application statement1

Jasmine An

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.

  1. 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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