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Amherst Supplement - overcoming difficulty, obstacles surmounted


seaweed77 3 / 2  
Dec 28, 2011   #1
Hi, I need help editing this essay from its current 430 words down to 300. Also any suggestions for general clarity/grammar/etc would be greatly appreciated! Its for the Amherst College supplement to the Common App, and the prompt is to respond to the following quote:

"Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat. Rather achievement can be all the more satisfying because of obstacles surmounted."
Attributed to William Hastie, Amherst Class of 1925, first African-American to serve as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals

It was my friend, foe, and floor manager, Andrea, who taught me how much more satisfying achievement would be because of obstacles surmounted - whether it be beating a drug addiction and making it off the streets or realizing the dream of a college education in spite of a blue-collar background. Andrea is a vibrantly blonde, twenty-four-year-old, woman with a five-year-old daughter, a wrenchingly difficult past, and even though she hasn't had a drink in over a year, one of the most formidable reputations for ruthless bar fights in the county. She became estranged from most of her family when she was twelve years old and her cocaine-addicted mother assaulted her with a stop sign and kicked her onto the street. But after years of being addicted to crank and selling drugs just to get by, Andrea resiliently fought her way out. Inspired by a desire to care for beautiful daughter, Trinity, she went straight and built herself up to head waitress. After an ugly lawsuit with her abusive ex, she won full custody of Trinity she strives to provide the stable upbringing for her daughter that she missed. She can handle more tables than any other two servers combined - if Andrea needs a shift covered, it takes the rest of the waitstaff. This is the woman I have spent the last three years under, and who has shown me so much about overcoming difficulty and becoming a better person because of it. She may be an unconventional role model, but she gave me hope when I faced my darkest hours. A cloud passed over my dream of a college education when I was first assaulted by the reality of working an intense job and somehow managing to keep my AP grades up - but I realized that although my path might be harder to negotiate than some, the final result would be that much sweeter for it. I decided not to let the fact that I had to work while my classmates were getting a leg up on college applications by becoming prestigious club presidents and joining varsity sports depress me; I found solace in the fact that I knew how to overcome hardship independently, that wherever life leads me I have the confidence and work ethic to do whatever it takes to succeed. When my friends' degree-holding parents guided them through the college application process, I managed to fit applications into my already busting-at-the-seams schedule of school and work, doing everything independently and hoping the strength, independence, and resilience that Andrea had taught me would shine through.

Thanks!
nr554 1 / 18  
Dec 28, 2011   #2
"making it off the streets"
I would use a different verb other than "making" - it sounds unprofessional

wrenchingly difficult past
use a different word since I don't think "wrenchingly" is a word

"She became estranged from most of her family when she was twelve years old; her cocaine-addicted mother assaulted her with a stop sign and kicked her onto the street."

"she went straight"
this also sounds a bit unprofessional

She can handle more tables than any other two servers combined - if Andrea needs a shift covered, it takes the rest of the waitstaff.

reword this

I decided not to let the fact that I had to work while my classmates were getting an advantage on college applications by becoming prestigious club presidents and joining varsity sports depress me; I found solace in the fact that I knew how to overcome hardship independently, that wherever life leads me I have the confidence and work ethic to do whatever it takes to succeed.

this is a really great and personal essay other than the minor mistakes above! good luck

can you please critique my essay?
prd93 2 / 7  
Dec 28, 2011   #3
I think you should just leave this essay as it is. It says everything you need it to say.
AbhaJ19 6 / 12  
Dec 29, 2011   #4
This is a great essay!!
Divide it into paragraphs and then things will be O.K.!!
AbhaJ19 6 / 12  
Dec 29, 2011   #5
By the way, reduce the slang.


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