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Common App 2018: Accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth


Hey guys,

This is my first time using this thread. I just finished writing my Common App Essay for the prompt:
Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Any help/feedback would be extremely helpful. Thanks so much in advance!

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What is a wish?



"Fish. Dish. Wish. There is a fish on the dish".

"What's a wish?" Adi asks me with big, brown, eyes.

So many thoughts run through my mind simultaneously, as I contemplate the complexity of such a seemingly trivial question. What is a wish? After a few seconds of debate, I've come to a mental consensus. "When you really, really want something, like a toy, you wish for it".

The big smile I receive in return solidifies that he understands. We turn the page and continue through the packet.

Among the lot of other students, Adi is one whose time I come to cherish when I'm teaching every Monday at Kumon. I remember his first day, as he walked to my table, shy, but eager to learn. After he had left, I'd come to realize that despite some reading setbacks and inability to sit still, Adi was an incredibly intelligent child. He was eager to grow, and I made it a mission to help this young boy be as successful as his other peers at Kumon.

Week by week, Adi and I tirelessly worked through reading packets, quenching his insatiable thirst for knowledge. I've watched him grow as he steadily improved his reading skills, ferociously tearing apart each assignment with his intelligence and eagerness to learn. It brought me happiness and pride to be able to write each week just how much Adi had improved as a reader.

Although his improvement was evident, it still made me nervous the day that he had to take his Kumon test. I watched with nervousness and determination as he steadily read through various words and sentences, sounding out sounds and words that I didn't even know children at such an age could read. When the test was finally finished, the other teacher said something to Adi as he looked in my direction. He picked up his test and brought it to me, and I as hesitantly flipped through the pages to see his score, I saw it: "93/93 total points".

As I told him his score, we both burst out into big smiles and giggles. So many emotions ran through me: happiness, relief, and most importantly, pride. It made me so happy that something of my doing had helped this young boy be so successful. Our time and effort had pulled through, and my teaching had helped to make Adi a capable reader.

That day, I watched Adi leave knowing just how intelligent he was. However, rather than as his teacher, I realized that it was really me who had become his student.

My semesters of calculus, physics, and summers of volunteer work had not prepared me for this moment. It was Adi who had taught me that in a world of so much complexity, it is the simplicity that triumphs. His eagerness and happiness to learn helped me to rediscover the love of learning; in my life today, it is this that helps me to stay grounded to everything that I do. With the immense pressure upon ourselves to be successful individuals, we forget that learning can be fun, for us too.

Aug 13, 2017   #2
Sriya, the story of Adi is truly interesting and carries a sense of self-fulfillment for you as a teacher. However, Adi became the focal point of the essay. That should never be the case. Even though the prompt indicates that you may discuss a new understanding of yourself or others in the course of representing the accomplishment or event, there should still be more focus on you, as a person and as a teacher. Adi is the supporting character in this instance, not the lead character. We need to see a sense of realization that came over you regarding your own skills, personal ambition, or a realization about something a talent, skill, or character that you did not know you had before. Consider Adi the catalyst of the events, but not the main focus. Revise the essay to show how the two of you had a symbiotic relationship in terms of your personal growth. Right now, all I see is the focus on Adi and his accomplishments. I am sure that is what the reviewer will also see and as such, this essay will not help your application in the best manner that it should be able to.


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