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I came to the United States in the year 2000; UC Personal Statement


theindian1 2 / 4  
Nov 7, 2013   #1
Understand this isn't a finished draft. I'm just looking for some feedback as to whether or not my essay adheres to the topic well, and if not how I can clarify/edit etc to make sure it does.

I came to the United States in the year 2000, right at the turn of the millennium, with little knowledge of English, how to act with other kids, and cultural traditions. During my first day of kindergarten, I was immediately met with the stare of 20 other classmates as I walked into class 30 minutes late. I spotted an empty seat, and I began to notice the strange looks I received from kids around me. My teacher began her Language Arts lesson after a quick icebreaker and introduction, and as I had feared, I could not grasp the words she was saying as I did not know much English, while those around me nodded their heads in comprehension and understanding. I continued the rest of class attempting to stay unnoticed so I wouldn't have to answer a question, but alas, I was chosen. When I sputtered some incomprehensible English, the class chuckled and then laughed at me. During lunch, my classmates were playing games like four square and wall ball. I joined a game of four square, and when I hit the outside the box, I was ridiculed again in front of everyone at the playground. I went home feeling that I would never be able to adapt to the society around me, and feared going back to school the next day. When I went to bed that night, I wanted to just go back to India and live my old life again, but I knew I could not. Even if I were able to go back to India, it would be quitting and giving into my position in society: an immigrant. I wanted to be something more than an immigrant, and at that point, I was determined to fit in with the other kids and speak English just like them, as well as interact with them in their activities like four square. The next day at school, I strode confidently into the classroom, ignoring the stares from my classmates, and took out my notebook and pencil, ready to learn. I listened carefully to the teacher, noting down how to pronounce words and silently mouthing them, while paying no heed to the snickers and giggles from my surrounding classmates. When the time for lunch came, I sat a table nearby the playground to watch how others played four square, giving the ball some force to direct it and hitting it at an angle to make it spin. Day by day, my speaking skills improved, and I was eliminating the accent that made many of my classmates giggle, but more importantly, I learned to make complete sentences and speak a full conversation in English. However, the more significant breakthrough appeared later in the third week of school. When lunch came, I played four square. The ball was served to me and I spun it back to the fourth place box, knocking him out. Again, the ball was served to be, but I did a hard hit then knocking out the third place box. Finally, it was between me and the first place box; he served to me and I did a quick hit back. To my surprise, he countered with his own forceful hit, but I was able to get him off guard and spun the ball to grant me the honor of the first place box. When I beat him, I looked around and saw smiles, nods of approval and apologies from those who believed they were mean to me. I was inundated with relief as I finally was able to be accepted by my classmates as one them, and not as an immigrant. I'm glad that experienced the differences between my classmates and I because if they had not changed me, then who would have?
lillehcai 1 / 5 1  
Nov 8, 2013   #2
Hey :) (btw thank you for commenting on mine)

A few things I noticed:
1. I really liked your story, but the pacing is a bit too rushed. Like when you're telling your story, instead of focusing on getting many details down, try slowing down the pace and adding some more transitions.

2. Is this already near the word limit? Because it shows more of what happened than how it affected you. You could elaborate on the effect that overcoming others' prejudices had on you. Maybe watch your tone, I wouldn't be too accusatory of those people who laughed at you (after all, kids can be quite dumb)

3. I think that your four-square game victory is a good transition, but it's a little too long. Try making it more concise, you can use those words to elaborate elsewhere where it's more important. Also be careful of tone here. Your overcoming of others' prejudices is a more important point than celebrating a victory over them. Did you win respect by winning that competition or with your attitude/presentation of yourself? Emphasize the second.

4. I think that your second sentence is a more effective opening than your first one, because its less direct and more attention grabbing. Ever heard of "show, don't tell"? This would be really great for that!

My teacher began her Language Arts lesson

Paragraph break before this? Or think about where you transition and consider making a paragraph break there.

I hope this helped you!
OP theindian1 2 / 4  
Nov 8, 2013   #3
Alright I'll work on the stuff you said, and hopefully by tomorrow I can post an updated version. Thanks!
OP theindian1 2 / 4  
Nov 9, 2013   #4
I improved the overall flow of the essay as well as adhering to the topic.

During my first day of kindergarten, I was immediately met with the stare of 20 other classmates as I walked into class 30 minutes late. I spotted an empty seat, and I began to notice the strange looks I received from kids around me.

My teacher began her Language Arts lesson after a quick icebreaker and introduction; I did not understand anything she said. I was gripped with fear and attempted to spell out the rest of the lesson, but could not. A feeling of anguish lay upon me like a veil of negativity, and the rest of the class I attempted to remain unnoticed. Of course, my attempt failed, and the teacher called on me. When I attempted to answer her question, I blurted a string of incomprehensible English in my embarrassing Indian accent. At first, the class chuckled, and then began to laugh. I was thoroughly embarrassed, and my face flush red.

At lunch, my classmates played games like four square. I waited to join a game. When I finally got into the boxes, the ball was served to me. I hit the ball out of the box on the first hit, and everyone around me began laughing and pointing at me, because I was not able to hit the ball. I went home dismayed, thinking I would never adapt to the society around me. As I sat in bed that night, I wanted to just go back to India and live my old life again, but I knew I could not; I was not a quitter and I refused to accept my place in society as an immigrant. I wanted to be something more than an immigrant, and distinguish myself among my classmates.

The next day at school, I strode confidently into the classroom, ignoring the snickers from my classmates, and procured my materials, ready to learn. I listened carefully to my teacher, noting how she pronounced words and silently mouthed them, paying no heed to the giggles from my surrounding classmates. I was called on the end of class to answer a question, and right before I answered a classmate began saying "He can't speak English! I'll just answer myself!" To his surprise, I responded, albeit slowly, "There is nothing wrong with my English. What are you saying?" Day by day, my conversational skills improved, and soon I made friends and talked to them in English. In time, I noticed more of my classmates began to talk to me as if I was one of them, and they would eat lunch with me and my table; it was an enjoyable experience, and I was finally able to feel reassured that I would not be taunted furthermore. I had cast off the chains of prejudice.

But there was still the issue of four square. It was my goal to master it now that I had gained acknowledgement within my classroom, but still wanted school wide acceptance. I stood in line, and soon took my place in the fourth place box. Within a few bounces of the ball, I was already in the second place box, ready to undertake the challenge of defeating the first place box. The ball was served to me, and I sent a hard hit to the first place, surprising him and finally granting myself the honor of first place. I looked to my friends, and they saw my smile stretch from ear to ear for the first time. Over the course of a week, I played more four square and eventually, I began to be invited to other kids' four square games, and gained the acceptance of other kids on the playground. I am glad that I withstood the prejudices and harassment of my peers, because they made me an accepting individual through their actions, as they changed me to adapt to my surroundings and fit in. Had I not been made fun of, I don't know who would have taught me to change and adapt.


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