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The "why" of what matters most to me

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The "why" of what matters most to me  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2019, 13:54
Hey guys, I've been doing some deep soul-searching to write my Stanford essay and zeroed in on "what" matters most to me. I have rich life experiences that backup my claim that what I say matters to me really does genuinely matter to me. However, I just can't figure out "why" it matters most to me in life.

The problem is this: the whole "why" question sounds a little ridiculous to me. If, say, what matters most to Jack is honesty. How exactly is he supposed to explain "why" honesty matters most to him? It may be genes, upbringing etc. How exactly is that good enough stuff build an essay on? Sounds a little like asking why I like bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. All I can think of "why" I like bagel and cream cheese is that it tastes good. It's hard for me to write an essay on that!!

Is my concern genuine, or am I very badly misinterpreting the question? Please help me understand what the adcoms want :( :cry:
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New post 05 Nov 2019, 13:58
So from my perspective, I wrote the why as what experiences I had that backed up the what, for example, if honesty matters most to you, what life events led you to prioritise that

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New post 05 Nov 2019, 16:58
pj2294 wrote:
Hey guys, I've been doing some deep soul-searching to write my Stanford essay and zeroed in on "what" matters most to me. I have rich life experiences that backup my claim that what I say matters to me really does genuinely matter to me. However, I just can't figure out "why" it matters most to me in life.

The problem is this: the whole "why" question sounds a little ridiculous to me. If, say, what matters most to Jack is honesty. How exactly is he supposed to explain "why" honesty matters most to him? It may be genes, upbringing etc. How exactly is that good enough stuff build an essay on? Sounds a little like asking why I like bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. All I can think of "why" I like bagel and cream cheese is that it tastes good. It's hard for me to write an essay on that!!

Is my concern genuine, or am I very badly misinterpreting the question? Please help me understand what the adcoms want :( :cry:


One great way to understand the 'why' is to make a list of all the decisions that you've made related to the 'what' in the past 5 years. And then ask yourself why you made those decisions. Be honest to yourself. From my experience, at first, the reasons you'd think of would be trivial (did it just to learn something new) but then, as you get closer to the present, you'd start forming a clearer idea of a much deeper 'why'. Good luck!
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Re: The "why" of what matters most to me  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2019, 20:48
pj2294 wrote:
Hey guys, I've been doing some deep soul-searching to write my Stanford essay and zeroed in on "what" matters most to me. I have rich life experiences that backup my claim that what I say matters to me really does genuinely matter to me. However, I just can't figure out "why" it matters most to me in life.

The problem is this: the whole "why" question sounds a little ridiculous to me. If, say, what matters most to Jack is honesty. How exactly is he supposed to explain "why" honesty matters most to him? It may be genes, upbringing etc. How exactly is that good enough stuff build an essay on? Sounds a little like asking why I like bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. All I can think of "why" I like bagel and cream cheese is that it tastes good. It's hard for me to write an essay on that!!

Is my concern genuine, or am I very badly misinterpreting the question? Please help me understand what the adcoms want :( :cry:


It matters to you most because those qualities are the reasons behind what has made you successful to date.
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Re: The "why" of what matters most to me  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2019, 02:03
pj2294 There are forces in life that catalyze our values - that shape us. This is what the why should be about. The catalyst that shaped your highest value, in the form of an anecdote/essay.

pj2294 wrote:
Hey guys, I've been doing some deep soul-searching to write my Stanford essay and zeroed in on "what" matters most to me. I have rich life experiences that backup my claim that what I say matters to me really does genuinely matter to me. However, I just can't figure out "why" it matters most to me in life.

The problem is this: the whole "why" question sounds a little ridiculous to me. If, say, what matters most to Jack is honesty. How exactly is he supposed to explain "why" honesty matters most to him? It may be genes, upbringing etc. How exactly is that good enough stuff build an essay on? Sounds a little like asking why I like bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. All I can think of "why" I like bagel and cream cheese is that it tastes good. It's hard for me to write an essay on that!!

Is my concern genuine, or am I very badly misinterpreting the question? Please help me understand what the adcoms want :( :cry:

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Re: The "why" of what matters most to me  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2019, 07:32
strawberryjelly wrote:
So from my perspective, I wrote the why as what experiences I had that backed up the what, for example, if honesty matters most to you, what life events led you to prioritise that

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I was thinking of doing the same, and many people think that's the right way to go about it, but does it really address the question of WHY?
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New post 07 Nov 2019, 07:33
blahblahgirl wrote:
pj2294 wrote:
Hey guys, I've been doing some deep soul-searching to write my Stanford essay and zeroed in on "what" matters most to me. I have rich life experiences that backup my claim that what I say matters to me really does genuinely matter to me. However, I just can't figure out "why" it matters most to me in life.

The problem is this: the whole "why" question sounds a little ridiculous to me. If, say, what matters most to Jack is honesty. How exactly is he supposed to explain "why" honesty matters most to him? It may be genes, upbringing etc. How exactly is that good enough stuff build an essay on? Sounds a little like asking why I like bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. All I can think of "why" I like bagel and cream cheese is that it tastes good. It's hard for me to write an essay on that!!

Is my concern genuine, or am I very badly misinterpreting the question? Please help me understand what the adcoms want :( :cry:


One great way to understand the 'why' is to make a list of all the decisions that you've made related to the 'what' in the past 5 years. And then ask yourself why you made those decisions. Be honest to yourself. From my experience, at first, the reasons you'd think of would be trivial (did it just to learn something new) but then, as you get closer to the present, you'd start forming a clearer idea of a much deeper 'why'. Good luck!


Thanks, let me try that.
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Re: The "why" of what matters most to me   [#permalink] 07 Nov 2019, 07:33
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