PLEASE NOTE: I am just posting this temporarily in order that others may comment on my essay if they wish, then I'll take it away and put in a daylog or something. I'm applying to the Journalism School
at the University of Colorado at Boulder
in under a week (October 1). The following is my application essay, which I wrote on my experience here at e2. Any critisicm/comments would be tremendously appreciated.
Briefly describe a news story--not a news event, but an individual story--that had an impact on you, either because the topic was important or the story was told well or it simply resonated with you. Then discuss what the story tells you about how a journalist should do her or his job and what it says about the kind of journalist you want to be. Describe your interest in journalism. What motivates you to pursue a degree and possibly a career in journalism? Also give the reviewers some insight into who you are beyond your interest in journalism. A good journalist is also a well-rounded person, so talk about what makes you tick.
I truly love to write. It’s a passion that brings relief and self-justice to my oft meaningless life. My writing was brought to digital three and a half years ago when I first logged onto the website everything2.com. Under the username dmandave I began, unsuccessfully at first, to gain recognition. What I did not realize at the time was that to establish yourself as a writer you simply must toil and tear apart your existing work and reinvent it into something better. With this in mind I began the slow yet rewarding process of change. Throughout this development I began also to read hundreds of works from others within the community. At this point I first came across a posting from the user iceowl entitled Things nobody tells you about the south pole. It documents how the physical marker for the southernmost point occasionally gets stolen, but further that,
It is not illegal to steal the south pole. However, in stealing the south pole one would inevitably incur the wrath of the local scientists and support workers, known affectionately as polies. And nobody fucks with polies.
Polies don't behave like people fearful of scrutiny. They start out normal as all humans do, but they undergo a transformation few humans will ever have to endure in their lifetime.
I’ve wanted to experience this very transformation ever since. I got a taste last summer in the frozen lands of Patagonia where skiing became a secondary crutch towards an end of inner-calm. This summer I felt snippets among the clouds of the 14,000 foot mountains surrounding my home. Yet with each approach I’ve been left with a deeper underlying impetus to abandon all that I love and face a new challenge of survival.
Although I have never met nor even made contact with iceowl, I revere him immensely and want to follow in his frozen footsteps. After extensively documenting his journey south a follow-up post was made entitled simply, Other things nobody tells you about the south pole. Within it an attempt is made to objectively answer the question of how one goes about achieving success through survival at the Pole Station. The most poignant answer I found was exemplified by the simple act of digging a trench:
The location was about a 1/4 mile from the station. The temp was about -45F. I went out and started digging. I was in full ECW regalia. Everything from hyper-insulated bunny boots to two pairs of gloves and four layers of poly pro.
When the Polie science tech arrived, he observed what I was doing and pitched in to help. Between the two of us, the job was done in a flash. As I finished he sauntered away and I noticed he was wearing street shoes. Worn-in, black loafers. Leather. Flat heels. Sides and heel of the shoe broken-in to the point the leather had the consistency of a limp towel. The man wore loafers to dig a 500' long snow trench on the polar plateau. I said, "Neil. You're wearing loafers. You're going to get frostbite."
He smiled and said, "Yeah."
He's still down there.
Individual stories like these make me want to be a writer. Unfortunately I’d never really considered writing as a career before having exhausted all my other options. I’ve never been too confident with others and my more personal writings and only through everything2 has this changed. Nowadays, as I’ve matured into a more inspired and level-headed person I feel as though, with the proper training, I’ll be able to share my passion.