Columbia Statement of Intent | 8th and Final Draft
Finally. I would say that I am pretty well-versed in writing essays but this one proved to be the most arduous task. Writing about yourself in letter slash essay slash journal entry format in 500 words… was just hard.
And knowing that this is your one window of opportunity to sell yourself in writing form. To really declare your candidacy. I had to get it right.
Christ. Yannick, Kat and I were on the phone for hours about whether or not a comma belongs between “twos” and “yet” in “I am fascinated by things that operate in twos, yet yield and enigmatic third.” And between “operations” and “producing” in “My work can be seen as a series of primitive operations producing multiples that discover the verities between 1 + 1 > 2.” The proper use of an m-dash, whether you leave space on both sides – as such – or not–like so. Apparently, there’s an English way and an American way. I also labored over determining whether the “constancy” of change was correct over “constant” of change. I got several different opinions on that one. There are books titled both — even “constance” of change, which is not even a word. The proper use of a semicolon as a strong comma was a topic we rehearsed with much debate. And “…” as an appropriate sentiment/run on tier on an academic paper.
These were the last pre-submission concerns after about 8 drafts beginning in September. There were much larger problems. This started with Mohamed and back then it was just an outline. It then went to Clark, Chava, Linda and Ben. I made massive changes between each professor’s red marks in terms of structure and detail, but the overall theme remained the same. Obviously, since my story never changed.
It took months to whittle down my 2000 word blabber fest to 1000. And then another few weeks to be even more concise at 500. Cheat: this is actually at 566. I was at 610 and felt that not another word was dispensable. I should receive a medal for getting myself through that last push to below 600. Sounds ridiculous but it is the hardest thing, reviewing your own writing. I’ve read this piece over 20,000 times. I have memorized it. I dream about it. It is tattooed in my heart.