这篇感人小论文,教你怎样敲开“常春藤”大门

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对于中国学生来说,申请美国八大常春藤名校,除了考试成绩、推荐信、个人专长、社会活动和公益活动、财务安排以外,最关键的是要递交一份令人拍案叫绝的小论文(essay),能一下抓住招生老师的眼球。这个小论文除了文辞表达清晰外,最关键的是真情实感,突出自己的个性。

这里提供一份申请小论文。作者是美国17岁的卢克·肯沃,他被麻省理工学院拒绝后,写了一篇很精彩的小论文,申请八大常春藤大学联盟。

他是怀着侥幸心理尝试申请的,但意外的是很快获得7所常春藤大学的录取通知书。

八大常春藤大学有一个共同特征是,录取时兼顾学业成绩和课外活动。卢克最有优势的就是参加过各种社会活动,较深地介入学生会工作,并且到塞尔维亚、土耳其和危地马拉等国游学。当卢克被麻省理工学院拒绝后,他在申请小论文上下功夫,决定写一段记忆中挥之不去的童年经历,“那件事塑造了我是谁”。

全文翻译如下:

当我的小脑袋靠在父亲的胸口上哭泣时,他轻轻跳动的心,让我感到些许安慰。那时我小学5年级,他刚告诉我妈妈被她的男朋友打了,正躺在医院里。我记得当时自己很惊讶,惊讶自己居然开始有了伤心的滋味,即便她曾经做过很多类似打人的事。在我8岁的时候,同样是她,居然在家里举行派对,让年轻娃娃喝得烂醉如泥。也是她,在酒吧里混一整夜而不回家,我正盼她最好消失;是她,在我父亲醉得不省人事时试图掐死他,我盼望最好把她关进监狱再也别出来。当我父亲成为我的唯一监护人时,她在我的生活中再也没出现过一次。我以为我再也没妈了,我已经忘掉过去准备往前走了。然而,当我在医院看到她肿胀的脸和她手臂上的瘀伤时,热泪禁不住从脸颊流下。

小时候我一直很害羞, 少了妈妈的关心,加剧了我性情上的这个问题。因为她的缺席,我越是希望得到他人的认同感,就越病态地压制自己内心的不安全。在我6年级的时候,我想方设法引起一帮孩子的注意,但却遭到他们的欺凌。等到了7年级,我越发害羞和胆小,害怕和陌生人会面。我把自己看做是社会最底层的人。再过了一年,虽然我努力摆脱这种感觉,但还是很内向,很在意别人会怎么看我。

进入高中后, 我会花几个小时的时间来思考我的不安全感来自何方, 和爸爸说说妈妈在的时候的那些事。在这段时间里, 我常常望着爸爸飘摇的衬衫,长时间地发呆。那种无助的感觉,是一辈子忘不掉的。但正是这种重复的反思,我开始到达用另外一种方式看问题的临界点。想想她的成长环境,被暴戾、酗酒的父亲和粗壮大意的母亲抚育成人,被好几个没有自制力的男人纠缠不休,为生活的不公平而酗酒麻木自己,然后意识到为时已晚,。我扪心自问,难道我的生活与她的有什么差别吗?

平生第一次, 我开始理解了“释然”意味着什么。我不能再穿着妈妈的鞋子走路,同样,也没有他人会真正循着我的足迹走路。别人看待我的方式,与本质上的我是不相吻合的,所以我不需要关心别人怎么看我。这种想法终于让我解脱,让我安心:我再也不用受被他人认同的限制。

我开始变得开朗,开放。在我读高中的这一阶段, 我开始和其他人谈论那些让我着迷的想法, 比如太空旅行和哲学, 而不是疯狂地寻找共同点。我退出足球队, 是因为我认识到自己很大程度上是为了获得参赛带来的地位;我加入跨州长跑,是因为我真正喜欢跑步。几乎每天早晨,我首先为我的同学们敞开教室的大门, 在他们抵达学校时迎接他们, 希望能点亮他们的每一天。我开始投身于学生会的工作中,当选学生会主席时, 我觉得所做的都很值得。实际上,我也觉得主席这个角色并无多大意义,但我找到了帮助他人的途径。我的友谊的基础,从相互考验转变为真实、真诚的尊重。

那天夜里, 我听着爸爸的心跳, 心里充满了愤怒和悲伤。然而事后, 我内心感激我从母亲那里学到的教训。我曾经历的痛苦,是我成为今天的自己的一个必经的路程,我不再担心表白自己。

 

英语原文如下▼

The soft thumping of my dad's heart provided a small degree of solace as I cried with my head on his chest. I was in fifth grade. He had just told me that my mom, having been attacked by her boyfriend, was in the hospital. I remember being surprised with myself, surprised that I would be sad after all she had done. This was the same person who, when I was eight, threw a drunken party at our house for teens younger than I am now. This was the same person who would disappear after spending nights at the bar, the person who went to jail for trying to strangle my dad in an inebriated stupor. She had not been a part of my life for over a year since my dad received sole custody; I thought I had closure, that I was ready to move on. Yet, hot tears still ran down my cheek as I imagined her swollen face and the bruises on her arms.

I had always been shy as a kid and the absence of my mom exacerbated this problem as I tried to unhealthily suppress my insecurities and fill her absence with others' approval. In sixth grade, I constantly sought the attention of a group of kids who, in turn, bullied me. Consequently, when I switched schools going into seventh grade, I was shy and timid, afraid to engage with new people. I pictured myself near the bottom of a rigid social hierarchy. The next year, I started to branch out more, but inside, I remained obsessed with how others perceived me.

Entering high school, I would spend hours at a time thinking about my insecurity and talking through memories of my mom with my dad. During this time, I would always remember how I had stared numbly into the ripples of my dad's shirt as a fifth grader. I could never forget that feeling of helplessness, but with repeated reflection, I began to understand this moment in a different way. Given her circumstances — raised by an abusive, alcoholic father and a neglectful mother; involved in several dysfunctional relationships with controlling men; drinking to numb the injustices of life, but then realizing it was too late to stop — I have no way of knowing if my life would be any different from hers.

For the first time, I began to understand an idea that has since granted me freedom: I cannot walk in my mom's shoes, and thus, no one else can truly walk in mine. The way others perceive me is inherently inaccurate, so I do not need to concern myself with what others think. This realization provided me the freedom to become untethered from the approval of others, finally at ease with myself.

I started to open up. Throughout high school, I began talking to others about ideas that fascinated me, like space travel and philosophy, rather than frantically searching for common ground. I quit football, realizing that I largely participated for the status it brought me, and joined cross country, because I genuinely enjoy running. I started holding the door open for my classmates almost every morning, greeting them as they arrived at school, hoping to brighten their day. I became engaged in my role on student council, which paid off when I was elected student body president. Even then, it wasn't the role itself that I found meaningful, but the way I could use it to help others. The basis of my friendships shifted from validation seeking to mutual, genuine respect.

As I listened to my dad's heartbeat that night, my mind filled with anger and sorrow. However, in hindsight, I am thankful for the lessons I learned from my mother; the pain I felt was a necessary step in the process of becoming the person I am today, someone who is unafraid to express himself.

见习编辑 耿超逸

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