Hi! This is my personal essay, and I would REALLY appreciate it if you could help me with the editing!
By the way. Is 739 words too long? Would it be pushing the limit?
Thanks in advance!
What is so special about it, I had always felt, is that it has character. Yellowed and worn, it looks like scrap. Inherently, it is scrap. It is leftover lined papers torn out from school notebooks, and then bound together by cellophane tape.
I was 13 when the first few pages of my notebook were written in. With my sentences liberally peppered with the all-Malaysian 'lah' and occasionally punctuated with one too many exclamation marks, I exuded vivacity and frivolousness 13-year-olds were known for. My handwriting showed impatience, and sentences that I strung were more expressive than elegant.
"Muse's concert rocked!!!!"
"I am so worried lah! SPM results out tomorrow!"
I filled the pages of my notebook with random musings and written desires on "changing the world", being the best guitar player and becoming president. In between were descriptive recordings of events that took place, some of which were insignificant and routine, such as Wednesday guitar lessons and Saturday volleyball practices, others more meaningful and spanned numerous pages of the notebook.
One entry dated May 24th stood out. It was written in awkward and untidy handwriting, and there is a blot near one corner where a teardrop smudged the ink. At 5.13 that morning, my mother had knocked loudly on my bedroom door and bluntly told me that my aunt was dying. Deeply saddened, I rattled on in that cellophane tape-bound notebook about the Evils of Cancer. Months ago, my aunt stopped going for chemotherapy when she found out it was no longer effective. Her hair grew back, and she dyed it red. The fiery redness was a stark contrast to the white washed hospital walls. It was quite a sight ï my aunt's Asian features framed by the short bright red hair. "I look like a punk," she would often joke. It seemed to reflect the passion for life she still retained during her last days. Her jokes and smiles never ceased even when she battled cancer. Wanting to look her best, she had requested to be dressed in a red cheongsam for her funeral.
Inspired by her enthusiasm for life, I firmly decided that I was going live my life a player, not a benchwarmer. Armed with that resolution, I tried out for my school's debate team, despite never having had any public speaking experience. I prepared myself as best as I could ï practicing in front of mirrors, challenging myself to argue for and against various odd topics, and looking up "how to debate" on Google. Soon, I managed to earn myself a place in the debate team, and had the opportunity to contend in the National English Debate Competition. Unfortunately, we lost the second round. "At least I won the first!" I scribbled in my notebook, then proceeded to wonder when the next debating competition would take place.
Over the years, the notebook became increasingly worn and yellowed. It had grown thicker, too, from the addition of fresh lined paper. Occasionally, phrases like "change the world", as hackneyed as they may be, still make their appearance. But as I grew older and was armed with more self-confidence, I kept my own promise of being a player instead of a benchwarmer. I no longer filled my notebook with daydreams of lives I wish I saved, but with concrete instances of the community work I was involved in. I was able to write about fundraisers and volunteering experiences. I wrote about the Young Idealist group I started, and of how through it I was going to "create an insurmountable wave". I expressed my disappointment at the attendance during the first meeting, and described my excitement at the support I received at the second. The events of the third meeting have yet to be written, but I remain optimistic.
Earlier this year, I had to stop adding new pages to the notebook, for it had become too thick to write comfortably in. I got myself a new notebook, a store-bought one with a marbled hardcover. The two are such opposites of each other. One of them haggard-looking, detailing a frivolous adolescent's transformation into a young woman who is more aware of herself and her surroundings, the other with the pages blank, anticipating new experiences and soon-to-be-made discoveries. Looking at the college view books and application forms on my desk, I know more is yet to come, and I am excited. Who knows with what tales will these pages of my notebook be filled?
I think you've written a marvelous essay! I really like the way your opening starts with the description of the notebook. I can't tell you whether your word count pushes the limits, as I don't know what limits you were given. :-) My advice would be that, whatever word count you are given, go close, but do not go over it.
The only editing suggestion I have is a slight rewrite to your last sentence: Who knows with what tales these pages of my notebook will be filled?
Best of luck in your studies!