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Princeton Supplement - answer to quote on extraordinary things in everyday life


swuvvy 7 / 20  
Dec 23, 2009   #1
comments and criticism are welcome! thanks in advance :)

Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a jumping off point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation at the beginning of your essay.

"Extraordinary things are always hiding in places people never think to look."
- Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

I think they all start with the end of a long Canadian winter. After almost six months of snow, slush, and icy roads, it was a way to rip off the scarves, hats, and gloves and celebrate the end of the winter season. It never fails to amaze me the number of yard sales that crop up in and around the city, with families lugging out decades-old books, tea sets, children's toys, outdated electronic devices, and sometimes even kitchen appliances, once the last snowfall of the year has ended and the last layer of ice melted. You never know what you will find.

My family, of course, joined in on the fun. In the spring and summer, we would go to these yard sales almost every week, sometimes scrounging for antique artifacts and other times simply curious about what our neighbours keep hidden inside their houses. It was also an opportunity for my parents to socialize and practice their English, despite the fact that the only practice they get is through bargaining. We weren't as keen to get good deals on ancient artifacts as we were to simply have fun. We never bought much - the occasional teacup and flowerpot sometimes wound up in the most unlikely crannies and nooks of our house - but this weekly ritual was a fresh experience for us as new immigrants.

Gradually, we stopped going to yard sales altogether. I guess it's because our English was fluent enough, the novelty had worn off, and relocation to a suburban area with fewer neighbours and larger walking distances made house-visits more difficult. Yet, this little tradition still holds a special place in my heart, and I always think back to those yard sale days with a smile. I now realized why I loved the philosophy behind yard sales even as a child - that someone's old, discarded object might still be wanted and cherished by someone else. Ultimately, everything has an inherent value, and that is how I see the world. Everything has something unique and special to it, something irreplaceable.

Because of this belief, I take time to appreciate the little things in my life. I tell myself to stop, take a look around, and drink in scenic sights. As I listen to the beautiful notes on a saxophone from a busker in the subway station, I slow my steps and lose myself in the moment. I revel in the innocence of a baby's smile, the scent of grass and dew in the morning, the laughter of my family and friends.

Because life is about the little things. Yard sales are just another one of those that bring people together to socialize and celebrate the beginning of a new season. It's these little things that often bring us joy, that will stay with us a lifetime.
Vulpix - / 71  
Dec 23, 2009   #2
Good work! I have to admit, I was a little put-off by the Jodi Picoult quote (I am not a Jodi Picoult fan), but it fits perfectly with your essay- which was, by the way, very well written. It's fresh, original, and addresses the prompt- I'm very impressed.

"Because life is about the little things. Yard sales are just another one of those that bring people together to socialize and celebrate the beginning of a new season. It's these little things that often bring us joy, that will stay with us a lifetime."

"Because life is about the little things" isn't a complete sentence, which wouldn't be a big deal, but it's at the start of a new paragraph, which kind of bothers me. Why not just "Life is about the little things"? Also, "Yard sales are just another one of those" could be ambiguous (what does "those" refer to? I'm assuming you mean "the little things", but it's rather unclea). Upon re-reading that paragraph, I would probably combine your first sentence with the last sentence: "Life is about the little things that often bring us joy, that will stay with us for a lifetime." Just a thought... it's up to you, of course :)
sportybluei 7 / 40  
Dec 24, 2009   #3
I think they all start with the end of a long Canadian winter. After almost six months of snow, slush, and icy roads, it was a way to rip off the scarves, hats, and gloves and celebrate the end of the winter season.

I think you have too many indirect words such as "they" and "it" in your first 3 sentences. It would be nice if the readers can clearly see what they are being referred to. Having those indirect words in a row only confuses readers.

Also in your first paragraph, the 'end of the winter' idea seems too repetitive, although I like all of your descriptions.

in the spring and summer, we would go to these yard sales almost every week, sometimes scrounging for antique artifacts and other times simply curious about what our neighbours keep hidden inside their houses

in the spring and summer, we would go to these yard sales almost every week, sometimes scrounging for antique artifacts and other times to simply find out what our neighbours might have keep hidden inside their houses

the only practice they get is through

the only practice they get was through

We weren't as keen to get good deals on ancient artifacts as we were to simply have fun.

A little awkward.. also you used 'simply' in two sentence ago..
how about We were there, more to have fun than to get good deals on ancient artifacts.

I guess it was because our English was not fluent enough, the novelty had worn off, and relocation to a suburban area with fewer neighbours and larger walking distances made house-visits more difficult

I think this would make more sense

Yet, this little tradition still holds a special place in my heart, and I always think back to those yard sale days with a smile.

a run-on sentence

I now realized why I loved the philosophy behind yard sales even as a child - that someone's old, discarded object might still be wanted and cherished by someone else.

connecting two parts with a semicolon (and eliminate that) would be better.

Ultimately, everything has an inherent value, and that is how I see the world.

a run-on sentence..

I revel in the innocence of a baby's smile, the scent of grass and dew in the morning, the laughter of my family and friends.

really touching. :)

just another one of those

hmm.. it doesn't go with the general tone of your essay

Nice essay!! I loved it. very thoughtful..

Will you take a look at my Williams essay? thanks. :)
ace 5 / 66 5  
Dec 28, 2009   #4
I think they all start with the end of a long Canadian winter (think is not a good thing, sound persuasive and definate. You can always go on the net to read the first page if you dnt have book)

and sometimes even kitchen appliances (this line is not working out. If you are going to use it, try saying something funny that is normally not sold at yard sales)

It was also an opportunity for my parents to socialize and practice their English, despite the fact that the only practice they get is through bargaining(what is your native language? I wud be curious to know, you could add that in)You could mention it here : for us as new immigrants from....

Yet, this little tradition still holds a special place in my heart, andas I always think back to those yard sale days with a smile

very creative!!
TruNinjaPro - / 1  
Dec 28, 2009   #5
I like the essay! I'm just curious though, I am also doing an essay for the Princeton's supplement and I thought you had to include the quote IN your essay.


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