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"Not Just a Job" Transition to adulthood. Entrance essay for Ohio State.


hayenk17 2 / 3  
Oct 19, 2016   #1
Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

In my English class freshman year, my teacher instructed us to write a letter to our future selves, a letter which we will open on graduation day. I still vaguely remember what my letter consisted of: lists of friends, hopes of being popular, and how excited I was thinking about senior year. Since writing this letter my first year of high school, my priorities have completely changed. Instead of worrying about popularity, my main focuses are now my 2 jobs, keeping my grades up, and getting into the college I want. This change in my perspective came when I received my first job at the age of 15. Prior to starting working, I focused on my social life and let my grades fall below where they should have been. After over a year and a half of this irresponsible lifestyle, I began to realize I was not going to be successful if I continued on this path. I made the decision to get a job.

I started working as a swim instructor at the YMCA. Some of my duties outside of teaching included scheduling my lessons, contacting parents, and placing students in the correct level classes. Through work, I gained a sense of responsibility, hard-work, and freedom. I understand what it is like to manage my money between what I want and what I need. I now pay for my phone bill, my gas, and any activities I want to do. Unlike when I was just a freshman, I realize the worth in a dollar.

However rewarding these traits are to me, none of the qualities the YMCA taught me compare to the compassion I have gained. Before my job, I rarely showed compassion to strangers. Unless it would benefit my life, I did not see the point in it. Yet when I realized how much of an impact I can make on someone's life just by simply taking my time to get to know them, I began to understand why compassion is so important. One member who has the biggest impact on me is an elderly man named Mac. Mac never failed to make me smile each morning he walked on the pool deck. After my shift ended, we always sat and talked for a while just to catch up. He enjoyed talking about his children, although none of them took the time to visit him anymore. Hearing this, I realized how much my talking to Mac meant to him. Even though I dread the thought of waking up at 4 in the morning before school, meeting people like him makes it all worthwhile. As a freshman, the idea of waking up before school to work and talk to older people never even crossed my mind. Yet now I understand how impactful it is to be compassionate towards others.

When I receive my letter from my former self at the end of this year, I believe it will give me insight into how much I have grown up over the course of high school. I now understand what is important in life and what will help me become successful. I will forever carry with me the traits I have acquired through working and will continue to show compassion to every person I meet. I am so grateful for the YMCA for helping me mature into the young adult I am today. The YMCA is not just a job to me, it is who I am.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,304 3989  
Oct 20, 2016   #2
Kara, when writing this sort of essay, you need to focus on the biggest accomplishment that you have accomplished in your life instead of trying to discuss many topics as you are trying to do here. It is always better to discuss just a single accomplishment that can best reflect your transition to adulthood instead of trying to explain your transition using various situations. That leaves the essay with an under developed discussion process and does not allow the reader to thoroughly feel the transition that you underwent.

My opinion, is that you should remove the sections referring to the letter to your future self. It doesn't really serve a purpose in this essay. You need to instead, present how your previous lifestyle was such an epic failure that when you realized how bad your situation was, you decided to take charge of your life and become a better person. These realization aspects of maturing are always impressive to the reader because it shows who you were and how far you have come in terms of becoming an adult. I believe that if you just concentrate on this process -- the challenge of having 2 jobs and what this taught you, aside from becoming a more financially responsible individual, then the essay will focus better on your transition process.
OP hayenk17 2 / 3  
Oct 20, 2016   #3
Thanks for the suggestions. I am having a tough time with how I want to start it so I kinda threw in the part about the letter. Do you have an ideas for how to start it? Thanks!!
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,304 3989  
Oct 21, 2016   #4
Since you are supposed to talk about your transition to adulthood, why not concentrate on the job aspect from the very start? You could start with a discussion of you either being bored because you had nothing to do after class or having something that you wanted to buy that your parents refused to purchase for you. Or even your father sitting you down for a discussion about maturity and the need for you to get a job if you want to have more spending money. Show the reader who you were before you got the job. That way the lessons that you learned once you got the job, from learning how to manage your money all the way to developing compassion for others, makes sense in the overall context.

The best premise for the start of your essay in my opinion would be the following statement from your current work:
Prior to starting working, I focused on my social life and let my grades fall below where they should have been. After over a year and a half of this irresponsible lifestyle, I began to realize I was not going to be successful if I continued on this path. I made the decision to get a job.

If you expand upon the social life and sliding grades by explaining why it happened, your realization will show that you had a true epiphany in terms of how successful you want to be in the future. This is the transition point for you within the essay.


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