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'old African folklore' - UPenn optional essay

namato 7 / 16  
Dec 11, 2011   #1
Hey guys!! Please help me critique this essay. It is rather short, 150 words max. Thank you
P.S Be brutally honest, I dont mind one bit.

introduce yourself to Penn. Our aim is to better understand how your identity, talents, and background guide your day-to-day experiences

An old African folklore tells of a Baobab tree that was disparaged for wanting to touch the sky. How could a tree that inhabited a drought stricken region, grow to reach the sky? It was a preposterous notion. Regardless, the Baobab steadily grew despite the sporadic showers of rain it received. No one knows exactly, for how many years the Baobab has been growing: perhaps five, ten or even a hundred thousand years. What is certain, though, is that the Baobab continues to grow till this very day.

I strive to be like the Baobab: to persevere and keep growing in every aspect of my life; whether it is increasing my grade point average or making creamy homemade ice cream even creamier. I learn from my mistakes, try not to repeat them and, along the way, aim to nourish my community with as much of myself as I can.
maroon5 9 / 57  
Dec 11, 2011   #2
Great essay...
I liked the concept of comparing yourself to an under-nourished tree that still managed to thrive and prosper....
there aren't any grammatical or style errors here and the content is awesome like i already mentioned
Just a thought here; since you are comparing yourself to the tree, the last sentence seems kind of incoherent with the rest of the essay. For instance, u wrote that u learn from your mistakes and try to avoid them...the tree dosen't do that....u could replace this with:Like the Baobab, i make the best use of what i am given...or maybe: like the baobab, i have weathered many storms and have come out stronger and wiser....and then u can add the bit about nourishing your community because that is synonymous with the tree as well....this is just my opinion and please don't take it if u feel it won't add to your work...great essay anyway and good luck

Please Look Over My Brandeis Supplement
twilista 3 / 13  
Dec 11, 2011   #3
This was a very good essay. I like how you compared yourself to the tree. One thing that I am wondering, however, is how do the African folklore and tree relate to of your background/talents/identity? While the story may guide your day-to-day experiences, is it actually a part of your background or identity?
Guest /  
Dec 12, 2011   #4
I like how you compare yourself to the tree too. But i agree with twilista, the content is great but it doesn't really show your talents and background... but it does show your qualities. The problem must be the word limit, right? :P Well, maybe you could talk less about the tree, and elaborate more on your talents and and background.

It's a great essay overall, a very unique way to introduce yourself.
august23vn 4 / 18  
Dec 16, 2011   #5
Well, I'm pro honesty here, and I wouldn't spare you the harsh part (please do the same to me). The analogy is unique, of course, but you should make it relevant to other exotic pieces of your life, not just "I make mistake but I persevere, bla bla bla". That's cliche', you know. Too general. Be specific. What kind of struggle did you have? How did you deal with it? Zoom the camera lens for the details.
pothepanda3 3 / 5  
Dec 16, 2011   #6
I really like what've you've written. Though I just personally think you miss a bit of the contrast of the baobab tree being undernourished and still growing. It more fits in with this idea of making the best of what you have rather than learning from your mistakes. Otherwise brilliant.
OP namato 7 / 16  
Dec 17, 2011   #7
Hey guys!! Thank you sooooo much for your comments!! Here is the updated version of my essay. The word limit is killing me though!! Aaargh but I managed so YAYY!!!

African fables were fundamental to the lessons I learned whilst growing up. What my parents could not tell my sisters and me directly, they told us through fables. Therefore, instead of Cinderella and Robin Hood, I had Nnakato and Waswa. The tale I will never forget though, told of a Baobab tree that had steadily grown to the sky despite sporadic rain showers. This tale, told at a time when I was having difficulties with a topic in my eleventh grade physics class, helped me find and bring out the latent perseverance within myself and slowly, with patience, I eventually conquered my problem.

For me, every day presents a chance to be like the Baobab. I look to not only persevere through the obstacles I face, but also grow along the way; whether it is successfully increasing my grade point average or making creamy homemade ice cream even creamier.
jr_disk_jockey 2 / 4  
Dec 25, 2011   #8
I eventually conquered my problems

I wish you had one more sentence at the end to conclude, otherwise it would be very abrupt. And if you need more space, you can talk less about the fables and expand more on your personal experience how you overcame adversity and grew.

But overall, I felt like I wanted to meet you and know you more at the end of the essay. Great work!

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