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North Carolina: How I Spent My Summers - Princeton Supplement

ailibai 8 / 21  
Dec 27, 2010   #1
Topic: Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers.

Two summers ago, I spent most of June in North Carolina. My dad's side of the family rented a house for a family reunion. He has five siblings, so it was always interesting! It was great to reconnect and to see my cousin who had spent the last three years teaching in Korea. I spent a lot of time with my then five-year-old cousin, Kelly. I could see the beach through her eyes as we collected every seashell we saw, pretended to be mermaids in the pool, and played "jump over the waves" for hours.

In July, I went on a three-week exchange trip to France. I stayed with Inѐs, whom I hosted the previous summer, and I absolutely loved the time I spent there. I stayed for a bit more than two weeks with her family in the tiny, beautiful town of Saint-Benoît la Chipotte in Lorraine. We spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, but we also took day trips. I went to Nancy with Inѐs and her friends and came back with heavy shopping bags and strong friendships. In Strasbourg, I strongly felt the German influence as I admired the architecture and the famous Cathédrale. My time in Paris was short, but magical. I explored the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay, dreamed about living in Versailles, and even braved the catacombs. I learned so much about the French language and way of life; I would go back immediately if I could.

This last summer, I didn't have time for vacations. The last semester of my junior year, my health failed me again; I missed five months of school from a severe headache. My summer was focused on two things: getting rid of my headache and catching up in school. I worked all summer to complete the mountain of makeup work I had, but I did it.

After I finally recovered, I spent my August reading. For the last seven months, it had hurt my head to read, and I had missed curling up with a good book, thinking of nothing else but the story. My goal for awhile had been to read more classics, and I made good on it. Some of my favorite reads were The Picture of Dorian Gray, Herland, Candide, Jane Eyre, and Dracula.

I guess style and flow are my main concerns with this one? Thank you!
thepal 2 / 4  
Dec 27, 2010   #2
I'm not trying to change the content, but when you say you learned so much, elaborate on that more.

After reading this, it doesn't seem like you had a meaningful summer. You kind of give a laundry list of things you did over the summer.
OP ailibai 8 / 21  
Dec 27, 2010   #3
I understand the listing bit now. I'm starting over! Thank you
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 7, 2011   #4
absolutely loved

Cliche, not meaningful... you know that rule, "Show, don't tell." When you use a lot of modifyers, like "absolutely," and especially a cliche like, "Absolutely loved..." that is telling instead of showing. Dazzle the reader with interesting examples. :-)

Good style in composition is like kicking a refrigerator three times until it falls over. Give a strong kick at the beginning by using a sentence that expresses the main message or concept you want to share. Kick 'em again in the meddle by referring back to that concept. Then, kick them one last time at the end. Have a theme that is the message of the whole essay, and express it 3 times. For this... you are just telling what you did in the summer. It will be best if you show that your summer activities reflect the same interest that makes you want to choose the college program of study that you are choosing. That should be part of your main message to the reader. :-)

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