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'the National Blue Ribbon' - UC/personal essay


Kalikratia 1 / 8 2  
Nov 24, 2013   #1
Prompt: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

- This essay needs a loooooot of work, any criticism is highly appreciated :) -

The finish line is so close. It's right there. You have to be first. You have to be the best. You're in this race against yourself. The only thing standing in between you and everything you want is you.

Those are the thoughts that rush through my head, both with my awareness and subconsciously, through everything I do. I make everything a competition but the only other person competing against me is myself. I have to prove to myself I can do anything. It brings me the best satisfaction. The competitions I put myself in got harder and harder as I grew older.

I had to start from the bottom in fourth grade, the year I first moved to America with my mom. I was held back, the teachers allowing me an extra year to learn English and Armenian, the languages the other children spoke proficiently. I was already losing, with no literacy skills and not a friend to turn to. The blank walls in that classroom gave me no opportunity to learn. The words spoken by others just made sounds, they held no meaning to me. And the laughs I could not join in on with the other kids were the worst. The biggest opportunity to get a head start came when I was assigned an ELA tutor. I didn't mind spending every day with her if it meant I would be able to make a friend, share a laugh with someone. The long sessions paid off because I did it, I could speak English by the end of fifth grade with minor errors. I did better on English tests than my other classmates. I didn't care about being the best in the class; I liked the satisfaction it brought to me knowing that I could. It gave me hope and the determination I needed to succeed in that tiny private middle school. If I could achieve learning two foreign languages in a span of five years at that school, I could do anything.

In seventh grade I pushed myself the way I never had to. I knew I had to do everything to get into ----, the school praised by all the teachers and the school awarded the National Blue Ribbon four times. I chose my books over my friends on many occasions and did the best I could. When the letter came with my acceptance to the school, I yet again proved to myself I could. It was all worth it. A single paper brought so much meaning to everything I accomplished in those five years. At the end of it all, I chose to put myself in those competitions against me. The only person that ever doubted me was I, and that pushed me to do it all a thousand times better.

I enjoy winning. I enjoy proving myself wrong, and being the best I can be. I know I can achieve a lot because I push myself harder than anyone ever will. The road ahead holds a million opportunities for me, and I know I can achieve something great.
dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Nov 25, 2013   #2
You have to be first. You have to be the best. You're in this race against yourself.

You should be the first, the best and you are in this race against your own self.

Those are the thoughts that rush through my head, both with my awareness and subconsciously, through everything I do.

Those thoughts rush into my head, both by conviction and subconsciously.

I have to prove to myself I can do anything. It brings me the best satisfaction.

I take great pride and satisfaction by proving myself that I can handle anything.
Well, for me, I really don't see much sense in saying that you are competing you against yourself. Or may be you need to provide more insights to the reader to idea.
RichardCastle 1 / 3 1  
Nov 25, 2013   #3
I was held back, the teachers allowing me an extra year to learn English and Armenian, the languages the other children spoke proficiently.

I can sense that this is about language barriers but this sentence is quite vague.

I did better on English tests than my other classmates.

I was already losing, with no literacy skills and not a friend to turn to.

I was losing already at the starting line, with no literacy skills and friends to turn to.

I didn't care about being the best in the class; I liked the satisfaction it brought to me knowing that I could.

My satisfaction did not come from being the best in class, but knowing that I could.

I think the essay is alright. Could you help with mine ?
14janicel 3 / 15 2  
Nov 25, 2013   #4
I enjoyed your essay. It's sweet and truly reveals your personality.
second to last paragraph: I pushed myself the way I never had to in ways i never thought possible.... or .... i pushed myself in unprecedented ways.

Maybe you could use the adjectives "determined" and "driven" to tie the essay together and convey who you are more effectively. keep up the good work!
SydAustralia 1 / 2 1  
Nov 25, 2013   #5
I thought the essay was well written. There are a few grammatical errors here and there but overall a quick revision should do the trick. :)
OP Kalikratia 1 / 8 2  
Nov 25, 2013   #6
Thanks everyone! Your comments are helpful.
Mellowjedi203 1 / 2 1  
Nov 26, 2013   #7
Thank you so much for your opinion, I would help but it seems like everyone has exhausted all of the imperfections and pointed them out.
lynsiecheri 5 / 12 4  
Nov 26, 2013   #8
Very nice essay. Below I made a few changes to essay in red...added some things and took out other stuff. The one black bolded sentence I think you need to reword. The diction sounds a little weird and it kind of sounds arrogant. Other than that, keep working on it!

BTW, I loved the intro!

Hope I was able to help!
Linsey S.

" The finish line is so close. It's right there. You have to be first. You have to be the best. You're in this race against yourself. The only thing standing in between you and everything you want is you."

In everything I do,T those are the thoughts that rush through my head, both inwith my awareness and subconsciously . through everything I do . I make everything a competition, but the only other person competing against me is myself. I have to prove to myself I can do anything. It brings me the best satisfaction. The competitions I put myself in got harder and harder as I grew older.

I had to start from the bottomIn fourth grade, the year I first moved to America with my mom, I started the school year seriously struggling . I was held back, because the teachers allowingwanted to give me an extra year to learn English and Armenian, the languages the other children spoke at school proficiently. At this point in the competition, I was already losing, with no literacy skills and not a friend to turn to. The blank walls in that classroom gave me no opportunity to learn. The words spoken by others justmadewere just sounds, they that held no meaning to me. The worst part of things were thehe laughs I could not join in on with the other kids were the worst . The biggest opportunity to get a head start (or catch up?) came when I was assigned an ELA tutor. I didn't mind spending every day with her if it meant I would be able to make a friend,andshare a laugh with someone. The long sessions paid off because I did it; I could speak English by the end of fifth grade with minor errors. I ended up doingdid better on English tests than my other classmates. I didn't care about being the best in the class; I liked the satisfaction it brought to me knowing that I could. It gave me hope and the determination I needed to succeed in that tiny private middle school. If I could achieve learning two foreign languages in a span of five years at that school, I could do anything.

In seventh grade I pushed myself the way I never had to. I knew I had to do everything to get into ----, the school praised by all the teachers and the school awarded the National Blue Ribbon four times. I chose my books over my friends on many occasions and did the best I could. When the letter came with my acceptance to the school, I yet again proved to myself I could do it or achieve anything if I set my mind to it . It was all worth it. A single paper brought so much meaning to everything I accomplished in those five years. At the end of it all, I chose to put myself in those competitions against me. The only person that ever doubted me was I, and that pushed me to do it all a thousand times better.

I enjoy winning. I enjoy proving myself wrong, and being the best I can be. I know I can achieve a lot because I push myself harder than anyone ever will. The road ahead holds a million opportunities for me, and I know I can achieve something great.
haayounglee 2 / 7 2  
Nov 27, 2013   #9
The essay was a solid effort and flows well.Good job!

Just focus on the grammatical errors that the users above suggested.
If I would suggest anything, maybe expand on your experiences of change in America and incorporate a more personal tone into the story.


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