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I Am a Mirror - Questbridge Biographical Essay: what most shaped your personal life and aspirations?


summerlilac 2 / 8 3  
Sep 21, 2014   #1
Please help edit my essay, I feel like this is just another generic biographical one that doesn't say much about myself.

Prompt: We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors caused you to grow? (800 word limit)

Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This couldn't be more true to my personality. I am not one, but many, the sum of the parts, an impressionist painting.

Since I was but a little seedling looking up longingly at the vast expanses of the sky, my mother told me to observe the world around me and learn from the good in everything. I resolved to absorb the virtues of people I looked up to. Soon that applied to everyone I met, for there are admirable qualities in all. Especially after I moved to the U.S. from China at age seven, there was much I needed to catch up on in a foreign culture. I became extremely adaptable and I evolved, gradually and almost unconsciously so, into a mirror. I reflect the people around me, yet the substance of my core remains constant.

There are some inherent properties which I share with mirrors. I am, like mirrors, always truthful and sometimes brutally so. I love to be of service to others, and mirrors exist for the convenience of others. Possessing the ability to help others means that I have mastered something well enough to guide others through it. I reflect both real and virtual influences as a mirror reflects real and virtual objects, for a work of fiction may have as much of an impact on me as a real person. Some of the best teachers I have had, like Sophie from "Howl's Moving Castle" and Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities, are far from perfect and exist only in the imagination of those who have encountered descriptions of them. I can be very fragile and sensitive. For years I was an only child, and lived a very sheltered life. My overprotective parents wouldn't let me scooter out of fear that I would fall, and if anyone dared say something offensive to me my parents were sure to be after them. As a result, I cried with ever every tinge of pain and I didn't have problems with bullies for the first seven years of my life. When I did, it wasn't pleasant, but I've learned not to let little things bother me over the years. But like a mirror, I find hope and amplify the light on others in times of darkness. It was only a few years ago that I was crammed in a tiny one bedroom apartment with my family of four. My homework was too advanced for my parents' help so I had to take care of things by myself. Everyone at my middle school had better family conditions and studying environments, but that didn't discourage me from doing my best. Not only did I push myself, I also encouraged my friend to study with me because she was failing a few of her classes. I tutored her after school and pretty soon her grades started improving.

People have come and passed before me, and through them I learned to savor the simplicity of life while avoiding the repetition of history that ought not to be repeated. I've seen the unintentional pain caused by family strife. My dad and my grandma had never gotten along very well, and it wasn't until she passed away that he realized how pointless their arguments had been. How often do we take for granted what we have, then realize its worth after we lose it? My mom taught me to grab hold of every opportunity. When she was little, parents didn't invest in school for girls, and her test scores weren't high enough to grant her a scholarship into college. The biggest regret of her life is not working harder. I will treasure my opportunities and push myself to do my best academically so I will have no regrets. Finally, there's my uncle. The brilliant, promising young man who had so much potential, but was surrounded by bad influences in high school which led him to make choices that were short-sighted and unwise.

At the core, there are many things about me that have never changed. My love for animals and fascination with life strengthened after delightfully watching chicks hatch, my stubbornness unrelentingly pushes forth my beliefs, and my empathetic nature continues to help me relate to people and events I encounter. As I write out my story for what seems like the millionth time, the story remains the same yet my perception of it is different. I no look at it with a childish triumph that adapting to a new country was the greatest achievement of my life, but with a comfortable resolution that although it may not be a grand feat, it's a solid foundation for me to build upon.

godlover 2 / 7 1  
Sep 21, 2014   #2
I love the essay! I love the comparison between you and the mirror and you provided examples for each quality.
My only recommendation is to make it more conversational rather than an essay. You lost some of your voice in it because you tried to make it sound a lot like an essay.
BlueRose99 1 / 3 1  
Sep 24, 2014   #4
I enjoyed it but I think some things can be changed or moved around.

For it to flow better, I would put the part about your uncle right after the sentence "The biggest regret of her life..." and change "Finally" to "Then". I would also move the sentence "I will treasure my opportunities..." to the end of the paragraph and change the beginning of the sentence to something like "They both taught me to treasure my opportunities..." This way, it unifies the experiences and mistakes of your mom and uncle and the concluding sentence would refer back to the main point of the paragraph.
lannn 2 / 4  
Sep 25, 2014   #5
Even though the picture of mirror is a really good comparison, you should focus more on describing your hardship and factors that help you grow up.

I no look at it with a childish triumph that adapting to a new country was the greatest achievement of my life, but with a comfortable resolution that although it may not be a grand feat, it's a solid foundation for me to build upon. don't
OP summerlilac 2 / 8 3  
Sep 26, 2014   #6
haha that was actually a typo, I accidentally deleted "longer" between "no" and "look"


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