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'Baby Steps' - Common App Influential Person Essay

teoth5 2 / 4  
Oct 15, 2011   #1
Below is a ROUGH draft of the essay I plan to submit to my Common App schools, and i chose the prompt: In 250-500 words, indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. Since this is no where near ready to submit, please be critical on originality/uniqueness, grammar, sentence structure, flow of essay, title, and impact on the reader. According to a few people whom I have already shown this draft, the essay has an emotional appeal, so please comment on whether this is a positive or negative quality. Finally, are there any creative ways to incorporate my intended major of anthropology into the essay? Thanks in advance :)

Baby Steps

"I wish someday I...I could walk on my own," Paulina softly muttered as she struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Her words caused me to take a step back, because I had grown accustomed to her optimism. Sure enough, all it took was a bit of encouragement for Paulina to take control of her walker, change her mind-set, and move full steam ahead through the hallway.

Paulina is currently my partner for peer tutoring, in which students are chosen to assist and motivate those with cognitive and physical disabilities in an adapted physical education class. Confined to a motorized wheelchair for the majority of the day, P.E. gives Paulina the opportunity to walk with the aid her walker, two peers, and a support staff member. Every day I take for granted that I have the ability to walk without any assistance and can't even imagine being in her shoes, but sometimes I find myself just as dependent on those closest to me. Paulina's determination and enthusiasm have inspired me to take that first step towards independence.

Although only seventeen, I often rely too heavily on the input of my parents, friends, and educators in decision-making, but see this as an opportunity for personal growth. My mom has lectured me on the importance of self-sufficiency for as long as I can remember, and her philosophy is finally beginning to make an impact. Carefully planning for my future with the support of others opinions may have benefited my high school career, but I am beginning see that trusting my own instincts will open many more doors in the real world.

Paulina ultimately makes the choice to get up out of her wheelchair every day and work towards her target of walking for ten minutes, knowing that with each step she gains strength. When it came to the college search, I felt that everyone was steering me in the wrong direction, and recognized the need to take control of my own hypothetical walker. I forced myself to focus on finding a college where I would surely fit in rather than be forced to fit the mold of the perfect student. To me, cooperation beats competition in nearly every aspect of life, and if an outsider were to sit in on just one peer tutor class they would surely gain this insight.

Since the beginning of junior year students in this program have caused me to grow as an individual, but Paulina's extraordinary drive has inspired me to become more independent and challenge myself when I transition to college life. I have great faith that one step at a time, the two of us will eventually achieve our goals despite the many obstacles that may present themselves.

P.S. The spaces indicate a new paragraph, and the final version will have proper indentation to indicate the beginning of a new paragraph.

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