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Meaningful activities (150) - three versions for this short essay to choose from

anna123 8 / 14 3  
Dec 28, 2018   #1
Please help me choose from the below 3 options of ec essays. Which one do you think is best, and if you have any comments or critiques, please let me know!

Thank you in advance!

A) Mottainai!

For a week of my summer 2017, I volunteered at a local nonprofit that provided bento lunch boxes to disabled elderly people. I loved the ambiance of the fragrant kitchen-the light laughter of the staff that filled the morning, and the silence that fell at noon as our mouths stopped and our hands worked frantically away.

My favorite part of the day was lunchtime when I had the chance to converse with the staff while savoring the delectable dishes that we had concocted. Most of them were volunteers my grandparents' age. During the war, when a single grain of rice left on a plate was considered "mottainai," or wasteful, they had learned to reduce waste to the minimum. I learned from them many things, like just how paper-thin you could pare apple peels. But most of all, they taught me the immeasurable value of every life-giving resource.

B) Chocolate Miracles

"Chocolates for charity!" I eagerly call out to passerby of a department store, but the Tokyoites walk hurriedly on. The charity chocolates for the children in the Philippines were not selling very well. What was worse, the expiration date of the chocolates was impending, leaving us 2 months to sell everything.

Thoughts of giving up cut through my mind when confronted by reality: people were either too busy or simply uninterested. But I continued to call companies, event organizers, and stations to provide us venues for fundraising. Then, the miracle happened.

After reaching out to a newspaper to publish an interview, exactly a month from the expiration date, we were called by a 96-year-old woman. She was impressed in our efforts and would buy the remaining 800 chocolates for $2000! Had I given up, we would not have accomplished our goal. When facing a challenge, I always recall this experience that taught me the reward of persistence.

C) My first job experience

The first thing the manager taught at MOS Burger was how to greet customers. Not to operate the cash register, run the drive-thru, or take orders, but to stand straight, flash a smile, and welcome each customer with an energetic "Irasshaimase!".

I had come into my first day of work, expecting my first job to be mopping the floor or folding napkins at the back of the pantry, when the manager took me to the entrance and coached me on my greeting skills. Never had I noticed as a customer the great effort that this ubiquitous Japanese fast-food chain put into hospitality. Although on a few occasions, blunders-including misplacements of orders, dropping of French fries, and spilling of water-were made, I realized that there was nothing more motivating than a customer recognizing my small acts of hospitality, whether it be exchanging wet-towels after the meal or refilling empty water glasses. Working at MOS burger taught me taught me the subtle efforts put into things we don't notice, teaching me to observe and appreciate subtle services.
LizLee 2 / 3 2  
Dec 28, 2018   #2
Hi Anna,

I like all of these essays, but if I have to choose, I would choose C, that's probably because I agree with your point that success comes from every little details. For those most successful business, they must have gained deep understanding of this, so they pay closer attention to customers' experience and other services.

I have some suggestions.

1. Most of the volunteers were about my grandparents' age.
2. During the war, when a single grain ... --> What war? Could you be more specific?

Chocolate Miracles
1. ... I eagerly call out to passerby ... ---> called out
2. but the Tokyoites walked by hurriedly on.

My first job experience
1. Working at MOS burger ... ---> I believe it would be better if you do not use abbreviation.

BTW, I suggest that you change the sequences of the first 4 sentences in My first job to make it more logical.

Well done!~
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,308 3991  
Dec 29, 2018   #3
Anna, there are 2 activities that I believe you can choose from. I believe that for an extra curricular activity, you can use the activity regarding the Philippine children you tried to raise money for. For a work related activity, I would opt to present the one about your work at the burger place. While all of your statements are quite strong, the choice should not be made by us as readers, but by you as the writer. Think about which of the two choices showcase the image and strength of character that you would rather portray to the reviewer.

Since the Japanese are known to be highly respectful people, you may want to go for the obvious choice which is letter C. However, if you want to call more attention to yourself as a determined person then go for letter B. Letter C is not something that is unique to you because you were doing a job and indicating your observations about the people you dealt with. Letter B, calls attention to a personal character trait. Your determination to succeed during times when others would already surrender and forget about the activity.

If I were the reviewer, I would rather read about your charitable activity, how it relates to your mindset, and how it highlights your sheer determination to succeed in the face of insurmountable odds. The final choice is actually yours to make. I can only explain the strengths and weaknesses of the two statements that I feel would best suit the prompt requirements.

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