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'love for fixing things' Common App experience, risk, achievement


Faraz123 1 / 1  
Aug 13, 2012   #1
Hi Everyone. I'm a senior in high school and new to the forums. I'm not sure if I am answering the prompt correctly or how well my essay will come off to the admissions people. This is my common application essay. And I plan to play to the University of Pennsylvania Early Decision.

The prompt: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

My essay:

I love fixing things. Be it computers, cars, lawnmowers, chainsaws, Xbox 360's, drain clogs, bad electrical outlets and more. Since I was a kid I've always been fascinated with how things work. When my computer monitor suddenly turned blank I knew it was my video card. When my car was overheating I knew it was a bad radiator. Being the repair and do-it-yourself industry I learned life's most valuable lesson. A lesson that if not discovered, humanity would still be in its Neanderthal days.

I bought my first car last winter for a measly $400. It had a blown head-gasket and I saw it as a fun project and a way to get more experience about auto repairs. I started in November of last year and around January I thought I was done. I worked all day when the weather permitted and I took a long time to learn the inner workings of the car and change the head-gasket. After I reassembled everything to the factory specifications I eagerly got behind the wheel, pushed the clutch pedal and started the car. It started right up but was making such a loud rattle that I shut off the car because I was worried about waking the neighbors. I tried to figure out the problem but to no avail. Eventually a mechanic looked at it and told me my engine was gone as I had damaged the piston by dropping a bolt in the engine housing.

With no other options I paid the mechanic $1200 of my hard earned savings to replace the motor and then sold the car. When I told my Dad what happened he simply smiled and said "At least you'll never let that happen again." And slowly after my frustration cooled down I realized what he meant, the life lesson for mankind was that I'll learn from my mistakes.

It's something I honestly took for granted, something I never bothered to think about; why will I never drop a bolt in an engine again? Because I know that it will destroy the engine completely and as I don't want that to happen again I will make sure I double check around the car from now on before starting it. But the real lesson is learning from mistakes in general, not necessarily my own. My dad left old gas in the tank of his lawnmower and that gums up the carberator and will keep the mower from starting again. Knowing this, I'll make sure to never let that happen again.

This principle is applicable in every aspect of life, from academics, to the job market, even our government and legislature. Mistakes allow us as a society, to grow, learn and prosper from our previous experiences instead of mindlessly going through the motions of life. Eventually, I want to use this to create a better country for everyone, be it through law, engineering or science.

This is my rough draft so please comment with any suggestions and corrections. I really appreciate all your help!
HimekoY 2 / 3  
Aug 13, 2012   #2
I love fixing things. Be it computers, cars, lawnmowers, chainsaws, or Xbox 360's., drain clogs, bad electrical outlets and more.Too much listing! The first five were plenty to show the vast array of fixing skills you have!Since I was a kid I've always been fascinated with how things work. When my computer monitor suddenly turned blank I knew it was my video card. When my car was overheating I knew it was a bad radiator. Being in the repair and do-it-yourself industry I learned life's most valuable lesson. A lesson that if not discovered, humanity would still be in its Neanderthal days.Replace witha better transitional sentence or just say what the lesson is. This sentence, while playing for funny just comes off as grammatically off.

I bought my first car last winterLast winter, i bought my first car for a measly $400. It had a blown head-gasket and I saw it as both a fun project and a way to get more experience aboutwith auto repairs. I started in November of last year and around January I thought I was done. I worked all day, when the weather permitted, and I took a longthe time to learn the inner workings of the car and change the head-gasket. After I reassembled everything to the factory specifications I eagerly got behind the wheel, pushed the clutch pedalomitted for overexplanation and started the car. It started right up but was making such a loud rattle that I shut it off the car because I was worried about waking the neighbors. I tried to figure out the problem but to no availinsert a something less cliched . Eventually a mechanic looked at it and told me my engine was gone.as I had damaged the piston by dropping a bolt in the engine housing.

With no other options, I paid the mechanic $1200 of my hard earned savings to replace the motor and then sold the car. When I told my Dad what happened he simply smiled and said "At least you'll never let that happen again." And slowlyAfter my frustration cooled down I realized what he meant, the life lesson for mankind was that I'll learn from my mistakes. Reword the life lesson so it has a more heartfelt impact on the reader

It's something I honestly took for granted, something I never bothered to think about;Whywould I never drop a bolt in an engine again? Because I know that it will destroy the engine completely.and as I don't want that to happen again I will make sure to double check around the car from now on before starting it. But the real lesson is learning from mistakes in general, not necessarily my own. Either omit or rewrite this sentence. It's a bit sloppy.My dad left old gas in the tank of his lawnmower and that gums up the carberator and will keep the mower from starting again. Knowing this, I'll make sure to never let that happen again.Omitted because it is unrelated. It happened to your dad and it seperate fromt eh car incident.

This principle is applicable in every aspect of life, from academics, to the job market, even our government and legislature. Mistakes allow us as a society, to grow, learn and prosper from our previous experiences instead of mindlessly going through the motions of life. Eventually, I want to use this to create a better country for everyone, be it through law, engineering or science.

I hope this helps you with your next draft, though you should only use my fixes as a guideline. This is your essay adn my word is not law.

~Himeko
OP Faraz123 1 / 1  
Aug 14, 2012   #3
Thank you so much for taking the time out to make these edits. Usually when people I edit my work I look for reasons they make the edits and yours are very clear. Thanks again!


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