please critique my risky harvard essay II

Prior to last year, when anyone asked me if I would ever consider entering the convent, I would have scoffed and gave them an overly sarcastic answer, something to the effect of, “yup, and the year after, I’m going to be canonized a saint.” But, if asked the very same question today, I would reply with an earnest: “It’s definitely something I’m considering.”

What could possibly make a fun loving, boy-crazy, career-driven diva aspire to take a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience? Well, lots of things.<br>
This summer my days were spent in two places: the beige, fluorescent-lit cubicle of a prominent investing firm and the infirmary of a convent. Though the word “firm” is about all these places shared in common, together they made me realize what really matters most.

All my life I had always wanted to be an investment banker. I loved the adrenaline rush of the daily highs and lows of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and to the best of my knowledge, I was the only 5th grader at St. Pius who knew Alan Greenspan was or what the heck he did. So as you can imagine, when I found out I had been chosen as a summer intern at Merrill Lynch, I was bouncing off the walls. I was getting paid to do something which I loved-what could be better? But after about three days of laboring over mundane statistics it hit me, maybe the business world I had always idealized just wasn’t for me. By the time 5 o’clock rolled around everyday, I could not wait to get out of there and go visit the nuns. It wasn’t that I was lazy and preferred to go sit and chat instead of work, but at Merrill I learned about making money… and that was it, everyone was so caught up in money that they were oblivious to the outside world.

When I entered the 4th floor of the convent, I was immersed in a totally different atmosphere. The nuns, who range in age from 80 to 102 had a comforting demeanor that I had never experienced before. I remember asking myself early on “how can these nuns be so content, lying in their beds dying without a penny to their name?” Well, after hearing their stories, my question was quickly answered. They were content because instead of having to worry about making money, they were able to go out and focus on issues that really concerned them. As I would help Sister Sebastian exercise-a stroke victim and my favorite sister- she would tell me of her trips to Rome, studying Latin, one of our many shared interests. On other days, she would tell me of her experiences down in Harlan Kentucky spearheading a school for impoverished children in the Appalachian Mountains. This all sounded so appealing and rewarding-helping others while enjoying yourself? It definitely undermined my cut and dry definition of success, which was composed of getting married and making lots of money. So the question I pose to myself is this: wouldn’t I rather be oblivious to money because I’m too caught up in the world around me, rather than the other way around?

<p>I dont think that's risky in any way =|</p>

<p>But otherwise, I think it's a very good essay. Minor sentence-structure corrections such as:</p>

<p>"As I would help Sister Sebastian exercise-a stroke victim and my favorite sister- she would tell me of her trips to Rome, "<br>
exercise is not a stroke victim, the sister is, so that modification is misplaced.</p>

<p>and this:</p>

<p>What could possibly make a fun loving, boy-crazy, career-driven diva aspire to take a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience? Well, lots of things. </p>

<p>but really you only talk about ONE thing. so get rid of the "well, lots of things", and tell your story from there.</p>

<p>Again, I thought it was a great essay, it was straight to the point, not overly wordy, and your personality definitely came through. One of the better essays i've read on CC so kudos to you :D</p>

<p>Haha, did you say it was a harvard essay so that it would get attention? Because honestly, a typical applicant to Harvard would write a more sound essay.</p>

<p>bump! please i really need some more input!</p>

<p>I think its pretty well written, but:</p>

<p>--hyperbole. language like "bouncing off the walls" and saying your future used to be "composed only of getting married and making lots of money" sounds kind of over the top and childish. I'd avoid calling yourself a boy-crazy diva -- there must be something more flattering that gets across the same general idea -- that says spoiled, sheltered, superficial.</p>

<p>--it would make more sense to an adcom reader to translate what you learned from the contrast between these environments into your specific plans for college/career (not that these are not always evolving and changing). Obviously, Harvard is not a seminary, so you are not planning to become a nun. But how did the experience inform the plans/interests you DO have? The money vs. fulfillment issue is interesting, but you make it too black and white ("cut and dry") to be very interesting or provocative. </p>

<p>I'm left thinking that you are someone who is basically shallow and greedy, who had this experience that opened your eyes to an opposite extreme life of piety, but you aren't opting for that either (in light of the fact that you are applying to colleges and not seminaries.) So what have I learned about you? Listening to stories from nuns about helping people was inspiring? It inspired you to what? We don't know.</p>

<p>k thanks, cmon guys i'm counting on you!

<p>i'll be very honest b/c that is how i always ask for criticism from other people in whatever I do. only through honest criticism can we really improve.</p>

<p>i agree with dewitt</p>

<p>i am left probably knowing an activity from 5th grader (internship?). i would suggest using something when you were a bit older.</p>

<p>it sounds very black and white. its not complex or poignant. it follows the simple structure experience --> realization. you don't make it very complex. you can make it complex by showing your struggles in attempting to balance this. drop subtle hints. add complexity, emotion, resistence to change, anything that add to the complexity of your structure.</p>

<p>you leave me wanting to hear more at the end and you suddenly end the essay. its not a fluid ending.</p>

<p>instead of using your stock exchange idea I would solely focus on the nun experience. i get a more genuine feeling from that paragraph than from anywhere else. and you can complexity to it by dropping a line about your resistence to changing from your learned materialism. </p>

<p>hope that sparks some creative change</p>

but left the internship to go to the infirmary...happened this summer</p>

<p>people please help me out !!</p>

<p>Okay. I've done a bit of editing in my time, so I'll jump in.</p>

<p>By my lights, your first sentence should be "This summer my days were spent..." only not starting with the words "This summer my days were spent", if you get my drift. I think that sentence, the contrast therein, is the most powerful one you have. THEN you can go on to say the obvious, which is how it changed your focus. It's a coming-of-age essay and I'm going to guess they see tons of them, so it has to be good, right?</p>

<p>When my S wrote his essay, my advice to him (which amazingly, he took!) was that he not only needed to answer the question in a way that allowed the admissions staff to "get to know the real him" but he also had to turn in an excellent piece of literature if he was competing with all the other Ivy-bound ED'rs. To me, that means great composition, tightly-written, no slang. (I think you have 'lots of it' or 'lots of them' in there - strike it, too slangy)</p>

<p>Every word must count. Remove 'overly'. Sarcastic does the job without the 'overly'. That kind of thing. Work it till it is as finely-tuned as the string of a violin. Then work it again. Be relentless at removing what doesn't belong and adding what does, and make sure what is, is really, really you, not just what you <em>think</em> they want to hear.</p>