Nonfiction - Page 2


Emese Kassai

Why reading? When I hear someone talking about books, they usually discuss required readings and how boring or senseless these stories are. Even though sometimes I totally agree with them, I think reading is an awesome thing that you can do in your freetime. In this essay I want to write about what I find fantastic in this activity, hoping that I can encourage some of you to start a book and fall in love with reading (and if you don’t, that’s okay too).

Reading to me is like a lover who always comes back, quietly, so I don’t even notice. Sometimes when I read a book, I can’t put it down, and even if I do, I feel like somehow I’m still in the story. Sometimes I can’t even look at the letters. I have had both horrible and wonderful reading experiences, but with every book I have read, I have somehow become more than I was before. I even got to the point where I want to create my own story, but that’s another matter.

If someone asked me about my favorite book, I probably couldn’t answer, because when I read something that really touches me, it’s like a part of my soul stays with the book. Even though some of them claim a bigger part of my soul than others.

One of these books is The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This book has everything in it. Family, friendship, loss, grief and love. Salvador, the protagonist and also the narrator, is a young high schooler. He tells the readers his story with a little bit of sarcasm and humour, but (and this is my favorite thing in the book) he is totally honest. It’s not a fantasy or a romance, neither a thriller nor a crime story. It’s just about feelings, and that’s the power in it. At least for me.

One of my favorite things in reading is that I feel like I’m in another world, which is so much more than this one. When I’m reading, I feel that I am so much more than in reality. I feel like I am that girl who I can only dream to become, I feel like I’m the protagonist. When I read, I feel like I’m at home. The other thing I find good in this activity is that when people see that I am reading, some of them will probably think that I am an intelligent and clever being. I have already screwed them, and we haven’t even talked.

And why would I recommend reading to you? Because it’s fun! When you choose a book, it doesn’t have to be a classic, it doesn’t have to be fantasy or romance. Reading is about you, and it’s about getting to know yourself, travelling to new places, new worlds or even old ones. It makes you more than you were before.


Zalán Galics

I chose walking as a topic because I really like it. I think this is my favourite activity.

I also chose walking because I couldn’t think of anything else. I think walking is an important practice.

I go for a walk almost every day if i can. I usually listen to music while I’m walking, which makes it even better. I started walking because I had too many things on my mind at the same time and I was just home all day, so I needed some way to unplug. I haven’t been walking regularly for a long time, but so far I really like it.

I like to go for a walk because I can switch off while doing it. When I’m sad, nervous, or just not feeling well, I can go for a walk and clear my mind. Sometimes I get so into it that I can walk for hours. I also love it because I can be out in nature and breathe some fresh air.

There were famous people who liked to walk: for example, Nietzsche.He was a famous philosopher, and he said: “Sit as little as possible; do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement.” When he was writing The Wanderer and His Shadow, he walked for up to eight hours a day, all alone. Every now and then he would stop to scribble notes in small notebooks. Almost the entire book was thought out and composed during his walks.*

Walking is different things to different people. To Nietzsche, walking was more than relaxation; it was where he worked best.

I recommend it to everyone because I think it’s very relaxing and can fix your mood. Walking is also good for your health, because at least you’re moving a bit. So if you’re not in a good mood or you just want to get some exercise, then I definitely recommend it because it’s a really good activity.

*Source: Farnam Street, “A Philosophy of Walking,” (summary of A Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Gros [Verso Books, 2015]).

Behind Blue Eyes

Lilla Kassai

The first impression you make on your new classmates can determine your place in the school hierarchy for the whole time you spend there. You might get to hang out with the popular kids and know a lot of your fellow (popular) students and be best friends with everybody. You go shopping and partying together, and you even hang out with the (popular) seniors in a big group of (popular) friends. As for me, the first impression didn’t work well.

It might be because I am not afraid to voice my opinion, which is often in the unpopular category. An argument that goes against the mainstream, presented a bit aggressively, can determine your fate in school. Now you look like you hate everyone. Congratulations, here’s your place at the bottom of the school hierarchy.

But am I really an aggressive student? Am I really threatening the other students that I’ll roundhouse-kick their heads off? I am not, and I have never wanted to do that or done that. One of the basic teachings of martial arts is not to act violent unless it’s necessary. I, as a karate-student for fifteen years, follow this principle. I don’t use this hobby of mine to show off and bully, but for my own self-development, fulfillment and endurance.

One of the other bases of karate and every martial art style is respect. However, the that respect is earned and not automatically given, which I also agree with. Still, when having to listen to others, I always remain silent to give them respect, which they many times refuse to do when I’m the one talking. I believe in general respect: if you are being respectful and honest with me and take me seriously when needed, I’ll give it back to you, and vice-versa.

I try to stick to my principle of “silent greatness.” I do what I have to, I fight for achieving goals in terms of having good grades, being helpful, doing everything with the best attitude and maximum effort without bothering others, even if sometimes I fail in that. However, if I didn’t make mistakes or ask questions, I wouldn’t be able to bring out the best in me.

“In a warrior’s code there’s no surrender” (Survival – Burning Heart). This is the mindset I want to follow, whenever I face a challenge. I would rather be called an overachiever or a nerd and take pride in that, than be seen as someone who doesn’t do anything for his/her goals, and then blame others for not being successful. No matter how long it takes to succeed, I will never give anything or anyone up. I will persevere: as a karate-student who wants to become a master one day, as a girl who loves to draw who wants to become an architect, but most importantly as a good person, who can always walk with her head held high, smiling to the world and living the fullest life possible. For that, I am willing to try, fail, and retry. I want to become successful, learn new things, such as languages (I already speak three languages besides Hungarian: I am advanced in German and English, and at the beginner level in French), other martial arts, and playing instruments.

Another thing about me is that I don’t want to be put in a box and be “that given type” of girl in the university, and I dislike the whole concept of putting people in boxes while having a complex personality. I am the type of person who can easily have small conversations with athletes, the band kids and the members of the book club as well, because there is hardly anything that I am not interested in.

I hope this essay has offered a perfect depiction of my personality and qualifications that will give my application a higher chance of being accepted.

Yes or No?

Lili Forgács

Saying yes to everything was part of my personality. I could not refuse anybody: I was in every ridiculous game that my best friend thought up, I took part in every competition and extracurricular activity that my teachers asked me to attend, I sent my solved homework to every classmate who wrote me a message requesting it. It did not feel right to reject them. I felt like I was obliged to meet their expectations, regardless of whether I did it with my whole heart or not.

Around sixth grade, I was really overwhelmed due to my “habit.” My parents saw that it would not end well, so they sat down and talked with me. I was asked to reconsider all offers before I automatically accepted them. I did as I was told—what a surprise—but I think I misunderstood the whole thing, and I threw the baby out with the bathwater. I started to say no, and it became my new routine.

I stopped attending the drama club, I stopped participating in poetry recital competitions, I did not accept the leading role in my class. At first, it worked well: I had less work and, of course, less stress. However, as time passed I got used to refusing everything without real consideration.

The turning point arrived when I started secondary school. I met new people, new individuals who were so inspiring and different from those I had met before. They took part in everything that I rejected without any second thoughts, and I felt myself being lame. In such wise, I started to activate myself, but learned from my previous mistake: I reconsider every opportunity twice at least, and accept them only if I truly want to.

This is how I became the one I am now. I do not fear to say no any more, but I am not isolated from anything. I have been on both extremely radical sides, but neither of them was good. I needed some time to be mature enough to find the golden middle road, but I am so glad to accomplish it and stop being a robot that can only say yes or no. My personality formation is still in progress, but in my opinion the first few steps have already been taken successfully.

It All Started with a Hamster

Ilona Králik

On a warm spring afternoon a five-year-old little girl experienced one of the best days of her life at that time. When she arrived home after kindergarten, she saw something small moving in a cage. It was a dwarf hamster, her first pet. Of course the family had dogs and cats, but it was different; this was her own pet, only hers.

This little girl was me. I always knew that I loved animals, but this was the moment when I realised how much I actually like them. After that hamster I almost always had my own pet besides our family’s ones. As years passed by and I got older, I started to show more and more interest in nature and biology. With this growing interest, a crystal-clear idea of my dream future started to form in my head: the idea of becoming a doctor and helping those in need.

Based on everything that I have already mentioned, anyone would think that I would like to become a vet. Well, this is only partly true; at first I thought that it would be the career of my dreams, and I still think it is an amazing idea, but it is not my biggest desire anymore. In the past years I decided that I would like to become some type of doctor, but not a vet.

My love for nature has not changed, for sure. I just realised that I do not necessarily have to have a job related to it to help. One of my closest friends always says that I love animals too much to become a vet. Since I am shy in front of people who are not that close to me, not many people know this about me. When I spend time with my close friend group I am actually very open and talkative, and I love hanging out with them.

In conclusion I am sure that I can fulfill my dreams by becoming a doctor. I know that this journey will be hard and will consume a lot of energy and time, but I feel more than ready to start it, and in the end it will be worth all the hard work put into it.

Stellar Thoughts

Gréta Tóth

Maybe the easiest way to describe who I truly am is through something that I can strongly identify with. If someone asked me to compare myself to only one specific thing in the entire world, I would say that I like to think of myself as a star. You are probably wondering which celebrity am I referring to particularly: Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston or maybe Emma Watson?

The truth is, they are nothing like the one I have in mind. My star is orbited by numerous planets and their moons. It is the centre of a solar system radiating heat to the surrounding bodies, but most importantly keeping the whole system in balance and constant flow.

Okay I admit that this might have sounded horribly bumptious, but I still did not get the chance to clarify the meaning of all the other fragments of this particular solar system. So please hang on for a minute before assuming that my only personality is that of  a self-absorbed teenager.

The planets orbiting me are all the things that are important to me. The closest ones receive the most heat, the most love from me and as one zooms out, the celestial bodies on the edge of my solar system experience lesser and lesser amounts of heat and light. The terrain might look lifeless on these planets, but they are still a part of the galaxy, a part of me. The closest particles travel around me with supersonic speed and I simply cannot get tired of them. Like a cat playing with a suspended ball, I keep tossing them around and around myself. The other planets keep a much relaxed pace during rotation. It does not mean that I disfavour them, they just seem a little bit negligible compared to the others.

The Mercury in my solar system is ‘Planet Family’ circled by its many moons representing my friends. This is the massivest planet orbiting the main star, but even though it sometimes shields the other planets from my rays, I will never let this planet wander away into grim space or switch to a further orbit. In case I run out of my nuclear fuel, I will use my last bit of strength to ensure that this planet finds a new home before I become a white dwarf.

Other planets in my solar system stand for my education, my hobbies, my health and well-being, my purpose in life and my dreams. These planets have an ever-changing order in the network. All of them are part of my priorities, and it would be hard to set a constant sequence for them. Most of ‘Planet Education’ and ‘Planet Life Purpose’ are still unknown to me, but I am hoping that in the near future, I will be able to discover more of them. ‘Planet Dreams’ has a very special place in my heart, since I have been adding bits and bits to it ever since I was born. At first, it was about the size of Pluto, but today it has grown rather similar to Saturn, with its rings made out of unspoken future fantasies. The one-of-a-kind celestial body is ‘Planet Leisure’ with all the possible colors of a rainbow. It has an indefinable number of moons due to the constant change in the interests of an average teenager. The most notable ones, which have been present for quite some time, symbolize my love for reading, gardening, listening to music, making blueprints and dancing.

The energy that I absorb from all these planets keeps me alive and shining. I would simply not be able to exist without any of them, because all together the sun, the planets, the moons, the comets, the asteroids and the space rocks make up a solar system that represents who I am. And losing just one tiny bit of rock would mean a serious loss in my personality.

Finally, I would like to thank you for accompanying me on this space tour. I hope that I was able to show you the diversity of this solar system. But for now, I wish you a safe flight back to your home planet, dear fellow astronaut.

The Frames

Dorottya Turza

My picture frames are cursed.

On my eleventh birthday for a gift I received my first-ever picture frame. In it there was a figure of my friend who got me the present. In my happy daze I had no idea what it would start. That an endless cycle had begun.

I always liked to capture moments of my life, and now I had the means to hang them out my room and just admire them. I was incredibly happy for this new opportunity that I had never considered. I put as many pictures of my friends as I could into these frames.

In the beginning everything was just as usual. At least I believed so. But the curse was already in motion. My relationship with some of my friends changed drastically. I would rather say it went downhill very quickly. I was incredibly sad to part ways with these people who were very dear to me. However I knew that it was a normal occurrence, in fact it was for the better. There are just relationships that don’t work out, since people are so different, it is natural that personalities will clash with each other. So it was healthier to let go.

Slowly my friend group started to shrink. I found myself losing more and more people around me. Since I had fewer companions to spend time with, I had extra hours to spare. This pushed me more towards my mother. She was the one who jokingly brought up the jinx of the picture frame. That whenever I want to break ties with a person I only need to get their picture. We laughed it off. It was just a joke.

However when this occurred over and over again, my laughter disappeared. It wasn’t funny anymore. I tried to find a reason for this turn of events, but it went nowhere. I looked into myself and thought maybe I’m the problem. But my best friend pulled me out of these thoughts and assured me that nothing was wrong with me. That everyone else just couldn’t understand us. I believed her.

Probably this is the reason why the following event broke something inside me. We had an argument. A big one where we said all sorts of hurtful things to each other and pointed out insecurities we had nurtured. We eventually made up, but our relationship was never the same after this. When months later she calIed and requested a meeting, I was hopeful that this was the chance for us to sort things out. I never thought that this would be the place where we would part ways.

When the shock died down I realized something. Our friendship just ended. Just like that. I felt wronged, betrayed and in a fit of rage I took out every last one of my photos of those damned frames. I tore them up as small as I could and smashed all of my frames. Finally I tossed them into the trash can. This stupid trash caused everything!

After that I turned inward. I never was a very outgoing person. I always had more of an introverted personality, but at that time it really went out of control. I completely isolated myself from the world. I only left my room for school and immediately returned when classes finished. I shut out everyone, even my parents. I fled to the world of books for comfort, despite the fact that I had a number of people around me who could give me that consolation. I fell into a hole. At first I wasn’t too concerned by it. Shamefully I found safety in it.  Yet as the months passed, this pit became deeper and deeper. So deep that I couldn’t even see the verge of it. That sense of security turned into a prison that I desperately wanted to get out of. I struggled with all of my power, but in vain. I remained just as low as before. Therefore I felt I had no choice but to accept my fate. I sank further and further in this bottomless pit. The whole time I didn’t realize the key to my prison was in my hands the whole time.

From this condition not even secondary school could wake me up. When I arrived I felt kind of sanguine. This “optimism” instantly took a plunge after the first day. I was thrown into an entirely unknown place surrounded by strangers. I didn’t use to speak with my previous classmates either, but at least I knew them and how to approach them if necessary. But here there was no chance. The pit was so low that I couldn’t see at all, because of how dark it was. At that moment I felt lonelier than ever.

Until one day a ray of light penetrated through this darkness. It surprised me. I hadn’t seen the light for so long. It was a foreign sight. When I looked up there was a person standing above me. I recognised her, she was a girl from my class. She wore a kind smile on her face. My eyes were so completely fixated on her that I almost missed a hand extended towards me. It belonged to the girl. She tried to reach me? But why? I’m not fit to be anybody’s friend. As these thoughts pounded in my head I heard her say:

“Hello! I saw that you were sitting alone. As you can see I’m in a similar situation.  So if you don’t mind, we can stick together. You seem like a fun person, I would like to get to know you better.”

First I was reluctant. All my life I had placed my trust in the wrong people. I’m scared to trust again… but hearing these words. That she was in the same position as I. Maybe she knows how I feel. Maybe we can help each other…  Even with all of my doubt, I truly couldn’t reject her. So I grabbed her hand as if my life depended on it as she pulled me up into the light. At the edge of the pit the view was so different. I couldn’t help myself as I burst into tears. At last I didn’t feel alone.

Since then I have moved on with my life. I am feeling happy again. I gathered a small group of friends who taught me how to trust again, not just in others, but also in myself. They showed me that no matter how guarded I am, this can’t prevent me from getting hurt. That I need to truly live.

The curse finally broke.

A Long Path

Boglárka Emese Polgár

When we are born we wake up in a room; we open our eyes in a new environment. Everything surrounding us is new; we have to decide what our goal is in our life and what kind of person we want to become. Of course as a little child we can’t make this decision, and even if we could, it wouldn’t be necessary. This is a long path that we have to “walk” until we figure out what we are like and what we want to do in the end. This path isn’t easy. It has ups and downs, but in the end there is a calm and bright place. Even sometimes if we think our life is dark and has a sad ending. By saying that, I mean that if you find yourself in a difficult situation and you are not happy at that particular place in your life, that means that it is not your final destination, you still haven’t arrived at your end of your path, so you have to move forward and “If you are going through hell, keep going. Why would you stop in hell?” I heard this quote from Steve Harvey, and I agree with it. I believe in destiny and that everything happens for a reason, and it’s okay to make mistakes in our life, because we learn from them, and our actions make us who we are. Not all of these actions are right and have a positive income, but we can make up for them and apologize.

But as I mentioned before, there is always a right ending for things, and there is always a solution even if it’s hard to find. If all the doors are closed, you have to use a window to break out, to change the place you are in, and this is a long process, and change is never a comfortable thing. When it feels scary to jump, that’s exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in one place for the rest of your life, and nobody wants that.

Life is about learning and experiencing new things, and we have to take lessons to grow each day little by little.

Wiser Than Ever

Áron Antal

Now I am writing this college essay. At this very instant I am gaining knowledge, acquiring new information and getting to see new aspects. This I never have done.

Life is basically the same; even familiar situations, events and actions that happen every day are different in small detail, and even if you can’t recognise it, you gain new experience with each nanosecond passing. I heard once that at the moment of your death, you are the wisest you have ever been. And applying sort of the same principle, I know the most in this very instant that I write these words down. I have become wiser since I started to write this letter. But let’s put away the philosophy, and focus on facts, and let me prove that I would be a worthy student for engineering:

I wouldn’t consider myself egoistic, but even the shyest person has something to acknowledge oneself by. My achievements include passing a C1 language exam at the age of 16, completing secondary school not at the top of the class but still with great results, but I think my greatest genius lies in my free time activity: fixing motorcycles.

By fixing motorcycles, I don’t just mean renewing old bikes, not by a long shot. I have bought and made projects for myself. I have owned and worked on more than thirty different motorcycles, and I am currently owner of seven motorbikes, three of which are experimental. By myself I have learned the basics of engine operation, then done extensive research to best understand every little detail of motorcycle engines. While doing so, I made some experiments: learned fine tuning of carburetors and increasing engine efficiency, and succeeded in building a Yamaha 1YU Mint scooter with a manufacture single speed transmission, 50cc 2 stroke with its factory carburetor, designed for a max speed of 45km/h to exceed 85km/h, of course with a serious decrease in engine lifespan. Also I made experiments to achieve better fuel consumption while gaining greater power output on several 4 stroke 50-125cc 4 / 3+1 / 1+1 speed Honda licensed engines with carburetors, with great success, reducing factory fuel consumption on long distances by 10% and increasing power output with fine adjustment by 15%. I have also mastered the art of electronics, hydraulic systems and shock absorbers, welding, spray painting, aerodynamics, intake and exhaust fume airflow, increasing drum brake efficiency and much more.

I also have knowledge and experience in operating and the theoretical function of several kinds of heavy and agricultural machinery, as well cars and utility vehicles.

But I have other aspects besides just being a great mind in engineering. My other great attribute is that I consider myself and am considered open towards learning about new things, meeting new people, being accepting, caring, patient, polite, well-adjusted, obedient, trustworthy, and so on. Let this not fool you, though; I am still not perfect, but I am always improving.

As you can see, I have endless interest in the field of engineering, which I would like to further expand in the future.

And to return to the metaphor I started my essay with, I—and you, Sir/Madam, reading this application letter—have gained more experience and become wiser by getting to know me a little bit. And by the time I finish college, I at this present will seem a bit unwise compared to the I in the present of the future.

A One-of-a-Kind Gift

Alexandra Klaudia Süveges

As a kid, I constantly got bored of things easily. My parents attempted to exceed my expectations by buying presents that could serve a higher level of entertainment. I often got dolls, houses corresponding to them, and makeshift arts and crafts. Nothing kept my eyes glued to it for more than a few hours. I put it into my treasure box and let it become alien to me until one day I’d open it and find interest again.

Until one day I grew up enough to understand what I had been doing wrong.

As an only child, with my parents working overtime, I had to stay in the school’s daycare until the sky grew dark and cloudy. Born gifted, I didn’t have anything to study, I’d recall the lessons word by word, I was utterly bored. Ignorance took the worst of me and I had no one to talk to and just sat in a corner until closing.

For my twelfth birthday, I got a one-of-a-kind gift, something I could not put anywhere. My parents bought me a chess set.

“But mom… I don’t have anyone to play with”—was my response throughout the day. She might not have known how I cared more about my grades than social interactions, but board games were there, impossible to play alone.

So I took the polystyrene box and packed the elements on the black and white checked board. Sixteen see-through, gleaming and polished chess figures, scattered all around the last corner of the classroom. I, myself, do not know what I was thinking while waiting for anyone to come and play with me. Not thinking much of it, I started reading the rules provided in the box.

“Can I play with you?” one of my classmates said, I had never really talked with her before, but this was my only chance. I motioned to her to sit down, and we started the match.

I lost.

The daycare ended, and I had to be shaken back to reality. Why did I lose? Wasn’t I supposed to be the best at everything? Why did she leave smiling, as if she hadn’t proven I could be pushed away from perfection?

From that day on I tried harder and harder in school, but not in learning. I was curious to see how she’d beaten me despite not being on my level. She had a lot of friends with somewhat good grades. I wanted to be like that. I had fed myself that I needed to be lonely to maintain a standard for others.

Opening up to people was extremely difficult; I was known for my maximalism and somewhat of a nerd, but they accepted me and made me become warmer towards others. They opened my eyes to how perfection doesn’t equal values such as grades, and how good you can pretend your life is while it’s falling apart from lack of affection.

It seems to have worked, although, to this day, I have no idea how to play chess.

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