Let's post our essays to help next years students get an idea of what they should write.
Here's my Chicago essay exactly as I submitted it (typos included).
Apperently it didn't work :(
Essay Option 2: Destroy A Question
There must be an answer. I thought to myself. I, a thinking being, must be able to deduce the answer to any question I can pose. I could not. Every argument I concocted I just as easily repudiated. I only got back to where I began- nowhere.
I frantically perused the musty pages of the classics in a vain attempt to resolve my question. I found that my question was more often a topic of prevarication than discourse. Plato never pushed beyond his postulate that the universe was eternal and immutable. Descartes brilliance collapsed when his haphazard proofs of Gods existence were repudiated. William James simply dismissed the question as unanswerable. It seemed that the great minds spent more time dismissing each others work than building their own.
I was lost. In every other field I had studied reason provided a clear path to knowledge. This time, however, reason led me nowhere. Every time I thought I had deduced the logical path to a new idea I discovered faults in my logic that left me in the same place I had started. I could not find any axioms of knowledge.
I consulted a revered theologian. He consigned my question to the mind of god. But who created god? I asked, sensing a hole in his answer.
God is the uncreated creator. The memorized rebuttal carried with it contempt towards my lack of knowledge of theological canon. I left the conversation refusing to accept any axioms of my existence.
I then sought out a venerated scientist. I asked him my fabled question, expecting a meek response. Instead, he began a dissertation on the mechanisms of the universe. But why is it that way? I asked again and again only to be met with another wave of explanations.
That is what empirical evidence indicates. He retorted constantly.
But how do you know your conclusion isnt like an explanation of the movement of shadows on a wall I asked alluding to Platos Allegory of the Cave.
I neednt concern myself with hypotheses that cannot be falsified. I am a man of science. His dismissive reply left me in the same place I started.
As I walked out of his office I overheard a toddler importuning his mother. But why? he asked time and time again. His mothers repeated explanations failed to satiate his need for knowledge. He continued probing. Her explanations eventually focused on the existence of the universe. The toddler was not pleased. Why does the universe exist?
It just does, the mother said as she walked out of earshot.
As I walked on I noted that all three never reached any firm basis for their knowledge. The theologian and the scientist both dismissed the question as unanswerable. In his youth, the toddler refused to capitulate. He continued probing for knowledge beyond what his mother could provide.
My question was fundamentally a question of the mechanism explaining a condition. However, in order to explain something we must be able to observe it. By definition I couldnt step out of the universe and observe it. I couldnt answer my question because it was impossible for me to observe the mechanism. I capitulated to the inevitable: my question had no answer.
Post edited by Bill_h_pike on
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(The following is a guest post by JJ Shaw, an incoming freshman at Columbia College, and pretty much sums up why you should never visit the “chance me” forums at College Confidential.)
College Confidential is “the world’s largest college forum.” Except in this world, 2400s aren’t merely enough.
It has a long history of feeding the egocentric tendencies of high achieving seniors. It inflates the self-worth of some, all while crushing the confidence of otherwise perfectly capable college-bound students.
1. It attracts the obnoxious.
Some describe the site as the one of the worst sections of the internet–a cesspool of elitist and overqualified applicants. Others see it more as a coagulation of otherwise stressed kids trying to relieve some of the pressure. With 17 qualified students vying for a single spot at the nation’s top colleges, one can only wonder what happens behind the scenes and beneath the veneer of anonymity.
2. Chance Me’s kill your esteem.
Let’s look at a popular post: the Chance Me thread, which has long been enshrined in College Confidential’s long history. The premise of Chance Me is straightforward: a person posts his own statistics (GPA, test scores, interests, or clubs) and seeks his chances of admission to a school from supposedly random CC members. Sufficient information is given, but not enough to identify the exact person.
Sam from New York:
Hello, my name is Sam. I was wondering if I could get into any colleges with these terrible credentials. Will someone please help me!?
Here it goes: 6.0 GPA (on 4.0 scale); Perfect SATs; President of 5 clubs and Vice President of another 3; Started 2 new clubs; Valedictorian of cohort; 5 hours of Community Service every week bar Sundays; Volunteered in Lagos to build homes; Wrote a Pulitzer Prize-ready College Application essay; Phenomenal recommendations from Michelle Obama; Captain of Ice Hockey, Soccer, Tennis and Rugby; Conductor of Jazz Band; Fluent in Greek, French, Chinese and Spanish.
Do you think I am ready for community college?
A cursory look and we know that “Sam” is a typical overachiever.
No 4.0 GPA? You’re out. Only President of 2 clubs? Get out of here. Asian without a perfect SAT? Good luck even getting an interview.
3. Liars are everywhere.
While Chance Me threads have traditionally been useful for students to benchmark themselves against their competition, it has developed over the years to be a dumping ground for cynical and often contemptuous students.
Potential posters lurk in the shadows of the Ivy League thread and post demeaning comments that discourage other applicants. They spread false rumor and sarcasm, often to the point of humor. The word on the street goes that these keyboard warriors will claw their way to regaining fractions of a percentage benefit of eventual acceptance to their dream school.
4. Fortune tellers are just round the corner.
Some CC regulars absolutely implore that one must retake a 2390/2400 for the SATs as top colleges demand perfection. Other seasoned members instead push test takers to try for a less than perfect score because “2400s are regularly rejected”.
And exactly once did I see the mysterious happen: 5 CC members collectively agreed that user1098, after publishing his collection of “stats,” had a 22.8 chance of getting into Yale. Harvard was then judged to be a “high reach” school for user1098, while MIT was very much “a strong possibility.”
College Confidential does indeed bring out the best of internet trolls.
5. College Confidential knows you’ll always come back.
While these threads may serve as an escape valve for much of the anxiety and nervousness surrounding the college admissions process, they almost always end up making the journey a whole lot more frustrating.
You’re always looking for the next post, the next chance me, and the next rant on how the admissions game has become so inhumane.
But every time that notification comes, a rush of dopamine shoots through your nerves: someone has finally “chanced you”–for a 29.8% chance at UC Berkeley.
Guesstimations from other applicants won’t help–but that email in late March will.