College Admissions Essays - A Photograph
Attach a small photograph (3.5 x 5 inches or smaller) of something important to you and explain its significance.
At an age when my friends’ floors were strewn with toys, dirty clothes, or video-game cartridges, mine was smothered in paper of all sorts — books, magazines, reams of white and college-ruled, paper bags, paper airplanes. This pattern has survived, and it is representative of the way I live. The house of my life is built on a foundation of paper.
Certainly this element is crucial in all our lives. From money to facial tissues to news to playing cards, paper is a vital organ of the body politic. And I, as a student, laden with schoolwork (and college application forms), should naturally expect to be particularly prone. But, for me, paper goes even beyond this role: Virtually all of my favorite activities are paper-based. I compose music, poetry, and prose. I do mathematics, with massive scratchwork as a by-product. I solve cryptic crosswords. Last year, I was involved in CX debate, which may be cynically but not inaccurately said to consist essentially of reading prepared pieces of paper in a strategically determined order. To me, paper is the natural medium for connecting the mind — whether in its imaginative, mechanical, or emotive capacity — with the physical world. Small wonder, than, that I find I express myself more effectively in writing than in speech, or that, on my habitual multiple-hour walks, I often carry blank paper and pens to jot down any arbitrary thoughts that might seem worthy of retention.
Even beyond this, my intimate relationship with paper extends to some unorthodox functions. I have developed a rudimentary silent communication system with friends, involving holding up sheets of various colors. When it comes to cleaning up spills, I far prefer the use of paper towels over sponges. At the age of thirteen, I caused myself some jaw trouble through excessive use of paper as a substitute for chewing gum, though I have largely overcome that habit. In prescribing the role of paper, I can be picky — college-ruled, never wide-ruled, because more words fit on the...