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Personal Essay (Questions are a necessary part of life)


shadowx 1 / 3  
Mar 4, 2009   #1
Hey. Could someone please review this for me? (correct spelling, grammar, word flow and readability, etc.) And could you tell me if you think this is what an admissions officer would want to read? Or should I write about something else? Thank you.

Please write an essay (500 words or less) on a topic of your choice that demonstrates your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. Some ideas include writing about: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event.

I'm not exactly sure how to make it more organized, but I tried my best; this is my next draft:

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"Some questions cannot be answered./ They become familiar weights in the hand,/ Round stones pulled from the pocket, unyielding and cool." Jane Hirshfield, in the poem "Woman in Red Coat," believed that there were certain things in life people would never be able to understand. Based on my own experiences, I feel that this sentiment, that the world consists of unexplainable phenomena people spend their entire lives pondering, holds truth.

Upon entering high school, I commenced tutoring children throughout my community. As a member of the American middleclass, I had always felt it was a responsibility of mine to assist others in need, and one way I accomplished this was through my service to students.

Weeks after school had begun, I encountered a girl who had just moved into the neighborhood. Her mother asked me to work with her, hoping that her eleven-year-old daughter would make significant improvements in math and science. During the time I spent with this girl, the two of us became much closer than I had expected. She was just a year younger than I was, and we quickly went from instructor-and-pupil to friends, and because of this, I was devastated when I finally discovered that this child had been diagnosed with leukemia.

Acknowledging her deteriorating state, I was thrown into a state of confusion. I found it difficult to believe that a child of her vitality was fated to die. Why had God chosen to terminate her life so quickly, to bestow upon her this callous curse? I wanted to attempt to unravel life's numerous mysteries.

In my search for answers, I became more aware of global injustices. Innocents died routinely from hunger, disease, and murder. Abortions and miscarriages eradicated fetuses before they could even take their first breaths. There was no prudence, no rationality in deciding who was to live and who to die. Certain things just "happened." They were beyond human cognizance, and for this reason, people spent their days contemplating, attempting to discern the unknown.

Questions are a necessary part of life. People desire to know things they cannot comprehend, and as a result, they interrogate. My own experiences and subsequent questions have made me aware of life's fragility, and, as I write this, the girl I still consider a close friend is in the hospital, going through something unimaginable to me but perfectly aware, as she had been since the moment the doctors told her she had a few months to live, that life could easily be taken and was meant to be cherished. It is a universal value, something many spend their entire lives trying to decipher. People question, and although they do not receive distinct replies, their quests for truth define them as human, even if they are left with unanswered questions that become cold stones in one's pocket, to be carried forever.

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I think the ending is still a bit iffy, but I wanted to relate it back to the quote... =\

Gautama 6 / 133  
Mar 4, 2009   #2
What was the prompt...
OP shadowx 1 / 3  
Mar 4, 2009   #3
Sorry, I should have included that. It was a really general one though. "Please write an essay (500 words or less) on a topic of your choice that demonstrates your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. Some ideas include writing about: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event. "
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Mar 4, 2009   #4
"the two of us developed a relationship more intimate than I had imagined." I'd go with "the two of us became closer than I had expected." Your phrasing isn't wrong, per se, but the word "intimate" can have connotations you clearly don't mean here.

Also, I'd tighten up the organization a bit, if that is what the essay is meant to demonstrate. You go from "questions" to "tutoring," to "child getting sick" to "life isn't fair" And while your ideas are all clearly connected, the number of different topics you touch on makes your essay seem less focused than it could be. A narrative essay focused on your learning of your student's illness might be much more powerful and moving.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,337 129  
Mar 5, 2009   #5
I think a good way to thread all of that together, as Sean was saying, would be to refer back to the original quote that compared unanswerable questions to stones in the pocket that you have to carry with you. This has a lot of potential if you work on the organization, as was suggested.

Also, I am wondering with Tyler, what was the prompts question for this essay? Are you invited to write about anything you want?

She was just a year younger than I was, and we quickly went from instructor-and-pupil to friends; because of this, I was devastated when I finally discovered that this child a girl I had become attached to, had been diagnosed with leukemia.

I got rid of the part about having become attached, because it is better to focus on her instead of on you losing something. Good luck with this!! I can;t wait to see your next draft!

:)
OP shadowx 1 / 3  
Mar 5, 2009   #6
Thank you all for the help so far. :]
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Mar 5, 2009   #7
"My own experiences and subsequent questions have made me aware of life's fragility, and, as I write this, the girl I still consider a close friend is in the hospital, going through something unimaginable to me but perfectly aware, as she had been since the moment the doctors told her she had a few months to live, that life could easily be taken and was meant to be cherished. It is a universal value, something many spend their entire lives trying to decipher" This sentence is a bit long and unwieldy, and should be revised. Apart from that, though, the essay is looking good.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,337 129  
Mar 6, 2009   #8
Wow, I really liked your ending! You are a great writer. You answered the prompt wonderfully, your essay is tight, well set up and interesting all the way through. Fix the sentence Sean pointed out, and you've got yourself a great essay. :)

Good luck in school
OP shadowx 1 / 3  
Mar 6, 2009   #9
Thank you so much for the feedback! I edited that one sentence and ended up with this:

"My own experiences and the questions that they posed have made me aware of life's fragility, and as I write this, the girl I still consider a close friend is in the hospital. She is going through something that is unimagineable to me, but is perfectly aware, as she had been since the moment the doctors told her she had only a few months to live, that life could easily be taken and was meant to be cherished."

Also, do you think I could use this essay for another application that wanted me to write about "an intellectual experience that has mattered most to you?"
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,337 129  
Mar 7, 2009   #10
My own experiences and the questions that they pose have made me aware of life's fragility; and as I write this, that girl I still consider a close friend is in the hospital. She is going through something that is unimaginable to me, but since the moment the doctors told her she had only a few months to live she has been perfectly aware that life can easily be taken and is meant to be cherished.

Very good essay! You are thoughtful and great.

I would advise you to write a new essay for an intellectual experience. Do not take the easy road! An intellectual experience is one that involves scholarly discussion, research, a philosophical debate, a seminar you attended, or even a book you read... but it is not intended to be a story about an emotional experience like this. They are looking for an intellectual experience. How about a subject that you have read about? What subject have you researched passionately? Tell about a specific experience associated with a subject -- perhaps you researched leukemia??? If so, write briefly about this girl as the reason for your research, and then write about the research you did -- titles of articles, books, conversations with doctors, and the girl's family, etc...

:))))

You are great!!
akern 4 / 10  
Mar 9, 2009   #11
Great essay! I loved your word usage.
sharkbait09 2 / 5  
Mar 15, 2009   #12
good essay...very good use of diction


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