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"living in my mother's plush home" - A shot in the Dark UC personal statement 2

bmanley 1 / -  
Nov 30, 2009   #1
I'm frantically looking for feedback, take a look.

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

I grew up living in my mother's plush home. When she had an episode of mental illness I was sent away - to my fathers.

After my mother became ill enough to be legally taken away without consent, my father quickly settled me into living at his home and sent me to school. I was rushed into the line of children standing outside my 1st grade classroom.

I waited wearing mismatched, mis-sized flip flops. I hadn't time to bring any clothes or possessions. I began to notice others staring at my footwear that was disapproved of by the administration. My jacket, much too large, let in a draft that only worsened with the stares. This schism in my reality was strange, only days before I had wined at my mother for buying me a purple lunchbox instead of the teal one. Now I only wished for suitable footwear. Within months things returned to normal.

This time the transition to my father's was voluntary. My grandmother urged me, citing safety; my mother was again showing signs of illness. I packed a few things, I reluctantly said goodbye and apologized for leaving. I didn't know if my mother's denial would outweigh reason but I played it safe. I told her lonely eyes that I would return soon and the decision was based upon internal struggle.

At my mother's I had been picky, I requested shopping often and received an allowance despite not doing chores. At my fathers, we ate dinners from McDonalds after he would return from work. My stomach would growl but the can of tuna and the head of lettuce in the 'fridge did not appeal. My mother had driven me and friends to ice cream and the movies; now, without this source of entertainment I hadn't seen my friends for a while. I walked to the park, crushing crunchy leaves on the way, for enjoyment. I had more on my mind than flip flops

At night I retired to bed. My bed was the one my mother slept on as a child. The mattress was topped with buttons that scraped when my elbow ran across them in my sleep. Atop this were my old sheets, given to my father after they became useless to my mother. My broken clock radio awoke me. My mother was well again. I returned home.

My discomfort in these situations drove me to find something I could possess and control. I applied to work at a local sandwich shop at the age of 15 ˝. This was too late in my anxious opinion. Though I had no especial use for the earnings, my mother took care of everything I wanted, I was eager to step into a uniform and do what the manager asked of me.

I spent my summer chopping vegetables, washing dishes, mopping floors and helping customers. Nights I opted to close; it meant an extra 4 hours every night. Without a glance at homework, I would return home, in need of a shower, at 10 pm. It was demanding, but not quite damaging. Though OSHA would have disapproved, my hunger for work would not be satisfied until my hours reached 30 per week.

My grandmother fretted at my disposition after work, the memories of my discomfort were forgotten, and my behavior concerned her more than my mother's manic hallucinations.

I could no longer enjoy the things that came with being 15. I was treated like an adult, save a few guidelines. But the benefit of being a child, the handouts, came without pleasure. Anything not purchased with my wages tasted bitter. Everything seemed as if it could be snatched away. My car was envied by my peers but purchased by my mother; I would not be comfortable until I earned one of my own.

My situation was a case of premature growth in the area of independence, but my lack of skills in other ways paralyzed healthy progress. I was unable to take my situation and enjoy what I could, stand still for a while and chart a reasonable path. Instead of this, I gorged myself with work and fell into somnolence.

Though the experience was damaging, it smoothed the surface I stand on. I am now proud of my work experience. While before I thought of my childhood in pity, then banished it from my memory; now I look back to my rocky childhood exclusively to understand my quirks.
linmark 2 / 328 7  
Dec 1, 2009   #2
Hi - I hope you don't mind my being very blunt with my comments to help you better organize your thoughts. Please don't get upset if my interpretation is wrong - it's only one person's read on your essay.

First, let's look at the prompt: accomplishment or experience that is important to you. Is this your earning your own pocket money or is it coping with being moved back and forth between parents, or is it coping with your mother's mental illness. All of the above are significant, but you need to help the reader know which is the one you want to focus on.

By doing this, you will get to strengthen your answer to the second part of the prompt: What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are? Your last paragraph doesn't really say anything other than your being proud of the work experience and looking back at your "rocky childhood exclusively to understand my quirks." Do you mean to understand how you overcame the difficulty of coping by yourself with only your grandmother's support? What about becoming getting closer to your dad (and living a less plush life?) or becoming self-sufficient at an early age?

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