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applying for Vassar on ED2, "The poem recital"


Yesha 1 / 2  
Dec 10, 2009   #1
I'm applying via Commonapp and I figured I need a really strong personal essay. This is my first draft of my personal essay, and I want to be sure it is good enough. I just joined this forum, and I'm VERY new to this, so I hope you'll be kind. Also, I'm applying for Vassar on ED2, if it helps while criticizing the essay. Thanks!

Yesha Malla

"The speech I am about to recite is 'Marc Antony's speech over the dead body of Caesar', by Julius Caesar." I stammered, and froze as the entire audience burst into spontaneous laughter. I blushed, whispered "Umm, by Mark Antony", and wished I could turn invisible as I waited for the laughter to stop. Though the "entire audience" had just have been my classmates and my English teacher, it was enough to make my brain freeze up with stage fright. Public elocution, even a practice session, was definitely not for me.

Back in the 10th grade, I was a quiet kid, prone to working quietly by myself rather than participate in class discussions. If I wasn't so lucky to avoid the teacher's gaze for questions, I'd get up unsteadily, mumble a fast answer incoherently staring down at my shoes, and sit abruptly. I was a good student though; I studied hard, got good grades and my teachers liked me. The only problem, they said to my parents during parent-teacher conferences, was that I didn't speak up in class and "show her true potential". Outside class, I was still an outspoken person; the loudest in my friends circle and the one most likely to tell stories and entertain people. Still, I had the worst case of stage fright; when it came to public speaking, I was a nervous wreck. The thought of standing in the spotlights in front of people I hardly knew, and showing my worth, was a nightmare.

It was my English teacher who urged me to participate in the recital. She had always appreciated my good language skills. Few people in my school were good at both English, and Nepali, our native language, and she recognized me for being adept at both. "You have a good command over English - use it! You can write well, speak fluently; what else do you want? Do not waste your talent." Miss Anjana admonished me before signing me up for the recital. I protested weakly; I had never performed on stage before my class, let alone the entire school! However, she said she believed in me, and I couldn't let her down, could I?

After weeks of practice and stammering in front of my classmates, D-day had arrived. Miss Anjana smiled encouragingly at me as I sat, trembling, in the uncomfortable foldable metal chairs in the stage with the other participants. The hall was dark and cold, students and teachers looking expectantly up at us. I resisted the urge to throw up. When my turn came, I stood up shakily, stepped forward, and blurted out my lines. My stage fright took over my mind, and my body took the job onto itself. The audience was a blur of colors, faces indistinct. Somehow I finished the speech, bowed, and unstuck my feet from the ground to go back to my seat, my heart hammering away like a rabbit's the entire time.

It would have been a nice ending to the story to say that everyone was amazed at my performance and they leapt to their feet with thunderous applause, and that I got over my stage fright instantly. But of course that's not what happened. There was polite applause, but the judges were not impressed by my deer-in-the-headlights performance.

I could have been devastated with the failure of my first ever try on stage; I could have walked around with my head in a paper bag the rest of the school year. But here's the thing: I didn't. After the recital had finished and I had regained normalcy enough to think rationally, I realized, well that hadn't been too hard! I hadn't convulsed into fits or caught a Public Speaking Contracted Disease, if it even exists. Even better, Miss Anjana greeted me exultantly offstage, and praised me for my performance. I could get used to that!

Once I had survived the recital intact, I started to reflect a bit more on my stage fright, and eventually found it ludicrous. If everyone cringed from expressing themselves or speaking out in public, how would ideas flow? What if Martin Luther King Jr. had said: "I h-have a dream -" and abruptly run off the podium? How would I ever survive this world without asserting myself?

Overcoming my stage fright is a work in progress. I started pushing myself to do things I wouldn't have dared to. The following year, and the year after that, I took part in One Act plays in my school, one of which even won the Best Play Award. I discovered my love, and a hint of talent, for acting. I realized how fear and nerves had limited my options in life, how I still had so much to discover of myself. Today, I no longer stop myself from doing what I want because I'm too afraid of the "audience". I stand a confident, self-assured person willing to take risks; willing to learn from my mistakes or rejoice at my accomplishments.
pacers7ind 11 / 25 2  
Dec 10, 2009   #2
Do not use the poem in your essay.
As in don't recite it!

"Try not to quote books, magazines or publications and make it sound like I had only read them so I could put them on the statement

Not lie outright and stay as close to the truth as possible"
Rowa 5 / 15  
Dec 10, 2009   #3
I didn't understand the beginning of your essay, until I read it a few times. So I think you should makeit clearer.

I really like your essay, because I can really relate to it.
But what is the question you are answering, is it Topic of your choice?
Overall you have really great content, but you should make it more powerful.
Write a conclusion that will stay in the mind of the reader for a long time. Something powerful.

Good Luck
OP Yesha 1 / 2  
Dec 10, 2009   #4
Thank you for helping me! I was just trying to point out how i messed up the lines, so do I really have to remove it though? And yeah, I did think it wasn't too clear, Rowa, and now I know for sure. Working on it. Thank you!
OP Yesha 1 / 2  
Dec 10, 2009   #5
I'm not sure if any of you guys are still around to help me, but I hope you are! I tried to edit my essay further, and I could use some help in making it stronger. And yes, it's a personal essay for the topic of my choice. Thank you!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 12, 2009   #6
How about using a ... to show that you stammered?

"The speech I am about to recite is... Marc Antony's speech over the dead body of Caesar," I stammered, and "The speech I am about to recite is Marc Antony's speech over the dead body of Caesar."

That first sentence of the 2nd paragraph is excellent!

This has some great descriptions, and the intro really captured my interest. I hope you can revise the conclusion paragraph to connect this experience of empowerment with your intended course of study, your academic and professional goals. It's like a riddle when you try to figure out the connection between the two.


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