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"Fight or Flight" - Significant experience, risk Common App Personal Statement

bakamanju 3 / 14  
Oct 23, 2010   #1
I did a few more edits after I deleted my other one. Please send in your critiques about my essay. All comments are welcomed!

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
Fight or Flight

There once was a bird. It could not fly no matter how hard it tried, but was stronger than
the rest. How does this happen? Why is it stronger than the others? Try to imagine yourself
in a situation where you are faced with a possible threat or problem in your everyday life
that has deterred your ability to move on. In order to protect yourself from harm, the human
mind naturally tells you to either to challenge the threat directly or choose the easier route:
run away.

It was the beginning of my Junior year, and the pressures of ACT, SAT exams and
academic courses were hard on everyone, including myself. Most of my family was
supportive of me in my academic choices and decisions, except for my mother. My mother
and I got into arguments about everything from my academic performance to my likelihood
of getting into college. The arguments and the academic pressures began to take a toll on me.
On a cold fall evening, my mom walked into my room, with an air of superiority,
demanding that I quit all my after school activities and focus more on my studies. I had
balanced my schedule to fit my academics and my extracurricular activities in a way that
would not affect my academic performance; however, my mother did not listen to me. As if
she had not had enough, she began to yell at my younger brother, James, for seemingly no
reason at all. My younger brother hid behind me, scared of my mother's wrath. I tried my
best to defend my younger brother until my mother furiously pointed towards the door and
told me to leave the house and never come back. I stood up and stomped out of the door,
barefoot, into the cold fall evening.

I gained a lot of insight of the world during my few hours outside of my warm and
comfortable lifestyle at home. As I walked, my mind was racing, thinking about what just
happened. Before I knew it, I found myself back at my high school's freshman campus.
Seeing that I had nowhere else to go, I walked inside with no sense of direction or reason,
while at the same time hoping that I would come to my senses. After settling down on a
bench in the gyms, I curled up into a ball and closed my eyes. As I fell deep into my
subconscious, I began to reflect upon who I am as a human being and all the hardships my
family has gone through to bring me to where I am today.

Ever heard of the saying that your life seems to "flash before your eyes" the moment you
die? A part of me died that night, but at the same time, I felt that a new me was born as well.
There is more to life than test scores and family disputes. My life is better off than a good
majority of the world who either lives in poverty without food and support, so I have no
right to call my life unfair. In the end, my parents are not scolding me because they want to.
They are scolding me because they just want the best for me. Being the first generation born
in the United States puts a lot of pressure on me to live up to family expectations; however,
it is not just those expectations that I have to uphold, but my own as well. If I were to
completely leave behind my past life, I have to learn to accept those mistakes that happened
and look towards the future in order to pave a new path for me to walk upon with my head
up high. Following my epiphany, I made up my mind to go home.

Recall the bird that could not fly. It could not fly no matter how hard it tried. However, it
never gave up. It never ran away, kept trying, knowing that someday it would be able to fly
like the rest. Motivation and determination are what made it stronger than the rest. My
experience made me realize that there is more to life than my problems at home. It is only a
small portion that makes up who I really am. The people around me, the experiences I go
through every day, even the things I learn from school make up a part of me. What I learned
about myself during those four hours of alone time was that it was not the end of the world
if something takes a turn for the worst. You have to keep moving on and live a life filled
with no regrets. College not only gives me the opportunity to strive towards my goal, but
also to fulfill the dreams and wishes that my family and friends have put inside of me. I
cannot run away from my problems. I have to embrace them, and the future, so that I can
use this experience to keep myself from falling. But, if I do fall, I will get back up to try
again and again till I become the person I want to become.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius
OP bakamanju 3 / 14  
Oct 27, 2010   #2
*cries and hopes no one kills me from bumping*
SORRY! This is more important than my U of C essay... I'm more happy with that essay than this one... BUMP!!!!

^^" Don't kill me???
liwewap 1 / 5  
Oct 27, 2010   #3
I enjoyed reading through your essay. I'm new here, and this is actually my first post, so please bear with me.

I don't know if it's relevant to your essay, but you may want to consider writing about the "after shock". What happened when you came home? How did you deal with your mother's expectations and demands? What is your current relationship?

I especially liked the parts where you really showed what was going on. I wish there were a few more descriptive parts.

Good luck with everything!
OP bakamanju 3 / 14  
Oct 27, 2010   #4
You do not know how happy I am to see your criticism. I appreciate it greatly! To describe a few of your questions during the essay.

Does your school have separate campuses for separate years?
My school is one of probably a few that actually do have two campuses. One for freshman, and the other campus is for sophomore and up. It was definitely a great experience going to the different campuses. It gives a different feel than most schools.

And about your last comment. I did try to write and after shock, but as I wrote it, I shouldn't put it in just for personal reasons. I even had a hard time putting this up, to be honest, up here. But in the end, I had very few people I would like to read my essay (especially this one). My first draft had an after shock. However, it would've ended up being over a few pages long trying to describe and be concise without leaving a lot of detail out. But I did consider that thought and thank you very much for your time and effort for proofreading and giving awesome feedback!

I hope you do well in your college apps if that is what you're doing too! Best of luck! ^^
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 27, 2010   #5
Hi Simon, I won't kill you! No worries, ha ha...

Tatiana, thanks for all the time you spent here!

In one of the paragraphs, I think you are giving just one side of the story about your mother telling you to leave. From my point of view as a reader, I will scrutinize, and think, well, maybe his mother would have a different story to tell. So, I recommend this subtle change:

I thought I had balanced my schedule to fit my academics and my extracurricular activities in a way that would not affect...

Do you see the 2 words I added? It makes it so that you are keeping an open mind.

Ever heard of the saying that your life seems to "flash before your eyes" the moment you
die?--- In another person's essay, she wrote that her grandfather advised her to make sure it is worth watching!

Well, this is great to read, very well written, but I wish it contained more info about the impact it had on you. It must impact your moral philosophy, your career intentions, and your self-concept.

OP bakamanju 3 / 14  
Oct 27, 2010   #6
Thank you both for the wonderful comments and critiques! I did all the changes I possibly can for this essay. I'm very grateful to both of you for taking the time to read my essay! I hope to see you both around the forums! Thanks again!!!

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