Here’s what NOT to do if you want your college essay to be more meaningful
False stabs at a meaningful essay go like this:
- Try to make your writing sound like someone else’s, preferably that person you know who got into Harvard early.
- Write it with one hand the night before it’s due while picking your toes and scrolling google for quotes by famous people that feel even marginally applicable.
- Flip out about it and decide that you have to write with overwhelmingly convoluted lyric sentences and complete absence of ego.
OK, now we got that out of the way, go for a walk. Then–
Here’s what to do if you want your essay to be more meaningful
- Remember that you matter. Period.
- Decide that being stressed out about one more thing purely because everyone else is or tells you to be is boring.
- Decide you will not treat your college essay merely as something to have completed.
- Do not aim to use fancypants vocabulary words you would not use if talking to a good friend about a complex movie you loved.
- Slow down the writing process a little. Ask yourself what you would write about if you knew you would be listened to and understood.
- Write in order to be listened to and understood.
- Ask yourself how many things that you do in life are meaningful to you personally. If the list is short, why?
- Ask yourself what the most true thing is at this moment for you. What makes you sit up, stand up, rev up, tear up?
- Challenge yourself to describe a scene from your life with skin-tingling presence.
- Don’t check social media accounts while writing your essay. This correlates with spikes in incomplete thoughts, and dips in contentment levels.
- Share your work with people who don’t HAVE to read it, and ask them if they are moved. Then, talk about what you wrote.
- Drink a hot beverage you love, and go find some grass to look at. Some insects are living out their whole lives in that grass, at this very moment, not giving a damn.
- Give less of a damn, and more of your heart.
Did we miss anything?
Surely, surely we did. It’s hard to say everything you mean, right? Especially in your college essay.
If this list jiggled something in your mindset, let us know what, and what happened next.
And remember: your college essay means exactly as much as you make it mean, so pack it in. Some people are going to tell you the opposite– to take it less seriously. But I’m a fatalist and I think we only get so much time here to do important stuff, so let’s get on with it, and maximize the meaning in everything we do.