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Calculus or Bust, adding depth to my essay, and relating it back to the prompt.

Katlynedwards 8 / 21  
Dec 28, 2009   #1
Option 4 - Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a jumping off point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation at the beginning of your essay.

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." By Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).

Calculus or Bust

School had always been easy for me; I took classes at our local community college instead of the high school for a more challenging curriculum. Being able to consistently ace my classes was no big deal to me until I reached the second semester of Peninsula College's Calculus: Analytical Geometry.

Upon entering the course, I was hit with the sudden realization that I would have to really study for the tests that our professor, Mr. Smith gave every two weeks. I no longer felt familiar with what he was teaching and had to focus to understand each lecture, taking thorough notes each day. The homework soon became more and more challenging, and for the first time, I was no longer going to get the expected "A", in fact, I had dropped below a "B".

At first I was upset, scared, and even a little depressed, but I realized that I needed to work hard and do my best, even if my grade wasn't the top of the class. I met with the professor often and asked for additional resources to learn from. I worked harder on the homework and studied intensely for each test. And yet, I was still not mastering the material.

My first quarter grade was a 3.2; but when I received my second quarter grade it had dropped to a 2.7, my lowest GPA ever. Realizing that the third quarter would become even more difficult, I considered my options. I was developing new study habits, but I hadn't practiced them consistently. I decided to commit to learning calculus rather than just getting through the course. I decided to retake the second semester - actually I'm auditing the class due to Peninsula College's retake policies. Retaking Calculus II will give me the opportunity to better understand the material, thus giving me more of a chance to excel in the upcoming third quarter. While retaking Calculus II will add extra time to my already busy schedule, I feel strangely proud that I will persevere and succeed in this class. It was Calculus or bust, and I chose Calculus.

lapsi95 4 / 10  
Dec 29, 2009   #2
I believe the topic is good, and relates to the quote, but I have two concerns.

1) Is that quote from a book or essay? Will the college mind if it is not?

2) In order to successfully answer the prompt, I think you should add a bit more detail near the end of the essay about how the experience actually shaped one of your values or changed how you approached the world. So maybe generalize the experience to apply to more than just this Calculus class. You could do this, if you choose, by relating it to the point of the quotation you used, just to the strengthen the connection to the quote.
shreeek 2 / 14  
Dec 31, 2009   #3
I think this is a pretty well-written essay and I liked the topic as well.

I agree with the previous post, about making a generalization to better fit the prompt. This way you're answering the prompt and the story is justifying it.

Also, although the quote is important, I don't know how much significance needs to be given to it since it was referred to as more of a "starting off point" in the prompt.

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