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Common App Essay - Garage sale as a place where I am content


Gregore2000 1 / 2 1  
Oct 27, 2013   #1
Is there anything that I can improve with this essay? If there is, please comment! Thanks

Prompt: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

A tattered copy of Boy by Roald Dahl with pages 97 through 100 missing, a cash register with a missing key, and an antique brass typewriter. I remember these objects arranged in my room, now about to be given away, and feel a pang of nostalgia. Glancing around our yard sale, I notice a few people meandering through the aisles, occasionally picking up a lamp or vase. Suddenly, a potential customer taps me on the back and asks me, "How much for this here?" He point at the book and my mind wanders back to when I was younger, sitting in my bedroom, surrounded by my "treasures."

It seemed just like yesterday that I was secretly bringing Boy up to my room after my bedtime to read them under the covers with a flashlight. Even if it meant being exhausted all day at school and having to wear glasses for the rest of my life, I was determined to finish the next chapter before going to sleep, often staying up past two in the morning to do so.

The cash register that I cherished so dearly also has its own story. Walking past my town's recycling center as I often do, I spotted it, battered and unwanted, at the top of a pile of discarded electronics. Unable to look away, I climbed through mounds of plastic bottles and aluminum cans to reach it, only to find that the tray was locked. My heart raced when I thought about the possibilities of what may lie inside. So I, the illogical eleven-year old, lugged the twenty-odd pound thing back to my house, where I sat for two hours meticulously trying to unlock it with my lock picking set. The reward, however, was well worth the wait because sitting there inside were three crisp twenty dollar bills circa 1978, which I still keep inside my drawer as a reminder that anything can be accomplished with hard work.

That typewriter, my grandmother had as a child. I loved to press those keys, hearing the satisfying clicks as the types hit the paper. I spent my nights needlessly typing up my homework, just to watch the letters appear on the page like magic and to see how the lever moved up and down.

I'm snapped back to reality when I hear the customer asks again, "How much for this here?" I answer with a wistful murmur, "Five dollars." I look around again and realize that a part of my life is about to transition into a new phase. Like a butterfly, I have transformed from my younger self, yet still retaining some remnants of the past. Still today, I stay up into the wee hours of the night reading Reddit and tech articles online until I am almost physically forced by my mom to go to sleep. Still, I scour through what others see as junk, hoping to find a hidden treasure unbeknownst to anyone else, something I can lug back to my room. And still, I meddle with gizmos, examining and figuring out how they work. Letting go of those ancient "treasures" was not, as I thought at the time, like losing my childhood. Rather, it was a chance to go out into the world and experience new things and open new doors.

Now, whenever I pass a sign reading "Garage Sale!" I think back on my younger self and smile, glad that what I experienced during my adolescence has shaped who I am.
sthakur 2 / 22 7  
Oct 27, 2013   #2
Oh my god! That was very well-written. And I like it a lot! I love yard sales as well and the fact that you used it for your perfectly content place is very unique and interesting. My only concern is that when you change paragraphs, the flow is messed up but it is fixable. You made a good use of vocab and the essay is also very descriptive which is really good.
midge 1 / 8 2  
Oct 27, 2013   #3
I agree with sthakur on the flow, it's like a little hiccup between the first and second paragraph and unfortunately I'm not really experienced enough to give advice in that area. But my god, that was beautifully written.


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