Tufts Supplement Essay! please help..its a mess..?
For some, it’s politics or sports or reading. For others, it may be researching solar power fuel cells or arranging hip-hop mash-ups. What makes you tick? (200-250 words)
What makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight, send shivers down my spine and give me the goose bumps? It’s seeing the finish line. At this point the mud that has splashed on my back has dried and hardened, my sneakers are soaking wet, lungs heaving, everything around me is a blur-but none of it crosses my mind in that moment. It’s during that tiny fragment of time-the last 30 seconds of a 5k race-all I see, breathe, am is running to the finish line. Don’t get me wrong. I hate Cross Country with a burning passion. I despise working out, dread the running, and the cherry on top is the New England weather. Yet I still show up to practice every day, dressed and (dare I say it?) eager to run-just because of that finish line. So, what’s so special about a finish line? Life is so complicated, full of long and short term goals to run to, with an abundance of distractions always floating overhead. Cross Country gave me a chance to have a time to let go of all my worries and focus on one thing- crossing the finish line. All I need to see is the orange cones, and my body transforms, my movements mimicking that of a jaguar chasing its prey. Only ten minutes before reaching the end of the race I was probably skeptical that I would even continue running, but nothing brings out the animal in me like that finish line.
No argument here: it’s a mess.
What it needs is to be completely rewritten from the ground up.
Don’t get me wrong: the concept is good. I get it, I do – the moment when everything drops away, when your vision narrows and nothing else matters – the bliss of total focus, great! It’s the getting there that’s the problem.
The whole thing begs the question: if it’s the finish line you like so much, why don’t you run shorter races?
Could it be because it’s not the line itself but the culmination of all the steps before it? Without the 4,900 strides, how fun are the last 100? You don’t read the last page of a novel first. You grow to love the characters, follow their trials, laugh and cry with them, then, and only then, can you join them at the finish line.
Here’s my suggestion (sorry to meander so much): take the race as a metaphor for life (or any part of your life), the awkward first steps, the finding your rhythm, feeling your breathing settle down, the zen of running tirelessly on and on in a virtual dream state, and then, the line is in sight, the focus narrows …
this will allow you to pace your piece more effectively and will carry the reader with you over the line at the end.