A Question and a Dare
If you had to write a college essay today, what would you write? Hold on to that thought for a bit.
Because we’re all about doing BOLD things here at Chez Ladybadass, my husband just left to complete a double circumnavigation of the planet. On a sailboat ... alone. Yes, that’s 40,000 something miles of sailing from San Francisco down to Cape Horn, a quick whip around Antarctica, then up the right-hand side of the Americas to Canada, next (because of climate change) a meander around some icebergs through the Northwest Passage (aka - over the top of Canada), wave to Russia, and finally head south home. And no, he’s not stopping along the way for a beer and a nap. He’s carrying all the food, water and fuel he needs for the full year. If all goes well, he’ll only stop in Newfoundland sometime next summer to wait for the Northwest passage to open (i.e., melt a bit.)
Just in case you were wondering I was invited and no, I had no desire whatsoever to go with him. That’s said, I’m HUGELY supportive of this adventure and prouder than punch. Randall is LIVING my rhetoric of “Be 100% you and everything else will sort itself out” in a pretty dramatic way. Want to go along for the ride virtually? He writes every day from sea.
I have no doubt you’re having one or more of the following reactions to this story.
This man is nuts!
This man is awesome!
What on earth does this adventure have to do with a college essay?
Here’s where I answer the question, stay with me. To pull off this whole “he writes about his adventure from sea” situation we have to do some shenanigans from this end. Because out in the middle of fill in your Ocean name of choice here, Randall and Moli (his boat) do not have internet connectivity. This means Randall sends his writing, the photos, and video through satellite magic to Freddy. Freddy is Randall’s content manager back here at home base. We love Freddy.
Last week as Freddy, Randall and I were sitting around my dining room table talking through the logistics and plan around this whole process. As we wrapped up our conversation, our discussion moved to Freddy and what was happening in his life. He’s a Senior in High School and going through the whole college application process. We started talking about the college essays he needed to write. As this whole “how do you talk about yourself” is kind of my “thing” he asked me for some thoughts on how he might approach the process. Smart boy.
He started by sharing the essay prompts.
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
So again, if you had to write a college essay today what would you write? Thinking about how you would answer ALL these questions could help you at any period in your professional career. Take a look at these current day scenarios:
Trying to figure out what your professional platform should be? Take a try at answering the question “Do you have an interview and need to prep an answer for the “tell me about your weaknesses/failures” question?” You guessed it, question 2.
Want to show your manager how you’re ready to take on a significant strategic project? Take a look at question 4.
Want to explore what that thing is that you uniquely do? Hi, question 6.
You get my point.
Now, the dare. I dare you to write your current college essay. Pick one of the questions above and answer it. I want to read your answers. Seriously. What will happen after that? I have a few ideas, and if you take me up on the dare, we’ll talk about how you can be involved.