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'Abundance / Scarcity' - UC Application Essay #1: "Two Worlds"

SilverKnight 15 / 55 4  
Nov 26, 2013   #1
Topic: 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.

I'm open to any kind of criticism or suggestion.

In my relatively short life, I have lived in two entirely different worlds. One filled with abundance, comfort, and ease; the other filled with scarcity, sacrifice, and struggle. It would be easy to say that one of the two had a greater impact on me, but both have had an equal share in molding who I am and who I want to be.

In my early years, I can't remember a time in which I couldn't get just about anything I wanted. My family had quite a large amount of money and that allowed me to have a lot of freedom to pursue the things I was interested in. On top of that, my parents have always been very supportive of my brothers and I. So when I became interested in playing baseball, there was nothing to hold me back.

It was during this time that I got my first glimpse of what it took to become successful. My first few days as a baseball player were not filled with the sparkling successes I had imagined for myself. Some of my teammates even told me that I should stop wasting my time and do something more worthwhile with my time. That was all I needed to get me going; I knew I loved playing baseball and I just had to prove them wrong. My dad and I went to our nearby field, where we would work for hours on improving my abilities. Progress came along very slowly at first, but eventually I blossomed into a pretty good ballplayer. In the process, I began to grasp ahold of something that would become the foundation of numerous successes-determination and sweat.

Aside from that, there was a downside to prosperity. Since we could get just about anything we wanted, my family wasn't as tightly knit as it should have been. My parents would watch TV in one room, my brothers would be scattered in different rooms playing on computers, and I would be in one of those places. In extreme cases, not a word would be spoken for over an hour. Looking back, that's something I don't miss at all.

Then about five or six years ago, our entire world was turned upside down. We had a lot of money invested in the stock market and when the economy faltered, the family fortune was no more. At this point in my life, two very important things happened to me. I finally got an idea of what I wanted to be, and I realized that having or not having money was a non-factor where success and failure were concerned. When the recent economic downturn started, my dad started watching more stock market-related news to get an idea of what was going on. I took notice of the fact that there was something wrong with the people responsible for the country's finances. As a result, I decided that I wanted to go into the field of economics and business and make sure that the economy would not fail again. Idealistic? Yes, but who knows?

Also, I noticed a major change in my family. Instead of falling apart over the new hand we had been dealt, we became more united. Together, we made sacrifice after sacrifice without complaint because we loved each other, and we had to do whatever it took to make things work.

All in all, I can't say that there is any one thing about either of the worlds that has had a greater impact on me than the others. However, I'm certain my time in these worlds has put me on the path to success and I can't see any reason why I should leave it.
lynsiecheri 5 / 12 4  
Nov 26, 2013   #2
I think your essay focuses on two really good stories, but you could mesh the topics a little better. The "abundance" life you could go into detail a little more. Having money must've spoke volumes to the opportunities you were privileged with. These opportunities will be great when you start juxtaposing your two lives. In the abundant life I want to know what you did. Did you buy the best glove possible that had quality assurance for catching? Did you get lessons from someone? My point is -- whether you had money or not, your dad would have been able to take you to the field to practice...unless you were practicing at some special stadium. You need to illustrate the gap between your lives more. Also, the essay sounds very informal. The parts I marked green are too much like a conversation. Overall, just be more detailed. You told us that your family didn't speak that often because you were off doing separate things. Mirror that same great detail in the section where you start talking about life after the stock loss. Did your family hang out more? How did your family life and construction change. Tell us some of the sacrifices your family made. Don't be afraid to get personal in your essay. Put your heart and secrets out on the line, because the things you faced and how you overcame them, are what the admissions officers are going to connect with best. I also just crossed out some things I think you could get rid of. In the end don't forget to connect up the two stories you told. Toward the end you need to reference your sport.
OP SilverKnight 15 / 55 4  
Nov 26, 2013   #3
I made some changes and cut some of the word count to get it under 603 words, but I haven't made any major changes. I want to get some more feedback or criticism.
Kondite - / 44 9  
Nov 26, 2013   #4
I have added some short comments next to some of the sentences. I might be a little harsh but this is for your benefit. Did you know that the stock market faltered a little in 2008 but now is in its peak? A small stock market crash could not have ruined your family fortunes. To be honest, you sound like you depend on money to succeed. There's a lot of students, ESPECIALLY IN UCs, from low income families that achieve straight As and excel in sports. This essay tells me that you and your family are materialistic. Not to be harsh but I would completely rewrite this essay. Also, have a teacher go over the grammatical errors in this essay.
OP SilverKnight 15 / 55 4  
Nov 26, 2013   #5
I have to disagree that the country is at an economic peak because we are nowhere near "full employment" and the 2008 Economic downturn has been titled "The Great Recession" for a reason. Also, how can you possibly know what my family's situation was like? Come talk to me when you get eviction notices on a monthly basis and when you have to go whole days without eating. I understand the fact that there are some issues concerning details near the end of the essay, but that's no reason for you to make assumptions about my family. It seems like you need a lesson in the art of criticism and ripping apart a paper. Making assumptions and expressing biases is not the way to do it. Also, I noticed you said grammatical errors. I would love to know what they are.

Thanks for nothing.
OP SilverKnight 15 / 55 4  
Nov 26, 2013   #6
Also, concerning my writing. I rarely make REAL grammatical errors and my evidence is an endless amount of compliments from my English teachers, a 5 on the English Language and Comp. AP Test, and a State Award of Merit for a short story I wrote.

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