Thankfully, I have also found time over the past few years to cultivate interests and skills unrelated to Model UN and foreign policy. One of the most important of these has been community service. As a volunteer for Evening With Champions, an annual ice-skating exhibition held to raise money for children with cancer, and as a teacher of a weekly high school class on current events and international affairs, I have, whenever possible, used my time and talents to benefit my community. Another more recent interest of mine is the fascinating realm of business. Two years ago, my father’ s Christmas present to me was a challenge rather than a gift: he gave me $500,but told me that I could keep it only if I invested it in the stock market — - and earned a higher rate of return than he did with another $500. Since then, I have avidly followed the stock market, and become very interested in how businesses interact and respond to strategic threats (perhaps because of the similarities between business competition and the equally cutthroat world of diplomatic realpolitik). A final passion of mine is writing. As the writer of a biweekly column in the Independent, one of Harvard’ s student newspapers, I find very little as satisfying as filling a blank page with words -— creating from nothing an elegant opinion piece that illuminates some quirk of college life, or induces my readers to consider an issue or position that they had ignored until then.
Good writers know that attention to detail is as must. Plus, your professor will expect it. Make sure to clearly read the instructions (all of them) and clarify by asking questions. For example, some common things to look out for include:
Do focus on an aspect of yourself that will show your best side. You might have overcome some adversity, worked through a difficult project, or profited from a specific incident. A narrow focus is more interesting than broad-based generalizations.
Looking back through the last page or two, I see that I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don't want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.
Sometimes police brutality happens without anyone outside the community knowing about it; it's on the back page of a newspaper, if it makes the newspaper (if the town has a newspaper; increasingly few do). Sometimes, as in the case of Ferguson, it snowballs into something bigger. And when that happens, somehow the nation riles itself up in a paroxysm of outrage for a week or maybe a month, deepening already fathomless left wing/right wing divide, until finally everybody just collectively shrugs and shakes their heads and says, "Terrible thing, terrible thing, nothing can be done, way of the world" and gets on with the mundane daily business of life.