Friendship College Essay

Introduction

In my exemplification essay, I intend to show examples of friendship and how they may occur in real-life situations. I shall take examples from the experiences of other students in my college.

Defining friendship as it occurs in real life

A friendship occurs when a bond is made between two people that go beyond being an acquaintance. A friendship that is healthy should contain respect, where both people respect each other in a somewhat equal fashion. The two should also care about the fate of the other, and may also care about the emotional and physical wellbeing of the other. A friendship may also include acts, be they of kindness or in general, that work for the best interest of the other without requiring anything tangible in return.

Example 1 – acts of kindness without requiring anything in return

An example of this includes when a young man was dumped by the girlfriend he was living with. The relationship had gone on since school up into college whereupon the two had moved in together. The man’s friend, upon discovering that his friend was moving out of the house he and his girlfriend shared, went over the help him move out of his house into a family member’s house.

Example 2 – acting in the best interest of the other person

A young woman repeatedly saw the partner of her friend flirt with other women and he appeared on many occasions to be taking it a little too far. The woman did not want to tell her friend just in case she was overreacting, plus it may have damaged their relationship. Instead, she spoke to one of the women that the man was flirting with and convinced her to show her girlfriend the text messages that the man had been sending her. That way her friend was able to see what her boyfriend was up to without it damaging the friendship between the two women.

Example 3 – providing support for the other person without any tangible reward

There are numerous occasions in college when students have gone out of their way to be there for their friends during times of illness and grief without ever receiving anything in return. One may assume that if material rewards were not received that maybe they hoped the other would provide the same type of support when they were ill or upset, and yet there are many times when the person giving never receives it back (possibly because it was not needed) and yet the friendship remained strong.

Conclusion

There are plenty of examples of friendship in a real-life situation where people do things for other people without any sort of tangible reward. There are occasions when a friend looks out for another person’s interests, and times when acts of kindness are given because of friendship alone. There is an argument to be had around if the actual friendship is reward in itself, which would then mean that acts of kindness and caring are still motivated by self-interest.

But Mr. Cranberg thumbed his nose at that convention, taking on the tremendous cost of the piles of mail schools send to potential students, and the waste that results from the effort. He figured that he received at least $200 worth of pitches in the past year or so.

“Why, in an era of record-high debt and unemployment, are colleges not reallocating these ludicrous funds to aid their own students instead of extending their arms far and wide to students they have never met?” he asked in the essay.

Antioch College seemed to think that was a perfectly reasonable question and accepted him, though he will attend Oberlin College instead, to which he did not submit the essay.

“It’s a bold move to critique the very institution he was applying to,” said Mr. Bauld, who also teaches English at in . “But here’s somebody who knows he can make it work with intelligence and humor.”

Indeed, Mr. Cranberg’s essay includes asides about applicants’ gullibility and the college that sent him a DHL “priority” envelope, noting inside that he was a priority to the college. “The humor here is not in the jokes,” Mr. Bauld added. “It originates in a critical habit of mind, and the kind of mind that is in this essay is going to play out extremely well in any class that he’s in.”

Admissions professionals often warn people not to think that they can write their way into the freshman class. “The essay is one document that, even in the best of circumstances, is written by an individual telling one story,” said Shawn Abbott, the assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions at . “I don’t believe that any one writing sample should trump what they did over four years.”

Still, he acknowledged that his staff had been taken with the story told by Lyle Li, a 19-year-old resident who applied this year. He wrote about his family’s restaurant and his mother, an immigrant from who once wanted to be a doctor and now works behind a cash register.

“When I visit my friends, I see the names of elite institutions adorning the living room walls,” wrote Mr. Li, a senior at Regis High School in . “I am conscious that these framed diplomas are testaments to the hard work and accomplishments of my friends’ parents and siblings. Nevertheless, the sight of them was an irritating reminder of the disparity between our households. I was not the upper-middle-class kid on Park Avenue. Truth be told, I am just some kid from Brooklyn. Instead of diplomas and accolades, my parents’ room emits a smell from the restaurant uniforms they wear seven days a week, all year round.”

Mr. Abbott said that N.Y.U. received plenty of essays about the immigrant experience. So Mr. Li risked writing one of many stories about long odds and hard work in an unfamiliar, unforgiving place.

But he did not fall into that trap and will be attending N.Y.U. this fall. “His essay brought his family’s circumstance and background into Technicolor,” Mr. Abbott said. “He paints a very vivid picture of what life is really like in his home. I think he’s proud of his accomplishments and work ethic, but there’s also a humility each day when he takes off his preppy blue blazer in front of his mom.”

The essay by Ana Castro, an 18-year-old senior at the Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer, N.Y., is about not quite arriving, in spite of having been born in the United States. And her essay for , which she will attend in the fall, centers on her desire to serve in the . It opens with a joke about her hating clowns and leeches and tells a sad story of a visit to the , where her father refused to let her play with the destitute boy next door. “My heart broke, not because I was now stuck eating plantains by myself in the stinging sun, but because that boy experienced a level of poor I never knew.”

Then she makes a startling statement that stopped both me and Mr. Bauld as we were reading it for the first time. “I have never seen the United States as my country,” Ms. Castro wrote. “I have never felt total patriotism to any country. I do not instantly think of staying here to help ‘my home,’ because I do not consider the United States my home. The Earth is ‘my home.’ ”

To Monica Inzer, Hamilton’s dean of admission and financial aid, bold declarations like this one are a strong sign of authenticity if nothing else. “Lots of essays have been doctored or written by other people,” she said. “You know that a parent didn’t write this. I don’t know how I know, but I do.”

Mr. Bauld knows how he knows. “There’s always an attempt in some of these college admissions factories to smooth out a student’s edges,” he said. “But what I loved about this piece is that there is no attempt to smooth out anything.”

As for Ms. Kumar, the 18-year-old Princeton applicant, her essay wasn’t so much smooth as it was slick, gliding effortlessly from her breakfast table to the manicured campus of Princeton to the “occidental bubble” of her school classroom. There’s a detour onto the city bus and then a quick trip to before coming back to the “towering turrets” of again.

Nevertheless, Princeton rejected her, and when I approached the university to find out if it had anything to do with her essay, it cited its policy of not commenting on any applicants or admissions decisions. I told its spokesman, Martin Mbugua, that other schools had commented on their own applicants once the students gave them permission, but he was unmoved.

Ms. Kumar suggested that her grades might not have been quite high enough, but Mr. Bauld contended that Princeton should have been swayed by her words.

“One of the things that makes this essay is her tone,” he said. “It could have been, ‘Princeton should be poorer,’ but she opens it as an inquiry. What she does is that she listens very carefully to what you have assigned her to do, and as a response to that, she says, ‘Well, let me ask you this!’ ”

Next week, Ms. Kumar will take the stage as Marty in the Science production of and she’ll collect her diploma on June 21. In the fall, she’ll attend , for which she wrote no essays about the university’s level of affluence.

To Mr. Bauld, that’s Princeton’s loss. “She is that person who is always going to give an interesting answer, even to the most boring question,” he said. “That’s my confidence in reading it, and I’d want that person in my class as a teacher.”

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