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"My mother's drug use" - determination and knowledge

bmachado 5 / 23  
Oct 30, 2009   #1
This is addressing the "Describe the world you come from and how it has affected your life" prompt that many colleges use. I need this essay done by Nov. 1st so I can apply early action. It is my first draft so it is still very rough. Any suggestions that anyone has to clean it up or make it make it better would be greatly appreciated. It is also fairly long and I wouldn't mind shortening it a bit so any tips on how I can do that would be great also. Thank you very much.

When I was younger, I had to deal with a very serious addiction. The addiction was not my own, but rather my mother's. My mom had struggled with her addiction to various drugs and alcohol since before I was born. Her struggle finally came to an end on November 10, 2004 when she died of a heroin overdose. Despite the immense sadness her addiction has caused in my life, having to deal with it from a very young age has given me the strength I need to overcome any obstacles that I face and wisdom beyond that of many of my peers. Her compassion and love for everything around her serve as lessons for my own life. I was forced to grow up very fast due to my mother's drug use. Often it seemed as if my mother and I had switched roles. I was the one questioning where she had been all night and reprimanding her after I found hidden alcohol stashes. She would come into my bed when she had had a bad dream and I was the one who would wake her up and tell her to get ready because it was time for school. Because of this, I gained a strong sense of responsibility at an early age. That strong sense of responsibility has continued with me all these years and is evident in all aspects of my life. I am grateful for the maturity that I have gained because it has helped me succeed in school, sports, and life in general. My mother was a very smart and talented person. She could have been very successful had she never gotten caught up with drugs and alcohol. Knowing the mistakes she made that led her astray provides me with the knowledge, strength, and courage needed to make the right decisions. I will not let anything deter me from being the best that I can be. I realize that I am blessed with many of my mom's strengths and I am determined to make sure I do not fall victim to any of her weaknesses. Not everything I learned from my mother was a result of the consequences of her drug use. In fact, most of the things I learned from her were not things that she taught me, but rather qualities that I had observed about her character. My mother was an extremely compassionate person. She cared deeply about all people, more so than any other person that I have met. She deeply regretted the fact that her drug use had hurt many people, but she did not realize how much more of a profound effect her overflowing kindness had on them. I believe that seeing my mother's compassion has in turn made me a more compassionate person. Now I can only hope that I will be able to have as profound of an effect on people's lives as she did. My mother loved life. She often danced like nobody was watching, even if everybody was watching. She did not care what people thought about her as long as she was having a good time. During the wonderful periods of time when she was drug free, she was the best mom that anyone could ask for. She would take me to the park, the beach, or wherever we wanted to go. She was never one of those parents that sat around and watched their kids play; she was always out there playing with me. She taught me to live life to the fullest and not let anyone stand in my way. Both the good and bad experiences that I had with her have made me a better, stronger, smarter, and more compassionate person. I would not trade the life I have lived for a "normal" one at any cost because I know that I would be a completely different person than I am now. I am proud of the person that my mother has helped me become, and I can only hope that she would be proud of it also. I try to carry on her zest for life by being involved in everything I can, by not letting anything weigh me down, by pursuing what I love, and most importantly by finding enjoyment in everything that I do.
Sesmo 2 / 2  
Oct 30, 2009   #2
Due to my mother's drug use, I was forced to grow up very fast.

That sense of responsibility has continued with me all these years and is evident in all aspects of my life.

This is a fascinating and heartbreaking topic. Your essay is very well-written. I honestly have no additional comments; you stuck to describing yourself and the impact your mother's death had on you more than anything else. Well done (by my standards)!
OP bmachado 5 / 23  
Oct 30, 2009   #3
Personal Statement- Mother's Drug Abuse, and Stanford/Common App. Short answers

So I showed my essays to my counselor and after some minor revisions, this is what we came up with. I want to submit my application by tomorrow and I was wondering if there were any last minute suggestions from anybody. I realize that it is a lot of reading, but if you are willing to comment on at least one of my essays, I would greatly appreciate it.

Prompt: Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging.

[I am fascinated with government and politics. More specifically, I am fascinated with the unfortunate reality that many people do not trust their government leaders-- even if they voted for them! It seems outrageous to me that the people with whom we bestow power are not people with whom we bestow our trust. But really, do our elected officials deserve our trust? With all of the scandals floating around these days, it seems almost as if they are actually trying to lose our confidence. A person is supposed to enter into government because they want to serve the people, but many people feel that those in government merely want to serve themselves. I am not that cynical. I do not believe that all government leaders are corrupt, but it only takes one big scandal to ruin it for everyone-- and there has been more than just one big scandal. On the other hand, if one scandal can make that big of a difference, is it possible that one positive voice in politics can make just as big of a difference? That notion is a driving force in my decision to enter into politics. I want to enter into politics to actually help the people of this great nation live better lives, and I want to leave politics knowing that I did just that. I want to be a leader that the people can trust, that people can rely on to make the right decisions and not get caught up in partisan politics or money swindling operations. I want to be a leader of the people, by the people, and for the people. I feel this nation does not deserve any less.]

Prompt:Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. What would you want your future roommate to know about you? Tell us something about you that will help your future roommate -- and us -- know you better.

[Dear Future Roommate,
Like most people, I do not fit into any one specific stereotype. Even if I did, I would hope not to be defined by it because I feel that stereotypes mask the true identity of a person. I believe that you can get a much better idea of a person by looking at their interests, beliefs, family, etc., so I will try my best to paint you the fullest picture of myself that I can using fewer than 1800 characters.

In order to avoid any future awkwardness resulting from questions such as "What does your mom do?", I will tell you right off the bat that my mother passed away in 2004 after overdosing on heroin. I loved my mother very much, still do, and I do not mind talking about her, so do not be afraid to ask me questions on that subject if you ever want to know more.

Onto a lighter subject, I enjoy skateboarding (I actually do tricks), soccer, volleyball, reading, and politics. I can talk about Harry Potter for hours and I will admit that I enjoy playing Pokemon. As far as music is concerned, I would choose listening to The Beatles over many of the songs on the radio today and though my tastes have mellowed out a bit, I still enjoy going back to my punk rock roots every once in a while. I am both strong willed and open minded. I am Catholic, but if you are not, I will not try to convert you. I do not believe in forcing religion or ideas onto people. I am fairly competitive, but it is mainly with myself. My dream is to become President of the United States. Someday, if I am ever able to put my thoughts into words, you might hear why. I generally get along with everybody, so as long as you refrain from "your mom" jokes ("yo mama" jokes are usually okay), I do not foresee any problems and I look forward to meeting you.

Your Future Roommate,
Brandy Machado]

If you made it all the way to the end, I thank you. Tell me if there is anything you think that I can improve on or if you catch any grammatical errors or anything. Once again, thank you.
pprajoth 6 / 15  
Oct 30, 2009   #4
For the person who has an influence on you, write more through your eyes. You're the one getting accepted for the college, not your mother. So really bring home the point you're trying to make through you.
dpi2010 2 / 3  
Oct 31, 2009   #5
Good essay. I would, if you have room, expand on the part where you say how your mother used to come to your bed if she had a bad dream. That could be an incredibly descriptive and captivating way to start off the essay. I would also include a physical description of her. I think it helps the reader truly imagine her and make the essay that much more real.

Good luck
krazzikittie 8 / 23  
Oct 31, 2009   #6
I love your mom essay, but feel that it talks a little too much about your mom, and not enough about how it shaped YOU
hdirt1 1 / 2  
Oct 31, 2009   #7
I agree with what everyone above me has said, that you should go more in depth about yourself in the first essay. However, I also wanted to say, I love this line: "She often danced like nobody was watching, even if everybody was watching."
OP bmachado 5 / 23  
Oct 31, 2009   #8
Okay, thanks for all the comments. I will try to work in the things you guys suggested. Does anyone have any comments on the short answer ones?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 29, 2010   #9
My determination and the knowledge I have gained throughout my life have helped...

This is so well-written, the only errors I could find were in this sentence. I don't think it is quite right to say "knowledge I have learned" because the word "knowledge" implies something learned.

I can't find many errors to correct, so I'll give an idea: I think it is great that you are interested in politics, so one impressive thing you can do is mention something that is going on in the world of politics at the time of writing this essay (for example, the State of the Union Address).

Good luck!!! :-)

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