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Grandfather's Influence - Princeton Supplement


eskape 3 / 5  
Dec 27, 2009   #1
Tell us about someone who has had an influence on you:

On my eleventh birthday, I received a squash. I was furious. Who in their right mind would get me a squash on my birthday? After finding out who the culprit was, I was extremely upset-I could not believe that I had just received a squash from my grandfather on my eleventh birthday. Only recently have I understood how much I needed this squash, and have I come to realize exactly how instrumental my grandfather was in shaping me into the person I am today.

My grandfather (ajoba), NAME, was born into a country on the verge of separation from the British Empire. Spending the majority of his years in a turbulent post-partition India, stories about his friends disappearing, daily riots in the streets, and terrifying commonplace crime found their ways into family discussions, inevitably reminding me of the richness of my family's history before their mass migration to COUNTRY. After settling in eastern CITY, he took up his true passion: gardening.

Ajoba's garden, as I used to call it, was where I took refuge from a world of intimidating adults and overwhelming schoolwork. My grandfather cultivated squash, eggplants and tomatoes-it was rare to not find me somewhere in the garden, either inconspicuously eating a tomato, or just sitting and admiring my grandfather's hard work and dedication. However, as time progressed, I lost touch with both my grandfather and his garden. Academia called, and I did not have the chance to visit his house as often as I used to.

On my eleventh birthday, I opened a gift bag adorned with bright tissue paper and ribbons to find a card and an item wrapped in damp newspaper. The card was addressed from my grandfather, who was on a trip to India, the one that would be his last. Excited to see what he had given me for my birthday, I tore apart the newspaper only to find a yellow squash. Again, in a childish state of anger, I lividly asked my parents why my grandfather had given me a squash for my eleventh birthday.

I realized that in me developing a relationship with his garden, I had unknowingly grown extremely close to my grandfather himself, something he wished to remind me of through his gift. Although I delighted in visiting his garden, I had forgotten that the seemingly endless rows of vegetables and the tall vines growing up roan stakes were a reflection of who my grandfather truly was. His commitment towards doing something that brought him a sense of accomplishment has definitely influenced me in that I try to model the idea of approaching everything with both drive and passion, no matter what the situation may be.

My grandfather passed away five years ago, but his influence on me could not be more relevant than it is today. As I prepare to enter college and move on from my relatively sheltered high school life toward achieving complete independence, allowing my passions to find their way into whatever I may be doing will be very necessary. I still look up to my grandfather very much to this day, and I hope that one day I will be able to sow my own garden, and give someone else a squash on their 11th birthday-it was the most meaningful and appreciated gift I have ever received.
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 27, 2009   #2
Nice essay idea. I just dont understand why the introduction and the second paragraph tell the same thing - that your grandfather sent you a squash and you were angry? What is the meaning of that repetition?

Also, in the ending, I would suggest you:
and I hope that one day I will be able to sow my own garden, and give someone else a squash on their 11th birthday-it was the most meaningful and appreciated gift I have ever received.

You kind of have stated that it was the most meaningful and appreciated gift, so you dont need to repeat that. Or if you want to state that explicitly, state it somewhere in the body of the essay but not in the final sentence.

Hope I helped. I would appreciate if you could help me with my posts :)
pbhat 5 / 16  
Dec 27, 2009   #3
I loved your introduction! I don't know about other people, but I started laughing.

With that said, there are a few things I would change/recommend to make this essay stellar.

My grandfather (ajoba), NAME, was born into a country on the verge of separation from the British Empire. Spending the majority of his years in a turbulent post-partition India, stories about his friends disappearing, daily riots in the streets, and terrifying commonplace crime found their ways into family discussions, inevitably reminding me of the richness of my family's history before their mass migration to COUNTRY. After settling in eastern CITY, he took up his true passion:

The above passage is a bit too lengthy. This isn't about your grandfather completely, it's about his profound influence. If I were you, I would condense the material into one or two lines and then directly address his garden. You will have more room to elaborate on your relationship with the garden- longer than the one sentence you have now.

Again, in a childish state of anger, I lividly asked my parents why my grandfather had given me a squash for my eleventh birthday.

The above statement is unnecessary because you mention afterward that you were the one who discovered its value- by yourself. No parents involved, thus the statement is extraneous.

I still look up to my grandfather very much to this day, and I hope that one day I will be able to sow my own garden, and give someone else a squash on their 11th birthday-it was the most meaningful and appreciated gift I have ever received.

If you can reword the conclusion and give the reader a gift then you will have a great essay. Right now, the essay ends weakly. You simply summarize your answer to the prompt. I like everything before the dash. Everything after the dash reduces the depth of your affection and understanding to a trite statement.

Other than that, I think your essay is great! It works well with the prompt and its about gardening (and Squash!)- now that's something unique.
OP eskape 3 / 5  
Dec 27, 2009   #4
thanks so much, i'll reword the end for sure
tchonis05 4 / 8  
Dec 27, 2009   #5
I think this a really good essay. The wording and fluency is pretty good.
I did think the start of the second paragraph was a little too similar to the first. Maybe try deleting "On my eleventh birthday". and also in the first paragraph you said you were initially unsure who sent the squash but in the second you said the card said it was from your grandpa. I get how you mean to say it but i would just word the first paragraph differently so it doesnt seem like it was a mystery of who sent the squash at first.

just my opinion though


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