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Common app essay - The gaming Cafe. A challenge, setback, or failure and its effect on me.


soo010207 1 / -  
Oct 9, 2019   #1
Give me real harsh feedbacks of how you guys think !!!! I'm also welcoming to change my essay topics if needed.
Prompt : The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

The gaming cafe


The air was thick with unpleasant tobacco fumes, and frequent sounds of swearing caught one's ears. The white lights glowed through the darkness, coming from numerous computers filling out the room. This, here, was my home sweet home.

At eight, in Korea, our financial circumstances forced us to live in a 50 sq ft. office attached to a gaming cafe for four years. Every morning, I dragged my fatigued body up the stairs with my half-closed eyes to the gym attached to the same building to take a shower - undoubtedly, there was no private bathroom at my home. At night, I tried to go to bed, bu, the 'PEW-PEW!'game sounds alarmed me.

This place was definitely not a wonderful home for an 8~11-year-old child who was going through a crucial period of growth.

Whenever a friend asked "Where do you live?", I couldn't say a thing. I just muttered with an ambiguous response of "...I live near the Galma Library."

It wasn't until the day of Korean Thanksgiving that my response to that question changed. As always, I was left alone in my grandparent's house, waiting for my dad to come back from work. A few hours later, the underlying cricket's sounds and spreading smell of grease across the house indicated the dinner was almost ready. My dad never misses the dinner with family; he was about to come. Entering the door with beads of sweat, showing his deep dark circles, his face was yet wreathed in smiles. I couldn't understand why he did not rap out a single complaint about our hard circumstances.

The next day, when we were walking back home, the sleeping curiosity finally sprung up and flowed out of my mouth. "Isn't work hard? Aren't you tired?" With his gentle smiles as always, he replied, "Of course I am if I'm a human being.". Confusion exploded. "Then, how are you always smiling? I've never seen you complain." He then replied, "You know what? If I can't avoid, I just enjoy it." His words were pretty shocking to an 8-year-old who was always complaining.

From that day, slowly but surely, I learned how to step towards positive thinking. I just stopped complaining, and inconvenience turned into familiarity. Every stair steps to the gym became a simple morning exercise and the game sounds every night weren't actually that louder than I thought. Within those familiarities, positive aspects which never caught my sight started to appear. Wooden shelves packed with snacks and jellies, refrigerators filled with sodas and drinks, fancy computers displayed as if it is a computer museum, I started to like my house. The time I stayed in the gaming cafe was getting longer and longer.

Because, this place was definitely a wonderful home for an 8-year-old child who was going through a crucial period of growth.

Changing my perspective, I answered the question about my house, positively and confidently. I was who I was regardless of what negative circumstances I had.

Belief toward me soared, and any negative circumstances couldn't fear me. I now believed that those hard situations 'made' me grow. When my dad changed his job and stayed out-of-city and just came home only at the weekends at my age 13, I utilized the situation to become more independent and used the benefit of having my own time for studying. Adapting to hard situations and actively controlling myself resulted in my personal growth that led me to start 'challenging' new things - different from merely just overcoming hard situations. And this thought process changed my life.

Adjusting and developing my newfound skills, I slowly became the leader of my peers. Surprisingly, my peers followed me and made me a class president, and finally the school's vice president. I undertook as much work as I could do by participating in a competition, a english debate, or any other things that possibly made me grow. All my experiences turned to valuable experience whether it was a success or a failure - just like the absolute value. Experience was something that remained always positive even though its a negative(-) experience just as the absolute value. And today, I'm still running to get another absolute value which will add up in my life.

Maria [Contributor] - / 809 310  
2 days ago   #2
@soo010207
Welcome to the forum! I hope this feedback serves you well. Don't hesitate to approach us for more questions if you have any.

Firstly, the first paragraph was quite alright. It was actually pretty decent how you had composed the text. The descriptions were explicit in a good way.

What I only recommend is to try to stick with the appropriate functionality of writing. Consider the second paragraph. By the last sentence, you had already crossed into informal writing because of the manner of writing. Instead of capitalizing a sound effect, you could have opted to describe what it sounds. These small details really do pack a punch if you do them right.

The latter sentences, I found, suffered from the same mistake. While descriptors are generally good, certainly packing everything into a small cluster won't give you any benefits. Try to stick with this as a mindset as you write and go.
suckasmack 1 / 1 1  
1 day ago   #3
@soo010207

Hi! Welcome to the forum! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

In the first few paragraphs, you did a pretty good job describing the setting. For me, I would change the number "50" to "fifty" to obtain a cleaner look.

Overall, the dialogue included often made the backstory sound much better, but the "PEW-PEW" sound in the second paragraph made the rest of the essay seem slightly unprofessional. Also, I would change all of the numbers to their word counterparts to achieve a cleaner look. I would be sure to accurately describe specific items as well. Throughout the essay, you gave vague descriptions in order to outline more events. While this can be beneficial, highlighting the important aspects while communicating with more details is much better. I would take out some of the filler and focus on the aspects that truly had an impact.


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