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"the Bronx Borough Champs race" - Extracurricular Acitivites Essay for Common App


mariumi57 3 / 8  
Oct 24, 2010   #1
Hello all,
I could really use advice with this essay. Please feel free to give any comments. Thank you so much.

I was unexpectedly nervous as I walked to school the morning of October 26, 2009. Today the list of the seven varsity girls would be posted and all I wanted was to be one of the seven. I was standing on the border line and I knew it. My times had been mediocre all season and until last week I had been number six on the team. The only problem was that during my last race I had gotten a horrible cramp towards the end of what was to be my best race yet; I couldn't breathe properly and the pain forced me to watch as girl after girl passed me. Two girls previously considered to be worse than me finished before me, placing me number eight on my team for that race.

I ended my train of thought and looked up at the bulletin board. I received a painful shock as I noticed my name was not on the list. I had missed the mark by one person. This wasn't going to be the end though; I was going to prove myself.

I was on the starting line of the Bronx Borough Champs race that following Wednesday and I was determined to break my personal record. The gun shot and I sped off, my determination was going to carry me through this race. I ran the 3.1 miles perfectly pacing myself, and as the pain started I ignored it. I wasn't going to allow myself to slow down my pace and hill after hill I kept it. At the very end I sprinted as hard as I could so that the Bronx Science girl next to me would not be able to beat me. I passed the finish line out of breathe and to my surprise medaled. I broke my personal record by two minutes that race, earning myself the number three spot on my team. My passion, heart, and determination had helped me prove myself and the following year I earned myself a spot on the varsity team.
twinsbaseball 2 / 8  
Oct 24, 2010   #2
There are a few grammatical errors in this essay (it should be "I sped off" instead of "I speed off", and be careful to avoid comma splices), but that's not the most important issue.

I think you run the risk of coming off too arrogant in this essay. It starts off nicely, but you make a few comments that seem rather harsh. For example: ". . . I knew I deserved to be on varsity more than her." Maybe reword that more to the effect of, "I knew I was capable of earning a spot on the varsity team." Also: "I knew my coach regretted not placing me on the varsity team." I would strongly advise you to take this out. It makes you sound pretty self-righteous.

I think to make the last paragraph better, you could talk about how you pushed yourself to give your all and the satisfaction of winning that race gave you some peace of mind.

And I really don't mean to be harsh at all, it's just my opinion.
OP mariumi57 3 / 8  
Oct 24, 2010   #3
To be honest, I agree with you. I was worried that it did come off arrogant, I wanted to know what other people thought. How about this?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 29, 2010   #4
I was unexpectedly nervous as I walked to school the morning of October 26, 2009. Today the list of-----You jumped from past tense to present tense.
You can do this:
I was unexpectedly nervous as I walked to school the morning of October 26, 2009. That day, the list of...

You did not name the sport, so the reader must wonder... seven varsity (cross country?) girls...

breathe breath (breathe is the verb).

So... what lesson did you learn? What wisdom do you have now that you did not previously have?

:-)
OP mariumi57 3 / 8  
Nov 28, 2010   #5
A new version. Once again any advice is appreciated. Thanks so much =]

The list of the cross country varsity was posted on October 26, 2009 and all I yearned was to be one of the seven. During my last race unfortunately I had gotten a horrible cramp; the pain had forced me to watch as girl after girl passed me. I had missed the mark by one person but worse than that I had given up. The following season however I trained intensely, running an average of 5 days a week. More than anything I wanted to make the team that I hadn't been able to make the year before. Race after race I paced myself well and when the pain started I tried to ignore it. Cliché as it sounds I kept telling myself that the pain was worth the gain. That season I placed number two on the team, dropping over 4 minutes. My passion, heart, and determination helped me prove myself; the same passion, heart, and determination that I try to pour into everything. I understand that some things are hard to achieve but I also know that with enough work I can realize any goals I set for myself.


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