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"me giving back to the community" - UC Prompt #1 Help


fewjative 1 / 3  
Aug 9, 2010   #1
Hi guys and gals here at EF, I am in deep need of help with writing my essay for prompt #1 for UC admissions.
The prompt is :
Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

I have chosen a topic I want to write about, which is basically me giving back to the community. Two examples I will use is that I make sack lunches for the poor and I coached a soccer team of mentally challenged players for a whole summer, who eventually won their championship. I am having a hard time just getting started with writing this prompt and can't even come up with a good intro.
freezard7734 17 / 209  
Aug 9, 2010   #2
First thing is first: What will your thesis be? Find the main idea and purpose for your essay. What is the ONE statement that you want your reader to get from this essay? An example might be, "From these experiences, I learned that I want to serve the community for the rest of my life" (Don't use this though! You can definitely come up with a much stronger thesis). You get the idea.

From there, just list all the details of your experience and what you learned, and then arrange the details appropriately into separate body paragraphs...

I recommend that you actually take one or both these experiences and simply elaborate on them. For example, you can talk about your experience coaching the soccer team, what you did, how you felt, what you learned, etc... and tie them in to your thesis. And ... well, for now, you can get started on your intro :) To be safe, from the intro, the reader should be able to know your thesis and have an idea of what you'll be talking about in the rest of the essay.
OP fewjative 1 / 3  
Aug 9, 2010   #3
Thanks for the help freezard. I saw your thread but I couldnt help, mostly because you are probably more knowledgeable than me. Anyways, I will try and create the intro then post later.
freezard7734 17 / 209  
Aug 9, 2010   #4
Ha :) Yeah, I'm still working on my recent essay, which is actually the same prompt you are working on right now. I had the same trouble, but fortunately, I'm out of the mire now :). But I assure you that the method I explained to you works almost all the time. Once you have your thesis and main infrastructure, how you want to architect your essay - that's entirely up to you :)
OP fewjative 1 / 3  
Aug 10, 2010   #5
So far, I have been working on this:

Ever since I was a kid, (<-seems "child like" and doesnt fully flow) my life has been changed through numerous experiences ,obstacles, and people. While some kids had life easy, my parents carried and embedded the mentality of "If you want something, then you must earn it" into me. Although growing up was far from effortless, often filled with tears of my dreams being shattered, and I was constantly engulfed in the fear of failing to live up to my parents expectations and wants, I knew that there were always people that were suffering more than me.

That is kinda how I am imagining the intro to be. I know I need to include a thesis and maybe more to hook the reader but I didnt want to delve too deep if it was crap. I am honestly trying to take your advice and I think that will be evident as my essay blossoms.
freezard7734 17 / 209  
Aug 10, 2010   #6
I know I need to include a thesis and maybe m...

I was going to say, "Where is the thesis," and I read this :)

Ever since I was a kid, (<-seems "child like" and doesnt fully flow) my life has been changed through numerous experiences ,obstacles, and people.

It's not childlike. If used correctly, it can be a life-saver. In my opinion, a strong introductory sentence should always be in the active voice. So instead, you can write:

"Ever since I was young, countless experiences, obstacles, and people molded my life."

While some kids had life easy,(I'm not clear how this relates with the following statement. Instead, what do you think about my suggestion) My life was not easy; My parents carriedenforced and embedded the "Earn it" mentality of "If you want something, then you must earn it" into me.

This is the other suggestion: How about "Earn it" instead of 'If you want something, you must earn it." To me, it is much more concise, and I think it is self-explanatory. Just a suggestion though :]

Although growing up was far from effortless, often filled with tears of my dreams being shattered, and I was constantly engulfed in the fear of failing to live up to my parents expectations and wants, I knew that there were always people that were suffering more than me.

This sentences is very wordy. I think it would be better if you split them up into two sentences.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 11, 2010   #7
Ever since I was a kid, (<-seems "child like" and doesnt fully flow)

yeah, just don't use that phrase at all, because too many people use it.

my life has been changed through numerous experiences ,obstacles, and people. --- this is too simple, and everyone could say the same thing.

This is a good sentence to begin with: While some kids had life easy, my parents carried and embedded instilled in me the mentality, "If you want something, then...

Start by writing 100 sentences. Write them in a list. Write 100 sentences that come to mind, and then look at them all to find your main theme. When you have written 100, choose a few good ones to use as topic sentences for your body paragraphs. :-)
OP fewjative 1 / 3  
Aug 11, 2010   #8
Once again, thanks for all the tips. I do have a stupid question though, is there any structure or format? In class, I have always been a good/decent writer because essays were given witha specific topic and a book to find quotes. You have intro -> body w/3 quotes -> "" ""-> "" ""->Conclusion. My problem is that for an essay like this, I don't know how to structure it. So far I know there must be an intro with a thesis and hook, maybe some statments of organization. Then would you do a body paragraph explaining the SofO's, and then a conclusion?

:/... Thanks for the help everyone.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 14, 2010   #9
Here is something I really believe in and use. I think you'll like it!!

THE PURPOSE OF AN ESSAY IS TO EXPRESS AN IDEA

1.) Read an interesting article to get yourself inspired about this subject.
2.) Write several sentences about the topic.Write anyhting that seems significant.
3.) Ask yourself what the main idea is you would like to express if you have to contribute to a discussion of this topic. What do YOU want to contribute?

Write an intro paragraph that ends in a sentence that tells that main idea.

4.) Take some of those sentences you wrote, and use them as topic sentences for paragraphs. Let each topic sentence be an idea that shows how true the thesis statement i (the sentence about the essay's main idea.)

Then, in the conclusion give some extra observation and say whatever you want. It is your time.

That is it.... Start by reading and writing a list of sentences. Decide which sentence is most important to you, and that will be the main idea of your essay. Use other sentences to support that thesis statement.

To have good structure, put a thesis sentence at the end of the first paragraph, and make sure all other paragraphs begin with topic sentences that express ideas that support the thesis sentence.


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