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Common App Essay : 'Clay Shavings'


puffadore 1 / 1  
Sep 17, 2020   #1
This is my Common App essay. Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much :)

Prompt: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. (250-650 words)

Clay Shavings



A clustered classroom filled with shelves of ceramic tools, tables covered in clay dustings, and occasional clay shaving remnants. Those shavings get rolled into tiny balls, balls into pieces, and pieces into huge lumps of clay. I reached my hand into a bucket and pulled out a massive block of clay. At first, the clay was cool to the touch, but soon turned into a viscous texture. I cut the block of clay into several smaller pieces and then proceeded to stack one on top of the other as I molded together the basis of my piece. I continuously added more blocks of clay, building upon the foundation of which I crafted, until it loosely resembled the body of a woman. With each touch, the sculpture seemed more lifelike. With each question I asked the teacher, I learned to better my technique and gain inspiration. With each cut, I was one step closer to the finished product.

Philadelphia. City of brotherly love. Home of the Eagles. Municipality encompassed with rich history and culture. The city that contains precious reminiscences of Wendy's junior burgers and coupons; items that are taken for granted by the masses. They are so simple and insignificant but fostered integrity. They taught me to be financially conscious and unprejudiced of others. At a young age, I realized that my parents faced financial hardships coming from an immigrant background: from my mom who endured constant stress from work to my dad who worked tirelessly in a restaurant everyday of the week. I witnessed how poverty was the root of many problems, but also how it united people together and instilled invaluable experiences in my life. From spending the weekends collecting newspapers to cutting out coupons with my mom while smiling joyfully. From waiting at my father's restaurant for him to finish working to happily eating junior burgers at Wendy's on the weekends. Every experience left behind a piece, from which I could craft the foundation of my character with. Each piece of memory would be built upon the other, until it became a lump of integrated characteristics of which I encompass my core beliefs with. Through every coupon I cut, I learned the value of being resourceful in my daily life and the benefit of being money-conscious. Amidst every trip to Wendy's, I learned not to be judgemental of others' circumstances because money did not equate to happiness. With every lesson I learned, I held myself accountable to integrate these ideas into my daily life.

Although I had economic misfortunes, a junior burger from Wendy's still overwhelms me with contentment. Coupons were an essential thing in the past, but continue to be a reminder for being cautious about my spending. Wendy's junior burgers and coupons incase treasured memories of a different period in my life. I first handedly experienced financial adversity throughout my childhood in my daily life. I am now in a different phase, where thankfully, my financial hardships no longer undermine my life. My parents are the testimony of what diligence and endeavour can accomplish. Hard work and struggle are traits that continuously shape my character, because of those around me.

I once heard a Chinese proverb: "Yīkǒu chī bùchéng pàngzi". It translates to one meal will not make a fat man. To build character, a person must shape it upon his or her own life events. I form the basis of my character from my experiences and fragments in my memory that left a lasting impact. I am shaped by those recollections, molded by my actions, and strengthened by my perseverance. These characteristics are not gained instantaneously, but through accumulation of time and wisdom. Each person is just a shaving, a miniscule piece of clay waiting to be shaped into a sculpture. Like a sculpture, experience does not perfect a person, but instead offers a new opportunity to gain more knowledge.

Holt [Contributor] - / 9,741 3077  
Sep 18, 2020   #2
The essay itself it engaging and informative. It takes the reader on an interesting ride with you. The sculpting description at the start is imaginative and engaging, but loses the interest of the reader when you suddenly insert the reference to the teacher. Keep the essay in a personal journey foundation, don't refer to the teacher. Instead, just say that as a sculptor, you learned about life and the importance of inspiration. Relate it to the touch of clay and how it sparks your imagination and a desire to make each sculpture better than the next. That will help keep it personal and also relatable to the next paragraphs.

The Chinese proverb feels out of place. The translation does not integrate well with the rest of the paragraph discussion. Actually, you can omit the proverb and improve the paragraph. Losing the unrelated translation helps to keep the last paragraph better connected with the earlier ones. It also helps close it on a stronger note. The proverb leaves the reader questioning its relevance to the rest of the discussion in the final paragraph so it is better to just leave that out.

Please do a punctuation and sentence structure check You have some major spelling and grammar errors that mar the otherwise acceptable writing piece.
OP puffadore 1 / 1  
Sep 18, 2020   #3
@Holt
Thank you so much for taking a look at my essay. I will try to better integrate my last paragraph into my essay as a whole and fix my grammatical errors.


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