experiences, challenges that shaped my identity
Prompt: We are interested in learning more about the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your successes.
Please describe how the most influential factors and challenges in your life have shaped you into the person you are today.
"Every equation counts, Rookie!" I berated, voice dripping with disappointment and authority. Suddenly, the sharp "shush!" of the librarian pierced through my impassioned monologue, snapping me back to reality. I blinked, taking in my surroundings. No, I wasn't standing in a bustling police precinct, amidst the cacophony of ringing phones and urgent chatter. I was surrounded by piles of textbooks and frantic whispers of sleep-deprived students with an expectant student readied to be tutored. The overwhelmed sophomore I was helping stared up at me, a mix of fear and bewilderment evident in his gaze.
A sheepish grin appeared as I realized I had accidentally slipped into another role again. In that moment, I wasn't the patient tutor trying to explain the intricacies of algebra; I was Tim Bradford from The Rookie, laying down the law. On the days leading up to a daunting exam, I'd channel my inner Cristina Yang, top of her class, with a scalpel-sharp focus. The nights before nerve-wracking tournaments I'd lace up my boots as Rocky Balboa, stepping into the ring with unyielding courage.
With every movie watched, every book devoured, and every episode binged, my arsenal of characters expanded. My mind became a vast wardrobe, brimming with personas from tales spun across time. Each character, with their unique quirks and strengths, ready to be summoned whenever the situation demanded. Tutor, perfectionist, debater, therapist, golfer, and on weekends, sometimes even a stand-in for the Tooth Fairy (don't ask).
However, these theatrical transformations weren't just neat tricks in my life, they were roles born out of necessity. The aftermath of my dad's 14-month tour in Iraq didn't just stay in the desert; it followed him home. Medically discharged with 100% disability and PTSD, his frequent violent outbursts and unpredictable mood swings turned our household into a war zone. Like any overly-helpful daughter cast in a drama she never auditioned for with an arsenal of characters at her disposal, I lept into action.
I began scouring my catalog of characters, searching for the perfect role to replicate. There were days I'd summon the fierce loyalty of Jon Snow or the nurturing spirit of Marmee March. Perhaps the unyielding strength of Wonder Woman or the problem-solving prowess of Sherlock Holmes could aid me in my case. On the days with my dad's rants and raves, the comforting presence of Mr. Rogers and the sage counsel of Linda Martin provided invaluable. With each new character I adopted, life at home became a tad more bearable. It seemed like I had fixed the unfixable with my unconventional superpower.
But, as I would soon learn, nothing good lasts forever. The man who used to spin tales of adventure before bedtime, who taught me to ride a bike and face my fears, was trapped further in a battle with his own mind. And the worst part? There wasn't a character in any book or movie that could guide me on how to navigate this. No script. No manual. No guidebook.
His diagnoses weren't just chapters in a story; they were real, raw, and painfully present. With everyone else, I could pull from a vast library of characters, each quirk and strength perfect for the task at hand. But with my dad, it was different. So I did something I'd never done before. I took off the mask and left the comfortable embrace the roles gave me. I realized that my dad didn't need a carbon copy of some picture-perfect ideal, but something real. Instead of feigning to be a perfect daughter or a wise-beyond-my-years listener, I offered my dad the unembellished truth.
For the first time, our conversations weren't filled with rehearsed lines or borrowed wisdom. My dad looked at me, not as a character from a book or a movie, but as his daughter-flawed, real, and human. And for the first time, I saw him the same way-flawed, real, and human. It was as if I had been freed from the roles I had been tirelessly playing, the masks I'd been wearing, and the countless expectations I'd been trying to live up to.
This newfound vulnerability wasn't just reserved for my dad. I let everyone see the real me. The me that wasn't always strong, that didn't always have the answers, the me that sometimes doubted and faltered. In shedding these layers, I rediscovered myself. I unearthed a strength I didn't know resided within me, a strength that wasn't drawn from imitating another but from wholeheartedly accepting my true self. The world, once a stage where I played countless roles, became a place where I could be unapologetically me, and that was more liberating than any character I could ever portray.
Holt Educational Consultant - / 14,433 4691
Okay, the reviewer would rather get to know you without the constant reference to other characters. I understand that these are influences upon your person but, the reviewer may see these more as references of you hiding from your problems. It is not really good to seek solace in a fantasy world when you have to face the reality of your situation, no matter how safe it feels. Then, you spent more than half the essay discussing how your dad affected your life. Personally, I learned very little about the real you in this presentation. You are afraid to actually let the the reader get to know who you are and that is preventing you from giving an honest and heart felt response to the prompt.