please write a statement identifying the safest way to walk beneath a tree containing a monkey. please note
distinctive qualities and identifying signs that said monkey will exhibit
characteristics of aggression towards you, the applicant, and mention
life experiences that might contribute to his ragged nails. the monkey is
your graduate program admissions committee. he is tied to a tree and each step you take
is an education in geometry, in arc length and radius, how close is too close. the monkey is
your fellow student in learning how long his leash.
you may wish absently for his freedom, but will you dare
to include a pair of scissors in the next application packet you toss into his tree? will you include
examples that address your apathy? or even
your contribution to his captivity? what about your input
to the diversity of the poisoned fruits you and your fellow
students shoved into his
body and called it kindness. will you
illustrate your hesitation, your lack of
motivation to succeed in cutting his rope and truly
setting him free? you were afraid weren’t you?
high standards of geometric excellence be damned
for accomplishing accurate calculations of a monkey’s free trajectory. just like all that
intellectual and quantitative methodology won’t get you to those
other goals like no longer needing to count your steps while you walk,
like overcoming your fear of the monkey. the monkey’s leash is
an obstacle to your education. it wraps around his waist and around yours too, though you may not feel it yet.
every achievement of yours can only reach as far as the end of a red rope, but the monkey isn’t interested in
helping others (you) understand this about themselves (yourself). he knows you will only
gain access to this truth after fumbling in the dark, your only
resources your hands and a length of cord that you follow blind, hunting
for success until your hands close around fur over bones over the slow, slow heartbeat of the monkey who has been
waiting for you.
- Source: The left column of text, though slightly modified, is drawn from the application form for the University of Minnesota’s English PhD program.↵
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