[문제] Common Application 6. Topic of your choice “Jigsaw puzzle”
- 미국 대학입시 공통원서 6번. 자유주제 “조각 그림 맞추기”
[학생 작문] When I was little, my family went on vacations to foreign countries  and visited  several museums and exhibitions during our trips. In the gift shops of those museums and exhibitions, one thing  had always caught me the most interested - a box of jigsaw puzzles.  Then, my parents did not know that jigsaw puzzles would be one of my  passions and rejected my pleading to purchase the puzzles. Years passed, and I could finally afford to buy my  ten-dollar box of 500-piece jigsaw puzzles from a nearby Longs Drugs store. At first, my mom was astonished to see me  in the middle of the scattered pieces  but later came to acknowledge my fervor for puzzles as the number of pieces increased to 1000 and 2000 and even suggested  to frame a few of my works.
People who do not find jigsaw puzzles interesting ask me how  I play them. Here is my secret strategy  in solving them: first I find all the margin pieces, which have at least one flat side, then put together patches of conspicuous parts or colors such as words, flowers, and people,  link those parts up inside the margin, and lastly fill the empty spaces up. If the puzzle  were a picture of one solid color, I  would look at the shapes and sizes of  bulging part and dented part  of each piece to find its partners.  And when asked why I play them, I answer, “Why not? It’s fun.”
There are three important things I learned from jigsaw puzzles: perseverance,  ability to focus, and joy from accomplishment. Jigsaw puzzles are probably one of the  only games that  requires no luck but hundred percent of effort,  so without the three characteristics, it is difficult to enjoy them. The puzzles have taught me  such characteristics that have changed me. Before my first  purchase of the jigsaw, I was never able to sit still in a chair for more than half an hour, nor could I focus on one subject for long; however, I now have the tenacity to sit through a 14-hour flight without  boredom and concentration to get my work done rapidly. Though jigsaw puzzles are probably not the sole reason  in my changes, they do take part. Also, the puzzles possess an important lesson in life:  to solve  problem piece-by-piece, step-by-step. The  simplistic and sequential logic of puzzles calms me after a long day of exhausting events and has allowed me to cultivate the ability to  use it to solve problems  the same way in real life. I am amazed at how much this seemingly  trifling hobby has  influenced me inconspicuously.
I have temporarily stopped playing jigsaw puzzles because of my academic  concerns, but I  wish to challenge for a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle when I resume.
[Comment] This is a very interesting and enjoyable essay. Not many people have this love-or should I say obsession?-with puzzles, and it makes you special and memorable. The only thing I noticed is that you tend to run on and on in your sentences when they could be shorter. You should cut your sentences to be as succinct as possible. Also, some of your phrasing was edited for flow. Very good job.
매우 흥미롭고 재미있는 에세이입니다. 많은 사람들이 이 같은 퍼즐에 빠지지는 않지만 그것은 당신을 특별하고 기억나게 합니다. 이 글에서 발견한 한 가지는 문장을 짧게 구성해야 할 때도 길게 글을 구성한다는 점입니다. 되도록 글을 간결하게 쓰시기 바랍니다. 또한 몇 군데는 흐름을 위해 수정했습니다. 매우 좋은 글입니다.
주간동아 2008.01.22 620호 (p92~93)