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'My cousin, Trent' - ApplyTexas Significant Influence

desm2012 6 / 36  
Nov 23, 2011   #1
Prompt: Write an essay in which you tell us about someone who has made an impact on your life and explain how and why this person is important to you.


A Rebellion of the Meek

My cousin, Trent, is brilliant. He makes stunning artwork, sometimes painting for 23 hours a day. He listens to the same song until he's gotten everything he can out of it and never needs to listen to it again. He introduced me to terrible '90's sci-fi, and 3:00 AM walks to the Shell Station. I idolized him for the better part of my childhood, filling my CD player with Nirvana and British punk to impress him when he asked what I was listening to. If he approved, I was elated. If he found the pop hits album I'd received for my birthday, I moped until the next opportunity to show him how cool I was arose.

In my unquestioning awe, I steadfastly ignored his flaws. I knew he was a little wild, at least according to my straight-laced mother. But, his shenanigans seemed harmless enough. Then, my parents decided I was old enough to be let in on the prolific family gossip. Over the next year, shock shook my adoration; Trent dropped out of school? Trent got arrested? I was heartbroken, but that didn't stop me from spending four hours the night before the annual camping trip downloading acceptable artists to my iPod, hoping he hadn't changed.

But changed he had. "I've done meth, but never cocaine. That stuff's bad," Trent confided one night, nodding authoritatively at me over Janga blocks. I nodded back, mechanically cataloging everything he said as I tried to hide my bewildered disgust. He continued, "I've held it in my hand, but I didn't do it." Pressing my palms into the floor, I wondered if he was going to preemptively answer my questions. Being twelve, my knowledge of these things was extremely limited, and I listened charily to his confession of experiences until our uncle called us outside to watch the sunset.

During the drive home, the car was unusually quiet. My sister was fast asleep, and my mom was talked out after spending the week with my aunt. Without anything to distract me, I reflected on visiting Trent. It had been strange, seeing him after hearing about his mistakes. He didn't seem as invincible, as impossibly suave. For the first time, I wasn't sure I wanted to prove myself to him. After all, his smooth words and breadth of knowledge didn't matter if he didn't use them to be the cousin he was supposed to be. Having decided this, I put on Kelly Clarkson's new album and loved it all the way home.

The frivolous importance of Trent's opinions on my musical taste masked my fear of judgment. By copying him, I didn't have to face the perils of my own individuality. Realizing that he wasn't perfect allowed me to open up to myself, and to embrace all my formerly guilty pleasures. Today, I can't name a Kelly Clarkson song to save my life, but I can name a thousand things I would be happy to share with anyone.
puddles3 1 / 5  
Nov 23, 2011   #2
I really like this, and the ending shows how it impacted you because you decided to just be yourself and no longer try to impress him. Maybe you should write a little more about the impact on you, because we get a sense of it from the ending.
OP desm2012 6 / 36  
Nov 24, 2011   #3
Thanks! How much more should I write?

Do you think it should be like a new paragraph describing me now?
OP desm2012 6 / 36  
Dec 20, 2011   #4
Sorry for bumping this...But uhm, I'm going to use this for the Common App "Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence" essay

Right now, this essay is 533 words. It's only supposed to be 500 words. I don't know if I should add on more, like a better conclusion, and then delete something else?

And if I do add a conclusion, should it be like, "5 years later...blahblahblah?"

WelcomeCollege 3 / 10  
Dec 21, 2011   #5
Good topic
However, i don't know about the "meth""cocain" stuff, can you find another quote from Trent? I think admission officers will form a bad impression when you talk about drugs

A few grammar mistakes, proofread
"sometimes painting for 23 hours"--"sometimes paints for 23 hours"
You described too much about Trent. The prompt is "how the person impacted you", but you described Trent and did not say too much about his influence. You could say that his spirit/determination/persistence inspired you to do something...
OP desm2012 6 / 36  
Dec 21, 2011   #6
Well, that was kind of the point. That he's an idol to me and then I find out about all this bad stuff he was doing, i.e. drugs.

The grammar is correct, actually.
Yeah, I think I'm going to add another paragraph talking about how this experience + my relationship w/ him made me realize that I am my own person and I don't need the approval of someone else to validate myself.

It's not really supposed to be an essay about how something good he did inspired me. It's about the things he did wrong that inspired me.
saints13 1 / 4  
Dec 25, 2011   #7
i like this alot. i agree though with the people above that you should cut a little out of the description of trent and elaborate more on how you felt after or why you decided that you didnt need to impress him.
OP desm2012 6 / 36  
Dec 25, 2011   #8
yeah, i'm actually working on adding a conclusion at this very moment, so stay tuned. thanks!
saints13 1 / 4  
Dec 25, 2011   #9
thats a great essay right there. You concluded it well and i really like how you show your shift in the middle.
menukagrg 7 / 98  
Dec 25, 2011   #10
Massive improvement on your second essay. Really love it. One thing i was thinking is the kelly clarkson reference. You write "I put on Kelly Clarkson's new album and loved it all the way home" and then you write "I can't name a Kelly Clarkson song to save my life". A bit misleading. Maybe change the ending sentence. Also i am not sure if some people will get the reference about Kelly (Love her though).

Hope this helped
Good luck. :)
OP desm2012 6 / 36  
Dec 25, 2011   #11
Well, I put that b/c @ the time I was 12, and now I'm 17 so I don't listen to her anymore. Do you think the admissions officer would pick up on that? Or should I change it to "Today, I can no longer name a Kelly Clarkson song[...]" or ?
flutenerd 7 / 19  
Dec 26, 2011   #12
"terrible '90's sci-fi and 3:00 AM walks" (no comma)
I think it's Jenga, not Janga.
"Then, my parents decided I was old enough to be let in on the prolific family gossip. Over the next year, shock shook my adoration" - I think this part's a little confusing. You say "then" and "over the next year", but you haven't previously defined a time period or specific events that you were talking about.

But other than that, this is great! I really like your conclusion.
menukagrg 7 / 98  
Dec 26, 2011   #13
I think i am just confused (all my fault, not because of the essay). I thought you listening to Kelly clarkson, before, was a way of showing your move towards independence (you know because kelly clarkson was something your cousin would never listen to and since you were trying to impress him more, you never listened to her as well, even though you liked her). Is this correct? If yes, then why wouldn't you be able to name her songs?

I hope you understood my confusion. :)
OP desm2012 6 / 36  
Dec 26, 2011   #14
Yeah, I understand your confusion. I'll change that. Don't want the admission officers to have to you know, think.
menukagrg 7 / 98  
Dec 27, 2011   #15
That might be a good idea. But it could also just be me. Anyway, good luck with it. :)

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