Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 8.17.09 AMBy Jenny Jiao, ’16

Dear Readers,

I finally clicked “Review and Submit” two weeks ago. My applications are in. Well, those due Nov. 1.

That moment of relief got me thinking about how tedious this process really was. The filling out of forms wasn’t too horrendous, and even listing all the activities and honors was only time-consuming and mindless. The real work was the essays.

I especially should’ve enjoyed crafting essays. After all, I write for our newsmagazine. But, I didn’t.

I had heard so much advice: add in research, be specific, don’t be too opinionated. I struggled to do all these things while still staying true to my own voice and thoughts. Should I write about my most prestigious accomplishment? Or the activity in which I spend the most time? Which looks better?

It took me until the week before applications were due to realize that there was no recipe for the perfect essay, no specific activity that needed to be mentioned. I just needed to write about my passions and the activities that I find stimulating, challenging and fun. After that realization, I rewrote three of my supplements, and I feel that they actually represent me now.

So, to the underclassmen who will, sooner or later, be going through this process, I encourage you to find things that you love to do and do them. I’ve seen too many students join too many clubs simply for the resume.

But I do realize that my telling you to do things you care about is probably not going to change your actions, so here’s another perspective. If you are dying to get into a particular college, remember this: When it comes time for applications, you will have to write essays on your favorite activity and a moment that defined you and the reason you want to go into whichever major you indicated. If you don’t spend your four years doing the things you like, it’ll be extremely difficult to write to those questions.

The way to write the best essays is to have been engaged in something, anything, that you actually want to share with others. And the best way to accomplish that is to do something you love.