hi my name is alana manfredini and i’m part of the class of 2024 for duke university i am majoring in mechanical engineering with a possible minor in machine learning i will be reading my personal statement to you sam gosling said in snoop that your room is a reflection of the inside of your mind every chaotic piece of paper cluttering your living space represents an idea created inside that lump of gray matter.
however sometimes each of those neurons pile up and need to be organized and so as i walked past my yamaha upright with sporadic piles of music and dusty mounds of 1900 cds i realized i really need a shelf just like any other creative with the ponchon for mispronouncing swedish i went to ikea and found a beautiful white open-backed cabinet that resonated with my desire for sophisticated simplicity the trouble started.
when the box arrived home late at night i started hacking it open with a knife and scratched the unblemished white surface of my cabinet a well-worn truism reverberated between my ears precision was key lesson learned i thought but no one cares about a single scratch i tried to rationalize my mistake my decision degraded against my perfectionism.
but at least the scratch reminded me to approach even the most menial tasks with care then i embarked on the task spurred by the tantalizing satisfaction of building it without instructions i have a tendency to add unnecessary challenges just to see how far i can push myself ten minutes later i was in the hole balancing the cabinet between the wall and my knee the shelves were in and now all.
i needed was the top a humble piece of flat timber and the struts that held it together and the plethora of screws littered around me surely they were spares just as i slaughtered the crowning piece onto my slightly lopsided shelf the leaning tower of pisa finally collapsed the screws i had put in bent i guess i would be needing those spares the little wooden bits meant to keep the shelf stable snapped.
and the middle panel had a hole ripped through the center as if australia’s very own wolverine had ripped its claws up the side of my shelf at first i felt anger at my ineptitude then despair and denial every single stage of brief towards the magnificent project i thought i had completed flashed through my brain my frustration had heat the collapsed shelves had defeated me.
but the niggling voice in the back of my mind which guides all of my movements said hey you could have done this better you have to try again the next day after meditative break i was back more determined and clear-minded than ever i embarked once again on the construction without the instructions but with the shelf lying horizontally.
on the floor my determination to challenge myself had not yet swayed by the end of the hour i had a working shelf that didn’t look like the diagram but was able to support books i needed to try again i started again with the instructions and built a working sturdy shelf that looked as though it could be printed in an ikea catalogue so long as they photoshopped out.
the extra scratches well what’s the moral she used the instructions yes i did use the instructions yes i did have to remake the shelf three times but every single mistake in those three attempts for the lesson i can use in the future in every moment i gained a greater understanding of the way parts fit together every time i looked at the instructions i realized i didn’t need to carve my own path single-handedly instead there was a lot of merit from building.
the work of those before me and taking their ideas to grow even more and at the very worst at the end of it all at least the chaotic pieces of paper were no longer on the floor my favorite parts of this essay are definitely because i tried to use a bit of humor in the middle as well as telling a not super serious story so instead of trying to overflow some small events to make it seem like you’re a bit melodramatic or anything like that i used a humorous event.
which obviously didn’t wasn’t a massive part of my life but it showed that i was persistent and showed that i like to push myself by not using the instructions and then that i could laugh at my mistakes and continue on without them my favorite sentence is just like any creative with a pawn short for mispronouncing Swedish.
i went to ikea and found a beautiful white open back create a cabinet that resonated with my desire for sophisticated simplicity because i’m interested in engineering and design i think that showing about the beautiful white open backed cabinet and the sophisticated simplicity really talks about how i’m interested in design and then also humorous.
because i think about one shot from miss pronouncing swedish i can laugh at myself and going to ikea automatically sets up the idea that i like to build and things like that and then of course when the next sentence comes in the trouble started when the box arrived home it’s kind of like a murder mystery novel and um it.
it sets up the a very not satirical but quite like tongue-in-cheek mood of the rest of the essay when i included references such as quotes i made sure to include where they came from so i started out with sam gosling said in snoop that the room is a reflection inside your mind or i said the well-worn truism that precision was key and then also i just by having.
a little bit of humor throughout the whole thing even the dramatic sections for instance the uh the plethora of screws littered around me surely they were spares and um the wooden bits meant to keep this shelf stable it gives the admissions officers. a break from reading all of the very dramatic oh my life is the worst thing.
that could possibly ever happen to me or to happen to anybody and kind of say look i think i can admit that this isn’t the biggest event in history but it showed parts of my character it’s entertaining for the admissions offices and it’s just really an enjoyable essay to read and that’s what you really want to get thanks
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