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Undergraduate   Posts: 11

"one week to compensate for 7 years of absence" - UF Topic


AlexP1992  
Sep 2, 2009   #1
Hello, I was seeking some advice on improving my College Essay for the University of Florida.

There Topic is as follows:

In the space provided, please write a concise narrative in which you describe a meaningful event, experience or accomplishment in your life and how it will affect your college experience or your contribution to the UF campus community. You may want to reflect on your ideas about student responsibility, academic integrity, campus citizenship or a call to service.

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This is my essay:

Having only one week to compensate for 7 years of absence was difficult but, I made the most possible out of the available time. From Havana to Pinar del Rio, Cuba, I visited family everywhere who, disregard their poverty, greeted me with open arms and offered me what little they had. The last time I had visited Cuba I was 10 years old and the memories of it were vague and the reality distorted but, the recent trip had opened my eyes to what was beneath the surface. My days were spent playing anything from baseball, soccer or volleyball with both of my cousins, a 15 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. Looking at them gave me an unforgettable feeling of sadness, knowing that neither of them had ever been able to experience what the average kid in America experiences, no theme parks, malls, not even popcorn at what they call a movie theatre.

I made new friends there, kids from the block that I had never met who will most likely never experience the world outside of that island. Rejoicing every possible moment, we went from a morning in the pool to hours of horseback riding in an open field. That week was without a doubt the most amazing week of my life in the past 7 years, no amount of entertainment in the U.S.A had provided me with more excitement than that that I had in my indigent home land. Though with each passing moment, the time to leave drew closer making it the first time I ever wished that time would stop to savor what was in front of me. A phrase an English teacher, Mr. Hudak, had once told us appeared in my head, "Carpe Diem."

"You are not leaving them behind, you are taking a part of them with you and have left a part of yourself," my dad told me as we got on the plane destined from Cuba to Miami, it was the second time I saw my dad cry, the first being when his mother died. Leaving my family again was one of the hardest events that I have had to overcome.

Visiting Cuba opened my eyes to the opportunities offered to immigrants that come to America, ones they would have not had otherwise, causing me to appreciate what I have much more than I did two weeks ago, making me study harder and value chances more in an attempt to help those far from me.

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Any feedback is highly appreciated.

Thank You

P.S.

"That week was without a doubt the most amazing week of my life in the past 7 years, no amount of entertainment in the U.S.A had provided me with more excitement than that that I had in my indigent home land."

That part makes it sound like I am putting down the U.S. but, I am not. I'm trying to state that no amount of entertainment I've had, theme parks, movies or seeing snow has brought me more satisfaction than spending time with my family in Cuba.

Don't know if I should omit that or restate it.

- It's not the only part I'm looking for feedback in, just an aspect of the essay I noticed while proof reading that might be misinterpreted.

Mayada  
Sep 2, 2009   #2
About the US entertainment thing, keep it.. it's a nice idea you're telling and I think it's too good to be omitted..

You got some grammatical mistakes in your essay. I'm not the best person to point them out, I bet others would.. However, I think you have some amazing ideas in your essays but the way you phrase them kinda makes them lose they're sparkle..

Take a piece of paper, list down the main ideas, and then rewrite the essay in the most creative way you can.. Maybe this is the best way to phrase your thoughts better..

Good luck!! :)
EF_Simone [Moderator]  
Sep 3, 2009   #3
...I visited family everywhere who, despite their poverty...

Leaving my family again was one of the hardest things that I have ever done .

Visiting Cuba opened my eyes to the opportunities offered to immigrants that come to America, ones they would have not had otherwise, causing me to appreciate what I have much more than I did two weeks ago, making me study harder and value chances more in an attempt to help those far from me.

This is a run on sentence. Break it into two or three sentences.
tal105  
Sep 3, 2009   #4
ur cuban! cool!! me 2! :D
ive never met another cuban person my age lol :P

-edit: a question about the common app though, what do you put when they ask about your race?-

now about your essay,

My days were spent playing anything from baseball, soccer or volleyball with both of my cousins, a 15 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. Looking at them gave me an unforgettable feeling of sadness, knowing that neither of them had ever been able to experience what the average kid in America experiences, no theme parks, malls, not even popcorn at what they call a movie theatre.

okay, you say this, but then you dont connect it to you. so waht your sad about your cousins not being able to experience anmerican luxuries. you leave the reader with a big AND.

That week was without a doubt the most amazing week of my life in the past 7 years, no amount of entertainment in the U.S.A had provided me with more excitement than that that I had in my indigent home land.

^^ okay, if this is true, than your previous statment about the kids not having american things like amusement parks is basically invalid. if you had so much fun, then the kids there wouldnt be so sad. this seems to be a contradiction. do u see it?

its a decent essay, just smooth out some of those things. :)

good luck!
catalyst0435  
Sep 4, 2009   #5
I think it's a great narrative of your visit to Cuba, but I feel it has a hard time connecting back to what quality makes you a good college student.

The message can be found - that you will work hard because you know you have an opportunity that others do not. But besides the vague, unexplained, and rather cliche reference to "Carpe diem," only your short last paragraph really sums up the quality you earned, and it seems to do so in a very rushed and unfulfilled way. With a fleshed out conclusion, I think your visit to Cuba would be a strong experience to write about.
arviahuja  
Sep 5, 2009   #6
Alex, I indeed like your essay. Emotionally powerful.
I liked Frankie's observation too..

Great going!!
Grad2010  
Sep 5, 2009   #7
I like the idea, but so far the essay does not showcase the qualities that make you Gator-material. I think you should talk about how your experience has affected you and how it will benefit your college career.

ps- I'm applying for UF too! It's my number one choice :]
EF_Simone [Moderator]  
Sep 5, 2009   #8
so far the essay does not showcase the qualities that make you Gator-material

We've seen so many UF essays. Please, oh please, do tell us what makes somebody "Gator-material."
OP AlexP1992  
Sep 6, 2009   #9
Thank you very much for the feedback, will be fixing my essay tomorrow after trying to get a straight train of though going as to how to make it properly flow. Will post it up for more bashing! :D
OP AlexP1992  
Sep 21, 2009   #10
UF Essay Revised

I had posted a previous copy of a UF essay and made some revisions. Switched the focusof the essay a lot so was considering some feedback towads this one.

So many UF essays on here you guys know the UF topic:
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Opportunities are often taken for granted, being tossed aside for the sole purpose of social entertainment. Two weeks ago I visited my indigent homeland of Cuba. Being younger the last time, I was blind, oblivious to the poverty stricken world I had stepped in so different to that which I was accustomed to. Immediately after stepping off the plane, I was engulfed in the poverty that was pertinent to that land and what accompanies it, high levels of social degradation and oppression. As I traveled across the island from Havana to Pinar Del Rio, I visited family who, despite their poverty, received me with open arms and offered me what little they had. It soon became evident, that nobody on that island was destined to have a prosperous future, especially not the youth which study for the purpose of having the opportunity of one day leaving and being able to take up the career in which they educated themselves in.

America is considered by many immigrants the land of opportunity, this is particularly true when it comes to my family. My parents were granted a chance to leave Cuba, they took it to be able to give me the luxury of shaping my own future, leaving everything they had and ever knew behind. Leaving my family again was one of the hardest things that I have ever done but, the trip served the purpose that my parents intended it to. The visit to Cuba allowed me to grasp what my parents had removed me from, an oppressive society whose only success in the past 50 years has been social, political and economic deterioration. This in turn has caused me to appreciate what I have much more than I did two weeks ago.

My trip to Cuba, in my case, is what defines our lives, a moment full of beauty in which we introspect to find who we truly are. These moments are found in the most obscure places, the ones that make us realize things for what they really are. I witnessed the opportunities presented to me, opportunities, which I would have otherwise not had, increasing my desire to achieve a level of higher education, and earning a degree in a prestigious career.

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Thank you in advance for any and all feedback!
Grad2010  
Oct 3, 2009   #11
I like how you incorporated your view on opportunities, and how they can be taken for granted. It can be tied in nicely with the "idea of student responsibility" or maybe even "call to service".


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