快看!纽约时报年度精选文书!
2019-07-06 11:05:53 来源:金吉列留学
【简介】每年申请季结束后,《纽约时报》都会向当年数百个应届新生征集申请文书,包括成功录取哈佛大学的文书,也包括大家并不熟悉的区域性大学的申

每年申请季结束后,《纽约时报》都会向当年数百个应届新生征集申请文书,包括成功录取哈佛大学的文书,也包括大家并不熟悉的区域性大学的申请文书。
每年只有4~5篇“最佳文书”能被选中并刊登出来,而这些备受瞩目的文书对我们国内的学生来说也非常具有参考价值。 主要是因为以下特点:
1、筛选团队大多是在教育、升学领域的自身专家,选出的文书具有一定权威和普适性;
2、每年的主题多是关于生活、社会,能够帮助我们构思自己的文书,开阔思路的广度和深度;
3、录取院校广泛,学生背景多样,适合不同阶段、不同层次的学生进行参考;
4、美国学生在文书中常会有比较多细节描写,善于表达个性化,敢于突出“我”的想法和声音,而这些都是中国学生的文书非常欠缺的。
今天则是2篇分别来自威斯康辛麦迪逊大学、西洛杉矶学院的优秀文书,一起来品味一下优秀文书的风采吧!
1 “Life is a process of accepting the messes and learning to clean them up.”
—Kelley Schlise
申请者:Kelly Schlise
录取院校:威斯康辛麦迪逊大学
Not many 17-year-old girls know how to solder two copper pipes together or light the pilot light on a water heater. I venture that most people would struggle to tell the difference between a regular 90-degree PVC elbow and a street 90.
没有几个17岁的女孩知道怎么把两根铜管焊在一起,或者点燃热水器的长明火。我敢说,大多数人分不清90度普通PVC弯头和90度公母弯头。
These are skills and distinctions I have learned over the past five years as an assistant to my dad in his one-man plumbing business. My summer job involves messes that constantly elicit physical and mental discomfort, and the work demands an attitude of grittiness and grace that I frequently struggle to adopt. Nevertheless, I persist. I am the plumber’s daughter and the plumber’s helper.
这些技能和特点都是过去五年里我为父亲的个人管道业务担任助理时学到的,这份暑期工经常需要处理给身体和精神带来不适的烂摊子,而且需要坚韧和优雅的态度,我往往很难应付得来。不过我坚持下来了。我是管道工的女儿,也是管道工的帮手。
Each humid morning, I wrestle myself into a pair of used men’s jeans from Goodwill that most of my peers would refuse to be seen wearing in public. I slip my tape measure onto my belt, tie my hair back as I run out the door, and climb into the passenger seat of the plumber truck, which is really an aged white minivan with two kinds of pipes strapped to the top.
每个潮湿的早晨,我都要勉强穿上一条Goodwill慈善二手店里买来的男式牛仔裤,大多数同龄人都不愿意在公共场合穿成这样。我把卷尺挂在腰带上,跑出家门时匆匆把头发束成辫子,爬上管道工施工车的副驾驶座。这是一辆有年头的白色小面包车,车顶绑着两种管子。
As my peers begin their shifts nannying, lifeguarding or checking out groceries, my dad and I haul unwieldy toolboxes and heavy-duty saws into the depths of people’s houses. Although at times we work in the gold-plated master bathrooms of mansions with lake views, we usually end up in dank, mildewed basements where I get lost in mazes of storage boxes looking for the water meter.
我的同龄人当兼职保姆、救生员或者清点杂货的时候,我帮着爸爸把笨重的工具箱和重型锯子拖到人们房子的深处。虽然有时也在湖景豪宅的镀金主浴室里干活,但我们往往还是在潮湿发霉的地下室里,我得在迷宫般的储物箱之间找水表。
Five summers navigating the pipes of Milwaukee have taught me that the messy parts of people’s houses reflect the messy parts of their lives. My dad and I make plenty of our own messes too. When his rugged Sawzall blade slices through walls, clouds of plaster permeate the air. Sometimes there are no walls at all, and we work in primordial jungles of fiberglass insulation, floor joists and rusted cast iron stacks.
在密尔沃基修理管道的五个夏天让我明白,房子里凌乱的部分反映出人们生活中凌乱的部分。爸爸和我也经常弄得一团糟。他用重型往复锯切割墙壁,空气里弥漫着灰泥的云雾。有时根本没有墙,我们得在玻璃纤维隔热层、楼板搁栅和生锈的铸铁立管的原始丛林中工作。
I constantly leap over tangled piles of wrenches and extension cords. My mouth and nose are covered by a dust mask; my jeans are smudged with pipe dope, and my hands are blackened with the grime of a hard day’s work. As I observe the chaos around me, chaos rises within me. Nothing is beautiful or tidy; everything I see is ugly. I feel powerless, frustrated and unable to think clearly.
我一次又一次地跳过一堆堆杂乱的扳手和延长线;鼻子和嘴上蒙着厚厚的灰尘;牛仔裤上沾满管道涂料,双手也因为一整天的辛苦工作而变得黑乎乎的。我打量着周围的混乱情景,混乱也在我内心升起。什么美丽整齐的东西也没有;眼前的一切都很丑陋。我感到无能为力、灰心丧气、没法好好思考。
Plumbing work is a microcosm of the messes of the world, and sometimes I despise it. I question why I endure the dust and sweat when I could be in my air-conditioned house, vacuuming my bedroom, making avocado toast for breakfast and finishing my summer homework early. I could even find another job, a normal one that more closely resembles the work of my peers.
管道工作是混乱世界的缩影,有时我讨厌它。我问自己,我本可以待在有空调的屋子里,用吸尘器打扫卧室,做牛油果吐司当早餐,早早完成暑假作业,为什么却要跑出来忍受这些灰尘与汗水。我甚至还可以找到另一份工作,一份更像我的同龄人做的那些普通工作。
Yet as much as I despise the mess of plumbing, I despise myself for becoming affected by such trivial qualms and for being so easily aggravated by disorder. After all, the world was built by people willing to get their hands dirty.
然而,就像我讨厌脏乱的管道,我也讨厌自己会受到这些小小不安情绪的影响,讨厌自己这么容易就被混乱惹恼。毕竟,世界是由那些愿意把手弄脏的人建造的。
And when I think about it, I cope with messes all the time. The uncertainties and contradictions of my teenage brain are far more tangled than any extension cord, but I keep trying to sort them out. Life is a process of accepting the messes and learning to clean them up, and plumbing work is no different.
当我思考这个问题的时候,我也一直都在处理混乱。作为青少年,我头脑里的不确定性和矛盾比任何延长线都要复杂得多,但我一直在试图理清它们。生活是一个接受混乱并且学会清理的过程,管道工作也不例外。
As much as my dad and I create chaos, we create order, and if I look carefully I can find it in each newly soldered array of copper pipes or in the way my dad’s toolboxes all fit together in the back of his van. Moreover, when customers express gratitude for our work, I understand that, in a small way, we bring order to their lives. The physical and mental discomforts of plumbing are worth it.
我和爸爸不仅制造混乱,我们也创造秩序,只要细细观察,我可以在每个新焊好的铜管阵列中找到秩序,在爸爸货车后座上排列整齐的工具箱里找到秩序。此外,当客户对我们的工作表示感谢时,我明白,我们在一些小处给他们的生活带来了秩序。管道工作给身体和精神带来的不适都是值得的。
2
“I got the usual looks from people fresh out of bars or parties, either because of the stench of a hard night’s work on my clothes or because I was muttering to myself while feverishly flipping flashcards.”
—Mark Isai Garcia
申请者:Mark Garcia
录取院校:西洛杉矶学院
 
“No more broken plates, you understand?”
“不能再打破盘子了,懂吗?”
I could make little sense of the broken English that spat from his mouth but his scrunched-up face spoke a universal language. It was a Friday night in Little Tokyo, and while families were eating five-star meals in the front dining room, a 14-year-old boy was in the back washing their dishes.
他嘴里蹦出的蹩脚英语我听不大明白,但他紧皱的眉头是通用的语言。那是在小东京(Little Tokyo)一个周五晚上,外面的餐厅里,一家家人享用着五星级大餐,后厨里的一个14岁男孩在洗他们的盘子。
Wash the plates by hand, dump them into the sanitizer, place the plates into the machine, dry the plates off, return the plates to their designated spot and repeat — hopefully without damaging any. On this night though, a porcelain plate slipped through my soapy fingers and shattered onto the floor in five pieces. My face flushed even as I tried to keep my composure, but inside I was screaming, “Why me!?” as if my scream would make the plate whole again.
先用手洗盘子,后把它们泡到消毒剂里,再把盘子放入机器、烘干,然后放到指定位置,接着再来——但愿别打破个把。但这个晚上,一只瓷盘子从我打了肥皂的指间滑了出去,掉到地上摔成了五瓣。我竭力保持冷静,脸却还是通红,心里在尖叫,“为什么是我!?”好像尖叫会让盘子恢复原状似的。
The shattered plate was only one of the many worries fighting relentlessly inside my head for attention — there was the Advanced Placement United States history midterm, a low grade in calculus, the eviction notice, a little brother getting into trouble and a dozen other smaller but pressing concerns.
破碎的盘子只是我头脑里不住按耐着的许多忧心事中的一件——先修课程(Advanced Placement)美国历史要期中考试,微积分成绩太低,收到住房清退通知,弟弟惹上了麻烦,还有十来件相对琐碎但也很紧迫的挂心事。
For me, there was no calling in sick to clear my head, getting some much needed rest or carving out study time before an upcoming exam. I had to contribute to the necessities. I shut up, got back to work and pushed with all the energy I had left. I knew all too well the symptoms of bottling up my emotions — the bitter taste of salt in each drop of sweat, losing myself in the background music and the muscle aches were nothing new to me.
于我而言,没有打电话请病假整理下思绪一说,也没法给自己一些急需的休息,或在临考前腾出些时间学习。我得贴补家用。我闭上嘴,继续工作,用尽浑身所剩的所有力气。我深知压抑情绪之苦——每滴汗水又咸又苦的味道,忘我地沉浸在背景音乐里,肌肉疼痛是家常便饭。
It was 12 a.m. when my shift finally ended. I boarded the bus home and took out my notes to study. I got the usual looks from people fresh out of bars or parties, either because of the stench of a hard night’s work on my clothes or because I was muttering to myself while feverishly flipping flashcards on a bus in the middle of the night.
晚班终于结束时已是半夜12点。我搭上了回家的公交,掏出笔记开始学习。刚从酒吧或派对出来的人朝我递来惯常的目光,要么是因为辛苦工作一整晚后,我的衣服上发着恶臭,要么是我大半夜在公交上一边疯狂翻动学习卡片,一边低声自言自语。
Their stares didn’t bother me at all. I was used to those too, and they were nothing more than another set of speed bumps in the way of achieving my goals. I was tired of seeing childhood friends flashing gang signs, relatives glued to the beer bottle or my dad coming home late at night with burn scars from work. Something had to change and I knew it fell to me to initiate that change.
我完全不介意他们的凝视。这些我也都习惯了,不过是我实现目标之路上的另一组减速带而已。我厌倦了亮出黑帮手势的发小,啤酒不离手的亲戚,或爸爸带着做工留下的烧伤深夜回家。必须做出点改变,而我知道,这种改变需要由我开始。
Fortunately, I also knew I had dedication, desire and grit in my blood. My grandfather was part of the first wave of Mexican immigrants that settled in Los Angeles. He returned home to a small village in rural Oaxaca, with his savings and tales of the land of opportunity.
幸运的是,我也知道我骨子里有奉献、渴望和毅力。祖父是第一波在洛杉矶定居的墨西哥移民。他后来回了瓦哈卡州乡下小村子里的家,带着积蓄和这个机遇之邦的传说。
Both of my parents left Oaxaca in their early teenage years and began working long hours in Los Angeles, as a cook and a maid. The work ethic was passed down generations; from the cornfields in Oaxaca, to the restaurants in Los Angeles, to the classroom, which helped me thrive both in school and work.
父母十来岁便离开瓦哈卡州,开始在洛杉矶没日没夜地工作,做厨师和家政。从瓦哈卡州的玉米田到洛杉矶的餐馆再到教室,这种吃苦耐劳代代相传,让我得以从容应对学业和工作。
On this particular night, as I walked through the front door at home, I saw an uplifting surprise: My mother had fallen asleep waiting up for me despite her own long day. I tucked the cash tips I made that night into her purse and turned off the TV.
就在这个晚上,我走进家门,无意间看到了一个让我欣慰的意外:辛劳了一整天的母亲在等我回家时睡着了。我把当晚拿到的小费塞到她的钱夹里,关掉了电视。
I peered into our bedroom where my brothers and cousins were lost in their blissful dreams. Watching my siblings snore and breathe slowly sparked a yawn that cued the rest of my body’s delayed exhaustion. However, it would be a while before I could join them in sleep. I had an essay due early the next morning, and Ms. DePaolo doesn’t accept late work.
我凝视着卧室里沉入甜美梦乡的兄弟姐妹。看到他们轻轻打鼾、缓缓呼吸的样子,我禁不住打了个哈欠,这才发现自己已经精疲力尽。可是,我要过会儿才能和他们一道儿休息,明天还有篇作文要交,DePaolo老师可不接受不按时交作业。
仔细分析这两篇文章, 我们发现 这些Essay都围绕自己身边的日常琐事展开 , 以小见大,见微知著,看似平凡的生活往往成为打动招生官的利器。