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Introduction - Tips for writing - Essays

"Passion for the Climb" — it's what exemplifies the spirit of Colgate people. You share a thirst for a life of accomplishment and the will to do things right. In your academic, professional, community, and personal endeavors, you relish the effort, the process, the journey, and care deeply about how you lead your lives, as much as you care about reaching the top. As the Colgate song "In 1819" reminds us, our community pushes ever higher, "up the hill with profound determination."

We know there are countless ways in which the "passion for the climb" manifests itself in our alumni, faculty, staff, and students. As part of the university's Passion for the Climb campaign, we are building a collection of these stories. Beginning in March 2007, we will select essays to publish in each issue of the Colgate Scene.

Send essay submissions to: sceneletters@mail.colgate.edu. Please put "Passion for the climb essay" in the subject line and include your daytime phone number and e-mail address.

Although electronic submission is preferred, you can also send typed essays, double-spaced, to:

"Passion for the climb essays""
c/o The Colgate Scene
Colgate University
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346

We look forward to reading your essay! Every essay we receive will be read and considered for publication. If your essay is selected, we will contact you. As with all publications, the editors reserve the right to edit all submitted materials, but will consult with you on any major edits.

You are invited to contribute to our project by submitting an essay that explains your "passion for the climb." Your passion may be for your chosen profession, a research or academic interest, a hobby or outside activity, or something else related to your personal life. As you consider writing, we offer these suggestions:

Tell a story: We are looking for compelling and interesting stories, deeply personal reflections, set in the concrete events of your life. Consider the moment you first recognized your passion, or perhaps a time when you were most inspired — or challenged — in pursuing your passion. Explain how your passion was formed, or how it guides your actions or beliefs today. Don't be afraid to share emotion, or to use humor, but avoid bathos or being maudlin or preachy.

Be specific, and be real. Describe an experience. Use details. Put the reader in the setting, witnessing the action. Choose one anecdote or angle and develop it fully, rather than providing a laundry list of facts.

Identify your passion. If your passion is less tangible, use a descriptive phrase, or give it a name; this will help you avoid having to repeat the word "passion" over and over in your essay. In fact, you might never find yourself using the word "passion" in your essay.

Avoid the obvious: We know, it happens to us, too. You think "Passion for the Climb" and the image of mountains comes into your head. But take a stretch, leave that metaphor behind, and just tell your story.

Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 700 words.

Be yourself: Write as if you were speaking, using language that is natural to you. Read your essay aloud to yourself; does it sound like your voice?

Have fun!

Letters from helenka by Jennifer Brice
The profound grace of deep time by Paul Pinet
Stepping into another's shoes by Aisha Lubega '08
Twitch by Lucas Meeker '07
A circle of healing by Lee McConaughy Woodruff '82
Not if, but how by Lisa Bernier Dubreuil '89
I remember by Frank Frey
Eyes opened by Natalie Breitbach '07
The Strength of faith by Henoch Derbew '07
My sketchbook by Antonio Barrera
Earning my wrinkles by Abby Rowe
Algae love by Tara Meyer '07
Prairie identity by Dustin Gillanders '08
Dragonfly safari by Amanda Mitchell '08
Reevaluating "women's work" by Dan Carsen '93
Did you feel that? by Lauren Mangione '08