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Teen Voice - 12/02/2012

Power of Words
updated: Dec 01, 2012, 1:00 PM

By Kelsey Abkin

These last few weeks of mine have been overwhelmed with the task of writing. As I've trailed along the college process, I have stared at over 20 blank pages, each one just as daunting as the last. But while each page brings some unease, it even more so brings opportunity, an insight into my own mind. To me, the hardest part of it all was taking who I am, what I think, what I stand for and clumsily attempting to put it into words on a page. From this experience I have come to appreciate the impressive power of words, but have also found the importance of choosing them wisely. I think the most unsettling thing about words, is that they have the ability limit us. If you struggle with the ironically difficult task of putting one word after the other, as I did, it makes you that much more susceptible to being misjudged by an admissions reader.

On the other hand, the power to manipulate words can make one limitless. It seems the greatest writers are those who have the capacity to put exactly what they mean and feel into words. The subtle power of carefully chosen words can make its' reader feel something. When I have talked to anyone about writing the college essay, they all say something along the same lines; they say that you should write honestly and tell the admissions reader exactly who you are. Easier said than done. It's one thing to know who you are but it's a whole other to be able to turn it into 500 words.

Overall, from the experience of writing the college essay, I have learned the extent to which words have power, how using them skillfully can be to your greatest advantage.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 349254 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 01:41 PM

Your immediate advantage is having already much experience putting thought to paper. You have an inquisitive mind and are just as reflective of what goes on around you and what goes on within you too. That is admirable. Turn off your internal judge and critic and present yourself in all your qualities that are at once human, like everyone else, and unique - no one writes like you or questions like you do. THAT is what admissions clerks are looking for.... imho.


 COMMENT 349262P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 01:57 PM

Elements of Style if you need a peptalk


 COMMENT 349308 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 05:56 PM

Nice comment 254! Good luck Kelsey!


 COMMENT 349345P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 07:24 PM

Study grammar and a second language for construction and the nuts and bolts of language. (I diagrammed sentences in seventh grade but truly used and appreciated grammar after about four years of Romance foreign language study). Read classics and current fiction and non-fiction writing. I recommend Harper's or the New Yorker, not Time or a pop culture magazine. Practice. Use resources such as writing tutors. It would be great if you could work with a college student majoring in literature or technical writing. I'll bet there are UCSB students looking for extra work.
You got guts, girl! I applaud that.


 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 09:14 AM

Hi Kelsey,

And don't forget that writing itself can be fun. And illuminating. Writing in a journal where there is no judgment at what & how you're describing something can help, well- everything. I think it's hard to describe oneself. Where to begin? For an essay, one example might be to start with an experience you had that resulted in your feeling particularly good & why, or even one that made you feel bad, or uneasy, or conflicted.


 COMMENT 349472P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 10:38 AM

Check out the first chapter of On Writing Well by William Zinsser. A crafty professor i once had assigned it as mandatory reading for his class and i couldn't be more thankful.


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