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Posts by jjeff
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Last Post: Dec 13, 2009
Threads: 4
Posts: 9  

From: United States of America

Displayed posts: 13
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Dec 13, 2009
Undergraduate / Cornell University -- Why Engineering? [6]

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll see what I can do with the second part.

To ruzhang: I wrote this essay specifically for Cornell, but I might have done too much with the experience.

Other than focusing on the second part of the prompt though, did I touch on the "interest" part?

Dec 13, 2009
Undergraduate / Cornell University -- Why Engineering? [6]

Engineers turn ideas (technical, scientific, mathematical) into reality. Tell us about an engineering idea you have or your interest in engineering. Explain how Cornell Engineering can help you further explore this idea or interest. (500 words max... I'm exactly 500 right now)

(hopefully I touched on the "interest" part)

Gears, tape, glue, cardboard, and a hundred-page instruction manual were the causes of my obsession. Never before did I think a grandfather clock would captivate my attention. The folding of such flimsy cardboard and the interaction with such mechanics - how could one not be interested? As a child, I was a fan of Legos and Knex, immediately falling in love with my do-it-yourself grandfather clock. Building with freedom and control in my hands, I could not ask for a better Christmas gift. Though I barely understood the jargon inscribed in the manual, curiosity and determination would spark me to create a work of art - a clock that would introduce me to the world of design and ultimately engineering.

Mending cardboard with cardboard, I was immediately engrossed in the aspect of building. The carefully-placed glue and precision of pieces caused me to be patient and attentive to detail. Yet, the structure and design of the clock caused me to think of the larger goal in mind. Each meticulous drop of glue and each cohesively mended bond between cardboards crafted my work. I became focused, goal-oriented, and ecstatic towards my first, real creation. And as a child, building a clock half the size of my body was nothing but success.

Barely understanding gears and mechanics, I sought for answers on my own. How did gears work? How do pendulums tick? What effect do weights have on the rhythm of time? Being eight, I tested my hypotheses through trial and error. Embedded in the heart of my cardboards were the gears - the hope of my masterpiece. With weights to clock and gears to gears, I tested the unanswered, concepts oblivious to my mind. Despite my hard work, I was unsuccessful; the do-it-yourself clock was over my head. My masterpiece came short of perfection, though in the end, I understood my mistakes. Through science, I came to learn that each swing of the pendulum released a tooth of a gear; each tick of a clock lowered the weights. These new realizations stemmed my curious nature, and a whole new world of do-it-yourself experiences opened to me; I could not help but seek more knowledge and more answers to the world.

Though I no longer possess my grandfather clock, the memories of building it forever lives within me. Building for fun, for knowledge, and for perfection have become nothing but love; an obsession to say the least. To this day, I am ever-so interested in the experiences and the world in which I live. By becoming an engineer at Cornell, I will continue to build and question the unknown. I will further learn from mistakes and perfect what is given, achieving a work in which one day, I can call a masterpiece. With diligence and patience, I will be able to grow beyond my do-it-yourself grandfather clock and advance my understanding of day-to-day objects. Only then will I build upon my knowledge and hope of becoming Mr. Zhan, the engineer, the curious boy that is.
Dec 13, 2009
Undergraduate / 'The best advice is experience' - Cornell university --why cornell engineering? [12]

Nice essay! (I'm applying to Cornell too)
Not many problems, just found:

The Writing-Intensive Co-op in Engineering Communications Program will enable me not only to develop strategies for learning how to act and communicate effectively, but also to integrate my skills into workplace experience.

Good luck!
Dec 10, 2009
Undergraduate / Common App. Essay Public Speaking [3]

I think the essay is good. Though the first paragraph is way too complete. It's as if it could stand on its own as a short response.

Perhaps you can change this part:
"I ended my speech with a pause; which seemed to last for hours. But then, out of the blue, applause erupted. My fear suddenly turned into excitement, when I could finally know that the audience was not bored to death, but they were more than pleased to hear what I was saying. From that moment on, I decided to devote my life to public speaking, because I didn't want the emotion I felt when I was on the stage to vanish."

...into a thesis, or transition sentence, since this sentence in the 1st paragraph: "I decided to devote my life to public speaking, because I didn't want the emotion I felt when I was on the stage to vanish" is too similar to your concluding sentence "I promised myself to continue public speaking for the rest of my life and I owe it all to Toastmasters and myself".
Dec 7, 2009
Undergraduate / Common App Short Answer - Gift of Fingers [3]

Common App Short Answer:
In the space provided below, please elaborate on one of your activities (extracurricular, personal activities, or work experience)(150 words or fewer)

Playing the piano is my gift to the world. Though I strive to play with much passion and emphasis, piano, I learned, is mostly about the story. Like my teacher says, "Music is a tale. If you can tell a story through your music, you can capture many hearts and many minds." My grandmother, especially, loves such stories. She is always relieved of stress and fear whenever I play the piano. At the local hospital, where I volunteered as performer, I took patients through similar riverbeds of Sonatas, Etudes, and Chinese folklore. In one performance, an elderly woman in her wheelchair rolled by my door and stopped, listening intently to the notes that I played. Her smiles and happiness radiated from her face, and I just could not help but feel overjoyed. Given my portfolio of tales, I know I will remain a pianist and forever a giver of gifts.
Dec 6, 2009
Undergraduate / Help with Common App Essay: "I Am an Alien" [9]

Wow, I thought that was pretty well written! Every sentence was very captivating and illustrative!

Not many things to change as far as I can see.

First sentence: "I Am an Alien. On Planet America, lacking a nine-digit number imposes an alien status upon me."
I'm not 100% sure if that is grammatically correct. Perhaps "I Am an Alien on Planet America, lacking a nine-digit number that imposes an alien status upon me."

"This frequently- asked question pierces my heart like a tiny, sharp, invisible needle."

Just wondering, how long did that take you to write?

Once again, good job!
Dec 6, 2009
Undergraduate / "She was a 7lb 11oz bundle of joy" - UT admission essay number 1 [25]

Throughout our lives , we come across a person who changes our view on living, hopefully, for the better. Sometimes this person has been there since the get-go and we know right from the start that he or she is going to be very special to us. At least, that's how it turned out for me. She (who is she? subject never mentioned previously. It would be effective if you explicitly tell who she is) has shown me that there's a bigger purpose for life other than just eating, breathing and sleeping, the biological purpose of living. She's shown me love, pain, happiness, faith, and acceptance. She's taught me how to get up and go after I've been hurt, and she's helped me discover how much potential I have within myself. She's reminded me that I need to live for myself . All this of which she had no idea she was doing. (confusing?)

On January 31, 2000 Shay Elizabeth Shadwick was born at 7:06 a.m. She was a 7lb 11oz bundle of joy and as soon as I walked into the delivery room after she came into this thing we call the "world", a feeling I had never felt before ran through my veins. I was so overwhelmed by the sight of my little sister that I set off to the trolley that she was placed in, I hovering over her, amazed at what I saw : a naked, wrinkled, squirmy little miracle who clenched my pinky with all her might that she had contained in her tiny hands. However, this wasn't the first thing that was evidence to an extraordinary bond between two sisters. Even before my mom took the pregnancy test that uncovered the marvel that was going to take place, I knew. (elaborate) I don't know how I knew, but I did. (not necessary?) It was just a feeling deep down in my gut. I was an eight year old girl who just innocently told my mommy one day that she was going to have a baby. My mom was flabbergasted by this notion that she began to think about how things with her have been physically lately and began to consider my

Just some grammar problems and opinions.

Good luck!
Dec 6, 2009
Undergraduate / USC Essay - Grandmother's Tears [4]

Wow! Thanks for the help!

Just a few questions. What do you mean by "DESCRIBE HOW YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN HURT AS A CHILD" and "WHAT DID YOUR GRANDMOTHER DO FOR YOU IN THOSE MOMENTS?" How do they fit with the other sentences?
Dec 5, 2009
Undergraduate / USC Essay - Grandmother's Tears [4]

USC Prompt (Choice #1):

USC's speaker series "What Matters to Me and Why" asks faculty and staff to reflect on their values, beliefs, and motivations. Presenters talk about choices they have made, difficulties encountered, and commitments solidified. Write an essay about an event or experience that helped you learn what is important to you and why it is important.

One tear. Then two. Grandmother's streams of sadness would not stop flowing. Lying on the hospital bed, grandmother cried tears of agony and drops of fear. Sheering pain pulsated from her fractured hips; her body tensed with every twitch and every movement. There was nothing I could do but sit beside grandmother's bedside, hold her hand, and look after her as she battled her crucial moments. With time, I came to learn that this would be the start of my future, a responsibility that I would hold true to this day.

For many nights, I sat beside my caregiver of my ten long years. She, unlike most grandmothers, lived with me, raised me, and nurtured me while two parents were hard at work seeking to improve our standard of living. In essence, my grandmother became my second mother, my guide through life. Though as a child, I never realized how caring this "guide" was. Sitting beside her bed, I was given the opportunity to reflect on my grandmother's love and to challenge my role in the family.

At the hospital, instead of having my grandmother feed me homemade chicken and rice, I came to provide for her. With her body resting on the comfort of bed sheets, I helped her to the hospital food that she disdainfully disliked. Occasionally, I would sneak in her favorite Hawaiian Rolls, just to see her be happy. And when I thought grandma's needs were covered, more duties would spring up. Speaking tribal Chinese, she could not communicate with the nurses; grandmother required me to translate her words to execute her wishes. In one such case, grandmother felt sudden jolts of pain arise in her arms. Thankfully, the nurses understood my translation, and reduced the influx of fluid going into her arms. Such days at the hospital made me realize the importance of responsibility, of being a grandson and a family member.

With walker in hand, my grandmother finally came home from surgery, no longer my cook or my maid. Instead of playing video games or watching TV, I began tending to my caregiver, a grandmother of eighty-three years. To this day, though she continues to worry about her grandson ever so much, I refuse to let her do my laundry, cook my food, or make my bed. Instead, I do the aforementioned for her. For all that she's done, and after watching the pain she endured with her hip fracture, I can only give back my love - the care that I helplessly pilfered from her as a child.

Though I am bombarded with school activities and homework these days, there will always be time for my grandmother. Because of her, I come home early enough every day to help with basic necessities. I cannot forget the pain, the long years that she suffered, to raise such a grandson. After spending delicate moments with her in the hospital, I have come to realize how powerful family is. Each and every one of us has a duty, a responsibility to help one another live life to the fullest; that has become my commitment; that has become my goal. Family will always be with me, whether here at home or across the country in California. Though I might be mountains away and separated by rivers, I will never forget my grandmother, my caregiver, my guide in life.
Dec 5, 2009
Undergraduate / The day that I would become the New York City champion in the 1000-meter race. Common app essay [10]

I agree with Jae. Maybe elaborate more on this aspect:

"I was preparing myself intensely both physically and mentally in the weeks leading up to the race."
"...overjoyed that my hard work had finally paid off."

I think changing it to describe your preparation process would be better. It would show the determination and effort you put into one race, rather than showing a scene where the reader can't feel a connection with your victory.
Nov 27, 2009
Undergraduate / UC Prompt #1 - My World, working class immigrants [3]

Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations

As the son of war refugees and working class immigrants, I knew my future to be a perilous journey. From the start, I was placed in a struggling family, watching two parents come home after a day's worth of sewing. Every day, every night, the same story dragged on; my parents' responsibility to provide for the family was a never-ending tale. As I aged, I could not help but to relieve my parents' stress. I sought to do my part in the family: to succeed where my parents did not and to live the opportunities that they were never given.

Growing up under such diligent workers, I learned to treasure the facets of learning. Watching a mother and father batter their hands for ten hours each day convinced me to excel in school. Though I entered the world of academics in ESL, I paved my way to EPP, an elementary program for the gifted. By high school, I challenged myself with rigorous courses, hoping to gain insight on subjects that my parents never got a chance to study. With time, education became more than easing my parents' pain; it became a tool to ease my future. By acquiring fundamental education, I understood that I could avoid the perils of the working class and use my wisdom for something greater: helping others live better lives.

As much as I seek to achieve this goal at school, responsibility intervenes my learning at home. With two parents at work, responsibility means tending to an aging grandmother who incessantly worries about her grandchildren. My grandmother's disability to walk compels me to tend to her needs, providing her food and assuring that she takes the proper medication. Despite my school activities, I arrive home early enough every day to look over my grandmother, my only living grandparent. Through responsibility, I have come to cherish my family. I understand that it takes every person in the household to contribute to our living, to make each day more satisfying than the last.

Though I have not lived my parents' lives, I do not intend to. Watching my parents struggle from near-poverty is not the life I wish to lead. As their son, I know they expect me to lead a life sans hardship and pain. With further education, I will accomplish this by carrying out my parents' work ethic and responsibility. I will lessen their burdens and succeed where they did not. Only then can I relieve my parents' pain. Only then can my learning expand to great depths. Through the University of California, Berkeley, I will achieve my longtime success by helping others live a life devoid of struggles and stress. With the opportunities given, this is the least that I can do.

(I'm not the best writer, so any feedback is good feedback. Thanks!)