Exemplary College Essays
Indeed, not only does this essay document Bobby’s development from child to young adult, but Bobby’s art also matures from something orderly and superficial to something abstract and deeply meaningful.What separates Bobby’s essay from a well-written story, however, is the subtextual narrative it provides the reader.My young adolescent ears drank in the raw, chaotic beauty, an echo of the pain of the past. I was neither, which automatically deemed me “uncool.” I had a few close friends but never felt like I was part of a whole. I listened to a wider variety of music, even the kind that wasn’t 100% hardcore punk. I revised my punk philosophy: Do as you like—whether it fits into the “system” or not.The thrashing, pulsating vitality of the instruments painted a picture, connecting me to the disillusioned kids who launched an epic movement of liberation some 40 years ago. Aggressively contrarian, they advocate for the other side—the side that seemed smothered silent during the post-Vietnam era. Then came the punk philosophy, for the outliers, for those who were different. Instead of trying to conform to my peers, I adopted an anti-conformist attitude. The Beatles’s “Revolution” lyrics sum it up well: What I think Lennon was getting at is questioning everything does not entail opposing everything.I started to look into their other releases, eventually immersing myself into the complete punk discography. Luckily, as I transitioned from a private school to a brand new public high school, I got to clean the slate.My mother, having grown up in a racially segregated New York, was more likely to listen to Stevie Wonder than Stevie Nicks. So while my compatriots indulged in the music of Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Lady Gaga, my tacky Hot Topic headphones blasted Green Day, Ramones, and The Clash. In my girls’ prep school, the goal was to be blond and good at soccer. I bought yoga pants and found they were comfortable.
No, it was not so clean and not so white and not so nice. ___ REVIEW Perhaps the most prominent facet of Bobby’s essay is the use of imagery.No, it was not so clean and not so white and not so nice.But I have drawn—rather, lived—in this studio for most of my past ten years.One such example is “the whiteness of the background” on his sketchbook being “meticulously preserved” but yet “marred by the frenzied strokes of my instructor's charcoal.” Nevertheless, imagery alone does not provide the concrete, powerful narrative found in Bobby’s essay.One of the most powerful appeals of the essay is that it represents a coming-of-age story that echoes the Bildungsroman literary sub-genre, in which characters evolve psychologically from youth to adulthood during the story.Apart from surface manifestations altogether, this realm was simultaneously one of austere simplicity and aesthetic intricacy, of departure from realism and immersion in reality, of intense emotion and uninhibited expression.It was the realm of lines that could tell stories, of colors and figures that meant nothing and everything.Just as Bobby the new artist’s “lines began to unabashedly disregard the rules of depth or tonality,” so too did art slowly—from the playful light of Monet’s Impressionism, to the square faces of Picasso’s Cubism and the complete abstraction of Pollock’s expressionism—care less and less about how realistic it was and more about the message it conveyed.In Bobby’s words, “It was the difference between drawing a man's face and using abstraction to explore his soul.” Disclaimer: With exception of the removal of identifying details, essays are reproduced as originally submitted in applications; any errors in submissions are maintained to preserve the integrity of the piece.I suppose this is strange, as the rest of my life can best be characterized by everything the studio is not: cleanliness and order and structure.But then again, the studio was like nothing else in my life, beyond anything in which I've ever felt comfortable or at ease. My carefully composed sketchbooks—the proportions just right, the contrast perfected, the whiteness of the background meticulously preserved—were often marred by the frenzied strokes of my instructor's charcoal as he tried to teach me not to draw accurately, but passionately. But thus was the fundamental gap in my artistic understanding—the difference between the surface realities that I wanted to depict, and the profound though elusive truths of the human condition that art could explore.