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'I couldn't read or speak' - My inspiration that helped me overcome obstacles


Macrusa 5 / 16  
Sep 5, 2012   #1
This is my common app personal essay. Critique as harsh as you like :) I am grateful for all the help I can get

In seventh grade, I couldn't read or speak. Amiable students would chat with me but I couldn't say anything. My father's brothers criticized my diffidence and mockingly said I was socially inept. They called me a failure, a child incomparable to any of their sons. Although I used to believe their words were true, now I think I can carve my own path.

My family was disappointed in my academic grades, something that delighted my uncles.
"English is so hard!" I cried in Mandarin. "Always ask questions that's what a teacher is for," my father replied sternly. He showed me his hands and said "these hands, this roughness upon them, it is from hard work. I came to America, destroyed my hands in the process to give you a better life." I realized that he had always shunned me away from his hardship, wanting me to have little pressure of fulfilling his expectations.

I reminisced about the remember on the weekends, he would take the whole family out and worked continuously until lunch time and sometimes even past that. Meanwhile, I would sit on the large spin chairs inside the white office rooms playing with the cat and he would be in the factory experimenting on how to make metal studs and round windows. When I dared to sneak a peek at the loud bangs issuing from the machines as each metal stud was made, I didn't see him sitting back and letting the machine perform its duty but I saw him running around it working just as hard as it. Beads of sweat poured down his face as he lifted failed metal studs after another. Another pile for the trash bin. I resolved to work harder, to push my academic grades so that I would accomplish what I now wanted. Yet, my desired grades did not appear on the report cards. On the brink of giving up everything, I sat in my room watching the sunset and realized that just like the sun will never fade in many years, so will my courage. Even if the sun was now setting, it was taking a brief respite for a new day; the promising hope that each day offers is a new start. I adopted this philosophy that will always stay with me. Even in the darkest times, there is always "a last hope." The "last hope" isn't an auspicious occasion but rather what I do to actively shape my life just like my father.

My grades improved and every year, I would actively participate in class and seek my teachers if I had difficult questions. I was finally successful in my work. However this is not the apex. I have merely overcome obstacles and now must battle my way through the dense forest. My father's family was wrong for judging me and I will not carry out their mistake. It was their criticisms that made me strive to discover. But without the realization of my father's courage, my accomplishments would not have been possible. Through this struggling process, I made me.
ellecc 4 / 12  
Sep 7, 2012   #2
Hi ! This is a good essay, I think. But I think (ONLY MY OPINION) that maybe you should add some details on how you improved, instead of simply saying

a book about writing essays says that "a good essay shows who you are, not tell. "

Anyway, good luck ! And I sincerly hope you can help me with my essays!
OP Macrusa 5 / 16  
Sep 7, 2012   #3
Thank you for the advice. I agree with you. I'm just wondering about your quote on "a good essay shows who you are, not tell." What did you think I did. Tell or show?
tau 4 / 10  
Sep 7, 2012   #4
I totally agree with ellecc, you have a great essay but you just need to work on some small things. Editing is the the most important tool to make a good paper. Good luck on your paper!


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