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November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! (Plus A Little Box of Wishes)

If you live in the United States, you know that tomorrow is the blissful, food-filled day of Thanksgiving. Although every family upholds their own set of traditions, I thought I’d let you in on a personal tradition (one I started last year) that you can follow, too.

There is a small, pale, wooden box that sits on my dresser. It’s nothing special on the outside, although I’d like to think that it holds special words inside.

At least once a week, I write prayers and wishes on a colorful sticky note. On this note, I typically address specific people in my life who I am thinking about. I’ll write a few words, fold the paper, open the tiny clasp on the box, and finally drop the sticky note inside.note-2737073_1280.pngI’ve made it a personal point to do this throughout this year, and I’ve realized that my awareness for others and my spiritual connection have definitely strengthened.

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day, I will open my Little Box of Wishes and sift through all of the prayers I have written down this year. In particular, I will account for the prayers that have been answered; I will then place those specific notes in a new box, one that holds all of my answered prayers and wishes. I am especially grateful for these notes in particular; I know that, by sifting through my box tomorrow, I will not only be reminded me of what I’m thankful for, but who I’m thankful for as well.

If you’re looking for new avenues of inspiration, try doing some sort of variation of the Little Box of Wishes tradition. I know I will continue it into next year.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

The Pains and Gains of College Writing

‘Tis the season for college applications. If you are a senior in high school or a transfer student, you are most likely in the midst of writing the most important essays (arguably) you will ever write in your life.

More than anything, word count seems to be the bane of any student’s existence. Supplemental essays may ask a profound question, yet they require a maximum of 150 words. These essays are, in actuality, gold mines if you know how to work them. Their purpose is for colleges to see if you can synthesize information and only tell them what’s important.

You may ask, How can I possibly explain my life in 150 words? 

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Mr. Moore, my Freshman writing teacher, repeated his mantra every class: “Omit needless words.” Doing this is a skill you will learn over time, but first you have to understand that unnecessary words and paragraphs weaken your essays.

As a quick exercise, describe an object that is closest to you at this moment, such as a lamp. In your description, in 150 words or less, outline the function of that object as well as its appeal to you. Exercises like this will help train your brain to only record the most important details rather than needless “fluff.”

College application essays offer you the chance to be open, vulnerable, and honest. The people reading your essays are not random English teachers judging your writing; these are professional admissions officers searching for what makes you human. In particular, they want to find things that reveal who you are in a way that your application cannot.

Personally, my Common App essay was, hands down, the hardest piece of writing I have ever had to write. This is because I wrote about an issue that I feel uncomfortable talking about; the fact that I had to write about it meant that I had to be honest with myself and accept the way I am.

If you are working on an essay, I am always available to provide critiques. Feel free to send it to my Sumbissions page and I’d be happy to help.

Happy writing!

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