4 Essays You Won’t Forget
Just a Moment
Try to find us on these pages of our lives, and I believe we are hard to distinguish.
As Wenda often reminds me, travelling allows us to discover who we really are by giving us the opportunity to blend in and inspire ourselves from imitating the best in other people. Here and there I collect tools that I find useful—rope, candles, an
The prompt for this essay was
“Where’s Waldo?” Difficult prompts like this often trap students to write essays that take place in their head, full of ideas and without actions.
The author of this essay overcomes this trap by becoming Waldo.
under-water compass, along with open-mindedness, humility, responsibility, drive, and curiosity—and add them to the arsenal I carry along the road in my backpack and in myself.
One evening, after an intense day of travelling in Beijing, walking along the Great
Wall and contemplating the remnants of China’s glorious history in the blistering cold, a couple of my friends and I decided to end the day by celebrating our western
heritage at the nearest McDonald’s. The dark cold night had sent the streets’ beggars into the warm 24/7 restaurant. The passive look on employees’ faces as they cleaned the improvised hotel suggested this happened on a regular basis. People were lying or sleeping on every chair and bench, so we settled on the floor, in the middle of
the room. We ordered a few extra burgers, and after a few bites, one by one the beggars woke up and asked us to share. We insisted they join our circle. At first they resisted. As we exposed our broken Chinese, they opened up and challenged us at a
game like Yatzee, that required throwing 5 dice around and scoring high multiples.
Next some young Western and Chinese kids joined in. The better generation at languages and breaking social barriers, the kids took the game to new dimensions.
We ended up spending the night in our sleeping bags on the floor under the disdainful stare of the confused McDonald employees. In the end our American
The author identifies one important moment that gives us a Reason To Believe.
Notice how the author uses “we” throughout the description of this moment. When you write, try to separate yourself from the group. What did you do?
What did you say?
It’s not about charity; it’s about unity. The author isn’t an outside observer. He “blends in and inspires himself by imitating the best in other people.”
Again, we see the author as a unifier. He doesn’t need to be an expert in the language to strike up a conversation.
Another powerful image that will stick with the reader.
We also see that the author is willing to go against the judgments of the employees.
burgers gave us an authentic taste of China.
When an environment becomes too familiar, we change pages. Whether it was wearing the same letters as my American brothers in California, acting the part of a professional fund manager when interviewing the executive board of major
7 After diving deeply into one
moment, the author shows us some other “pages” of his life.
Showing us a moment first, allows the reader to make sense of the other pieces.
corporations, or tutoring Chinese children in English, the Waldo within me adapts,
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challenges himself and discovers something new about the people around him.
Who knows where life will take me next? I have heard of a particular platform of intellectual and cultural exchange that gathers the most interesting minds from all around the world. The institution is praised for its ability to convey experience and wisdom through round tables of interaction and Socratic rhetoric. I believe it is a place where, as my Chicago family and friends would