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The powerful aromas of ginger and turmeric - 'encountering an obstacle' essay

Sammy123 1 / 1  
Oct 13, 2018   #1

I'm proud to be an Indian

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Just wanted some essays and feedback for my college essay. Hard criticism is supported (I want to improve the essay as much as I can)! Any stronger sentences I can use to make my essay stronger?


"The palak paneer sabji is ready," my mom called as I raced downstairs to my mother's voice. Grabbing a plate and sitting down with a satisfying smile on my face, my mouth watered as I thought about the spongy cubes made of cottage cheese floating in a pool of steaming green gravy.

As I was about to stuff my favorite Indian dish into my mouth, my mom reminded me to thank God in a form of a prayer for food on our table. Murmuring a quick prayer, I began to feast as the rich fusion of spices tickled my tongue. I felt the diverse culture of India blend together in my mouth as I took another bite. After devouring my meal in just moments, I thanked my mother for the delicious dish.

As I washed my dishes, I noticed the abundance of the sabji, and dread overcame me. I stopped in my tracks as soon as my mother cleared my doubt, "You're going to take this sabji to school tomorrow for your lunch." For years I made up excuses for not wanting to take food that had powerful aromas of ginger and turmeric. I knew the small reputation I had as a freshman would be shattered if I opened my lunchbox in front of everyone. I couldn't imagine the reaction of my friends seeing me eat something so foreign to them. I didn't want people to view my food with disgust. My hunger for my Indian cuisine was overpowered by my desire to fit in. I was shivering in fear of being shamed for my food.

The next day was unbearable as time ticked slower, making every second seem like an
epoch as I neared lunch. As the lunch bell rang, my morale fell. I began walking towards the cafeteria as I felt my body tremble. My body unwillingly sat at the lunch table. I looked around trying to find the right time to pull out my lunch, making sure the least amount of people could see. As I began to pull my lunch out swiftly, the whole cafeteria appeared as a concert, and I was the performer. I felt as if everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to reveal my lunch.

I nervously opened my container and quickly hid my meal behind my lunch box. The strong ginger scent spread through the lunch room like an epidemic disease. I glanced over as my friends traced the scent back to my lunch. They stared at my lunch with big eyes and chuckled "What is that Sagar." I was left in utter embarrassment. I stuttered, not knowing how to explain this foreign meal to them. I sat there in silence until surprisingly, one bold voice spoke up. My Indian friend, Ishaan, excitedly exclaimed "that's my favorite food, palak paneer sabji!." I glanced up and saw his soft smile which engulfed me with a warm sensation. As I looked at the reactions of others, to my surprise, compliments about my "delicious meal" filled the air. I ate my meal along with all the stress that was built up in me, with pride.

When I got home I ran to my mom and wrapped my hands around her. I looked into her eyes and gave her the purest "thank you." For all those years, I had refused taking my culture's food, I finally realized my mistake. Those meals, that my mom worked laboriously to make, represented my culture. She made my favourite meals for me, but all I gave her in return was discontent. I discouraged my favorite food because it served as an outcast to others. I hid behind a shadow because I was afraid of expressing myself. Ishaan's words inspired me to embrace my culture. His words brought out something in me that I failed to recognize myself: I'm proud to be an Indian.

Holt - / 7,609 2001  
Oct 14, 2018   #2
Sam, the prompt you picked does not fit the response that you wrote. This is not an obstacle you had to overcome. What you experienced was a realization during an event that helped to spark an understanding of yourself and others. Therefore, the prompt you should be using for this essay should be changed to the following:

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

I believe that this prompt works best for your essay because you came to realize something about yourself, your culture, and the social norms that surround you. There is a clear personal growth in terms of accepting your culture in a world that you thought would be judgmental, an understanding of yourself as you came to realize there was nothing to fear, and an understanding that the world around you doesn't really care about petty stuff such as traditional foods of other cultures becoming part of the lunch presentation in the form of your boxed lunch at your school.

Consider changing the prompt, I believe your essay will benefit from the simply change. It also saves you to the time of having to write a new essay. Just polish this one a little bit more with editing and punctuation checks. Try not to use the term "As I" within 2 closely presented paragraphs as the opening phrase. Vary it up to create interest in the paragraph.

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