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I’m still skeptical about the “Most Original” award.In the context of an award ceremony, it’s still just a meaningless consolation prize.
With moments to spare, I catch a glimpse of the boarding platform for my train. Like a compass with a broken magnetic strip, I can’t decide my true North.
Like a captain frantically seeking port in a storm, I haul myself through the turbulent ocean of people, trying to avoid being stranded – or trampled – in the dustiest city in the world: Beijing, capital of both China and smog. It is the summer of 2012, and Shanghai isn’t to be home for much longer. Unsettled, I turn to my ever-present book for comfort.
This essay is an example of how to tell the story of moving to America in a unique way.
This student focused on a single question – where is home?
I feel like a speck of dust outside the train, floating, content and happy to be between destinations. I speak both English and Chinese: Chinese is for math, science, and process, but I prefer English for art, emotion, and description.
America owns my childhood, filled with pine trees, blockbuster movies, and Lake Tahoe snow; China holds my adolescence, accompanied by industrial smog, expeditious mobility, and fast-paced social scenes. My reverie isn’t at an end, but I have the answer to my question.Okay, maybe I’m overreacting – but I cannot for the life of me understand that award. Her best friend was a boy with purple hair who once wore a shirt with built in LED lights for Christmas.“Most Original” always let me down, and as a result, I hated to be original in any context. They were the most popular people in school, in direct contrast to all that was socially acceptable in New Haven.Writing the college application essay is a daunting task.One great way to get started is to read examples of successful essays.As I read, it is as if the tempest of my thoughts is spelled out on paper.The overflowing sense of hyper-reality in Tim O’Brien’s words of warfare spills into my world.The essay is a joy to read, sharing a detailed glimpse of the student’s personality without feeling like it’s trying to list positive personal qualities.Prompt: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it.Recognizing the “Most Original” award for the pity-prize that it was, I grew increasingly hostile toward the very word “original.” If you win this cursed award, everyone around you offers feigned sympathy or, even worse, insincere congratulations. It’s an odd, vibrant place with odd, vibrant people.Phrases like “oh, bummer” or well-intentioned but half-hearted “well, good for you” circle the recipient, creating a cyclone of regret from which the “winner” will never recover. Originality is celebrated there – not in the half-hearted “good for you” way, but in the full-throated “GOOD FOR YOU! One of the first of my fellow students to befriend me wore corset tops and tutus and carried a parasol with which she punctuated her every utterance.