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'Growing up Belmont, San Francisco' - undergraduate Essay


Thank you, Sarah, for your help on those last three essays!

UC ESSAY #3

Growing up in Belmont, San Francisco with two younger brothers, my life was perfect. Although I failed to appreciate and value my life, I was innocent and unaware of all the pain and suffering in the world, more closely, at home. I went to a catholic private school, Immaculate Heart of Mary, joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy, and was involved in gymnastics and ballet. We had the warmth of family friends all around us in the perfect community; resembling the perfect life.

Oblivious to my family's financial problems, I refused to move to another city, especially one that was on the other side of home, Hong Kong. Within a year and a half, my family moved to Shanghai for the same reason. Over the course of those years, I have learned a lot mentally and socially.

The cities for one were similar in the way that it was urban and cosmopolitan. But the languages spoken were not the same and so were the lifestyles of locals. I have learned much from living in both cities, learning to communicate with people, navigating my path to the destination, assimilating myself culturally into the various societies present. The experience in itself was a lesson for me to connect myself with my own ethnic background.

In the three years in Asia, I attended four different international schools, which was personally very dissimilar from a small private school in the states. As I was socially more exposed to activities such as camp outs, sewing classes, clay-modeling, and such from getting an international schooling education, I was eager to make the same kind of friends that I made back at home. I felt that all the people I grew up with as children had disappeared from my life. I missed my friends and family. So I decided to continue with Girl Scouts and ballet classes like I had done in San Francisco. But whenever I began to "settle" with new groups of friends, it was always time to move again from city to city, school to school. Through many indescribable emotional pains of unsteadiness and uncertainty through these years, I have always unconsciously placed my social life as a first priority.

Most of my attention throughout my high school career was spent on extra-curricular activities than on academics. This was partly because of my need for sociality. However, my junior year was deeply impacted by the increasing number of on-going activities.

Taking AP English was a challenge for me. Not only is it my first honors English class ever, but it is also an advanced college course. I worked hard to improve my grade throughout both semesters.

I discovered an academic weakness during my junior year when I decided to take the science course, Physics CP. Although it is a regular course, my intelligence is incomparable to its standards of concept and work. After many attempts of trying in after school and out of school workshop and tutoring, Physics is just an impossible course for me.

Most of my time was invested into C-HIGH TV productions, resulting in my staying after school for hours ranging from 6 to 8:30 pm at night, and other activities I had outside of school. This accumulation of time, I regret, was not spent on the proper priority, thus, as an example of this lack of time, AP US History, carried a failing grade.

Greetings!

I see you've made some changes. Here's what I would suggest:

"Growing up in Belmont, San Francisco with two younger brothers, my life was perfect."

Insert a comman after "San Francisco."

"Although I failed to appreciate and value my life, I was innocent and unaware of all the pain and suffering in the world, more closely, at home."

I think this needs a little rewriting. How about this: "Like most teenagers, I failed to appreciate how good my life was. I was innocent and unaware of all the pain and suffering in the world--or in my own home."

"I went to a catholic private school, Immaculate Heart of Mary, joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy, and was involved in gymnastics and ballet."

Just capitalize "Catholic."

"We had the warmth of family friends all around us in the perfect community; resembling the perfect life."

I suggest changing the last part of the sentence (after the semi-colon) to "life was good." That's very idiomatic.

"Oblivious to my family's financial problems, I refused to move to another city, especially one that was on the other side of home, Hong Kong."

A better idiomatic phrase would be "the other side of the world."

"Within a year and a half, my family moved to Shanghai for the same reason."

Insert a comma after "Shanghai."

"Over the course of those years, I have learned a lot mentally and socially."

Take out "have" and change "mentally" to "intellectually."

"The cities for one were similar in the way that it was urban and cosmopolitan. But the languages spoken were not the same and so were the lifestyles of locals."

I think your meaning would be more clear if you rewrote the sentence something like this: "Both cities were urban and cosmopolitan, but the languages were not the same, and the local lifestyles were different."

"I have learned much from living in both cities, learning to communicate with people, navigating my path to the destination, assimilating myself culturally into the various societies present."

This might be better as two sentences: "I have learned much from living in both cities. I have discovered how to communicate with people, how to navigate to unfamiliar destinations, and how to assimilate myself into various cultures."

"The experience in itself was a lesson for me to connect myself with my own ethnic background."

I suggest adding "in how to": ". . . a lesson for me in how to connect . . . "

"In the three years in Asia, I attended four different international schools, which was personally very dissimilar from a small private school in the states."

Change "which was personally" to "all of them" and capitalize "States."

"As I was socially more exposed to activities such as camp outs, sewing classes, clay-modeling, and such from getting an international schooling education, I was eager to make the same kind of friends that I made back at home."

How about: "My exposure to social activities such as camp outs, sewing classes and clay-modeling during my international education left me eager to make the same kind of friends that I had at home."

"Through many indescribable emotional pains of unsteadiness and uncertainty through these years, I have always unconsciously placed my social life as a first priority."

I think you might mean to say "Because of" the pain. Maybe: "Because of the indescribable emotional pain, unsteadiness and uncertainty of those years, I . . . "

"Most of my attention throughout my high school career was spent on extra-curricular activities than on academics."

Change "Most" to "More."

"Although it is a regular course, my intelligence is incomparable to its standards of concept and work. After many attempts of trying in after school and out of school workshop and tutoring, Physics is just an impossible course for me."

I know what you mean! I don't understand Physics, either. But you might reconsider telling that to the schools. Maybe you could tell them that you found it a challenging subject, and you are still working on grasping the concepts. (You'll probably need to take it college, you know.) <groan>

"Most of my time was invested into C-HIGH TV productions, resulting in my staying after school for hours ranging from 6 to 8:30 pm at night, and other activities I had outside of school."

Change "into" to "in." Insert a comma after "hours." Take out "at night," since p.m. already tells you that.

"This accumulation of time, I regret, was not spent on the proper priority, thus, as an example of this lack of time, AP US History, carried a failing grade."

Suggested change: ". . . the proper priority, and as a result AP US History carried a failing grade."

One question: is this the end of the essay? It explains the grades, but it doesn't say much about why you would be an asset to the schools considering you for admission. I'm sure there are many, many other strong points you can tell them about. You have overcome a lot in the last few years, and they need to know what a wonderful person you've turned out to be!

Good luck in everything you do!

Sarah, EssayForum.com


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