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Big zhou, my chemistry teacher


karissa_a16 4 / 94  
Dec 27, 2011   #1
This is for common app. THIS IS NOT THE TITLE BY THE WAY.
Prompt: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

I walked down the hall of the science building, anticipating what would await me when I reached the last room in the row of classes: E5. Schedule in hand, I cautiously entered the laboratory, trying not to scuff up my new shoes. "Zhou, J." it said next to the fifth period spot, "AP Chemistry." My friends and I settled in to the front corner of the classroom, when a willowy, glasses-clad Chinese woman emerged from the back room of the lab. "Hallo! I am Mrs. Zhou. I know my accent is hard to understand, but you will get used to it!" It is her signature disclaimer that she bellows out on the first day of school, completely self-assured it is not a hindrance. From the outset, she exuded strangeness and genuine kindness at the same time. Everybody loves her, and I could not help but smile at her subtle confidence. "This is going to be fun," I thought.

It was. Except for the chemistry part; it was the most challenging class I have ever taken. As difficult as mole to gram conversions and galvanic cells were to understand, Mrs. Zhou, or "Big Zhou" as she is affectionately known, never wavered in her dedication to and compassion for her students. At times, the strain of chemistry caused me to doubt myself. But if my test scores started slipping or I showed even the slightest signs of giving up, she was the first one to put me in check, always making sure to remind me of the extent of my potential. "Karissa, you so smart but TALKS TOO MUCH" she liked to tell me, even if my eyes diverted from the PowerPoint presentation for even a second or two.

I soon learned of Mrs. Zhou's journey to the chemistry lab in E5, and, subsequently, my life. She was born and raised in China and attended the University of Beijing before moving to Ohio for medical school. She worked as a medical researcher for several years before becoming a teacher. It struck me as quite the downgrade. "Big Zhou, why would you come to West Covina High School, of all places, when you could be making so much money?" I asked her once. "I like you guys!" she retorted, her toothy grin in all its glory. "And I love teaching, it's my passion."

She never said much else about her tenure in the medical field. Even so, her white, starchy lab coat with "Dr. Zhou, Infectious Diseases" embroidered in bright blue thread on the front pocket hangs in the back of the lab, like a ghost. It is a constant reminder of her past, and how it brought her into the lives of so many people. Sometimes, I would mess around and wear it, pretending I was like her. I can only hope that in the future, I am.

Aside from grammatical tips or other suggestions, please say something about what the "point" i was trying to make was. Also, does the last sentence imply I am interested in medicine at all?? It wasn't supposed to haha. THANKS!
sm09 1 / 17  
Dec 27, 2011   #2
You write really good. I think you should add more things about how she has made an impact on you. Maybe talk about a story she told you about the difficulties she faced moving from China and how she inspires you. Elaborate more about how she kept you in check etc.
OP karissa_a16 4 / 94  
Dec 27, 2011   #3
She never really told us any stories about her struggles though, so I would have included those if I had any. I don't want to elaborate on the lesson too much because I'm afraid it will sound preachy :/
makman09 9 / 86  
Dec 27, 2011   #4
I have to agree with sm09. Elaborate more about how she impacted you and condense on your intro because some of what you say at the beginning is unnecessary. Like eliminate the clause about you settling with your friends in a corner. You can get rid of that clause and still keep your meaning of the essay. The most simple essays are the strongest essays.

I hope my advice helps you.
GraceTaylorWei 12 / 41  
Dec 27, 2011   #5
I LOVE the part about the dialogue between you and Big Zhou! It's incredibly detailed and paints a nice picture. My only criticism is perhaps make the ending more "Umph". Give them more of an epiphany - you have a lot of material.

Could you proofread my Common App essay?
deremifri 9 / 137  
Dec 28, 2011   #6
To me it sounds like you should focus on Zhou's passionate side of personality and try to say how this instills
passion in you.

By the way, please look at the revised version of the movie essay, not the one of the top, I am getting really desperate.
goalgir4 1 / 7  
Dec 28, 2011   #7
I agree with basically everyone else but what I think is you should definitely add more about yourself. I came away knowing more about your teacher than I know about you and although i love the idea of her being the center of your essay, it still needs to be about you, your development as a person, even if it was caused by another person. Maybe make it a little longer?
OP karissa_a16 4 / 94  
Dec 28, 2011   #8
I figured since the prompt was about a person who influenced me and what that influence was, I should focus on that. I thought that the reader would kind of infer that I value passion and drive more than I do money. I suppose I should make that more obvious?? I like to say it without saying it haha. And the essay is maybe 50 or so words over the 500 limit. Granted, it's a guideline but I don't want to make it too tedious and boring to read.
Musicforleisure 3 / 33  
Dec 28, 2011   #9
Hi ! I like your essay very much. It is beautifully written! My suggestion is to explain a little bit more why you adore her? (I assume you adore her, because you want to become like her) It seems like you are a little bit scared of her? I don't know. You mentioned about how her lab coat reminds you of her "ghost." I think you should lighten this part a bit?

And maybe give more details about your personal experience with her? This is just my opinion : )

And here is another suggestion:
I can only hope that in the future, I am
I think "am" should probably be changed to something else. Will be?

Overall, this is a great essay!
Oh, and yes, I do feel your strong interest in medicine.
I hope this helps!

Would you please take a look at my essay : D thankss
CollegeHopefuls 4 / 7  
Dec 28, 2011   #10
The purpose of this type of prompt is to shed light on YOU through the person that you deem important. So I agree with the above posters; tell more about yourself by relating you to Big Zhou. How have you changed since you've had her as a teacher? Why do you think she's a significant person in your life? Remember, this essay is still about you. Hope this helped (:

Can you be so kind and take a look at my essay?
goalgir4 1 / 7  
Dec 28, 2011   #11
@Karissa_a16,
dont assume that the reader will infer so many things. remember, details make an essay and because you dont know who will be reading the essay, make everything as clear as possible. most of the details you used in your essay were decsribing your teacher, not you. imo, for every timeyou mentioned Big Zhou, you need to include at least that much info about yourself and what she taught you. For example, the last paragraph does that nicely, even if it is the ending. and to help with word count, i think you could make the intro paragraph a LOT shorter and add something about yourself and your views before you met your teacher, to show contrast.
singh955 7 / 36  
Dec 29, 2011   #12
Your story is very interesting, but could use work on describing that impact she has on you.

other than that, your essay is good.
angelserenite 9 / 14  
Dec 29, 2011   #13
I really enjoy the amount of description in your essay of Big Zhou. She seems genuine and real. No, the last sentence doesn't make it sound like you want to go in the medical field.
cupnoodle123 15 / 52  
Dec 30, 2011   #14
The biggest influence i see that you have from her is that you only HOPE to be like her in the future...did big zhou ever make you change your attitude? make you go home and study way way harder than you otherwise would have w/o her encouragement? Did she make you go out and help fellow students out? I can hope to be like Obama...but if he just made me HOPE for that ...not do anything about it, it's not a significant experience

But this is pretty good:) It's fun to read ...only maybe add more of your initial sentiments in it, and really try to add a bigger influence you got from her :)

HOpe this hleps, and sorry - don't mean to sound harsh or anything

:) Sorry this took so long to get to you....I forgot your essay though I'd said I'd take a look at it :)


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