Stanford Essay – Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why. (100 to 250 words)

My favourite quote, the one that I always find myself going back to when I need some inspiration is “what will survive of us is love”. It comes from the poem An Arundel Tomb by Philip Larkin. The poem depicts a scene of travelers from across the world going to see the tomb of an earl and countess. The primary message conveyed is that the personalities of the deceased have been wiped away by the nature of time. The poem ends with the line, “what will survive of us is love”, meaning that only human connection can transverse through time, you will be remembered only through the ways in which you positively influence those around you.

The study of tragedy and philosophy in English class, paired with the study of war and conflict in History class, have led me to value the finite time that humans have on Earth. Given this, I believe in spending as much time as possible being happy and making others happy. Larkin’s quote speaks to me because it eloquently encompasses my values. It discusses how what is truly important about human nature is our actions, that power from class, authority, and status don’t stand the test of time, but the way we treat one another will.

Coming from an author who is known for his cynicism, Larkin’s poem is a testament to the power of human connection and interaction. This power never fails to amaze me, to empower me, and inspire me to leave a legacy through the way I treat others. 

Published in Successful College Essays, Successful Stanford Essays
Stanford University

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