I’ve already submitted them so it’s too late to change anything, just looking for thoughts.
250 Word essay: The philospher Will Durant said, “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” What do you hope your education will enable you to discover about your own ignorance?
My brain and my stomach are engaged in an ongoing battle of wills. No matter how insistently my brain tells me that I need to set up an interview or follow up on a lead, my stomach throws a fit. The contrasting elements of debilitating shyness and a deep love of journalism are an unfortunate combination for me. Every time I sit down with someone for an interview, I struggle furiously to keep my hands steady and my voice level, all the while attempting to ask the question I need answered.
An important part of my education has come through working on my schools newspaper, where I am forced to transcend my self-imposed, artificial limits. Despite three successful years in the program, Im still terrified of looking stupid or letting my fellow staff members down. Yet every month Im getting the stories and running the paper, despite the perceived risks. I hope that my education will teach me that Im ignorant about how far I can go to become a great journalist.
My ignorance comes from not knowing how much more I can learn; how fine a journalist I can be. My education will provide me with the answers to these deeply personal questions, the skills I need to achieve my professional goals, and the confidence to trust that I can overcome my innate shyness. I know that, for the sake of my conscience, I will do everything in my power to accomplish my very worthy goals.
500 Word essay: Robert Frost said, “You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence.” Please tell us about an experience - either yours or someone else’s - that either supports or contradicts Frost’s statement.
My fingers tremble as I reach for the sleek black receiver. The person on the other end of this phone is not going to like what Im about to say to him. If I get through the call without being yelled at, it will feel like a small victory.
Hi, my name is Andrew Danies, and Im volunteering for Brian Cronin in his District 19 State House of Representatives campaign.
Brian Cronin? Is he a Republican or Democrat?
Well, hes a Democ-
This exchange was repeated over and over while I was on the campaign trail for the first political candidate for whom Ive ever believed in enough to volunteer. Brian Cronin is an energetic young communications director with an idealistic spark in his eyes and an infectious smile. I first heard him at a Young Progressives Club meeting, and I was instantly inspired to do everything I could to get this man elected. I realized this was Idaho, and he had relatively no chance of winning, based on the simple fact that he came with a D behind his name. It didnt matter that hed been working in public service for years or that he was a respected philanthropist and effective communicator. As long as he was a Democrat, he was never going to be elected in Idaho. However, I felt I had a moral obligation to do everything I could to champion his worthy cause.
My hair is still growing back in places where I had ripped it out, infuriated that no matter what I said or did, some people were totally unwilling to listen. I was talking to an entire population of brick walls. Just when I was about to give up hope on the entire state, something occurred to me: If someone called me endorsing a Republican candidate, would I listen? I was so dedicated to Cronins cause that I had lost the willingness to see the other side of the issue. I went from righteous fury to devastation in seconds. I stared at the next number on my list for what seemed like hours. I felt like such a fraud. How could I possibly tell these people to have an open mind when I was completely unwilling to hear the other sides argument?
As I sat contemplating my own failings, I realized that I was not as educated and open-minded as I believed myself to be. I had thought of myself as some great informer who was enlightening the mindless masses, truly believing that anyone who disagreed was either ignorant or heartless. Robert Frost was right; I was not educated because I couldnt listen to anything that disagreed with what I believed without losing my temper or my self-confidence. I realized that instead of telling people what they should think, I should try to understand what they do think, and why they think the way they do.
I picked up the receiver and dialed the next number. I dont remember if I was able to convince the voter that Brian Cronin was the right candidate, but at least I now understood that if I couldnt, I knew exactly why.