For my thirteenth birthday I received three juggling cubes. Made of soft patchy cloth and filled with a grainy substance, they were perfectly engineered for quick, slightly inaccurate catches. After fingering them for a few minutes, I decided that, despite my lack of coordination, I would learn to juggle. “It’s a process,” I thought, “and I am a savant of logic; I can compensate for my physical inadequacies with my logical thought.” To celebrate my decision, I tossed one of the balls up with extreme gusto and promptly missed it with equally unmitigated exuberance.
I leafed through the book until I had a sufficient grasp of the principles of juggling. Feeling confident, I picked up the three balls and attempted to apply my knowledge. After several weeks of practice and hours of intensive analysis, I pinpointed my difficulty: the tendency of the balls to rush abruptly to the ground. I needed something slower. “Scarves,” I thought, but subsequent near-catches with a broken lamp proved that a slower object wasn’t the answer. In desperation, I dispensed with strategy, and instead began to throw the balls methodically. For the next week, I integrated juggling into my lifestyle. I would wake up, juggle drowsily, shower, dry off while juggling recklessly, juggle while lying in bed, and dream about juggling. My persistence became an obsession; balls danced about my head, cascades soared majestically over head, and swift pins flipped and spun in the corner of my eye.
The aforementioned is the story of how my interest in juggling began. After weeks of intensive practice, I mastered first the rudiments and then the intricacies of juggling. When I could finally execute complicated trick sequences, it was official: juggling was a hobby.
I enjoyed the change of pace, physical instead of intellectual, and the sense of power one feels when gravity is defied. The whizzing, spinning balls become an other-worldly creation; they move and dance in new and exciting ways. Once a dance has been mastered, I move on to another one. Whizz! Spin! I am the creator and the esthete, making and enjoying. Respin and back! The ball explores new territory. The once impossible is simple. Reverse and under! A ball goes through, and is replaced by a bowling pin. Smack! Reality hits suddenly and painfully.
The most glaring problem is the lack of a genuine voice. The applicant uses such unorthodox terminology (“…savant of logic…unmitigated exuberance…esthete…”) that the reader suspects overuse of a thesaurus. The language is too formal and awkward. The statement, “…I am a savant of logic; I can compensate for my physical inadequacies with my logical thought,” is not very believable, because most people would not think in such language.
Another problem is the poor attempt at humor: “After several weeks of practice and hours of intensive analysis, I pinpointed my difficulty: the tendency of the balls to rush abruptly to the ground.” Though humor can be an effective device, this applicant uses stilted language that does not seem to be his own. He also refers to his own writing (“The aforementioned is the story of how my interest in juggling began.”)—something that should not be done in a formal essay.
The final straw is that the writer never makes a unique point, offering a strange conclusion full of onomatopoeia. Since this essay does not offer much insight into the applicant’s personality or character, it does not serve to help his chances of admission.
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