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'My dad makes me work hard, but also relax' - Common App

aznelementmaste 1 / 1  
Oct 17, 2012   #1
The topic: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

I chose my Dad, which I know is a bit generic, but any corrections and suggestions would be appreciated!

______________________________________________________________________ _________________

"Eric, stop sleeping! Have you finished studying yet?"

I, still in my uniform and my hair disheveled, squinted my bleary eyes as they adjusted to the bright lights. I grumbled as I got out of my bed, which was littered with notebooks and textbooks, to finish my homework. I glared, intensely annoyed, at my Dad. All I wanted was to sleep more than four hours.

My Dad has never been a pushy, only-studying-allowed kind of dad. If I want to play, that's fine, and if I want to go to a dance, all is still good. However, studying is the priority, and though studying is mandatory, it never actually seems mandatory. It never seems like a tedious process of memorization. Instead, my Dad, who left a broken down part of Beijing with $200 and who has worked hard to send me to the best schools, has influenced me with his work ethic. Before a test, I instinctly pop open my textbook and start reading, or when an essay is due, I have to finish it even if it takes all night because I wouldn't want to turn it in late. I could regain sleep over the weekend, but I wouldn't be able to regain those 10 lost points. And though I'm guaranteed to get a B in a class despite working hard, I take it anyways because I want to learn. All these parts of studying are embedded in me, and even though I intensely dislike my Dad for waking me up at 12 AM to finish my homework, this initial hatred disappears because he influences me to want to achieve. And if I want to achieve, I have to work hard. If I want to attend college, I have to study.

But the question has never been whether or not I want to attend college; the question is which college I would attend. Did I want to attend college A or did I prefer the weather of college B more? Would I like the city, or did I prefer a rural environment? While geography, weather, and the campus are all factors, cost never is a consideration. I would ask my Dad why he couldn't just buy new socks since his existing socks were torn or why we couldn't get a new computer since the one we have is 10 years old, and he would reply, "To save money!" And through his numerous ways of saving, he has made sure that my only focus is school, relaxing, and participating in extracurriculars. Instead of working, I could play games at an arcade with friends, volunteer at the hospital, or learn to play Liszt's La Campanella on the piano. I could spend my free time relaxing by watching classic movies like Seven Samurai, or reading up on the latest tech reviews on The Verge. While my Dad influences me to work hard, he also reminds me that I need to slow down and relax sometimes.
Nnorbu 2 / 4  
Oct 17, 2012   #2
It's a solid essay. A problem i noticed was the repetition of words like mandatory. Also, the tone of the essay was quite negative at times when you say that you "intensely disliked" your dad for making you study.

The only reservation i have is that your subject of influence (being your dad) is quite generic and i wonder how many other applicants would write similar essays.

Anyways, good luck.
OP aznelementmaste 1 / 1  
Oct 17, 2012   #3
Yeah, that was one thing I was worried about. Think it's too generic?
Nnorbu 2 / 4  
Oct 18, 2012   #4
It is generic, but sometimes that can be a good thing. If your essay thrives within the confines of regularity than it comes across as even more engaging.

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