Writing About Yourself


This is an actual essay written by a college applicant.
The author, Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.

3A. ESSAY:
    IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU, THE
    APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:  ARE
    THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU
    HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?
 
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice.  I have
been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more
efficient in the area of heat retention.  I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban
refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.
Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.
 
I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot
bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute
Brownies in twenty minutes.  I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and
an outlaw in Peru.
 
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended
a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants.  I
play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous
documentaries.  When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard.
I enjoy urban hang gliding.  On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical
appliances free of charge.
 
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.  Critics
worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.  I don't
perspire.  I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail.  I have been
caller number nine and have won the weekend passes.  Last summer I toured New
Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration.  I bat .400.  My
deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles.
Children trust me.
 
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.  I
once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and
still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening.  I know the
exact location of every food item in the supermarket.  I have performed
several covert operations for the CIA.  I sleep once a week; when I do sleep,
I sleep in a chair.  While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated
with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery.  The laws of
physics do not apply to me.
 
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid.  On
weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.  Years ago
I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.  I have made
extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven.  I
breed prizewinning clams.  I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving
competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin.  I have played
Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
 
But I have not yet gone to college.