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For Good Measure: ApplyTexas Topic A; Interacting with people with different beliefs/experiences


arianne_mala 1 / 1  
Nov 19, 2014   #1
Any critiques/comments are welcome! I'm hoping that I'm addressing the prompt somewhat correctly. And if there is a different approach I could take based on my topic.

Essay A Topic: Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.

Don't focus on numbers.
It's not uncommon to hear this phrase uttered by reassuring teachers and fatigued students throughout one's educational career, especially in high school where, ironically, numbers seem to matter the most. This statement served as a soothing compress to the mind of my friends whenever school became too stressful and even became the mantra of several of my classmates. Though to be honest, this saying never sat well on my mind or rolled off my tongue with such ease as others, thus making school either what makes me or breaks me.

When given this advice from counselors, teachers, and classmates I initially accepted it without question. I began to preface discussions about my standings in school with, "I know I shouldn't focus on numbers..." or "I'm trying not to focus on grades". My friends and family constantly reassured themselves as well as myself, that grades aren't everything; following it up with the cliché "You are not a number". However, the more it was regurgitated, the more it felt like it was invalidating my hard work. In an ideal world, I would receive whatever grade I got willingly and with acceptance. I would vow never to focus on the number, but to focus only on my happiness and well-being. I wouldn't have to worry about the numerous exams steadfastly approaching or the essay deadlines looming above me. However, no matter how earnest I was to jump the carefree bandwagon, it was something I could not bring myself to do.

Now I'm not well versed in the intricacies and rules of sports but if you've been involved in any sports like I have, or if you're a fan, then you'll understand that scores matters. Succeeding with grace and humility alongside failing with comprehension and acceptance are skills that can only be learned when we keep score.

If I failed a test or a quiz, I'm losing. It's visual proof to me that I have to turn the game around before I reach the point of not being able to recover. Keeping track of my grades and class standing not only keeps my education on track but also causes me to respect the number because without it, I can lead myself into a false sense of accomplishment. I know I can. I've done it before. So while I don't want to be a student who only "focuses on numbers," I don't want to be a student who ignores it either. I've been in the shoes of both of these students. And only one emerges feeling accomplished in the end.

Furthermore, I am not a great measurer of success nor am I adept at determining what truly defines a person. Ultimately, it's all relative. I know what success and accomplishment feels like, of course even if it's just through the little instances scattered throughout my educational journey. And I know the admonishment one derives from not receiving the intended result. I just suppose it's the analytical and calculating part of me that desires a measurement of such feelings; being able to own the justification that my work is not in vain. I will focus on the numbers. I will focus on the numbers because when it comes to my education, the number is the only truth I know.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 19, 2014   #2
The essay works well in responding to the essay although not many readers will be able to identify with your experience. The fact that you had to deal with different beliefs and experiences relating to numbers makes this a unique and interesting essay. Mostly because numbers are considered to be precise and thus, does not leave any room for discussion or debate. You were able to show another side to that belief though which helped the essay become quite interesting. Somehow though, I feel that the essay will benefit from your concentrating on the most important time that you had to deal with the difference in opinion about numbers and then concentrate the essay upon that. It will make it easier to understand where you are coming from, what happened, and how you dealt with the situation as opposed to having to read your numerous experiences and then having to read each time about how you dealt with it. Just present one story, develop it well, and make sure it represents you in the best light :-)
OP arianne_mala 1 / 1  
Nov 19, 2014   #3
Thank you so much for your feedback and fantastic suggestions! I added in a little anecdote, do you think it would be sufficient?

If I failed a test or a quiz, I'm losing. It's visual proof to me that I have to turn the game around before I reach the point of not being able to recover. Keeping track of my grades and class standing not only keeps my education on track but also causes me to respect the number because without it, I can lead myself into a false sense of accomplishment. I know I can. I've done it before. Such was an instance when preparing for what could be considered the bane of a high school student's existence, the SAT. Now I'll be honest, the first time I took it I went headfirst into the testing room without an ounce of preparation. And as expected, my score was less than desirable, which naturally brought down my morale. But no matter how many times my parents coddled my spirits with the same "Don't worry about it.You tried you best. " speech, I knew that based on my score, it clearly wasn't. I knew I could do better. And after taking it upon myself to study and work towards my ideal score, I did. So while I don't want to be a student who only "focuses on numbers," I don't want to be a student who ignores it either. I've been in the shoes of both of these students. And only one emerges feeling accomplished in the end.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 19, 2014   #4
Arianne, that is the perfect anecdote to accompany this essay. It truly explains why you have a belief in the importance of numbers and how your way of thinking would conflict with others who do not give the same weight to numbers results as you do. I would advice you to make that a separate paragraph though and develop the anecdote a little bit more. Try to explain how you felt after seeing the results of your first SAT and how the numbers translated to what would equate to harsh words reprimanding you if it were compared to an oral or written assessment of your exam results. That would help the readers better identify with why you said " I knew that based on my score, it clearly wasn't. ". Give us the sense of reasoning behind that statement from you. It was quite strong. Ride the emotion and logic that it built up :-)


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