There were a few choices of essay questions in the application packet. The one I chose was something along the lines of: A stone, a leaf, an unfound door.. What three items describe you?
I didn't tell anyone that I was applying to Cornell. I was embarrassed that I had so much secret confidence. After all, I was 23 years old and finishing my two year degree at a community college after dropping out of THREE other schools and quitting too many jobs to count. I knew that I was ready and able but I guess I just didn't think other people saw me that way. (See admissions counselor below)
I decided to write my admissions essay in a way that most truly showed who I was. I wasn't a third generation Cornell family member, my family wasn't going to fund a new building on campus, and I was not my class valedictorian- seven years earlier when I graduated from high school. I was a good student, I wanted to learn from professors who wrote the textbook for their class and I wanted to experience life at one of the best schools in the country. The only thing I had to risk other than my application fee was my pride.
I wrote my essay in the format "Yesterday I was, Today I am, and Tomorrow I will be." The items that I used were pretty creative and I know that I stood out from the other "forgotten faces" when the admissions committee read my first line. It read simply, "Yesterday, I was a circus tent." I went on to describe how at any given moment you could find a lion, roaring with pride or a tightrope walker, being careful to plan each step carefully, afraid to make the wrong move. I somehow described that I was a microscope today seeing my life and path clearly and in detail and finally, I wrote that tomorrow I would be a landslide with nothing able to change my path. I very accurately described my past and present but of course I was naive about my future and just how many times my path would veer, be redirected, and at times even seem to be halted!
To this day I believe that my essay played a large part in my admission to Cornell. Surely, many other applicants had grades as high as mine, SAT or other scores to beat mine, or more to pad their resumes. I am certain that not a single other student used a circus tent to describe who they were. If they did I need to meet them. I'm so glad that I was honest about the real me at the risk of being rejected or even laughed at. My decision to write in my own way and not how I thought the Ivy League might want to hear me paid off in the best way.
|Cornell- High above Cayuga's Waters|
|On the track at Schoellkopf Field at Cornell|
The risk I took by putting myself out there to face rejection paid off in a way that changed my life forever. But, if someone were to ask me today, ...a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; what three items describe you? I'm thinking about it.....