Southern Methodist University Application Sample Essay on Personal Growth

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Southern Methodist University Admission Sample Essay on Personal Growth

Essay by Brad Ray

Nice to me-me-meet you. Gah! I hate that. Or I should say, I hated that. I have always had a cer-certain...aspect...about me that few understand or share. I am a stutterer, or as the "politically correct" ones among us would say, I am "verbally non-fluent." Ironically, this is slightly offensive to me, much than calling me a stutterer. But I digress. People often poke fun at stuttering in pop culture; whether it be that toe-tappin' World War I hit "K-K-K-Katy," which recounts the tale of the bravery of a young stuttering sol-s-so...sol-soldier who falls ma-madly in love with the eponymous woman, or the triumphant journey of Bobby Boucher, a stuttering water boy who g-g-goes from object of ridicule to football superstar nearly overnight. The true catalyst for th-this "verbal non-fluency" is not anything even close to the nervousness and anxiety oft alluded to in instances such as those above. It was when I realized this that I stopped trying to hi-hide who I really am and de-d...d...DECIDED to simply be who I am supposed to be.

One would be justified in comparing my unique situation to a sort of bottleneck. My mind is running a million miles a m...minute, yet my mouth can only translate so much of that into audible speech. My mind is so overloaded by pr-pro pro...cessing countless different things at once that my mouth simply can't keep up! In my m-mind, I'm too busy composing the second oboe part to my se-se-se-se seventh symphony, putting the finishing touches on the th-th-th...THIRD chapter of my international espionage thriller novel (Don't fret. International spy Frederique Boudin manages to escape the clutches of Spaniard-by-day, illicit arms dealer-by-night, Javier Guzman!) all while remembering to add "Get Milk!" to my to-do list on the waway home from work. See what I mean? Perhaps this bottleneck that my speech endures is not all bad. Or a-at least, th-that's what I've come to realize.

Sometime between middle school and high school, I le-learned how to skirt around a word I knew I was going to have tr-trouble say- ing. I would simply substitute in another, and nine times out of ten, it was far less concise or fitting for the se-sen-sen...SENTENCE I was in the middle of completing. I used this tactic of covering up for what I saw as a shameful flaw for several years.

Eventually though, I ca-came to realize I was just hiding. I was just putting up a facade that hid who I truly was. I knew I had to shed the cloak. I was kidding myself and those arou-arou-a...around me. By falling victim to the id-id-ideology that stuttering is something to be ashamed of, I was extending that bottleneck to other parts of my life. I was letting it dictate my social en-en...end...endeavors and allowing it to mentally oppress me. I don't have time to be shackled by immature beliefs such as those. That second oboe part needs a viola accompaniment for the a-al-al...a-allegretto strain of the third movement, you know.

Brad Ray attends Southern Methodist University.

Essay Review

St-St-St-Stutterer? no big deal

Grace and good humor abound in the following essay by Brad Ray. He's a stutterer and not afraid to say so. Readers who are not stutterers can learn a thing or two from his transcription of sounds, which gives his essay the same cadence that we imagine his speech might have.

Everyday life is full of familiar sounds—a certain teacher's speaking voice, the familiar squeak of a friend's shoes—that can make essays more vivid. The written word allows us to share Brad's struggle to speak. In the last line, he deftly brings us back to a side comment made earlier in the essay, thereby giving one more illustration of his unique turn of mind. "No huge, earth shattering events have shaped my life," says Brad. "I had to figure out how the little things have affected who I am."

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