Unanswered [17] | Urgent [0]
  

Home / Undergraduate   % width Posts: 27

My Mom Isn't a Superhero - transition from childhood to adulthood


marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 16, 2013   #1
Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from
childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family in 650 words or less.
I have this essay and my other twin essay, I'm debating between the two of them for my common app. The other essay I've spent a lot of time on editing; if that's the better essay I will not waste any more time with this one. I was wondering which one "seems" like the "better" essay, and I would love to have someone edit this one if it seems like a better idea. Thank you :)

This summer, my mom had surgery for a fractured arm, fractured fingers, and broken back all in a month's span. Shockingly, none of these injuries were related; my mom fell off her bike, walked the dogs, and had an ongoing disc problem respectively. Looking down at my mother laying in bed with a cast on each arm and a back brace made me quickly realize that I was incorrect in my childhood belief that my mom was an undefeatable superhero. She looked much more fragile when her tall 5'9 and well-muscled body w as hidden under casts and covers. It was my turn to take care of her the way that she had taken care of me and my sister for the past seventeen years.

While I have always helped make dinner and run the household, now it was completely my responsibility to do these things. My mom needed help doing the things that I always took for granted: getting up, using the bathroom, showering. It was equal parts sad seeing her inability to do these everyday activities and gratifying to understand how much time my mom spent taking care of me when I was younger. I also realized just how much time it took to be as healthy as my mother; I found myself up in the wee hours of the morning chopping multitudes of raw vegetables, blending them together, and then serving my mom. I became my mom's personal chauffer, carting her around to the grocery store, vitamin shop, doctors appointments... the list goes on.

I'd love to say that I did all of these things with a huge smile and undeniable sense of enthusiasm and compassion, but that would be a lie. I complained... a lot. I wasn't too thrilled that I had to spend more time in my house taking care of my mom rather than spending time with my friends. And when I was home, I just wanted to curl up with a book or run, not do laundry or clean Fireball, our Green-Winged Macaw's, cage. Not to mention, my mom was not the easiest of patients. She has a pretty low pain tolerance, and it was a struggle to get her to abide by my system of writing down how much of each pain medication she took and when. My mom also tried to do too much too fast; the day after her back surgery she decided to go for a walk and the neighbors had to bring her home after she passed out. I felt a mother's disappointment at my mom's stupidity as I helped bring her back into the house.

Taking care of my mom this summer was certainly difficult, but it has been a gratifying experience at the same time. I spent far more time with her than I would have had I not had to take care of her, and we've had a lot of fun. We spent hours giggling on her bed while I painted her nails or brushed her hair. My mom bought Netflix which was very exciting, and we laughed over numerous romantic comedies. We scoured through college information books, excitedly imaging the future me in completely new places. My favorite moment of all though, was reading my favorite book "On the Road" aloud to her. Without the use of her hands, my mom was incapable of reading, but there was something really special about sharing my favorite story with her the same way that she read countless books to me when I was little.

Taking care of another person other than myself has shown me what adulthood is all about. I used to think that maturity and independence marked an adult, but I've come to learn that putting someone else's needs and happiness before your own distinguishes an adult. I look forward to further cultivating the adult I will one day be in college, always remembering the help that I received along my way.
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 16, 2013   #2
This one's not perfect but it has the makings of something pretty damn good.

Where's the other one?
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 20, 2013   #4
Hi,

I'm sorry, I would appreciate if someone would give me feedback on this essay vs. my other essay "Which One is the Smarter Twin." If this is the better idea then I would like to start editing this down and making it nice; if not I'd like to start my supplements. Thank you so much :)
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 20, 2013   #5
I apologize for not having gotten back to you sooner. You face a dilemma The fact is that they're both well-written. The problem is that neither addresses the most important part of its prompt.

Let's look at this one...

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked yourtransition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family in 650 words or less.

TRANSLATION: How did caring for your mom make you more adult? What ASPECTS of adulthood do you now possess as a result of this experience?

There's too much here about Mom.

As for the twin essay, check this out:

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

What they're really asking is, "How did being a twin make you the person you are now?" I'm not at all sure that you've gotten deeply enough into this.

Your essays are equally "good." You're a skilled and talented writer, obviously (to me, at least) an AP student.

Still the first and most important job is to answer the essay question as it's asked. If you can prove to me---by citing specific words and phrases from either essay---that you've done this, then I'll stop pestering you and help you to edit and proofread if you'd like me to.
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 22, 2013   #6
Thank you very much for your input; as far as the twin essay goes, I have the "I like the idea of individuality and am trying to discover that" aspect of my identity because I am a twin. My interest in books about individuals highlights that.

I definitely see what you are saying with the second essay; I'll work on that, less Mom, more me! It sounds like I need to have that conclusion paragraph be more like the majority of my essay.

I guess what I'm trying to ask here is it worth my time to work on my "Mom" essay? I'm just trying to figure out which topic best gives college admissions people a sense of who I am.

Thank you very much for your time and your compliments on my writing; your presumption would be an accurate one :)
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 22, 2013   #7
your presumption would be an accurate one :)

I'm smarter than I look.

Do you intend to be online for the next half hour or so?
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 22, 2013   #8
Both should be brought to fruition (if you have the time to do it) before you make the call.

If you must choose now, I'd nudge you toward the Mom paper as I can see some structural pitfalls with the "Twins" essay. However, the payoff would potentially be higher with the Twins essay. This is why I want to go farther with both if possible.

When is this due?

Give me a time and I will meet you and go through these piece-by-piece if you'd like.

(I'm on Pacific time, available pretty much all day unless I have appointments with other students.)
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 22, 2013   #9
These aren't due until November; I'm just trying to get my main Common App essays done before the end of summer so I can focus on school and supplements during the school year. I do have the time to work on both and am also on Pacific Time. Thank you very much!
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 22, 2013   #10
I have not forgotten about you. To the contrary, I'm creating some information about the Common App, some of which is in direct response to the issues facing you here.

Bear with me.
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 23, 2013   #11
I have determined the main problem with this essay:

There are MANY events discussed here, all under the umbrella of "taking care of my mother."

To be sure, you are an above-average writer and both of your essays are fine. However, I'd like for you to read this. Pay specific attention to the part about narrowing your topic.

Having read thousands of these, I can tell you that I'd LOVE to read about any ONE of these events. In particular, the part about reading to your mother is very intriguing and has real potential. You could cover lots of different angles, including but not limited to the irony of the child reading to the mother.

There are several other specifics here that I like and that could be expanded.

I hope that helps!

John
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 23, 2013   #12
Taking care of

Another minor concern is the repeat of this phrase. I see it at least three times, which is at least once and probably twice too many.

However, you can eliminate this issue by heeding my suggestion above.
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 23, 2013   #13
I completely agree! Thank you for pointing this out to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the article you wrote (I actually laughed at the parts where I was blatantly being exemplified). I will work on a second draft where I really hone in on one "event" and get back to you with that. It's funny, it seems that in much of my writing I have this problem; it'll be good for me to maybe kick this bad habit in the bud right now. Thank you again, you'll surely be hearing from me soon!
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 23, 2013   #14
(I actually laughed at the parts where I was blatantly being exemplified)

Glad to hear this, but more important is that you understand my meaning (which I think you do).
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 23, 2013   #15
Alright John, here is the newest draft :)

My most fond childhood memories are the bedtime stories my mom read to me and my twin sister every night. I was the only kid on my block who actually wanted to go to bed; I couldn't wait to hear the next book, or when I got older, chapter of whichever adventure we were currently reading. Not only was I enthralled by the stories, there was something intimate about sitting perched on the edge of my Power Puff Girls blanket with my mom and cat Shredder, lulled by the euphonic sound of my mom's voice reading the words aloud. I've always said that I would do the same when I had children of my own one day; I never would have thought that I'd be doing so the summer going into my senior year.

My mom had surgery for a fractured arm, fractured fingers, and a broken back all in a month's span. Shockingly, none of these injuries were related; my mom fell off her bike, walked the dogs, and had an ongoing disc problem respectively. Looking down at my mother laying in bed with a cast on each arm and a back brace made me quickly realize that I was incorrect in my childhood belief that my mom was an undefeatable superhero like the characters in my bedtime stories. Without the use of her arms my mom couldn't do much of anything. Clearly someone needed to be at home with my mom most of the time to take care of her since she couldn't do so herself.

Somehow this became my task, and originally I was not happy with this at all. For the majority of my junior year I had eagerly looked forward to the summer days of hanging out at the beach with my friends and horseback riding. Instead I was home with my mom.

I was sulking in my room looking at my book shelf and mentally lamenting about the injustice of my summer when my eye caught the spine of my favorite book "On the Road." I ran up to my mom's room, grabbing my cat Simba on the way, and perched myself on the edge of her bed and began to read aloud. It was an entirely different experience reading the words that I loved so much out loud to my mom; I was able to truly appreciate the beauty of the language and depth of the characters in a way that I missed before. Sharing my favorite story was even more special; my mom generally does not read fiction and would have never experienced Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty's adventures had I not read them aloud to her.

While my original goal was to help my mom, I think that I was most greatly impacted by our story time. I suppose I've always attributed adulthood to things like age and independence, but I've come to realize that adulthood is more than just superficial demonstrations of age. Taking the time to share an experience with another and truly loving every moment of their enjoyment is adulthood.

Reading to my mom gave me another perspective on my childhood memories: my mom's. I'm sure there were other things that she would have rather been doing than reading children's books to her kids. But every night she was there with a book, reading the words that so delighted me. While I had no qualms about reading my favorite book again, I could have easily read it in a quarter of the time that it took for me to read it aloud to my mom. I could have just set up Netflix, which we had recently bought, and done my own thing. But no, I chose to share something that was special to me in a way that was even more special to me and my mom. While taking care of my mom has allowed me to experience the stereotypical "adulthood" things that mark my transition to adulthood, more importantly I understand the true adult concept of putting someone else's happiness before my own.
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 23, 2013   #16
Be as patient as you can...

I understand the true adult concept of putting someone else's happiness before my own.

List for me some other "adult concepts" you now understand.

Use sentence fragments, each beginning with a present progressive verb (an "ing" word).

You have one:

---putting someone else's happiness before my own

Add some more.
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 23, 2013   #17
-- being responsible for not only onself, but another
-- recognizing one's inherent "flaws"
-- enjoying the small things; the company of family who truly loves you, a beautifully written sentence, the unconditional affection of a purring cat
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 23, 2013   #18
Okay...

Now we have to bring this back to the actual prompt.

These things all seem to connect to your mom's injury rather than the reading part. That's fine.

Discuss an event...that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your... familyin 650 words or less.

EVENT:
---Mom's surgery

WHAT YOU WERE LIKE AS A CHILD:
---That's what we'll do next. See below

TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD: the "adult" stuff you learned
---putting someone else's happiness before my own
---being responsible for not only onself, but another
-- recognizing one's inherent "flaws"
-- enjoying the small things

So far so good. (Don't use clichés in this paper.)

Now I want you to list a few more phrases (not individual words)...

What childlike behaviors, attitudes, or tendencies did you have---and to at least some extent relinquish---PRIOR to having to care for your mom?

Give me sentence fragments only, and don't repeat a single syllable (except maybe "ing") from the "adult" list you just made. Each item must contain more than one word.
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 24, 2013   #19
--taking the people I loved the most and "everyday" activities for granted
-- acting in my own selfish interest
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 24, 2013   #20
Are you losing patience with this process?

I need to drag some more strong ideas out of you...
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 24, 2013   #21
-- naively believing that adults, my mom in particular, are invincible and will always be there to take care of me
-- thinking that I was an "adult" because I was beginning to look like one and had the freedom to do "adult" things (driving, staying up late, independence to do what I wanted)

Sorry if I appear to be dragging my feet; the pre-writing process tends to be a painful one for me. I'm one of those people who jots a few ideas down and just goes, and then I end up doing multiple drafts. This may be why. Thank you for your help :)
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 24, 2013   #22
Sorry if I appear to be dragging my feet; the pre-writing process tends to be a painful one for me. I'm one of those people who jots a few ideas down and just goes, and then I end up doing multiple drafts. This may be why. Thank you for your help :)

Don't be sorry.

I have found "prewriting" (at least as it's usually done) to be overrated.

Your approach ("jotting down ideas") has merit.

Years working in high school and college classrooms have taught me what NOT to do.

Multiple drafts are necessary (especially on admissions essays). On timed writings (like the AP English test), the process needs to come instinctively.

By the way, have you taken the AP test(s) yet?
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 24, 2013   #23
Yes I have: I got a 5 on the AP Language and Composition test, and then I do other AP humanities (turns out reading and writing skills have applicability's in areas other than English). I'm doing AP Lit this year, hopefully I score similarly to the last one I took.
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 24, 2013   #24
Yes I have: I got a 5 on the AP Language and Composition test

What the hell are you doing here?

At the risk of sounding rude, there aren't many people here who can help you.

I feel like hiring you to work with me.

By the way I'd love to see copies of your Language test essays.

I have a feeling your work is proof of all my teaching philosophies (even though I wasn't your teacher).
OP marecrowley 3 / 23 2  
Jul 24, 2013   #25
Evidently you can help me :) I'm not so naïve to believe that at 17 I've got it all figured out, quite the contrary actually. That's why I'm seeking second opinions and suggestions from talented people like yourself because I really want these college essays to work in my favor. I want to do something with communications (I'm thinking journalism) and I figure I'm luckier than say, a math major, because I can demonstrate skills just in my application. I'm actually ordering a copy of my free response booklet from the exam, I'd be more than happy to send that to you once I receive it. Would it be possible to get your email, I feel like that might be easiest in so far as progressing onward (I feel like I'm spamming up this site). I'm going to start another draft of this adulthood essay, are there any other steps/suggestions you may have before I begin?

Thank you very much John!
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 24, 2013   #26
You're more than welcome.

It's hard to find people of any age as insightful as you appear to be.

My email is johnjeremy215@gmail.com.
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Aug 12, 2013   #27
Hi Mare. I hope you are reading this.

I literally JUST read and responded to your email from August 2.

Hopefully you'll see this note and then read mine.

I am very sorry about this.


Home / Undergraduate / My Mom Isn't a Superhero - transition from childhood to adulthood