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Overcoming Domestic Violence - UC Transfer App


SeeHerFly 1 / 11  
Sep 19, 2009   #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?

A young woman in her early twenties sits in a dark hospital room, pulled in a myriad of different directions by the discordance of her thoughts. She feels a dull throbbing sensation from the incision sliced across her abdomen. Glancing over at the miniature person sleeping beside her, she cannot help but affix the violent process of his birth to the violence she already endured for so long.

It was a particularly brutal attack she experienced on the night that led to the arrest and present incarceration of her son's father and a pertinent culmination of their ten years together. The young woman sat all night reflecting on the past, confronting her various internal antagonists, and worrying about the uncertainty ahead. But that night, as she carefully admired her son enjoying the dreams entitled exclusively to the innocent, she recovered something that had seemingly been lost during the past decade - hope.

The birth of my son compelled me to change my life in a drastic way. In the two years that followed, I exploited the full range of my innate attributes as well as developed new skills in order to work through the most difficult challenges I had ever faced. Along the way I rediscovered the joy and beauty of this world that had been viciously snatched away from my life. And most important, I realized the quality of which I am most proud to possess: an innate ability to prevail.

The cards were swiftly stacked against me. I was diagnosed with severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder, but opted out of prescription medication because I was my son's sole caretaker and provider. Instead, I relied on resourcefulness to find an alternative method of treatment. I found it in a local bi-weekly support group for women. Here I had the privilege of meeting extraordinary women of all backgrounds who rose above a plight similar to mine. Although I gained invaluable insight within the actual discussions and interactions of the group, I learned the most about myself by contemplating the mere reason of my attendance. I went to the meetings because I refused to succumb to the psychological aftermath of abuse. I refused to give up on myself, which put into action the silent words of my intuition - you must prevail.

One year later, I felt ready to start another venture to pursue my ultimate dream of finishing school. I was a single mother and working full-time, but I was determined to succeed. It was this sheer determination that enabled me to wake up at five o'clock every morning, drop off my son to daycare, and attend an early class before heading off to work. Many of those days ended in exhausted tears and temptation to surrender to a less arduous lifestyle, but the prevailing force within me eradicated the very notion of failure. When the grades were released, I knew I had passed a formidable test of perseverance. I felt beyond empowered. I felt unstoppable.

Another year has passed and I find myself citing this personal odyssey with the hope that it will give a clear picture of who I am. I am a survivor. I am a mother. I am an individual who never gave up and never will. Above all of these things I am living, breathing, thriving, and unrelenting confirmation of the famous words spoken by William Faulkner: "I believe man will not merely endure; he will prevail."

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 19, 2009   #2
This is a very strong essay that I believe speaks very well for your academic and personal characteristics. The writing is vivid and the story compelling. I'm sure that your readers will join me in appreciating your creativity and tenacity. I do question the last quote, though. Since domestic violence is mostly perpetrated by men on women, the idea that "man" will prevail gives me a sickly feeling in the context of your story. Find a strong quote by or about a woman or leave out the quote altogether.
OP SeeHerFly 1 / 11  
Sep 19, 2009   #3
Thank you for your input. I was hesitant about using the Faulkner quote for the same reason...thank you for reinforcing my qualm. I will have to find another quote.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 20, 2009   #4
I normally heap ridicule and scorn on those who avoid using "man" to refer to generic human beings on the grounds that it is sexist, given that the word referred to people in general long before it referred to males specifically. However, I have to agree with Simone that, given the particular context in which you are using it, the quotation seems horribly ironic. You can still keep it, though -- just paraphrase. So

"To paraphrase William Faulkner, I believe humankind will not only endure, it will prevail." Or, of course, you could simply switch genders altogether, and go with "To paraphrase William Faulkner, I believe woman will not only endure, she will prevail." Depends, really, on whether you want to end on a claim of the endurance of the human spirit in general or of the female spirit in particular. Either would be fine.
OP SeeHerFly 1 / 11  
Sep 20, 2009   #5
Sean,

Can you provide any additional criticism? Are my verbs forceful enough? How is the overall tone and writing style? Is the transition from third to first person awkward? Should I add/omit anything?

i doubt this essay will captivate an adcom or truly set me apart from the rest. i need advice on how to improve this essay so that it will.
pcvrz34g 22 / 117  
Sep 20, 2009   #6
It's really strong and good. No criticism. Verbs are forceful and so is the syntax. The style is really approraite. In my personal opinion, I think the trasition is good enough to allow the readers to understand. But that's just me.

I just realized both of our essays went form 3rd to 1st person. Great minds think alike!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 20, 2009   #7
Actually, the overall essay is very strong. You could tweak a few things, I suppose:

It was a particularly brutal attack she experienced on the night that led to the arrest and present incarceration of her son's father and a pertinent culmination of their ten years together.

The "it was" is weak, and "pertinent," although not nonsensical, seems the wrong word tone-wise.

Glancing over at the miniature person sleeping beside her

"miniature person" = "baby." Unless of course you were being attended by sprite as a nurse.

I exploited the full range of my innate attributes as well as developed new skills in order to work through the most difficult challenges I had ever faced. Along the way I rediscovered the joy and beauty of this world that had been viciously snatched away from my life.

Which attributes, specifically? What skills? What joy? Prefer the specific to the general.

The cards were swiftly stacked against me. I was diagnosed with severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder, but opted out of prescription medication because I was my son's sole caretaker and provider.

This part is a bit jarring. In theory, there is nothing wrong with any of this, and the reader should be very sympathetic. In practice, a lot of people are going to hear "I'm a crazy person who's off her meds, and who in fact refused to go on them." Since you don't explore this aspect of your experience in detail anyway, you might want to omit it and talk directly about how you found a support group to help you through a difficult time in your life. There's no point in risking triggering common biases in your reader if you don't have to.

Although I gained invaluable insight within the actual discussions and interactions of the group,

What insight? Again, prefer the specific to the general.

When the grades were released, I knew I had passed a formidable test of perseverance.

If your grades were solid enough to easily support a university application, you should say so here. Otherwise, leave it as is.
OP SeeHerFly 1 / 11  
Sep 20, 2009   #8
EF_Sean..."I'm a crazy person who's off her meds, and who in fact refused to go on them."

LOL! i can see how it could be interpreted that way. hahah.

Thank you so much for the input...very helpful/valuable.


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