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"A stranger that changed my life" - first draft for my scholarship essay


RyanVi16 12 / 91  
Oct 5, 2010   #1
This is a first draft for my scholarship essay. Please be harsh and don't worry about my feeling, I have none :). Please look out for grammars, flows. Most important: does it answer the prompt? Is is interesting?

The word limit is 500 but here i have 584. So please cut out/ shorten th unnecessary parts. Thanks.

Topic: Realizing how one person can make an extraordinary difference in the life of another, comment on who that person has been in your life, how their influence has impacted you, your goals, and plans for the future

A fine brilliant summer afternoon, not hotter than the usual. With Maria trying to keep up with my long legs, we paced through the familiar neighborhood. The sun shined down my face, through the thick layers of leaves and left strips of sunlight on the gray pavements. Bewildered by the glorious day, I dazzled into my own fantasy, ignored Maria's constant ramblings about how hot it was.

There he was. Again. It was the third consecutive day that I saw the stranger, sitting underneath the big pine tree in front of Andy's house, hiding from the blazing heat of the midsummer sun. I caught the anxiety in Maria's eyes as we came closer to the man. He looked toward our direction and gave us the biggest grin, revealing the yellowish front teeth. Paranoid by the odd smile, Maria yanked my arm, signaled me to walk faster. I stopped. The man looked up, surprised by my action, but then forced another smile.

Awkward silence.

"What's your name, kid?" He asked quietly, almost whispered.
"Ryan. His name is Ryan." Maria quickly answered before I could open my mouth, frustrated of the ridiculous name she made up for me. I said hello then was pulled away hurriedly. I looked over my shoulder and saw he was waiving at me. I waved back.

I returned the next day alone. The man was still there, sitting at his usual spot. I approached him and apologized for my friend's rudeness. He smiled but said nothing. I sat down beside him and started the conversation. At first, he would only nod and answer "Yes" or "No", still feel uncertain by my initiative. The minutes went by quickly, he finally told me his name: Roy.

As we talked, I learned that he was abandoned by his wife and two children since his first arrest for violent attack. The statement frightened me a little. Realized my expression, Roy assured me that he was a changed man. He then started to talk about himself. Roy involved in a gang during his teenage years; the reputation caused him to enter prison many times. He shared about the life he spent in darkness, overwhelmed by boredom and loneliness.

Tears gathered in the corner of his eye as he told the story. The hardened eyes that had witness the cruelty of the world, the injustice of civilization, and the indignation in the people's mind. The day that he lost everything. The day he was accused for murdering because he was at the wrong place and at the wrong time. The innocent man spent thirty five years of his life in the eternal labyrinth and was shut out to another parallel world. A bottomless black-hole.

"Do you believe in God?" Roy stopped and asked.
Confused by his question, I touched the cross that was tucked away in my shirt and nodded.
"There was this boy, he volunteered for prison ministry during my serving time. Nice kid though, he was the only person that would come visit me during my last five years in prison."

Two hours past quickly. I was amazed at how much I could talk with a complete stranger I hardly knew. I never see Roy again after that day, not until later that I found out he passed away from terminal illness.

Three years later, my first college admission prompt: "Given your desire major and why". My answer: Prison Ministry. It all started with a stranger named Roy.
lialia 2 / 5  
Oct 6, 2010   #2
u can try cutting down words in the 1st para. a little too descriptive.
Kadesha 2 / 4  
Oct 6, 2010   #3
the transition from paragraph three to four was bit of a jump, it wasnt smooth. good story line tho
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 10, 2010   #4
You have a run on sentence at the start:
A fine brilliant summer afternoon, not hotter than the usual. With Maria trying to...
You can fix it this way:
On a fine, brilliant summer afternoon, not hotter than the usual, Maria was trying to...

Paranoid because of the odd smile, Maria yanked my arm, signaling me to walk faster. I stopped.

At first, he would only nod and answer "Yes" or "No", still feel uncertain by my initiative. ---- I am not sure what you mean by this... can you write it differently?

I never saw Roy again after that day, not until and three years later I found out he passed away from terminal illness.---- I added "three" but I don't know how many years later it was.

This was great to read, very interesting!! I think you could be a novelist.
OP RyanVi16 12 / 91  
Oct 10, 2010   #5
Thanks Kevin, i was scared that i strayed off the topic since i decided not to use the traditional way, like "the stranger influenced my life because.." I decided to tell a story to see if it's more interesting.
doyin1 8 / 18  
Oct 25, 2010   #6
the story line is wonderful, its very touching. lovely essay

although this line needs a bit of correction ''I never see Roy again after that day, not until later that I found out he passed away from terminal illness.''

it should be ''i never saw Roy again after that day,not until a few days later i found out that he had passd away from a terminal illness''.


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