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Mrs. Josephine Ghissing!! common app essay

cuddles 3 / 10  
Nov 23, 2009   #1
Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

Well i know it's a long one! I need ideas to make it more compact. Any other suggestions and corrections are more than welcome.

Fifteen minutes before my first show starts: My mind drifts off to my school days in Loreto Convent, Darjeeling, where I spent the seven most memorable years of my life, thousands of miles away from my family. That first day, the smartly dressed, elegant little figure walked into our classroom. She was to be our class teacher and English teacher and later, my mentor and role model. Mrs. Josephine Ghissing. I smile at her memory.

I think of my abhorrence for English when I first joined Loreto. My first English teacher marked everything in red, the marks arbitrary and scribbled with frustration. Mrs. Ghissing shed a different light upon the subject I hated. She showed us that knowledge dwells not only in the four corners of the classroom but in our joy to explore outside the box. Due to her constant encouragement, I began to love books. I excitedly journeyed from The Life of Pi to Tuesdays with Morrie to Atlas Shrugged. I think of the valuable lessons about life that Mitch Albom learned from his professor, Morrie. I reminisce about how Mrs. Ghissing, with her warm smile and inspiring words, made me love, not just English, but my life, helping me tide over problems and come out of the cocoon of fear and denial that I had spun around me, during those days I spent without my family.

I re-check my script. It is my first show and as a new show host, I am to keep my script in front of me while speaking, in case I become nervous and go blank. I make sure I have all my papers with me. I have chosen to talk about an author, Mitch Albom, in my show. I still have ten minutes, just enough time to review my script one last time. I choose to think of my class teacher.

In class, she asked us questions, lots of them. At first, while I often knew the answers, I did not have the courage to raise my hand. But Mrs. Ghissing saw through my timidity and sensed my desire. With warm and loving eyes, she began to look to me, encouraging me to speak up, to express myself. Soon, my fear of ridicule was gone. My hand flew up enthusiastically to answer any question.

Public speaking had never been my cup of tea but Mrs. Ghissing would not let this setback deter me. She chose me as one of the speakers at school assemblies, taking extra hours and giving me individual attention to make me stand in the podium more confidently. My enthusiasm to share ideas spread to all parts of my life. I assumed various leadership roles and discovered the joy of speaking out. With my class teacher always there to hear me, I learned to carry my voice with strength.

It is ironic; I think to myself, a girl who would not dare raise her hand in class is now going to host her own live radio show. That one special person cared to hear me and make me speak; now thousands are going to hear me speak.

"Just as a bigger fire swallows a smaller one, Brutus' love for his county swallowed his love for Caesar," Mrs. Ghissing used to say as she explicated the lines of Julius Caesar. Perhaps her immeasurable love for her students and her constant encouragement swallowed my fear, letting me blossom into a confident young girl. On this, I muse.

Five minutes before my show: I am ushered into the studio. The microphone and other complicated looking equipment stare back at me. The butterflies in my stomach swarm. I am excited. I take a deep breath inside the air-conditioned room. Mitch Albom's lines replay in my mind. "Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some handlers smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods into jagged little pieces, beyond repair." Mrs. Ghissing's radiant face comes to my mind and I remember how she handled me with utmost love and care and helped me shine. I remember how my Morrie, my class teacher, used to dispel my fear by reciting Emerson's wise words: "What lies behind us and what lies in front of us pales in comparison to what lies within us."

I stand tall in front of the microphone and put on my headphones. The technician gives me the thumbs up sign asking me if I'm ready. I put my script away. I smile at him and nod: I'm ready.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Nov 25, 2009   #2
Grades 8, 9, and 10 -- this is too much detail. Saying others called her Mrs. So-and-So while you called her "class teacher" does not really make sense, either...

I think the first para should be rewritten to focus on what was beautiful about her teaching style, etc, and the main theme of the essay.

Oh... this second paragraph would make a great start, though! The memories of my first days... So, I suggest chopping the whole first paragraph. :-) At the end of the new first paragraph, you should have this sentence: Yet, the unpredictability of...

So, I think you should get rid of para #1 and put para #2 together with that single-sentence third para.

Soon, my fear of ridicule was gone, and my hand flew up enthusiastically

The last paragraph is perfect -- very impressive and thoughtful.
OP cuddles 3 / 10  
Dec 5, 2009   #3
Thanks Kevin, appreciate it. Well, I chopped it down. I couldn't include the complete last paragraph though : (

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