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"Etes-vous pres?" (Are you ready?) Common Application- Topic of your Choice

lotte94 1 / 2  
Oct 17, 2011   #1
Thanks for any input. Issues: flow, What do you think the point of the essay is, and is it clear enough?

"Etes-vous pres?" (Are you ready?) I asked the group of little children who sat cross legged in eager anticipation on the floor in front of me. It was my third day as the only student volunteer at the Lausanne (Switzerland) Refugee Center. While their parents took French lessons or went on job searches, I was charged to keep them occupied for the afternoon. On that day, I thought finger painting would be a good activity. Within minutes, the steel grey room with the drab furniture became a kaleidoscope of colors. Little fingers, hands, bodies were smeared with paint. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a girl hit her brother in the face and a stream of red flow from his mouth. "Il a mange de la peinture!" (He ate the paint), said his sister, who slapped him again and then shouted at him in a language I could not recognize. Amongst the chaos and the cacophony, I thought of the first encounter with Mr. Rabb, four years ealier, in the tranquility of Kobe, Japan.

« Are you ready », he shouted in a raspy, Brooklyn-tinged accent. It was my first day of PE class and I wondered what he was he really asking me. Was I ready for my new life in Japan? Was I ready for my new school? Was I ready to start PE class? But before I could respond, he tugged on his faded baseball cap and akwardly tucked his pants in his knee high socks and declared, "I was born ready". My class mates looked down at their shoes. Some smirked. Others sighed. They knew the question and the response. They had heard it many times before.

I have never felt that I was "born ready". However, my parents told me that I was" born large", relatively speaking. They said that Dr. Tanaka was worried when he measured the length of my thighbone in the ultrasounds. The day I was born, the Japanese nurses panicked that I would not fit into the bassinet. I did fit into the bassinet, and I understand that there was no confusion in the nursery which baby was me.

I am not sure if I was really "born ready". I could never have imagined the different challenges that I would face. But I can say that I "learned" to be born ready, and to enjoy it.

Last summer, while visiting my grandparents in Minnesota, I would have never known just how ready I was going to have to be. My parents told me that we were moving to Switzerland in the fall. I had been through moving...leaving the familiar and entering the unknown, but this was my junior year of high school. I had never done this before.

After the children left the room, I picked up a bucket and started to clean. Then I thought of my last day in Japan, when I stopped by school to say goodbye. The last person that I went to see was Mr. Rabb. We spoke about the future, and how I would miss Japan. He gave me a high-five, and a hug-something he had never done before. and said "Sayonara"; I turned to leave. Before closing the door, I looked behind me to see him walking down the hallway towards the soccer field, the letters BR printed in white on the back of his red knee-high socks - "Born Ready". Everything is going to be OK.
daniel44992 13 / 29  
Oct 17, 2011   #2
I like your writing style but the essay seems scattered. I understand how it all fits together but its a bit much to swallow. I mean you talk about living in Switzerland and Japan and visiting Minnesota. Also, the part about your thighbones just seems kind of strange because as someone with no medical background whats so ever, I don't know how this relates to you being "born ready". I really like your concluding paragraph because it makes you makes you seem ready for what college has to offer. I think the essay would seem much tighter if you just focused on Japan because that is where your writing is strongest. Talk about the feeling you had before you left and about your last days. If you want to include Switzerland, make it chronological because when I was first reading it I thought you were a Swiss student who transferred to Japan for a year pr something just because of the order you wrote in in.
OP lotte94 1 / 2  
Oct 19, 2011   #3
Thanks for your input. I'm changing mine all around and will post a revised one later today, and I will look at yours too. (It's morning in Europe, and I have to go to school,,,3 tests today )

I think 14 at Christmas is a good topic for you. Princeton wants to know you are an Engineer with heart and it balances out the math and science predisposition of an Engineer. Please post your latest versions.
daniel44992 13 / 29  
Oct 25, 2011   #4
Thanks for looking over mine! I don't get notified when someone comments back on their thread so I just checked it. If you post up any other essays I'll definitely try to read over them. Being over in europe sounds so cool! I've always wanted to visit!

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