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Celebrating World Poetry Day: How Alex's Capstone Project Helped Him Get Into His Dream School

21 MAR 2021

March 21st is World Poetry Day, recognized by the UN since 1999 in recognition of "the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind." For Crimson student Alex, poetry represents a lot more than pretty lines and metaphors — poetry has helped him address his personal struggles, and has opened many doors in the world of personal exploration, extracurricular involvement, and contributions to his community.

In this blog post, Alex explains how he discovered his love for poetry and what he did to turn that passion into a capstone project that helped him gain admission to Middlebury College. From the Crimson community to all the aspiring poets out there — happy World Poetry Day!

There are two poems that are commonly accepted as the ‘first poem’ ever written: the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Tail of the Shipwrecked Sailor. With both being written in the Fertile Crescent of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, poetry has survived throughout humanity’s existence to become a form of expression, a style of art, and a method of perseverance through the hardest times.

This may come as a surprise, but I’m not actually from the Bronze Age. So, in light of my more recent birth, poetry represented something more personal to myself than a recording of times past. In my experience, poetry has been an emotional outlet, a way of expression, and a gateway into a better mental, emotional, and physical state.

Poetry was my first outlet, and one that stuck through the thinnest of margins of my life, to the better and happier times of present day.

I still vividly remember my first poem. It was titled Moonlight and was four stanzas of four lines each, with no rhyming scheme or meter. It was, however, sixteen lines of an extended metaphor, where I was struggling to walk into the moonlight in the clearing ahead.

What was the moonlight a metaphor for? At the time, I believe it was something more general like happiness or contentment. However, with every re-reading, the meaning changed. That poem is still applicable to my life today, even if the circumstances surrounding my reading have drastically changed. Therein lies the beauty of my style of poetry: I can take the metaphor and apply it to my life no matter the situation. Moonlight wasn’t the only poem of similar universal applicability, as most of my poems followed a similar structure and usage of extended metaphors.

The effect of these poems was simple: I was able to acknowledge that something wasn’t right. I was in a state of denial about my mental health, and poetry allowed me to say the words that needed to be said, albeit through an alternate path. Poetry opened me up and cemented my personal growth. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it, and no matter where my life leads, poetry will follow.

Poetry also made a stark impact in my college admissions journey, being the medium of my capstone project with Crimson.

A large part of Crimson’s admissions consulting process is extracurricular assistance. In my case, that meant identifying activities I would enjoy that would boost my application, as well as exploring different ways to make a positive impact in my community and beyond.

With my extracurricular advisor Lindsey, brainstorming for a capstone project was easy. I knew I wanted to center my project around poetry and to share my message and growth with as many people as possible. Poetry was my key to mental health, and it can be for others as well.

I spent many months planning, stressing, and preparing a workshop at my local community college, as well as building a website and volunteering at local counseling centers. With COVID-19 putting a stop to in-person events around the world, I resorted to online forms of poetry, from forums to virtual poetry readings and even donated some poetry to a long-term care facility. I did all of this through Poetry For Your Brain, an organization I founded to help spread awareness of mental health and provide an outlet for those who struggle.

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Through Poetry For Your Brain, I spread my message far and wide, and was pleased to hear about others’ growth through poetry. In the two disconnected realms of mental health and college admissions, poetry was my way to advance both.

With help from my Crimson team, I was able to nurture a passion that turned into an authentic and genuine capstone project.

With the right resources, any interest can turn into an extracurricular project that demonstrates leadership and initiative. Curious how Crimson can help you turn your passion into an admission-worthy project? Click the link below to schedule a free consultation with an Academic Advisor who can answer all your questions, from extracurriculars to essays and more!

Alex N.

Written by

Alex N.

Alex is a longtime Crimson student who was admitted to Middlebury College to study physics. He enjoys poetry, history, philosophy, Spanish, and of course — physics! In his free time, he enjoys writing, exercising, and spending time with his friends.

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