Former Chronicle News Associate gives her take on current pop culture and politics in a recurring satire column. In this issue, she shares the supplementary college essay she sumbitted to Harvard College.
Indu Pandey, designated Indian applicant #35387, said she grew tired of highlighting the words in her essays every four seconds to check the word count. Only willing the word count higher by sheer mental force and intense staring can solve the problem, Pandey claims.
“After playing up an obscure childhood memory for 75 words of an anecdotal hook, I just really ran out of steam,” Pandey complained, adjusting her tinfoil hat. “Why do I want to go to college? I don’t know! Paraphrasing quotes from colleges’ websites really isn’t cutting it anymore.”
Pandey says she’s been practicing her psychic powers since September.
“I stare at the screen intensely for a few minutes before I find myself 12 quizzes in on Buzzfeed an hour later,” Pandey, a total Taurus who’s most likely to marry Leonardo DiCaprio, said. “It’s like a supernatural out-of-body experience.”
The admissions process is entirely Kafkaesque, Pandey, ever the intellectual, noted.
“I saw that word in a New Yorker article once,” Pandey said. “Do you think it makes me sound smarter? I was really going for that German existentialist meets girl-next-door vibe.”
Among a host of other problems, essays required Pandey to have socially-acceptable hobbies and be able to identify and solve global issues.
“Eating Pocky in bed and watching ‘The Daily Show’ is, according to my counselor, both pathetic and disgusting,” Pandey lamented. “So we’re just, um, sprucing it up into ‘a passion for cooking international cuisine while listening to C-SPAN.’”
After learning where Nigeria is last Tuesday, Pandey wrote an essay detailing how she would resolve decades of north-south and religious tensions in the region.
“The Igloo and House–a people have some particular issues that are in need of solving with some intelligent policies urgently,” Pandey wrote in her impassioned essay. “Now, for the next 400 words, I will insert a traditional Nigerian folk tale as a cultured global citizen.”
In an effort to avoid word limits, Pandey began to submit interpretive art.
“They said to show, not tell!” Pandey defended. “If the psychic powers don’t pan out, then this just highlights my quirky, off-brand intellectualism. I’m holding a mirror up to society! Colleges love that, right?”
When asked if she actually had any redeeming qualities, Pandey noted that she goes to a school with Harvard in its name and hasn’t been correcting old ladies when they think she attends actual Harvard.
“It shows real dedication to the institution,” Pandey said, applying duct-tape to her Harvard-Westlake jacket. “At least 12 people think I’m a Harvard student, and you should too!”
This is what happens when schools let little Andy Borowitz knockoffs pick their own prompts. Typical.