Learning Creativity Essay

Here is another example from an introduction to a student's application to medical school: When I was little my grandfather gave me piggyback rides, brought me donuts every day when he came home from work, and taught me about nature.

A simple farmer who survived World War II and lived most of his life under Russian occupation, he told me why trees grow so high, why I should not pull a cow by its ear, and why I should not chase chickens across the back yard.

Here is a perfect example of a lengthy creative beginning that winds its way into a formal thesis statement, excerpted from a Rhodes Scholarship essay in Chapter 5: , wherein an overdose of Vitamin A causes extensive hemorrhaging throughout the skeleton and excruciating pain.

Yet a thick rind of diseased bone all over her skeleton—ossified blood clots—tells that 1808 lived for weeks, even months, immobilized by pain and in the middle of the African bush.

Without question, the most common place for writers to exercise their freedom in personal statements, as well as the most common place where writers feel uncertain about what they’ve done, is in their beginnings.

Even personal statements that are scientific in tone and content might have creative beginnings.

As fond as I was of him, as I grew and became more educated I also saw how this great man made bad choices about his health.

I constantly nagged him about his smoking and poor diet.

Readers of personal statements are used to openings that tell stories or borrow quotations, essays that discuss relevant current events, and even daring writers who risk a bit of well-conceived humor or surprise.

In the same chapter, another writer uses a narrative opening in her essay to repeat a favorite quote that her mother used to say: “To find out where you’re going, you need to know where home is.” Keep in mind that some quotations are highly overused and that quotations can also come off as merely trite and silly, depending on the taste of the reader.

Some find Forrest Gump’s “Life is like a box of chocolates” hilarious; others just groan when they hear it.

Nevertheless, some writers take these calculated risks, and do so with style.

Witness this passage from a sample essay in Chapter 4, as a film student explains how he spent his freshman year in a different major: With a high school education grounded rigorously in math and science, I entered Mythic University on an academic scholarship with Polymer Science and Engineering as my intended major.

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  1. Like many, I haven’t had the ability to do that for an extended period of time, though I’m not sure I ever wanted to live alone back then. Loneliness feels like such a shameful experience, so counter to the lives we are supposed to lead, that it becomes increasingly inadmissible, a taboo state whose confession seems destined to cause others to turn and flee.” — Olivia Laing But at this juncture in my life, I have the option and means to have a place of my own, and I feel ready to face these impending feelings of loneliness in search of what’s next.