Hey guys. I’ve already submitted my application for Princeton but any opinions on my essay would be greatly appreciated, as I couldn’t get anyone to check it out before I sent it in. Thanks!

The prompt is: Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way

On December 7th, 2015, behind the main stage of the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, a man ponders in slight confusion as he gets ready for the last concert of the year. This man is no stranger to performing in front of huge crowds; it is as familiar to him as the orange-tinted glasses covering his eyes. However, tonight is different. Tonight, two weeks after the devastating terrorist attacks on Paris, his task is not to dominate the stage as he always has, but rather to comfort a city shattered by tragedy.

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This man is Bono, lead vocalist of U2, who has come to represent everything that I hope to be. He also happens to be the creator of music that I blast out of my car speakers at volumes ridiculously over the safety limit as friends shake their heads in disapproval. My first exposure to Bono’s work occurred when my father decided to give me a CD filled with the greatest hits of U2 for my 7th birthday. At such a young age, all I could do was marvel at the sheer perfection of their music. Simply put, I had never heard such an utterly majestic voice sing such beautiful yet thought-provoking lyrics in my entire life. Songs such as “Wild Horses”, which simulates the freedom of a drive out into the desert sunset, and “With or Without You”, which features what is quite possibly the most emotionally powerful sample of the human voice ever recorded, blew my mind. I was hooked. Bono had introduced me to the most spectacular music I had ever heard, and I wanted more.

However, as I got older I began to realize that the best quality of U2’s music wasn’t in the music itself, but rather in everything the music stood for and hoped to achieve. Throughout the past 30 years, Bono has moved the very foundation of the world’s emotional core with the conviction that rock music has a larger social purpose beyond mere entertainment. By writing songs such as Sunday Bloody Sunday (protest against the Northern Irish Conflict) and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (based on religious tolerance), he has continuously functioned as a catalyst for global change; an idealistic humanist never afraid to state his opinions in the form of flaming, impassioned anthems. Through his music and actions, Bono has succeeded in influencing an entire generation, including me, to stand up for what is right, and because of Bono, I seek to become a leader who is both dynamic yet sympathetic, who is charismatic yet compassionate, and who gets the job done yet doesn’t fail to put on a great show.

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Back in Paris, Bono gets on stage to the sound of thousands of people screaming in delight. Inspired by how a crowd so broken could possibly display a love so powerful, he gives a rousing speech about how the wounds of grief never fully close, but never truly kill. He states how the terrorists on that fateful night took music, took lives, and took peace of mind, but will never take away the spirit of the city. Finally, he displays his solidarity with not only the French, but with all of humanity by emotionally stating “We are all Parisians tonight”, thus further solidifying his place in the world as an ambassador for peace, and in my heart as a noble gentleman who tries to make the world a better place in any way he can.