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"Democrats, Republicans, and Heaps of Trash" - influence Common app

Zoidberg93 1 / 6  
Dec 30, 2010   #1
I did prompt 3. I think it's too wordy and can be cut down. Any advice would really, really help.

Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

Democrats, Republicans, and Heaps of Trash
He was a janitor; an ostensibly simpleminded, penniless, and insignificant janitor. The glimmering sweat on his bald head and the clunky work boots on his feet made certain he would not be mistaken for anything else. At ******* High School, one of his primary duties was to collect garbage from students at the end of lunch. Everyday, he would schlepp a trash barrel up to our lunch table and demand, "trash please!" We would dispose of our rubbish, and he'd be on his way.

Being the obnoxious freshman that I was, I felt almost obligated to converse with the janitor as he proceeded with his daily duties, though not exactly in a polite "how do you do" sort of way. There was always an underlying mocking tone in the things I said to him. Passing comments intended to garner a laugh or two from my friends were commonplace. After all, I was a promising student from a cozy middle class background while he was a struggling laborer. Clearly, I was much more important than him. The janitor would typically respond to my remarks with a relaxed indifference and occasionally had some sarcastic words for me. Either way, it was all pointless shenanigans.

However, as the school year progressed something curious happened: our conversations evolved from mere childish banter to more substantial talks. In the brief windows of time I saw him, I began to get to know the janitor. I discovered that he was staunchly conservative, which was a serious point of contention as I am a die-hard liberal. This inevitably led to passionate (albeit short) debates between the janitor and me. We would discuss everything from the economy, to abortion, to illegal immigration, and everything in between. To my astonishment, he was fairly well versed in the language of politics and brought up compelling points.

The janitor would continue to shock and fascinate me as I gradually learned more and more about his life. In our discussions, I found out about his time in the United States Navy, proud French-Canadian ancestry, and perhaps a little too much information about his cat Percy. Eventually, it got to the point where he'd periodically sit down at the lunch table with my friends and me, and we would all casually chat about our classes and plans for the weekend. What originally started out as immature jesting was blossoming into an unusual friendship.

One day, as the janitor was making his usual rounds, I noticed something that I never really noticed before: a wedding ring on his finger. Then it occurred to me that I never bothered to ask him is name, so I asked. He gave a hearty laugh and responded, "Michél." It was at this moment that the janitor became something more than a simpleton to me; he became a real human being with a wife, a family, interests, hobbies, experiences, and emotions. Most importantly, he became Michél, my friend. At some point, I came to learn that Michél was the father of one of my teammates on my soccer team. Through this coincidental connection, our bond grew even stronger, and he eventually came to think of me as a second son.

Through my serendipitous relationship with Michél, I became aware of my own ignorance. I generally thought of myself as an open-minded and tolerant person, but evidently my dealings with the janitor did not convey this. When we are little kids, our parents try to instill in us that we should not judge people based on appearance. Yet this becomes much more difficult to do as we get older. I feel as though talking with Michél has retaught me how to look beyond the surface (at least to a certain extent), which is a valuable lesson to learn at any age. I suppose it is essential not to go by first impressions, because our perceptions of people are likely shaped by false stereotypes. After all, don't we all deserve the same level of respect?

Michél was fired at the start of my junior year. Apparently, some student was verbally harassing him, and Michél's temper got the best of him. He got into an altercation with the student, which resulted in his termination. Personally, I find the whole situation to be tragic. I wish that kid took the time to get to know Michél the same way I did.
simardownn - / 20  
Dec 30, 2010   #2
...him h is name, so I asked. He gave a hearty laugh and responded, "Michél."

The ending sort of seems unfinished. There seems to be no closure

But, other than that, it was really good. I felt like I got to know the janitor and you really well through this essay.

And I don't think it needs to be cut down. It seems to develop the idea fully.

Take a look at mine pleasee
asolayman 3 / 11  
Dec 30, 2010   #3
the word serendipitous can be omitted. honestly i think its just a bit much. its a really good essay though, ive read a lot of essays on this subject and found it really inspiring.
OP Zoidberg93 1 / 6  
Dec 30, 2010   #4
Yeah, I felt that it captured the essence of my friendship with him, but I kinda just slapped the work in there. And is this a topic that's been done a lot? Cuz I thought I was being somewhat original =/

anyways, thanks. Will read both of yours
Anonymoussenior 17 / 133  
Dec 30, 2010   #5
I like your essay, especially because you picked someone out of the ordinary that had an influence on you. I don't see any outright problems with your essay and think you spoke clearly and easily got your point across. Great job.
OP Zoidberg93 1 / 6  
Dec 30, 2010   #6
Also this is my first time using this forum. Should I be worried about plagiarism checks if I post my essay up for review?

ALSO can I get a moderator to read please?
Antuanette 2 / 3  
Dec 30, 2010   #7
I think it's very good ! Unique and precise.
But given the story, the ending was a bit unfinished and unfair to the rest of the essay.

Overall very good !!
OP Zoidberg93 1 / 6  
Dec 30, 2010   #8
Yeah, the general consensus seems to be the ending is weak. But what do you guys suggest I do to improve it?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 19, 2011   #9
Hi there, I have not heard of anyone being accused of plagiarism as a result of using EssayForum. If that happens, I think it is easy to link the accuser to the page where this thread shows your name next to the original essay and the date you posted it.

There was always an underlying mocking tone in the things I students said to him.---just a suggestion... so that you don't seem so bratty. :-)

I had generally thought of ...

You can cut those last two sentence, and you can replace them with some unexpected humor. Say something unexpected at the end, or say something about how the experience with this guy is reflected in your plan for college.

As you revise, you can make it so that you are not portraying yourself so negatively. You can revise some sentences so that instead of going from ignorant to thoughtful you went from thoughtful to self-aware, and self-awareness led to strong convictions.

At the end of the essay, state those strong convictions.

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