: 730
AP Test Scores:
- AP English Language and Composition: 5
School Record and Class Ranking:
- Cumulative Rank: Not provided/unranked
- Cumulative GPA:
- National Student Leadership Congress – Upward Bound
- National Merit Outstanding Participant
Extracurriculars and Student Demographics:
National Honor Society