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'Family, Years ago, in China' - UW Personal Essay


MikiMouse 2 / -  
Nov 21, 2011   #1
Please help me revise my essay!

Prompts:
Discuss how your family's experience or cultural history enriched you or presented you with opportunities or challenges in pursuing your educational goals.

- OR -

Tell us a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Some say that family is always there for you. But it isn't always the case.

Years ago, in China, my paternal family was very loving; they cared about each other despite poverty and communism. Later, they immigrated to America for economic opportunities and political stability.

Due to cost, they left my dad, the eldest son, in China. Dad became scared, lonely and depressed; he gradually developed a mental disorder. A year after they left, Dad met Mom. His mental deterioration surfaced only after they married. A few months later, they joined his family in America.

Dad's family instantly blamed Mom, calling her a jinx. Soon after coming to America, Mom gave birth to my brother and me. Since we were born, we have lived with Dad's family. Yet, despite living together, Grandfather hardly paid attention to us. Later, I learned that Grandfather despised my family. He blamed Mom for everything and called her unlucky. Not only did Grandfather dislike Mom, he also disliked me.

When I was young, I would go upstairs toward his section of the house. But every time I set foot upstairs, he yelled at me and threatened me with a bamboo stick. He only allowed me to go upstairs to play with my paternal cousin. Even then, I was isolated from him. When we ate, I always ate in the kitchen by myself while Grandfather fed my cousin in the living room.

A few years later, I became more independent as Mom gradually became less involved with our family. At ten years old, I learned to cook, clean and take care of the house. I took some of the responsibility from Mom so she could focus on her job (Dad was unable to work). But when I was twelve, Mom unexpectedly told me she was divorcing Dad because she could not handle the burden of being mistreated anymore. I knew Dad could not take care of himself, and my older brother did not have the will to take care of someone else. So the weight fell off Mom's shoulders and onto mine. I became the caretaker for my brother and father, fulfilling both roles of a mother and a wife.

Our income came from Dad's disability so we were struggling economically. I watched our expenses and managed school. Each morning, I awoke extra early to cook for my dad and brother, went to school, completed homework, and did extra chores. I continue to work extra hard because I want a better future for my family and for myself.

Six years have passed since Mother left. Through the years of forced responsibility, I occasionally envied those with a real childhood. I was a child who did not depend on anyone; instead, others depended on me. My classmates often asked me to visit them, but I always told them I was busy. I missed play dates and the freedom to concentrate solely on my homework, but I will not miss the opportunities available through higher education.

I want to learn. With an appropriate degree (counseling, social work or public policy), I know I can help others. My friends often call me a good listener - someone they turn to with their problems. Knowing I have the ability to help others has provided me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, something I missed with my emotionally distant family. Perhaps listening to others' problems also allowed me to escape my own. Yet, even as I listened and gave advice to others, I wished I had someone to turn to, to help me out. I wish I had the voice to express my feelings to others. I do not want others to go through what I did - lacking someone to turn to because of cultural separation, family dependence and self-esteem issues. College will be the place where I can gain knowledge, find my voice, and, in turn, help me help others.

feelthesun012 1 / 8  
Nov 21, 2011   #2
First of all, I'm really sorry that you had to go through such treatment at the hands of family. It's really a shame.

As for my advice:
"But that isn't always the case."
"they cared about each other despite the hardships of poverty and communism"
"Due to cost, my dad, the eldest son, was left behind in China"
"A year after they left, he met Mom and married her. His mental deterioration surfaced only after they had gotten married."
Also, start "A few months later, they joined his family in America." as part of the next paragraph: it connects more to the ideas in that paragraph than it does to your parents' marriage. And then say "Dad's family instantly blamed Mom for Dad's mental deterioration, even going so far as to calling her a jinx." Your sentences are very simple. Try combining them and connecting your ideas more smoothly.

Also, in the following paragraphs you're skipping around on tense. Try not to:
"Our income came from Dad's disability so we were struggling economically. I watched our expenses and managed school. Each morning, I awoke extra early to cook for my dad and brother, went to school, completed homework, and did extra chores. I continue to work extra hard because I want a better future for my family and for myself.Delete this; it's unnecessary and sounds odd Six years passed after Mother left. Through the years of forceddelete forced; makes it sound like you're a bit desperate, you know? responsibility, I occasionally envied those with a real childhood. I was a child who could not depend on anyone; instead, others depended on me. Often, my classmates would ask me to visit them; I always had to tell them I was busy . Though I may have missed play dates and the freedom to concentrate solely on my homework, I will not miss the opportunities available through higher education. "

"I want to learn more than I ever have before . With the appropriate degree, such as one in counseling, social work, or public policy, I know I can help others. My friends often call me a good listener; I am someone they can trust with their problems. Knowing I have the ability to help others has provided me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I missed with my emotionally distant family. Perhaps listening to others' problems also allowed me to escape my own. Yet, even as I listened and gave advice to others, I wished I had someone to turn to, to help me out. I wish I had the voice to express my feelings to others.Eh... I;d be a bit iffy about these statements... it makes you sound like you're again desperate and depressed. Try to express a more positive outlook; how wishing you had someone to talk to has changed you for the better and how you can use it in the future. I do not want others to go through what I did - lacking someone to turn to because of cultural separation, family dependence and self-esteem issues. College will be the place where I can gain knowledge, find my voice, and, in turn, help me help others."

That's just an example :) Your essay is truly really touching and I can tell it's been well written from your heart. Good luck!


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