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The little girl who influenced me; Princeton essay


ttejo 2 / 3 2  
Dec 21, 2013   #1
Princeton essay topic: Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.

Hi guys! This is my essay and it's 607 words so I have plenty of space to revise/add to it. I just want help and advice with editing it. It would also be nice if someone told me if this was up to par with princeton's quality.

It's the child that I remember with perfect clarity. She is impossible to forget. Her tiny hands, naked feet, her tattered clothing, or rather lack of clothing. I remember lounging in my uncle's air-conditioned car while travelling through the clogged roads of our large town in India. I closed my eyes, tired from our day of shopping when this little girl interrupted my slumber. She looked no older than five years, yet she was standing in the middle of the road in stopped traffic, tapping on my glass window with her bony little hands. Sympathy arose and I opened the window as I addressed her; she cupped one hand and lifted it to my face. I assumed that she was begging for money, but before I could move, she scrunched her fingers together and put them to her mouth. She was hungry. Yet again, before I acted she moved her fingers over to a tiny body she was carrying that I had not previously noticed. Nestled against her was a baby, even smaller than her, wailing uncontrollably. The girl's clamped hand moved over to the infant's mouth, signaling that she wasn't the one who needed food- her sister was.

I hastily turned to my uncle, "Mavaya, can I give her the snacks we bought? She needs to feed her sister!" My uncle gave me an incredulous glance and with a quick shake of his head he said, "The money will only be stolen from them by a man who organizes all the poor people to beg for him." I pursued my request since the traffic was still, but he only turned further and further away from my window. He refused to respond and staring out ahead of him he closed the window letting the cool air dissipate through the car again, blocking out his rising guilt.

That's when I felt the separation. The cold air was no longer soothing; it only served as a reminder of the heartless way we had denied someone in need. How could we so blatantly ignore the flagrant and depressing condition that the girl was in? I was appalled by the lack of concern. Opening the window was not an option; I had been warned against it. I had no power. I could not influence others to care or show compassion.

When my American friends think of poverty, they imagine panhandlers who occupy the streets, the local supermarkets, or wait around the soup kitchen that my they volunteered at, once a long time ago. I imagine the streets of India. I see the little girl with the tortured, haunted eyes, forever preserved in my memory. She is my motivation. I saw her in a time and in an environment where I had no clout or aim. Unconsciously, the summer after encountering her with hostility in India, I became an avid volunteer. I changed my career path from one beneficial to me, to one where I could help make changes in the world through advocating and speaking for the poverty-ridden people. She stimulated my sense of humanity.

The Hindu Seva Association and the Greater Washington Telugu Society, (GWTCS), have provided me with many opportunities to lead the youth of Virginia to make a difference. The youth council of the Association has fundraised for donating money to kids across India, affecting the quality of their life and education.

Sometimes the ones who influence us the most influence us in ways that are not easily quantified. The little girl to whom I did not ever utter a word has impacted my life drastically. She taught me that true heroism is associated with compassion and dedication.

OP ttejo 2 / 3 2  
Dec 21, 2013   #3
Unconsciously, the summer after encountering her with hostility in India, I became an avid volunteer. I changed my career path from one beneficial to me, to one where I could help make changes in the world through advocating and speaking for the poverty-ridden people. She stimulated my sense of humanity.

Should I expand on this then?
sanatm 3 / 5  
Dec 23, 2013   #4
Yes definitely expand more on what you did AFTER that experience, and less on that experience itself. I think vivid imagery is an amazing addition to any essay but use is sparingly as it really slows the essay down. Btw just putting it out there, I'm also from Northern Virginia and moved to India a couple years ago!
OP ttejo 2 / 3 2  
Dec 23, 2013   #5
Ok, thank you! Woah that's cool! I didn't move to India but this is about when I visited haha
dumi 1 / 6,928 1592  
Dec 24, 2013   #6
I closed my eyes, tired from our day of shopping when this little girl interrupted myslumber.

... was it a deep slumber or just a little nap out of your tiredness? I guess it should be a nap in a car.

or wait around the soup kitchen that my they volunteered at,

.... I guess you have some typos here

I see the little girl with the tortured, haunted eyes, forever preserved in my memory.

... rather than saying that she lives in your memory, tell how she influenced you to think differently. That way you can align your response better with the prompt.
AnnieKim611 3 / 12 1  
Dec 25, 2013   #7
[[[Unconsciously, the summer after encountering her with hostility in India, I became an avid volunteer.]]] changed my career path from one beneficial to me, to one where I could help make changes in the world through advocating and speaking for the poverty-ridden people.

-this is a really awk sentence!!

Unconscious= you were asleep
subconsciously= working without you having control... I think this is the word you are looking for


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