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College Essay - PAX East L4D Witch

RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Social Entropy++
So as the title says, I just finished writing my college essay. And what is it about? My experience cosplaying as the Witch from L4D at PAX East 2010!
When I say "college essay", I don't mean I'm in college writing an essay. I mean I'm in highschool writing an essay to submit to colleges alongside my application (the GPA, SAT/ACT scores, awards, activities, ect). It's supposed to be between 550-750 words in length.

I didn't know where else to post this on the forums, so if it doesn't belong here (or on this site at all), I'm terribly sorry.

When I finished writing it I decided I definitely want you guys to help me edit. Feel free to make any sort of comments/crits you desire. Grammar and the flow of the essay is something I really want comments on, if you can't think of anything else. Just want to let you know I may or may not take your advice depending on what you say - I still want this to have my voice in it, and I do have opinions about what I think is strong and isn't - but I really want to hear what you think. I'll keep revising it and posting the revisions so it stays up to date, too.


Changes in content will be underlined. Each time I update it, the next newest change will be underlined and the previous update will return to normal. This is so you guys don't have to read and reread my essay. (:


__________________________________________________________


Zombies at Gaming Conventions


You hear a faint moaning, a whimpering almost, coming from the dark room in front of you. Aiming your shotgun and flashlight into the room, you see a weeping girl in the corner. Raven black claws extend from her fingers, each one a foot long at the very least. Tight, tattered clothing cling to dirty, decaying flesh. The glare of the flashlight hits her eyes; and she starts getting agitated. You turn off the flashlight and back away quickly, about to make a dash, but it’s too late. Screaming and snarling, she lunges at you with her wicked claws.


The Witch, an undying icon from the popular zombie videogame Left 4 Dead, strikes gamers’ hearts around the world with dread. At the Penny-Arcade Expo East, a convention for gaming and those invested, I became the very Witch they fear.


When I first arrived at four in the afternoon on that fateful Friday with three of my close friends, I looked like any other attendee. I had my surplus army medic messenger bag, which treasured my DSi named Billy, a set of crystalline Dungeons&Dragons dice, my Witch costume and makeup supplies, two blue ballpoint pens, and a roll of duct tape. When going to a convention, always remember the duct tape. My pokéwalker clipped faithfully to my side, finding its home a prime place for picking up points as a pedometer. I was always a firm believer that you could tell a lot about a person by the contents of their bag, or if they carried one at all.


Before I got to the convention, I was dead set on wearing the Witch costume. I loved showing my dedication visually as well as interactively. When I got there and realized there were far less people wearing costumes than I had anticipated, I balked. I put off wearing my costume for an hour, the options of either putting myself out there or playing it safe bouncing around my head like a game of Pong. I came to the conclusion that, in the end, I would regret not taking the chance to do something outrageous and awesome. I was going for it.


Like when a superhero transforms from his true identity into tights and a cape in a telephone booth, I transformed from my true identity into a special infected zombie in a bathroom stall. I was no longer Rachel, female gamer and actress, I was the Witch, a sobbing, screaming, brain-craving creature. I waltzed out of the women’s room with complete confidence and an itch to get back in the crowd. Take the chances, go the distance, step outside your comfort zone. Life is like the game when you try to guess the number of candies there are in a jar: if you don't try to guess, you've passed up a grand opportunity, but guess the right number, and your life is so much the sweeter.


Pretending to be a zombie in the midst of thousands of normal people was one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had. I took the risk, and was rewarded far greater than I deserved. Not only was I having a fantastic time, the other attendees were also enthusiastic about interacting with me as a mock in-game experience. They treated me as if they were playing the game, using whatever flashy objects they had to startle me, like camera flashes, cell phones, or even reflective surfaces, and brought out their invisible heavy-duty weapons to defend themselves when I launched my attack. However, they were also respectful and understood that when it came down to it, I was another human being. Similarly, I would react to them as they provoked me, thriving on the glee that spread across their faces when they realized I would respond as the Witch would, but at the same time knew when to end the simulation, be safe, and move on.

Turns out I made the right decision. From the moment I stepped out in public to the hour of my departure I was questioned, high-fived, and honored by journalists and photographers, curious random attendees, and quite a few of the thousands of Left 4 Dead fans. I was videotaped by fans and professionals alike. My performance was recorded by G4 and shown as a reoccurring feature in their review of PAX East, which was broadcast on national television. The best honor of all was when even Mike Krahulik, the co-creator of the Penny-Arcade itself, said that my being the Witch and acting the part was his favorite moment in the whole weekend of PAX East, and even put a great video one of the fans took on the front page of their extremely popular website. Best to take the moment present as a present for the moment, and seize the day.

RainbowTunnel on
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Posts

  • ZonugalZonugal Lord Paramount of the Trident HarrenhalRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    What class was this for?

    Littlefinger_sig_2.jpg
  • AbracadanielAbracadaniel COME ON AND DAN AND WELCOME TO THE DANRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    hey I saw you

    cool costume, lady

    sites: personal | tumblr | abracadaniel dot com | coolguy.me
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    Secret Satan Wishlists: Regular List Coffee Stuff
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  • MonkeyfeetMonkeyfeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Seems kind of short

    sig1.jpg
  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Zonugal wrote: »
    What class was this for?

    It's not really for a class, it's to submit to colleges and universities alongside my application (grades, ACT scores, activities, awards, and all that). I'm going to be a senior in highschool next year and I have to submit it to colleges and universities and all that jazz.

    Smart Hero wrote: »
    hey I saw you

    cool costume, lady

    Thank you very much. (:
    Monkeyfeet wrote: »
    Seems kind of short

    Yes, it does. It's only supposed to be between 550-750 words long.

  • ZonugalZonugal Lord Paramount of the Trident HarrenhalRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Zonugal wrote: »
    What class was this for?

    It's not really for a class, it's to submit to colleges and universities alongside my application (grades, ACT scores, activities, awards, and all that). I'm going to be a senior in highschool next year and I have to submit it to colleges and universities and all that jazz.

    I might have gone a different way.

    Littlefinger_sig_2.jpg
  • SarksusSarksus playing tennisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Wait, were you the Witch? I saw you and that was a great costume! In one of the PA panels someone told a story that a Witch chased after someone screaming after they hit her with an inflatable hammer. The security guard was flabbergasted as to what to do!

  • VeretasVeretas Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Hey you were internet famous!

    Now let's talk about how adorable your Bubby AV is

  • MonkeyfeetMonkeyfeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Well then rock on

    sig1.jpg
  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Wait, were you the Witch? I saw you and that was a great costume! In one of the PA panels someone told a story that a Witch chased after someone screaming after they hit her with an inflatable hammer. The security guard was flabbergasted as to what to do!

    Hahahaha thank you very much! Yeah, that was a great story to tell. The only part people don't get is that the guy managed to break one of my claws in half. But it was all fun and games anyway - I'll just make another one.

  • BrogeyBrogey Aca-awesome! Santa Monica, CASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited June 2010
    Hello. I'm pretty sure my group saw you around the convention center lounging around.

    Anyway, you might also want to share this with the PAX Forum.

    XBox LIVE: Bogestrom
    PSN: Bogestrom

    R.I.P. Wampa Milk
  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Veretas wrote: »
    Hey you were internet famous!

    Now let's talk about how adorable your Bubby AV is

    Really you like it? I made it in MS Paint. It blew up in size when I made it an AV, so I wasn't sure if I was going to keep it or not.

  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Bogey wrote: »
    Hello. I'm pretty sure my group saw you around the convention center lounging around.

    Anyway, you might also want to share this with the PAX Forum.

    Lounging is fun. Especially when you're walking around barefoot for long hours. (:

    I was thinking about that - you're probably right. I hope they don't mind me posting in more than one place...

  • KoshianKoshian __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2010
    just out of curiosity, do you have any pictures of the costume?

    I'd like to see if you do!

  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I feel as though the Writer's Block might be a good place to look for advice as well, but I could be wrong.

  • ZonugalZonugal Lord Paramount of the Trident HarrenhalRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    So I might as well ask, what schools are you thinking of applying towards?

    Littlefinger_sig_2.jpg
  • UmaroUmaro Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I applied to one college, and it was only a few months before I graduated. You overachievers need to stop this tomfoolery at once.

    Dogs.jpg
  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    NotACrook wrote: »
    I feel as though the Writer's Block might be a good place to look for advice as well, but I could be wrong.

    Thanks, NotACrook. (:

  • ZonugalZonugal Lord Paramount of the Trident HarrenhalRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Umaro, why you have to be crushing dreams?

    Littlefinger_sig_2.jpg
  • UmaroUmaro Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I am no crushing dreams, I was going to lousy good-for-nothing state university.

    Thees girl, she has bright future, if I do not kill her first.

    Dogs.jpg
  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    And for my money, I wouldn't use made up words in a college essay, but that's just me.

  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    yeah the Writer's Block is probably better if you want comments

    but I would strongly recommend you proofread that; there are several typos in there that I caught on my first cursory read

    also I would question your use of "literally" when describing the number of L4D fans who praised you on your costume

    and I feel kinda bad saying this but your first paragraph was all over the place

  • VeretasVeretas Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    thread title needs to be changed to

    "College Essay - Or how I got into Harvard by cosplaying as a Witch."

  • FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User
    edited June 2010
    __________________________________________________________


    Zombies at Gaming Conventions


    You hear a faint moaning, a whimpering almost, coming from the dark room in front of you. Aiming your shotgun and flashlight into the room, you see a weeping girl in the corner. Raven black claws extended from her fingers, each one a foot long at the very least. Tight, tattered clothing clung to dirty, decaying flesh. The glare of the flashlight hits her eyes, and she starts getting agitated. You turn off the flashlight and start running away, but it’s too late. Screaming and snarling, she lunges at you with her wicked claws.

    Your tenses are inconsistent in this paragraph, and switch from present to past and back. If you want to keep the sense of tension and immediacy that the paragraph starts with, it should all be present tense.

    This would be a good thing to look for in the rest of the essay as well. Consider the effect you want to have on your audience, and set the verb tense accordingly. .... though, skimming through, I don't see any other places where the tense needs changing... just the first paragraph.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Zonugal wrote: »
    What class was this for?

    It's not really for a class, it's to submit to colleges and universities alongside my application (grades, ACT scores, activities, awards, and all that). I'm going to be a senior in highschool next year and I have to submit it to colleges and universities and all that jazz.

    Given that this is your reason for writing the essay, I would ask what exactly you are trying to show the university by telling the story.

    Your costume was impressive, no doubt, but are you trying to tell the college about this experience? Your interests? Your ability to make a costume? The recognition you received for the costume? Your passion for game culture or cosplay? You might want to sculpt the essay around a core set of reasons why the university should accept you, because right now it seems a bit scattered.

    It's very telling of your personality, if that's what you're going for, but there's very little in it about why you are choosing THIS topic to sell your application to a college.

  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Vivixenne wrote: »
    yeah the Writer's Block is probably better if you want comments

    but I would strongly recommend you proofread that; there are several typos in there that I caught on my first cursory read

    also I would question your use of "literally" when describing the number of L4D fans who praised you on your costume

    Yeah, lots and lots of errors. Thanks for catching them, guys.

    When I said "literally" about the thousands of L4D fans, it was for the number of fans, not number of fans praising me (not by a long shot). I'll make that more clear in the essay, thank you. (:

  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    yeah I'm with NotACrook on that one

    "fun-tastic" is not a word that encourages a college application to be taken very seriously

    regardless of your intentions, college is still an academic setting

    so while your topic is fun and that's good, you may want to consider counterbalancing that fun side with better technical writing skill

    also I'd probably go with Mike Krahulik as opposed to Gabe

  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Vivixenne wrote: »
    Zonugal wrote: »
    What class was this for?

    It's not really for a class, it's to submit to colleges and universities alongside my application (grades, ACT scores, activities, awards, and all that). I'm going to be a senior in highschool next year and I have to submit it to colleges and universities and all that jazz.

    Given that this is your reason for writing the essay, I would ask what exactly you are trying to show the university by telling the story.

    Your costume was impressive, no doubt, but are you trying to tell the college about this experience? Your interests? Your ability to make a costume? The recognition you received for the costume? Your passion for game culture or cosplay? You might want to sculpt the essay around a core set of reasons why the university should accept you, because right now it seems a bit scattered.

    It's very telling of your personality, if that's what you're going for, but there's very little in it about why you are choosing THIS topic to sell your application to a college.


    I'll definitely keep that in mind for the long run as I edit and re-edit this over the summer and such. It was a mix of things, most of what you listed, all trying to be crammed into a very small space. I'm glad you pointed that out.

  • SoaLSoaL fantastic Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The order of the essay seems off some

    The last paragraph doesn't feel like a conclusion at all really. something like the 2nd last one would work better I think

    DKFA7.gif
  • sarukunsarukun Gornlord Interplanetary InsanitariumRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Zonugal wrote: »
    Zonugal wrote: »
    What class was this for?

    It's not really for a class, it's to submit to colleges and universities alongside my application (grades, ACT scores, activities, awards, and all that). I'm going to be a senior in highschool next year and I have to submit it to colleges and universities and all that jazz.

    I might have gone a different way.

    Submitted a music video, perhaps?

    I'd admit you in a heartbeat.

  • ZonugalZonugal Lord Paramount of the Trident HarrenhalRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sarukun wrote: »
    Zonugal wrote: »
    Zonugal wrote: »
    What class was this for?

    It's not really for a class, it's to submit to colleges and universities alongside my application (grades, ACT scores, activities, awards, and all that). I'm going to be a senior in highschool next year and I have to submit it to colleges and universities and all that jazz.

    I might have gone a different way.

    Submitted a music video, perhaps?

    I'd admit you in a heartbeat.

    You know my tricks all to true...

    Littlefinger_sig_2.jpg
  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    SoaL wrote: »
    The order of the essay seems off some

    The last paragraph doesn't feel like a conclusion at all really. something like the 2nd last one would work better I think

    Okay I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks the ending doesn't really seem like a conclusion - I was wondering if it was just me being paranoid or something. I think I will change those two paragraphs around. Thank you. (:

  • SquallSquall hap cloud Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    agreeing with viv here

    you need to make it clear from the first or second paragraph what this story is trying to convey, and bring it up again at the very end to demonstrate why you're a good pick for their uni

  • RainbowTunnelRainbowTunnel Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Squall wrote: »
    agreeing with viv here

    you need to make it clear from the first or second paragraph what this story is trying to convey, and bring it up again at the very end to demonstrate why you're a good pick for their uni

    Okay, not sure if you guys see it now (and if you don't, then I have to fix it), but the quality I'm trying to convey is that I'm not afraid to take the chance, put myself out there, and grab for success. If that's not clear, then I obviously need to refine it more.

  • L.E.O.L.E.O. Registered User
    edited June 2010
    pic of costume?

  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I feel that with a college essay, especially when you are trying to sell yourself, you should avoid trying to convey things and instead state things.

    Be clear and confident about what you are trying to say, especially if what are trying to say is that you are confident enough to do something.

    But then again, I never went to college, so what do I know?

  • AMP'dAMP'd Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    What's the prompt here? I know that the Common App usually asks you to say something general about yourself but this doesn't seem to fit that criteria, it's more of a general credo.

    Where are you planning on applying with this, anyway?

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • RinderRinder Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Cue picture of NaS standing in front of a plane with his flight jacket.

    obsidianspur.jpg
    -I am The Alpha and The Omega-
  • SquallSquall hap cloud Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Squall wrote: »
    agreeing with viv here

    you need to make it clear from the first or second paragraph what this story is trying to convey, and bring it up again at the very end to demonstrate why you're a good pick for their uni

    Okay, not sure if you guys see it now (and if you don't, then I have to fix it), but the quality I'm trying to convey is that I'm not afraid to take the chance, put myself out there, and grab for success. If that's not clear, then I obviously need to refine it more.

    I understood what you were trying to convey, but as NaS said, you need to state it as clearly as possible in a college essay. The people that read these go through hundreds if not thousands, so they might not be as keen on pulling out your message themselves.

  • AMP'dAMP'd Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Also I would edit your real name out of that OP

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Rinder wrote: »
    Cue picture of NaS standing in front of a plane with his flight jacket.

    This is the best I can do on short notice:
    Spoiler:

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