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"My biggest blunder; cutting down the wrong tree"- Common app essay


afwebb 6 / 17  
Dec 29, 2010   #1
Just finished a draft of my common app essay. I had a very hard time coming up with a topic and writing an essay; i'm no good at writing about myself. This is the best I could come up with. Not much of a topic but I did what I could with it.

I'm concerned it might not be serious enough or a little unclear. Please let me know what you think I could change to make it better.

Of course please be harsh and make any changes you feel necessary, be they big or small.
Thank you in advance for the help and I promise to return the favor for any advice.
p.s. it's only around 500 words because Yale wants it that way

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you

Here's an updated draft. I'm still undecided on a few things; I think i'll implement a few other revisions soon. It would be great if someone could let me know if anything is unclear about it still.

"Why did you cut down that tree?" my dad asked as he inspected what I then thought to be a completed assignment. I was about to refute the validity of his question, claiming that it was what he had asked me to do several hours and a gallon or two of sweat earlier (not sure about this last bit) . I then stared incredulously at another tree, still standing, just a few feet away, and realized all my work had been worthless. I had cut down the wrong tree.

My backyard used to consist of a meager patch of grass, a small garden, and a couple of grapefruit trees. My mom, wanting to expand our garden, was obstructed by the position of one of these trees. Seeing that this tree no longer produced any fruit she decided it was time to chop it down and uproot the stump of the offending plant. Shortly thereafter, despite my best reasons why my brother ought to be enlisted to the task instead, I was out hacking my way through a tree trunk. This was by no means a pleasant task, as anyone who has been in Arizona during the summer can attest. Strangely it never crossed my mind whether or not this was the correct tree. Motivated by a desire for an air-conditioned room and to move on to whatever apparently forgettable plans I had that night, I completed what I then thought to be the task at hand, thinking only of finishing as quickly as possible.

This motivation made learning that all my blisters and sore muscles had been for naught all the worse. My first instinct was to blame my blunder on someone else, or find a way around repeating the arduous task. There was no one else to blame and no other solution. I came to terms with what I had to do and, now knowing full well what lay ahead of me, I grudgingly began work on the correct tree.

This left me with an unwelcome amount of time to reflect on the mistake I had made. I was surprised to find that this time was considerably less than expected based on my previous experience. At first I thought maybe this tree was smaller, or the roots may not have been as deep. I then realized the difference was my own experience. After having done the same thing just moments before I knew exactly how I ought to swing the axe and just where around the stump I ought to dig.

It may not seem like a very significant experience, but it taught me not to fear failure, but learn from it as I make a second attempt. Rather than getting angry and frustrated over having done a math problem incorrectly or being reprimanded by my parents, I try and isolate what led me astray and refrain from repeating that mistake. From chopping down the wrong tree, I have learned not to avoid mistakes and their consequences, but to face them and learn from the experience.
Ngozi93 3 / 30  
Dec 29, 2010   #2
Hey i absolutely love your essay. Also i love the fact that you use a unique appraoch to write your essay which very well written. Simply I drawn from beginning to end and i really didn't notice any errors. I absolutely loved it!!!:)

hey by the way for my columbia essay what did you mean by make it more about the school?
OP afwebb 6 / 17  
Dec 29, 2010   #3
"The Wrong Tree"- common app essay

Just finished a draft of my common app essay. I had a very hard time coming up with a topic and writing an essay; i'm no good at writing about myself. This is the best I could come up with. Not much of a topic but I did what I could with it.

I'm concerned it might not be serious enough or a little unclear. Please let me know what you think I could change to make it better.

Of course please be harsh and make any changes you feel necessary, be they big or small.
Thank you in advance for the help and I promise to return the favor for any advice.
p.s. it's only around 500 words because Yale wants it that way.
simardownn - / 20  
Dec 29, 2010   #4
Shortly thereafter, despite my best reasons why my brother ought to be enlisted to the task instead, I was out hacking my way through a tree trunk.

Don't use "ought to" maybe should have

I was surprised to find that this time was considerabley less than expected...

From this point on, I have learned not to avoid mistakes and their consequences, but to face them and improve from the experience.

It was really good though! I sort of laughed at the phrase "offending plant". Good adjective!

Critique mine please!
OP afwebb 6 / 17  
Dec 30, 2010   #5
Thanks for the advice. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.
yenna 9 / 23  
Dec 30, 2010   #6
I like it :) good topic good ideas goood job haha

annnnnd i'm from arizona tooooo :D
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 17, 2011   #7
(not sure about this last bit).

No, it's fine, I think.. well-written.

to whatever apparently forgettable plans I had that night,---wow, very god. This does something intense to the reader's mind,... making the reader receive a lot of information at once... very cool.

Awesome, they are going to be impressed, but what about the symbolic significance of this experience? What truth does it convey? You can infer something from it for the reader.

:-)
Dysprosium - / 1  
Sep 7, 2013   #8
I need to write an essay about an occasion when I made a big blunder. Pls help, thx

I don't know what is considered as a big blunder and I need ideas, plss give me some ideas and how to write a good essay
Mac00 1 / 4  
Sep 7, 2013   #9
How about something like the most major mistake you have ever made? How about something that you did that you regret in your school career or personal life?
thisweirdkid 2 / 10 1  
Sep 7, 2013   #10
To me a huge mistake is when I do something I know is bad but I dot it anyhow.

I don't really know how to explain but what I meant to say was that a huge blunder is carrying out an act although you know it's not right to do that thing.


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