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Still I Rise: An Autobiography 217 - UPenn Optional Essay


twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Oct 27, 2009   #1
By no means am I finished, I'm not even quite sure what direction I want to go in. I'm thinking how I met with my father in hopes of learning more about myself but I realized were not that much alike at all - maybe I'm more a product of how I was raised.. and through in some good stuff about myself.. Idk yet. ANY feedback at this point would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

You have just finished writing you 300 page autobiography, write p. 217

Still I Rise: An Autobiography 217

I was just about to lie down when the phone rang. There was a strong temptation to simply let the answering machine pick it up, but then I contemplated the possible importance of the phone call and begrudgingly got up to answer. I put the receiver to my ear. The last voice I expected to hear sounded on the other end of the line. "Elizabeth? How are you?" The thick Ghanaian accent that emphasized the "e" sounds in my name, was familiar and yet remote. It was a voice I had not heard in over ten years: the voice of my father.

"Fine." I choked out.
In a calm voice, he explained that he was in town taking care of some business and he wanted to see me. I could feel my heart pumping inside my chest.

"I talked to your mother." He said. "She'll be home shortly to pick you up."
I didn't know how to reply. As he said goodbye, I stood there and listened silently until there was nothing but a dial tone.

I started mechanically taking off my pajamas and putting on my jeans. I had to get ready to meet my father. A man who left when I was six years old, without so little as a postcard to compensate his absence.

When he left I was too young to fully understand the gravity of what had happened. Because he wasn't a fundamental part of my life to begin with, after a few years, it was almost as if he had never even been there. Soon, the words father, dad, and daddy became completely foreign to me. My mom asked me once if I missed not having a father, and I simply replied "You can't really miss something you never had."

Although it was never my intention, I knew these words hurt her. Over the years she had tried her without cease to play the roles of both mother and father. She always managed to muster up more than enough noise at award ceremonies, recitals, even student council election speeches, to make me feel like I had a whole army fathers rooting me on.

Thus I could convince myself to believe that I wasn't really missing out. But in reality, I did feel like something was missing. More substantially I felt like a part of me was missing, this whole other half that I never got a chance to know.

Thus as I fixed my hair and reapplied my makeup that evening, no feelings of anger or bitterness precipitated in me, but rather I became enthralled with curiosity.

By the time I was finished getting ready, my mother arrived. We drove to our designated meeting ground, The International House of Pancakes. My father was seated at a table in the middle of the non-smoking section. He stood to great us. He looked different from what I remembered: much shorter and less severe. The initial greeting was filled with awkwardness.

But as we sat and spoke much of the awkwardness began to melt away. What remained was a picture of a stranger. Although I searched the depths of his eyes to relate to him to find something that he had given me, what I found was a man nothing like me.

I was disappointed at first, even confused. I had wanted so much to see something in him that I could identify with, but I hadn't. As I sat there listening to him speak. My mom made a ridiculous joke. We both cracked up laughing, but my father just stared at us, as if we had began speaking another language.

It was at that moment that I realized how futile my original efforts were. I did not need to search any farther for my identity than what was right in front of me: my mom.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Oct 29, 2009   #2
I think you could do something more effective with the last few sentences. Actually, reflecting on your changed feelings about your father could present you in the most positive light if you explain that your feelings changed from negative to positive when you were still very young, because you learned at a young age how to see things from the perspectives of others.

That is just an idea that came to mind. And I think the last sentence could be better, more useful. I also think it will be better if you find a way to let this reflect your meaningful career a little more -- the career that has its roots in your education at upenn.

You are an excellent, excellent writer!!!!! Seriously...
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 5, 2009   #3
Thank you so much for your reply!
I will definantly get to work on that. =)
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 25, 2009   #4
I feel like I need to add more, but I don't know how to because its already a page long. Do you have any suggestions?
shanemrys 2 / 14  
Nov 25, 2009   #5
Interesting topic they give you... you did very well with it!
the only thing i might suggest, is explain the end a little more. elabourate on the experience of the meeting just a bit more, and that sense of finality that your mom was the important part of you after all, etc. it feels a little rushed. and since its only "one page", it doesn't need to be too much more, just a tiny bit more elabouration.
leahaha 1 / 3  
Nov 25, 2009   #6
These were all near the end:

As I sat there listening to him speak, my mom made a ridiculous joke.

and this sentence is awkwardly worded:
Although I searched the depths of his eyes to relate to him to find something that he had given me, what I found was a man nothing like me.

Really ace, essay by the way, good luck with your admissions!

You wouldn't mind looking at mine, would you?
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 25, 2009   #7
Thank you both!
how does this sound?

"Although I searched the depths of his eyes to relate to him, to find something in him that he had given me, what I found was a man nothing like me."

or maybe...
"I searched the depths of his eyes to relate to him, to find something in him that he had given me, however, what I found was a man nothing like me."

and I'd be glad to look over your essay leahaha.
leahaha 1 / 3  
Nov 25, 2009   #8
I think it's a bit of a run-on and would sound loads better separated as two:

I searched the depths of his eyes in order to relate to him, to find something in him that he had given me. However, what I found was a man nothing like me.
OP twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 25, 2009   #9
Okay, that sounds great.
Thanks!
Mgaldamez 1 / 4  
Nov 25, 2009   #11
She always managed to muster up more than enough noise at award ceremonies, recitals, even student council election speeches, to make me feel like I had a whole army of fathers rooting me on.

In the sentences following it, you use "thus twice". At the risk of being repetitive, I would suggest changing one to another word. You might even be able to just remove the second thus and run with:

As I fixed my hair and reapplied my makeup that evening, no feelings of anger or bitterness precipitated in me, but rather I became enthralled with curiosity.

Also, this part sounds a bit awkward: no feelings of anger or bitterness precipitated in me, but rather I became enthralled with curiosity.

Perhaps you could change it to: As I fixed my hair and reapplied my makeup that evening, I felt neither anger nor bitterness . Instead, I became enthralled with curiosity.

(or something to that extent)

Other than that, you've written an intriguing essay! I couldn't stop reading it.
shanemrys 2 / 14  
Nov 26, 2009   #12
"I searched the depths of his eyes to relate to him, to find something in him that he had given me, however, what I found was a man nothing like me."

this is much better. :)


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