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"Camp and Death" - Summer Essay for Princeton


nritya 6 / 22  
Dec 31, 2010   #1
Okay, my essay basically sucks right now, and I have no idea how to fix it. First of all: it's way too long. The limit is 2000 char. I'm at 2200. I realllly need to cut it down! Also: I want to know if this is an appropriate response. The question asks what I had done for the last two summers. I've done a lot the last two summers, but I chose to focus on my experiences at a Temple I always volunteer as a counselor at because it shows the variety of experiences (horrible to uplifting) that I've gone through. I had a summer class, traveled extensively, went to literary conferences; all that good stuff. So do you think its ok to just... ignore that? It's all on my resume anyway...

Princeton Supplement: Describe what you did the last two summers.

Every summer, I invariably spend a week in a shady corner of Pennsylvania. _____ Temple, a lotus shaped temple nestled amidst the pastures and cornfields of ______ becomes my home for that week, its pink walls housing many of my treasured summer memories. For the last two years, I was one of ten counselors at the temple's annual summer camp for kids. From 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, my fellow counselors and I shepherded the kids through teeth brushing, yoga, morning walks, Frisbee games, basketball tournaments, debates, prayers, and the occasional conflict between ex-best-friends. In between making sure that everyone had a buddy, I ran between buildings to make sure every water cooler was well stocked in the sweltering July sun and served the ever-hungry masses of children their food. I choreographed performances for the girls in anticipation of the camp's cultural show, and showed reluctant boys how to thread a needle during arts and crafts time. And at the end of the day, after reassuring the kids that there were no monsters lurking the hallways, I joined the other counselors at late night meetings to discuss what the next day would entail.

Some of my memories of Vraj, however, are bittersweet. Four days into my first week as a counselor, my grandfather passed away. The next morning, I was in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike as I was driving with my father from ______ to the funeral. I've been blessed with blissful summers, filled with carefree bicycling and frequent ice cream outings, but these recollections are interrupted by those two ugly confrontations with death. I still flinch at the thought of how that day could have played out otherwise - what if I had hit one of the many trucks also on the road? My mother and siblings would have to mourn not only by beloved grandfather, but two more deaths, at the funeral that afternoon. The thought still gives me pause, even after all these years.

And so, my recent summers have been filled not only with summer camps and poolside lemonade but also more somber lessons of the frailty of life. Mixed in with uproarious summer nights and capturing fireflies were summer classes and dark reflection.

Also: what do you think of the final paragraph? Should I end things better? Please be excruciatingly cruel! I need you to rip it apart!
thedarktiger 1 / 9  
Dec 31, 2010   #2
And so, my recent summers have been filled not only with summer camps and poolside lemonade but also more somber lessons of the frailty of life.Mixed in with uproarious summer nights and capturing fireflies were summer classes and dark reflection.I don't like this ending, it just feels incomplete, I understand you were in a car crash and your grandfather died, but then what did you learn? Don't tell me what you reflect on, but how did this experience change you?[/quote]

That's all for now, I liked the essay, but I think it needs more of a point, like I said, the ending seemed incomplete. Also you have a LOT of description in there, if my strikethroughs didn't get you in the word limit, try to get rid of more descriptions and stick to as much content as possible.

Thanks for reviewing my essay =]
OP nritya 6 / 22  
Dec 31, 2010   #3
oh sorry, vraj is the name of the temple. i guess i missed that one when I censored that haha.

thanks, especially for all the strike throughs. I tried to keep as many details as possible because I wanted to show not tell - for example.. I didn't want to say that I learned teamwork. Instead, I just said, "my fellow counselors and I" and included the detail about late night meetings.

Overall, I wanted to demonstrate that I had fun and did something somewhat responsible for part of my summer... I know how to work in a group... I know how to interact with people of different ages, both kids and adults... I can operate a camp and handle hard tasks... and that even though I had fun summers, I learned and reflected on the things that happened too.

the second paragraph I wrote with hesitation. I didn't want to make a huge cliche out of it, but I wanted to make it known that it happened two summers ago; it pretty much defined and consumed the summer, I think any essay that ignores it would be a lie.
thedarktiger 1 / 9  
Dec 31, 2010   #4
I've been blessed with blissful summers, filled with carefree bicycling and frequent ice cream outings, but these recollections are interrupted by those two ugly confrontations with death.

Just noticed, the frequent ice cream outing ruins the parallel structure (blessed with, filled with).

Also, since it bothered me that you used contractions so much I decided to google whether or not it would be a good idea or not, I got both results returned, but it seemed that it is a better idea not to do them.

Maybe go through them and check whether or not contractions are a good idea or not in your essay? It's your call though.
liloyang 1 / 3  
Dec 31, 2010   #5
I was one of the ten counselors at the temple's annual summer camp for kids.

I like your essay maybe because I have some similar experience. And I agree with the thedarktiger's editings.
For the ending, it is a little too bold and seems incomplete, try to indicate what you have learned from the experience, and try making a clear connection between the two events.Since you have the word limit, maybe cut off some of the details in the second paragraph as well.

Thx for editing my essay =)
ShadoPoig 11 / 36  
Dec 31, 2010   #6
Damn, Ashish did a pretty thorough job.

I agree with all of his grammatical revisions. About the final paragraph, I think that it doesn't add much to the essay. It's like a "in conclusion, [repeat everything]" that you'd find at the end of a term paper that hasn't met its length requirement.

Either take it out or expand on it and reflect more on what happened. There's a lot of description and storytelling but the deep meaning behind it all is not apparent. Take out some sentences describing the situation and focus more on what it meant to you!

Thanks for your help on my Columbia supp. I also uploaded a revised version, and I'd be really grateful if you could look at that! Your first edits were very helpful.
OP nritya 6 / 22  
Dec 31, 2010   #7
Princeton is ridiculously selective. The essay can't just be passable, it has to be perfect. So if there's anything wrong with it, even if its not a blatant grammar mistake or vocab mistake, please tell me. I would really appreciate if you could note where the essay is weak, points that need elaboration, awkward or overly wordy sentences, or areas of confusion/incompleteness.

I don't have to cut anymore - apparently, the character count doesn't include spaces so I still have ~ 150 characters left. Nonetheless, if there is a more concise way of saying something, please edit it.

IT MUST BE PERFECT.


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