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Knowing oneself, is the beginning of all wisdom - the purest reflection of me in a mirror


lovelycs 1 / 3  
Aug 3, 2010   #1
Hi! I'd like some feedback/constructive criticism concerning my essay, the question is:

"Are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realized, that have helped to define you as a person?"

The hardest lesson in the world is to know oneself. Aristotle once said, "Knowing oneself, is the beginning of all wisdom," and not only is that the finest lesson one can ever learn, it's the only lesson one can learn that is not in the perimeters of a classroom, but it can only be self-discovered, by learning from the greatest teacher: ourselves.

As I stand in front of a simple full-length mirror, the reflection that bounces back reveals an image that tells all flaws, and hides no secrets. It reveals the exterior, the outer surface of my well-being. Every smile, frown, and movement I make, the mirror imitates, and together, this reflection and myself are one. Staring deeper into this reflection I look at the depth of my clear brown eyes, and with each blink I take, a glimpse of my life and soul are reflected onto this simple object.

Looking into this mirror, I watch myself and catch sight of my attitude and experiences. It helped me realize that I lived a life different from the rest. Being a daughter of diplomat parents, my childhood has consisted of travelling and staying at different parts of the world, namely Canada, New York and now the Philippines. The people I have come across, friends that have contributed to changing my life and the different cultures I have been exposed to, have helped create the person I am today.

Being exposed to different type of cultures and especially personalities has instilled a different attitude within me. Having lived in America for nearly 7 years has infused in me the American way of life, like riding on subways/buses and being punctual all the time, just to name a few and also by thinking and speaking in fluent English, and acting like the Americans. However, by living in a diverse community, wherein everyone from all 4 corners of the world lived in one city, it has given me a small taste of each part of the world. It also taught me how to communicate and respond with people whom are of different race, culture, personalities and custom.

As I'm still looking into my reflection and into my eyes, I could see a flicker of sadness and then suddenly the once intense brown transformed into a murky black. When I moved to the Philippines 3 years ago, came some hardships as well. I was residing in a place where I didn't speak an ounce of Tagalog and the Filipino way and atmosphere was completely different from the American way of life. I was in a total culture shock. It was the moment in my life where I encountered the most obstacles, by overcoming language barriers, coping up with classes, trying to fit in and make friends and the pressure of trying to stay in the "star" section.

The embarrassment of speaking in fluent English amidst the sea of people speaking "carabao English" wherein every time I spoke, they either giggled or clapped was frustrating. There were many instances where this would happen; I could recall a time where every little thing I did, from eating to how I dressed, to my infamous "American slang" were being noticed by my classmates. It was the fact that I was trying so hard to fit in, yet they made it near impossible by making me feel more like an outcast, and emphasized how I was different and the humiliation I endured during this time was unbearable.

There have been countless times where I cried and wanted to give up, overwhelmed with the gravity of nearly everything crashing down on me. But through the encouragement of the people around me, namely my parents and close friends who I became very close to and trusted, it helped me strive hard and prove to myself, that sometimes the best thing to do is to try to prove the impossible. The first 2 years subsequent to moving were the most arduous part of my life, yet I gained the most experience and learning, it was the time where this huge turnover from West to East helped contribute and define me most as a person.

The mirror, to the untrained eye, would just be deemed as an ordinary object, which just reflects whatever it sees, but to me it became a significant part of my life. The reflection reveals more than just my physical attributes; to a careful observer, it holds the depths of my very existence, so raw and innocent. Through every moment experienced, it is reflected back again onto this mirror, and shows the growth, strength and maturity that has taken place within me, both physically and mentally. This mirror serves not only as a tool for contemplation and revelation it is the purest reflection of me, and through looking through this mirror did it help me know and find myself.

ershad193 14 / 337 5  
Aug 3, 2010   #2
Aristotle once said, "Knowing oneself, is the beginning of all wisdom," and not only is ... ... ... by learning from the greatest teacher: ourselves.

This is a long sentence. Maybe, you can break it into two parts. The first ending at "classroom", and the second starting like, "However, it can only..."

Do you really need the second paragraph? It looks pretty by itself, but I doubt whether it adds anything to the essay. You could have said all that in one sentence and used it to start the third paragraph.

You write well. The usage of short paragraphs makes it easy on the eye.
OP lovelycs 1 / 3  
Aug 3, 2010   #3
Thanks a lot, ill make sure to change that.

The 2nd paragraph I wanted it to represent the symbolism of a mirror compared to life...i dont know how to sum all that to one sentence tho.
sharl_cureg - / 3  
Aug 4, 2010   #4
hmm. I have read an essay somewhat similar to yours.
especially in this part:

This mirror serves not only as a tool for contemplation and revelation it is the purest reflection of me, and through looking through this mirror did it help me know and find myself.

and the other "mirror" parts.
No offense meant.

Oh! BTW, are you applying at Ateneo De Manila University?
If you are please PM me at
sharl_cureg@
(If you don't mind :) )
OP lovelycs 1 / 3  
Aug 4, 2010   #5
Huh? You did? I'm sure thats mearly a coincidence.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Aug 4, 2010   #6
As I stand in front of a simple full-length mirror,

Hey, this sentence has really nice rhythm! I like it...

I don't know if "clear brown" makes sense.

...a glimpse of my life and soul are is reflected onto this simple object.

Okay, here is my challenge for you:
The first paragraph is too short. I think you should read the whole essay again and write a sentence that expresses the central idea of the whole essay. Add that sentence to the end of paragraph one. It will be your thesis sentence, and it will anchor all the paragraphs to one central idea. :-)
sharl_cureg - / 3  
Aug 6, 2010   #7
Huh? You did? I'm sure thats mearly a coincidence.

coincidence. guess so. hmmm.
but I'm pretty sure I read those words already.
An essay of a student applying for YALE university.
good luck on this. :)
OP lovelycs 1 / 3  
Aug 6, 2010   #8
Kevin, thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it.

Sharlene,
I just tried searching for it, and there are some similarities. However, since I've never read that essay before, I'd just find that a coincidence.

However, while looking at one of the threads you authored, you pretty much copied and pasted the whole thing, while just changing your name.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Aug 7, 2010   #9
Everyone please make sure you do not post any material into essay forum if it is not your own original material. If anyone knows of an essay that is plagiarized, please link me to it so that I can remove it! :-)

On the other hand, sometimes essays can seem very similar even when they are not plagiarized, especially if they cover topics that are commonly written about.


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