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I hadn't been weak; I had been strong; Common App/ Experience


higuise 3 / 9 3  
Dec 28, 2012   #1
A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

The air is cold, and the surroundings loud, but dark. There are two passengers next to me, and a window looking down upon the clouds; I am waiting for the end of this 14 hour flight, and for the people next to me to fall asleep.

I'm returning from another family trip to Vietnam. These 14 hours give me a lot of time to think before the next layover. As I sit and ponder about the past five weeks, everything starts to hit me. I have periodically gone back to Vietnam since my emigration when I was two, but this trip is not like the previous ones. This trip might be my last for a while, my last trip with my family, and the last time I see my mother's side of the family. I won't be able to be the person my younger cousins look up to, and I won't be able to be the "little kid" when I interact with my grandmother, uncles, aunts and older cousins. At college, I won't be looked up to and I won't be treated as a little kid. My family in Vietnam look at me as the incarnation of hope: they believe that I can use my abilities to obtain an education to achieve a better life.

From this point, I will either be taking summer classes or working, when my family visits Vietnam. As I sit there thinking, I feel something wet on my face. It starts dripping down quickly and seems to be coming from my eyes. I feel ashamed to know that I have succumbed to my emotions, but I can't help it and let myself cry until I fall asleep. Suddenly, I'm thankful that I waited until the people next to me were asleep.

Days later, I understand my fault. I hadn't been weak; I had been strong-strong enough to embrace my emotions of sorrow and grief, and understand the power of my story. I had been able to make a very difficult sacrifice for my education knowing that I would not be able to go back to Vietnam and visit my family. However, I also realize that not being able to visit them will help me grow into the adult I will become, and that the "little kid" and the person little children look up to will live in my memories.

My past experiences, emigrating from a country and going back to my birthplace, help me cope with the present and what will happen in the future. The realization that my memories of Vietnam and my family will remain to take me on a happy and familiar journey gives me the strength and support I need to flourish in the real world as an adult.

I think there are some weird transitions in there...
Any critiques are welcome! Thanks!
a608863a 5 / 21 1  
Dec 28, 2012   #2
I think this essay is too generic.You need to add some unique details that set you apart from other immigrants.
henajane 3 / 5  
Dec 28, 2012   #3
I liked this essay! In order for it to not sound "generic", I think incorporating some attention grabbing sentence would fix that. :)
bymyside4948 4 / 20 2  
Dec 28, 2012   #4
"Days later, I understand my fault. I hadn't been weak; I had been strong-strong enough to embrace my emotions of sorrow and grief..."

Too sudden don't you think? I am also a Vietnamese so I can understand your feeling somehow, but I think it would be better if you tell the adcom how and why you understood your fault.
OP higuise 3 / 9 3  
Dec 29, 2012   #5
Thank you all for your critiques! When I chose this topic, I was worrying about being too generic...


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