Common App Essay
If life gives you both lemon and lemonade, which one would you take?
Sure enough, lemonade would be a great choice if you want a refreshing drink ready-made for you. Better yet, if you learn to make lemonade from the lemon, you would be able to have lemonade whenever you want to.
Throughout my academic career, I have been assessed as an excellent student. Apart from working on myself, I usually helped my classmates out because I enjoyed the vibrant emotions that visit every time I did something helpful. However, I did not realize I was not helping them the right way.
I used to unhesitantly let a classmate "see" my homework when they asked for it. I thought friends were meant to help each other, and that it was a way to pass on knowledge. They told me I had made it easier for them to study, and I was glad to be helpful. What I did not realize was that they had grown more and more reliant on me. They did not actually study and only waited for me, and as a result, they did not comprehend the lessons well and could not pass the tests. The truth was: what I did for them the entire time was nothing helpful or to feel good about.
At that moment, I had in my hands lemon and lemonade, but I gave them the wrong thing. Instead of sharing the real knowledge and problem-solving tactics which they can utilize to attain their own success, I gave them the products, which like the "lemonade" in this analogy, is only "refreshing" while it lasts. It turned out that the wrong help would bring countereffects. I actually brought them down instead of helping them move forward. Gone with the heartfelt contentment, and emptiness filled in.
I decided to take a different approach to help. I offered peer-tutoring sessions going over tactics and key concepts after school and during breaktimes. At first, it was slow for them to catch up on the knowledge they missed, but they gradually turned things around and comprehended everything more quickly. I saw a glow in their eyes every time they finally understood something new. At that moment, a warm sensation slowly grew in my chest. When they confidently waved a paper marked with an "A" at me with excitement, I too felt that sense of fulfillment and contentment rushing back. This time, I knew I made myself useful for them in the right way.
Even now, I still live up to that essence, but my ability to help people is no longer limited within the academic field. With the decision to pursue education abroad, years of clashing with life in a foreign land helped me learn new living skills, become more stoic, gain independence, and assimilate a progressive mindset. They were as conventional as time management and balancing my life between studying and relaxing, to as impactful as the ability to be decisive and independent in choosing my dream major for college. I was able to sympathize with my international friends during their first moments away from home because I once felt the same homesickness. I knew what to do to make them feel more comfortable in the new environment, starting by befriending and showing them around the place. When my younger brother confessed that he was uncertain about the high school he wants to attend, I was able to advise him on some suitable options and approaches to prepare for the entrance exam. I could now give more than just tutoring sessions. There are many forms of gifts. Experience, too, is a form of gift when I could use it to sympathize or give advice.
Whatever that we decide to give people, it is most valuable when we could encourage them to strive for their own achievements, just like making their own glass of lemonade.
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You are spreading yourself too thin in this essay. You only need one period of realization. The Lemon and Lemonade discussion already accomplished that effectively. However, the second the last paragraph confuses the presentation. The life lesson there is no longer related to the previous discussion. Remove that paragraph and the essay will be good to go. By the way, in the third paragraph, before you use the "lemonade" mention, don't forget to use the "lemon" presentation first. Use the actual word since you mentioned that you were dealing with "lemons and lemonade". When using an analogy, always use both representations otherwise the reader will wonder where the other part of the representation comes in. It makes the presentation uneven.