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MIT essay // Most significant challenge // Father's alcoholism

Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 20, 2012   #1
I was fourteen when I learned how to ride a bike. Seriously. For thirteen years I had no real world knowledge, neither social nor practical. I was quiet around teachers and students alike, barely capable of holding conversations and always eager to escape them. Though I loved everything about science, I knew nothing of day-to-day problems or how to handle them. Most boys my age learned these things from their fathers. I did not.

My father is an alcoholic. Cruel persecution in the Soviet Union and a stressful life drove him to drinking. He is like any other human with vices and virtues. But the all consuming urge to drink is one he has not conquered, and my family has suffered as a result. Together we have struggled through threats of foreclosure and brushes with death - but we are better for it.

It was when I was fourteen that my friends and I founded a robotics team. It at first appealed to a fleeting curiosity, "Building robots? Cool!" I would have never guessed how much it would change my life. In between talking with coaches and students, designing mechanisms, and competing, I grew immensely. The skills I learned follow me everywhere: school, home, the world.

So I climb up onto my bike and begin to ride. Past a troubled father, a robotics team, a loving family. Into the unknown and wonderful. And let me tell you: it's a lot more fun than walking.

Didgeridoo - / 306 191  
Dec 20, 2012   #2
I like your story and your writing style, but try to avoid blaming your father for all these different circumstances and focus more on what they taught you.
OP Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 20, 2012   #3
Thank you for the feedback. The problem with essays for MIT is that they have a word limit of 250. I am already edging that fine line.

By the way, I have five other essays that fill in some of the gaps in my story, but I'm hesitant to post them all for fear of being copied. This is the one I'm really unsure about for the reason you mentioned. I love my dad, but there's nobody else to blame for my family's situation, so it's pretty hard to paint him in a positive light.

If you don't mind, could you tell me how you interpreted the bike metaphor? I have a vision in my head, but I'm not exactly sure if it's coming across the right way. Thank you for your critical input!
dumi 1 / 6,928 1592  
Dec 20, 2012   #4
By the way, I have five other essays that fill in some of the gaps in my story, but I'm hesitant to post them all for fear of being copied.

If you are scared of having your essay being copied and still wish to have others' comments on it, what you can do is have it deleted soon after recieving a few comments. For that you need to earn 4 likes and they usually come to you with good feedbacks you provide on others' essays. Also you can make a request to us to close your thread even before you delete it so that it does not appear on the home page.

OP Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 21, 2012   #5
Thank you Dumi. I'll work on getting those likes and probably post the whole batch of essays.
Didgeridoo - / 306 191  
Dec 21, 2012   #6
If you don't mind, could you tell me how you interpreted the bike metaphor?

I interpreted you riding your bike as a metaphor/parallel to your situation with your father (riding a bike is something you had to struggle with but the experience has made you wiser and able to move past the initial struggle, it's kind of a rite of passage and being successful means that you have grown up, it represents you moving forward and not being slow or hesitant about life, etc.)
OP Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 21, 2012   #7
Perfect! That's exactly what I wanted to get across and you worded it much better than I could have. You are the best.
vadalis 4 / 12  
Dec 22, 2012   #8
The best part of the essay is the bike metaphor! i really liked it. also, the second para about your father could be cut down.it does not matter so much i feel. You should try change the wordings of your essay too because the content is veyr deep but it just does not have that little bit extra.

Overall, good essay. Good luck!
karatekid666 4 / 13 2  
Dec 29, 2012   #9
I am trying to think of something constructive to say to you, but I honestly like the essay as it is. It has a very powerful voice, and I absolutely love the conclusion, as it ties in well with your previous mention of riding a bike. I am concerned that you haven't expanded on your accomplishments in your robotics team at least briefly. But, then again, I don't have the essay prompt in front of me so I can't tell if that was a part of the prompt. But, in all, I would say that you have written a winning essay that will certainly catch the attention of the admissions committee at MIT. Good luck!
OP Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 29, 2012   #10
Thanks. As it stands my essay is a ways above the word limit and I don't think I can squeeze in any accomplishments from robotics. I cover a few in my activities section on the application.
mela3 2 / 37 2  
Dec 29, 2012   #11
I think your essay is very good-- both the revised and original versions. I don't think you need to expand upon the robotics here. It seems as though you use the robotics team to serve as an instigator of change, so there is really no need to talk of your accomplishments there in depth. Good job and good luck! :)
hellogoodbye 2 / 20  
Dec 29, 2012   #12
The beginning is a bit abrupt. Don't know if that's good.

Also, the transition between stories is a bit rough.

It left me puzzled to think, "O, what does robotics have to do with his dad" until the end, and the end didn't connect back to your father's alcoholism but rather your fear to talk to him.

Overall, good idea, but try to connect your points a bit better.
OP Proran 4 / 17 5  
Dec 29, 2012   #13
try to connect your points a bit better.

This is my main issue. 250 words at a maximum doesn't leave much room for smooth transitioning, I think the admissions officers will understand.

Can't believe I spelled absence wrong, haha.
ayu0006 8 / 17 2  
Dec 29, 2012   #14
d'awwwwwwwwww the ending

maybe it is just me (i am far from the most competent writer here) but there seems to be a lack of logical transition between your 1st paragraph towards second then towards your 3rd paragraph. its like one minute you are talking about the fracture relationship you share with you dad and the next a robotics club and then it transitions immediately back to your relationship with your dad. Try to bridge this gap but otherwise i thought it was very touching.

pls look over part 1 of my nyu supplemental, much halp is appreciated n_n

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