Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lamb To The Slaughter

Alright, alright, here's what's going to happen. I'm going to post my common app essay, and you're all going to swarm on it like the bloodthirsty sharks you are and tear it into tiny little pieces. I will then cobble the pieces together, throw them in a shoebox along with what's left of my pride, and burn them on my driveway in a quiet ceremony.

Keep in mind: While inspired by actual events, the actual events in this paper are near complete fabrications. So don't get all huffy about historical accuracy. Also I think I have some tense prollems. Also, this beast is 599 words right now, which is roughly 99 words over the limit. Feel free to rip and slash out whatever looks loseable.


Be gentle.

Prompt: Tell us about a person who influenced you in some way. How did they influenced you?

As I entered my sophomore year of high school, my confidence was at an all-time high. Ever since elementary school, I had breezed through every academic challenge the school system had to offer. Math, science, and especially writing were easy for me. My teachers fawned over my work like proud parents, often using it as an example for my fellow students. I expended very little effort but received rave reviews. Gradually, I came to assume that I was extraordinarily intelligent with unlimited potential; high school would be simple, then I would be off to the Ivy League to amaze the world’s best and brightest.

It took only one class, and one teacher, to bring me back down to earth. Mr. Wanninger was my teacher for Pre-A.P. English in 10th grade. He seemed different from my other teachers, staid veterans in tweed jackets and carefully coordinated jewelry, watching over their students with paternal concern. Mr. Wanninger seemed to belong to a different generation, our generation, swiveling about on his desk chair, cracking jokes and listening to the same music as some of his hipper students. In some ways it was nice to have a younger, more relatable teacher, but we soon discovered the other side of having a teacher as a peer. In place of the reliable encouragement of a caring, concerned parent, we had scant praise, meted out only to those who truly deserved it, by an intelligent, challenging equal. Even in these uncertain new circumstances, I was sure I could impress Wanninger with my first essay. I wrote it out, looked it over once, and, satisfied, turned it in days early.

Mr. Wanninger returned our essays a week later. The cumulative corrections on all my previous schoolwork could not have contained more red ink than the bloodstained mess that was my paper. Wanninger had found more things wrong with the paper than right with it. Indignant, I began to read his comments and corrections, fighting the urge to march into his room and present him with all the perfect grades I’d earned through middle school. He criticized my structure and style as simple and unrefined; he guessed correctly that I had written it in one night; and worst of all, he told me my writing was immature: I needed to “grow up.” All that stopped me from huffily demanding that he retract his comments and issue a formal apology was the simple realization that he was right.

My writing was poor, but it was my attitude that needed to change. I was acting like a child, doing shoddy work and expecting my teacher, like any good parent, to tell me it was wonderful. Mr. Wanninger represented a new kind of judge, one on my own level. Good or bad, he told you his real opinion. The truth hurt, but his honesty was invaluable in my quest to grow as a writer. I received top marks in English both semesters, was named student of the semester by Mr. Wanninger, and later won the school district prize for best essay.

I feel Mr. Wanninger also helped me grow as a person. My experience in his class served as a transition into adulthood. I am no longer a child to be marveled over and blindly encouraged by dewy-eyed elders. No, I am an adult; my actions will be evaluated bluntly and honestly. While this judgment may come hard and fast, it will be the truth, and with this truth as a guide I will be able to shape myself and, hopefully, fulfill some of that youthful potential from my elementary days.


P.S.: I probably won't check this blog again until Sunday, so go ahead and pile on in my absence.

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29 Comments:

At 11:27 PM, October 18, 2006, Blogger constant_k said...

Damn, what is this, the max kuehn solo blog now?

 
At 11:44 PM, October 18, 2006, Blogger Amelia said...

well done, sir, well done.

 
At 11:45 PM, October 18, 2006, Blogger Houley said...

rave reviews?

 
At 1:01 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:03 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

julie's deductive criticism:

effing up an essay crushes your self-perception of being the perfect student

the now imperfect and crushed student still pulls out with two A's and student of the semester

max becomes an adult.

wait, what?

perhaps this is not what you were looking for, but i think your theme is a little shaky...

 
At 1:04 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

hmm...i tried to be gentle...

 
At 7:48 AM, October 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest fiction in your essay? Red ink.

First & second drafts were always graded in either blue, green, or purple. Never red. (True story.)

 
At 9:58 AM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Shelty said...

The last paragraph seems a bit sing-songy. Yeah, and I agree with Julie. You might want to add how you got top marks and student of the semester, and how you are now an adult. Add a nice transition there, perhaps. A good essay overall, though.

 
At 12:35 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger The_Janitor said...

Personally I think you should have done the essay about chet. Also, I don't have time to post, I need to devote my time to editing the movie.

 
At 1:18 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger mayah said...

get rid of "in some ways it was nice," and put in "it was refreshing."
get rid of "simple" realization, change it to "painful," or "eye-opening."
stick in some nice little "after reevaluating blablabla" before the top marks bullshit.
annnnd i like your conclusion. as for cutting words? get rid of that "math, science, writing" sentence in the first P, and do what you want with the rest. i like itttttt kbai.

 
At 1:19 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger jobble said...

any specific reason for that dub?

 
At 2:52 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger aa said...

i was wondering the same thing.

 
At 4:29 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Houley said...

red's pretty definite and angry and "this is bad!" especially for tender sophomores. he'd probably be handing out too many "bloodstained messes" and get many students "huffily demanding that he retract his comments."

 
At 8:20 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

haha

 
At 9:47 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

"Mr. Wanninger represented a new kind of judge, one on my own level."

um... this sounds a little arrogant... i suggest "Mr. Wanninger represented a new kind of judge, one that wasn't brought to climax by my above average but lack-luster work..."

feel free to substitute "tears" for "climax" if you're a sissy...

 
At 9:47 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

and i think there needs to be a comma in there somewhere...

 
At 10:52 PM, October 19, 2006, Blogger Houley said...

or, in keeping with Tom's entry, you could just load the whole document with sexual innuendos.

 
At 12:52 AM, October 20, 2006, Blogger Tay said...

max, i'm sorry but the essay makes you sound incredibly pretentious. i mean i know you are applying to princeton, but still... 'i know was the fucking shit on the playground and in middle school, but then high school rolled around and i thought maybe i wasn't the shit. but wait? no, i'm the fucking shit.' sorry max, you are going to have to do more to impress me.

don't get me wrong, its well written. it just makes you sound like an ass, something people generally try to avoid in college application essays. the end is kinda redeeming and you speak well of wanninger. but the first part is almost overwhelming and detracts from the rest of your essay.

 
At 9:53 AM, October 20, 2006, Blogger Houley said...

while i don't think it's quite as bad as tay says, i think if you made it a little bit more like that one essay (you know the one) you'd be better off.

 
At 4:44 PM, October 20, 2006, Blogger aa said...

hey max!!!

i was just at woodys and they have the picture of the class of '07 in their window and it looks sweet. i love the row of manly mustaches t-shirts. it made me smile.

 
At 10:09 AM, October 21, 2006, Blogger mayah said...

pretentious, yes, but he explains why. plus, max IS pretentious, has nobody else picked up on that? love you little bro.

 
At 11:22 AM, October 21, 2006, Blogger CoachDub said...

So anyway, Jason is partly correct. One thing that they taught us in educational psychology was about color psychology. Red is a "warning" color, and so students get subcosciously freaked out about it. If you see a margin full of blue or green, it is less disconcerting than a sea of red. So I can write "You suck and will never amount to anything" in blue ink, and you will feel good about it.

 
At 1:51 PM, October 21, 2006, Blogger Josh said...

tay's calling your essay pretentious. tay. tay 'cathedral tone' stevenson

 
At 12:46 AM, October 22, 2006, Blogger Kara said...

Although I agree there was a certain level of pretentiousness in this essay, I certainly do not believe it was quite the level of Tay's application essay last year. So, I guess, if anyone knows pretentious, Max, it's Tay.

Otherwise, I agree most of the comments previously stated. It seems like you went from up to down to up again with hardly any transition and they're probably looking from some kind of change in you, and I'm just not sure it's as significant as they want. And we all know it's complete bullshit we're asked to do to get into college.

That's good to know Wanninger. I'm glad that when I'm told "I suck" in blue ink, it's not as harsh emotionally as it would be if it were in red.

 
At 3:13 AM, October 22, 2006, Blogger CoachDub said...

Like you ever got a "you suck."

 
At 12:28 PM, October 22, 2006, Blogger Houley said...

did you lose your display pic, Wanninger?

 
At 2:35 PM, October 22, 2006, Blogger constant_k said...

This comment thread has drifted away from flaying max.

This is a good sign.

 
At 9:31 PM, October 24, 2006, Blogger Kelsi said...

Could it be argued that, while using blue, purple, or green ink initially relaxes a student's nerves about marks on his/her paper, that student would eventually become concious of the fact that those colors are still used to make corrections and comments, and subsequently train his/her mind to feel anxiety about any colors on his/paper?

 
At 9:32 PM, October 24, 2006, Blogger Kelsi said...

*his/her paper

 

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