Brothers and Sisters
Almost a year ago today I began to plan my college admissions essay. I'd been waiting for this moment ever since I started high school. I knew that my essay could make or break an admissions counselor's perception of me. I knew that I couldn't procrastinate and that my essay had to be great....but I was in for a rude awakening.
I can't believe how far I have come since my admissions journey. It can sometimes feel as if there is a lot of pressure and you don't know where to start. I found that no matter how many posts I read, or how many videos I watched, I couldn't write a conventional essay because I am not a conventional person. In the future, I will go more in depth about the process and how I wrote my essay, but for now, I am simply going to share with you the essay that I sent to all the schools I applied to through The Common Application.
DISCLAIMER: My style and my approach IS NOT for everyone. The best tip that I can briefly share is to be authentic! (I'll explain this idea further in the future)
your big sister
Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
My Essay (exactly 650 words):
Every night I write my prayers in a small notebook with the word “EVERYTHING” written on the cover. I start all prayers the same way: the date in the top right corner and a greeting-
One of my favorite words in the English dictionary is “foreign”. It’s a word that means one thing at the surface yet another philosophically. It’s an expression that mixed with intention can be either endearing or insulting. It’s an adjective which Merriam-Webster defines as “alien in character” and is synonymous with words that I also adore like avant-garde, radical, unorthodox. I love this word because it describes my life exactly, and if I have learned anything in my seventeen years of life, it is that I am Foreign.
It started with my name, Adetokunbo, “gift from abroad”. The outlier on the roster, the purple flower in the midst of green Sarahs and Johns and Graces. Yet growing up I saw it as strange, as I did my immigrant parents and my dad’s many marriages. But, with a power that only a God can manifest, my life is packed with many experiences that have turned my name into an icebreaker and my differences into my strengths.
One experience, in particular, was in April 2016, the day I realized my dream. I landed in the city of Rochester, the birthplace of entrepreneurship. At that moment, I was not just Dayo, but I was Dayo, CEO of Foreign Inc. Along with some investor money, I’d won the trip to pitch my brand at the Rochester Institute of Technology. My company, Foreign, was more for myself than for anyone else, an experiment to publically announce the truths that I needed to hear: you are beautiful, you are art, you are alien in character. The next day, I found myself sitting on a stage about to speak in front of hundreds of people (something I’d only done in daydreams). Yes, I was nervous, but the pervading thought that trumped my nerves was the idea of how many people needed to hear the message of Foreign too. When my turn came, I left my speech cards behind, forgot about the numbers, and spoke to the audience about their worth and how Foreign Inc. strives to prove it to them. I left the auditorium a winner, my trophies were the multiple women of all ages coming up to me saying how my message resonated with them, even the president of the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy herself. In that moment I didn’t just come to understand that I was Foreign, but the extent to which the world is as well.
This realization pervaded my thoughts and immersed itself in my dreams. It wrote the first words to my never-ending love story with the world. With the help of more experiences with the law, politics, and global fluency, I was able to define my dream in the form of an advocate, to become a person whose job is to present in front of masses, show them their power, and study the policies that created the world’s deficiencies in the first place.
I cannot say that I have a single passion, but I know, wholeheartedly, that I have a purpose; to pay homage to the Malcolms, Martins, Mayas, and Mahatmas who used their voice and turned differences into catalysts, whose names are not seen as strange, but powerful. I am Foreign, and I want the world to know that they are Foreign too, and it’s this tool in all of us that creates real change. A change that can create a system that protects, not a oppresses. A tool that can create a society of people who look into the mirror and see that they are beautiful, that they are art, and not different, but alien in character.
Thank you for showing me my mission, and I pray to honor yours as well,