Essay Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Colleges I am Applying to:
Fort Lewis College
Colorado State University
University of Utah
University of Montana
Through the process of writing my college essay, I feel that I greatly improved my ability to write concisely and deliberately. When I completed the first draft of my essay, I had written over 900 words for a prompt that had a 650 word limit. I would add too many unnecessary details or expound too much on a certain idea, instead of being concise as possible in order to fit as much information into the word limit. For instance, I wrote in my first draft: “it has always felt like slow progress and that there was something holding me back. It has felt like there has always been a consistent and underlying roadblock preventing me from feeling truly confident.” One of the most meaningful pieces of feedback that I got during the process of revising was that I was adding details and clauses that were already implied and could be inferred. I revised the aforementioned excerpt to instead say: “it has always felt like slow progress and that there has always been an underlying roadblock preventing me from feeling truly confident.” While the content from the first draft is still present, the amount of words it took to express that particular point was shaved down from thirty four to twenty two. While that may seem insignificant, it makes a huge difference when the same process is applied to the rest of the essay. Ultimately, my revisions improved my ability to write concisely and to the point, shedding excess and filler language, and helped my essay to meet all of the requirements.
The doors shut, the engine sparked to life, and the car sped off. As it rounded the corner and disappeared from sight, I could feel my stomach tightening, my palms sweating, and my heart pounding as the all-too familiar feelings of anxiety began to plague me once again.
My parents had just dropped me off at Colorado College, where I would be spending the next three weeks taking a class and living on campus as part of their ‘Pre-College Program’. This would be a completely new experience in a completely new place, and that’s exactly what made me anxious instead of excited.
Anxiety has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. It is because of my anxiety that I have missed countless school days, sleepovers, and other activities. I have even made up excuses to friends for why I couldn’t hang out, all because I knew how uncomfortable I would get if I did. My anxiety put me into a cocoon, where the only place that I felt safe and comfortable was my house.
I saw the Pre-College Program as an opportunity to push myself and become more confident and less anxious. I almost felt like I had to; if I was unable to spend several weeks at a summer program, how would I even begin to approach the topic of college itself? Going from an uneventful summer in the small and rural town of Durango, CO to a full on college experience in bustling Colorado Springs would be a complete change of pace. It would be my first college level class, my first experience living alone, and the longest amount of time I had ever been away from home. I knew that leaving my comfort zone would expand the amount of experiences I feel comfortable with and boost my confidence, despite the anxiety that I would inevitably encounter.
The first week was the hardest. From the first day, where I practically hid in my dorm room for most of the time in order to avoid stressful situations and to give myself some rest and respite, to the weekend camping trip, where I went on walks alone to calm myself down, I was a wreck. I thought to myself that the end couldn't come soon enough.
But then things began to shift. I started to adjust to living in the dorms, to going to class each
day, to being independent. And you know what? I started to like it too. I went from spending my down time in my room to spending so much time with the other guys in my dorm that I was having trouble finding the time to get my homework done. The sheer amount of people started to bother me less and less as I started to feel more and more at home on campus. It was feeling of pure relief. It felt like my head was finally clear; there was no longer a dark cloud accompanying every thought and action.
Since the beginning of high school, I have tried pushing myself as much as possible in order to overcome my anxiety. It has certainly gotten better over that time period, but it has always felt like slow progress and that there has always been an underlying roadblock preventing me from feeling truly confident. My experience at Colorado College this summer, however, felt much different. Instead of a gradual change, this felt like a switch was flipped. The independence I had for even just three weeks made me feel for the first time in my life that I could handle whatever challenges I faced. It’s certainly not like my struggles with anxiety are over, but now I feel more confident for the rest of high school, for college, and for whatever else is in my future than I ever have before.