College Essay S 2010

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You can learn a lot about me from a quick glance in my closet.

You’ll find no clothes, but shelves filled with motorized Lego kits, Erector sets, model rockets, remote control race cars, and boxes full of motors, wires, batteries, propellers, soldering irons and hand tools. No one was surprised when I decided to apply to college for mechanical engineering.

Drew's essay has a pleasing level of self awareness and self criticism. He is disturbed by his decision, and his essay explores his inner conflicts.

Drew is not perfect—none of us are—and he is refreshingly up front about this fact. Also, Drew's essay isn't just about his faulty decision.

Looking back, I think my decision was one of convenience and cowardice. What if my first job offer has a stunning salary and interesting engineering challenges, but the employer is a defense contractor like Lockheed or Raytheon?

Will I turn down the job, or will I once again compromise my ideals? Many engineering professors work under military grants, so my college research and internships could get entangled in messy ethical dilemmas.I like to think that in the future I’ll use my engineering skills to better the world and tackle noble causes like climate change and sustainability.My bad decision this past summer has inspired me to look ahead and find ways to make my ideals and my love of engineering work together.The admissions folks read scores of essays on "significant events" in which the writer describes a winning touchdown, a brilliant moment of leadership, a perfectly executed solo, or the happiness brought to the less-fortunate by an act of charity. At the heart of Drew's essay is a failure -- he acted in a way that did not live up to his personal ideals.He chose convenience and self-advancement over his values, and he emerges from his ethical dilemma thinking he did the wrong thing. Does a college want to admit all those students whose essays present them as braggarts and egoists?I want our troops to have the best equipment they can, but I also believe that our possession of the best military equipment makes us more likely to go to war.Military technology continues to grow more lethal, and technological developments create a never-ending cycle of military escalation. To this day I still weigh the ethical dilemma of my summer work.I’m hoping I’ll make a better decision the next time my ideals are challenged.If nothing else, my summer job has made me more aware of the types of information I want to collect before I accept a job and arrive at my first day of work.Were I to not do the job, the vehicle components would still be produced.Also, the parts I was making were for support vehicles, not assault weaponry.


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