My little sister is now a senior in high school stressing about applying to college. I bet you can guess her number one anxiety inducer: the essays. So, being a good big sister, I decided to go back through all of my essays that were obviously fantastic because they got me into USC and other unnamed prestigious schools. Newsflash, they were pretty terrible. Most of my essays were unbearable to read, I had more confidence and run-on sentences than actual content. Not to mention an underserved superiority complex that came with being a top student at a high school focused on just getting students to graduation. I was an egomaniac, who had no personality or voice in my writing because I wanted to appear as smart as possible. The only exception to this was my USC essays. They were my last set and I was tired of editing and going over comments, so I wrote them all in one sitting without letting anyone look at them to edit. Looking back they were the only set of essays that while still VERY cringy, actually reflected how I was feeling. Basically, they were honest, I just talked about myself as I would to an actual person instead of trying to sound smart and cultured. Now, out of all my essays these were the ones I shared with my sister and the ones I will share with you. Below is an excerpt from one of my USC essays about why I want to be an engineer:
“Engineering has always been important to me. Ever since I was little and made palaces for my barbies out of books, computer parts, and hot glue, I knew that my life was shaped around using my imagination. I believe my tool box is no longer made of picture books and hard drives (well maybe hard drives) but math and science and their ability to create the impossible. However I am often discouraged by the lack of effort put into giving engineers creative workspaces.
USC actively defies this by pushing engineers to be well rounded creative people, proved by the varied curriculum and the flexibility engineer’s have when choosing classes between schools. It’s this yin and yang flow between engineers and their peers that is so appealing about USC and reflects how I see myself. USC provides the resources to satiate the curious and mentors to push them to the boundaries of what is possible. This level of expectation, the diversity of thought and energetic optimism demanded by USC engineers and computer scientists could not be more reflective of who I am.”