Columbia straight edge essay! completely redone!

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: November 2003 Archive: Columbia straight edge essay! completely redone!
By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:52 pm: Edit

I completely shifted my focus. Here we go. Comments???

My friend laughs at the faded black marker X’s on my hands. His own are safe from the heat because he wears them on his skateboard-accident-cast where he can’t sweat them off like everybody else. “Only another week now…” he counts down, wishing rid of his plaster. “Scallen won’t let me through the door,” so he wears long sleeves to hide his arms even in the summer. “Safety hazard.” He doesn’t care. He’ll take the heat exhaustion if he can go to shows.

His obstinacy is reflected in every one of our scene. These X’ed hands of mine are an indication, a symbol of straight edge strength and solidarity. They tell me I am real, that I don’t need the safety of chemical bliss or the confidence of nicotine, that I refuse to exacerbate the tired stereotype of youth, or any other stereotype.

I’ve got the straight edge. A Minor Threat song tells me so. I’ve long since committed the “don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t f-ck, at least I can think” motto to memory. But my life is not a song. I didn’t need the lyrics of one band to tell me what I value, only to reflect it. I will not allow it to become my bible, recited and translated so many times that I’ve forgotten the very root of its meaning. My friend says I am guilty for taking Advil. I disagree. Straight edge is defined loosely because it was never about the taboo of such trivial things. Only one rule every existed: never poison yourself with the toxins of society. Never compromise yourself for someone else’s ideals.

And so we wait here, in this basement of some elementary school one hour and a half away from home, patient for the first band to project its first screams. It is no matter that the price of gas far exceeds the six dollar ticket for a set list of unknown locals. Music drove us here. Money isn’t an issue, even for those who have none.

This is my scene. I am embarrassingly proud of the people here, too busy being “posi” to destroy their selves, too busy being “hardcore” to kill their spirit. There is a sense of home as hands are raised in chorus in an unspoken toast: this is to life, to music, to this surrogate family.

My X marks me deeply, but it is a mark I chose. It confines me, containing me in the rigidity of its angles, and yet opens for me other doors.

I’ve got the straight edge. And I am unbound.

By Unmatchedsocks (Unmatchedsocks) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Dude, that is the worst essay I have ever read. Most of the essays on here just use bad grammar. You have the grammar going for you, but the content sucks. It is totally unfocused, too. No one cares that you do not do drugs. Most kids do NOT do drugs, despite what people think.

By The_Slc_Bug (The_Slc_Bug) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 10:47 pm: Edit

I sort of agree (not about "worst essay I've ever read," just that the content could be shifted). I didn't want to say anything because you obviously care about this piece enough to keep it going, but I think that you portray the biggest part of this "X" thing as judging other people. You took out the "where drinking makes you weak" part, which is a good idea, but there is still a condescending tone. If you really want to do this, because I understand the scene is part of you, I think your focus should drift to the important part-- the music. You should mention something about the fact that you all share a common "straight-edge" bond, but I don't think you should dwell on it and say things such as:

They tell me I am real, that I don’t need the safety of chemical bliss or the confidence of nicotine, that I refuse to exacerbate the tired stereotype of youth, or any other stereotype.

or even

I am embarrassingly proud of the people here, too busy being “posi” to destroy their selves

You sound like you think you're above other people, and that isn't a good aura to exude in a college essay. My $.02.

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 11:43 pm: Edit

but that's what straight edge is about. it's about not being like everybody else. it's about not ruining yourself just so you can fit in to what's popular.

i'm not saying it's better, but it's better for ME.

I don't think my grammar is that bad. I have a typo here or there that I see now, but grammar? Tell me what is wrong. I don't follow conventional usages sometimes because that's not my style.

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 11:52 pm: Edit

i guess i was just trying to convey a sense of what straight edge means. that it's about strength. it's about unity in an unconventional sort of way. i was in NO way trying to be condescending. none of my close friends are straight edge. some of them are heavy drinkers. i don't say a thing to them. to each his own.

i just didn't think there was anything wrong with saying that you're proud of something that you are. :(

By The_Slc_Bug (The_Slc_Bug) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 12:02 am: Edit

No, your grammar is very good.

Of course straight-edge is not about being better than other people, but in saying things like:

They tell me I am real, that I don’t need the safety of chemical bliss or the confidence of nicotine, that I refuse to exacerbate the tired stereotype of youth, or any other stereotype.

you convey this: people who choose NOT follow this lifestyle aren't "real" and are needy and weak. Of course, the adcom probably won't care. It's good that you don't do drugs. I'm just picking up on that, and letting you know.

I don't really see how being "straight-edge" is done in an unconventional sort of way, though. How?

By Sac (Sac) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 01:03 pm: Edit

I think this is a great revision. It conveys much more clearly what this scene is and also how important the community is to you. You've taken out the stuff about it being more male than female that was diverting and confusing in the first version.

While I don't get the sense of put-down others have -- probably because I'm not a member of your generation and therefore do not feel judged -- I think it could only strengthen the essay to add the sentiment you just raised in your defense: that you have many types of friends, including those who make different choices, but this is the most meaningful community for you.

Rather than the last two short paragraphs, which have some nice language but really don't add anything, I'd like to see you try to convey more about why this group of people, and not just the music, is so important to you. You've raised this issue tantalizingly by calling them a surrogate family. Say more about that. Did the existence of this scene make it easier for you to make the choices you have? What makes an adhoc group anhour from home feel more like a family than your friends at school? How is it different to be part of this scene as opposed to being a member of Students Against Drunk Driving or a church youth group with the same beliefs? Do you have to defend your choices among your friends at school? I'm not saying you have to explicitly answer all these questions. They're just prompts to get you to go deeper now that you've written convincingly that straight edge is a key part of your life. The point of a college essay is to convey something important about you. Understanding the attraction of this community for you could convey much more beyond the fact that you don't drink, smoke, etc. Your thinking out loud about your definition of a good time, your definition of a community or a family, your sense of who you are. Hope this helps.

a grammar point: themselves, not theirselves. no such word as theirselves.

By Minibrit (Minibrit) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 04:23 pm: Edit

are you serious? Straight edge people dont f-ck?

By Ch2 (Ch2) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 04:43 pm: Edit

i definitely think you've got a great topic that has a lot of potential. i, too, used to be embarassed (after shows) when i would have the black X's stamped on my hands for days because then everyone who saw me automatically knew. anyways, back to the essay. keep going, i think you're on your way to something good. all of sac's comments are great. good luck

By Jjsmom (Jjsmom) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 05:20 pm: Edit

Hmmm... I don't get why the others are reading into this essay some kind of put down. I like it. And it makes me like YOU. Maybe it's a generational thing? (I'm a parent)

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 11:27 am: Edit

thanks guys for the input!! sac, you definitely have some amazing advice. thank you so much! note: i didn't mean theirselves, i meant their selves, with a space, as in, their ... bodies, sort of. does that make sense?

minibrit- straight edge people don't 'f-ck'. they have sex only if it has meaning.

By Fiza (Fiza) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 12:04 pm: Edit

i love the essay. forget what everyone else says. Although if i were you, id focus more on the uniqueness thing than the straight edge thing- they appear to be two things that DONT go together in your essay. If you wanna keep both then make sure it transitions smoothly.

Summary: you want ONE thesis. not two.

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 01:50 pm: Edit


You could be either vary deluded, isolated, or have no life.

Maybe you've never been to a party. But 99% of the teen population has. and of that, 99.999% have had something to drink. I would estimate half of those people drink heavily.

HALF of the teen population has most likely also experimented with one type of drug or another. I'm not saying they're druggies. But a LOT have people have touched on a few things. It's teenhood, right? That's when you experiment.

Anyways, maybe it's where I am, but I've seen enough unwanted teen pregnancies (3), people in comas due to drunk driving (2), people DEAD due to drunk driving (EIGHT), and other trips to the hospital for stomach pumping and such (TOO MANY TO COUNT)

Some people just choose to be blind.

By Abyss (Abyss) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 02:01 pm: Edit

i didn't get the feeling of what this means to you at all. you seem like you aren't even sure as to why you are following it.

By Fiza (Fiza) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 02:14 pm: Edit

hey guys could you edit my essay under the title "Please please please edit my UNIQUE and BOLD essay". Its a BIT risque and i REALLY need to get some opinions on it.

Thanks a bunch!!

By Minibrit (Minibrit) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 06:08 pm: Edit

Oh well i dont do it without meaning also, but i still call it f-kinng. I find it ridiculous when people call it making love.

and those statistics arent true. I and a lot of my friends dont go to those type of parties. birthday parties are it lol.

but i get u, i live in miami, ive seen like at least 10 teen pregnancies in my school, people giving head in homecoming, in the bathrooms. its ridiculous, and yeah a lot of people do drink.

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 02:31 pm: Edit

I question the usage of the verb "exacerbate." "To exacerbate" is "to make more violent, bitter, or severe" according to the dictionary. However, your partaking in the vices of youth would not do any of these things, since by your own logic so many other people drink etc. that your drinking etc. would have only a negligible (at most) effect on the "stereotype."

What you mean, I think, is that you refuse to JOIN in the stereotype. Nothing you do can make it worse.

Furthermore, a question to ask yourself:

Person A has never gotten smashed or laid or anything in his life. He is, by your definition, "straightedge." Yet he acts like a jackass to everybody else.

Person B "enjoys himself" through some dubious forms of pleasure, perhaps including controlled substances or members of the opposite sex. He is not "straightedge" by anyone's standard. Yet he treats everybody else with respect and is liked by everybody - not because he's "popular," but because he is a geninely nice person (I hate to use such an ambiguity, but I'm in a rush).

I think every high school student in North America can idenfity a specific person for each case.

Neither person is perfect - WE ALL HAVE OUR FAULTS. But, is the fundamental quality of a person determined by being "straightedge?" If so, perhaps you could refine your definition of "straightedge" to make it cover more than one's refusal to drink etc.? I mean, how important is being "straightedge" if it's not complemented by solid overall character?

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 02:43 pm: Edit


Actually, you're quite right about the jackass guy who is straight edge, even if he is only an example and you might not even know it. many straight edge people ARE jackasses. Why? Because they feel so strongly about their decisions that they can't understand why other people don't. It's also hard for sXe people to hang out with non sXe people, because eventually things lead to drinking/smoking/doing stuff that sXe people refuse to do. Non sXe people find sXe people boring sometimes and not fun. As a result, sXe people stick together and a lot of us only befriend people within the scene. We have a larger sense of unity and brotherhood and respect for each other, but for some people that does NOT extend outside the scene. So yes, straight edge people can often be jackasses.

As for your last comment, what one thing DOES complement solid overall character? As far as I see, nothing. Straight edge does not define who I am, but it makes up a large portion of me. It is a person's decisions that create a person (to semi quote harry potter, lol).

to me, being straight edge is important. it shows the college how strongly i will stand up for something, no matter how difficult it is (and we all know that not drinking at a party is extremely difficult. well i've done it numerous times.)

you don't have to agree with straight edge. i'm not asking you to. i just hope that people (especially the admissions people) can see what it is and understand me, at any level.

By Godis (Godis) on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 02:47 pm: Edit

i don't understand this essay.

By The_Slc_Bug (The_Slc_Bug) on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 02:57 pm: Edit

"Why? Because they feel so strongly about their decisions that they can't understand why other people don't."

And that is why I made the comments I did-- it is something I sensed in your essay.

By Karie (Karie) on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 04:25 pm: Edit

i REALLY like your essay, but im not sure (if i were you) i would send this to college but maybe it's just my personal tastes, I like light, humorous essays over dark ones, though not to say that yours is lacking.

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