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Sibling insecurity and much more -Common App/ Application essay


zdv 12 / 68 2  
Dec 13, 2012   #1
hey guys. this is my common app application essay. Please give me any feedback or advice. Please be harsh. is it unique? or do i sound like another whiny teenager? do i come off as trying to gain sympathy?too much material? style? lacking is something? ANYTHING!!! it is not final and i can still change it so any advice is welcome. kudos :)

After 18 years, my parents have had another child - a boy. While the measure of everyone's joy at this event seems infinite, I cannot help but wonder, was I not good enough?

I have always believed that one of the reasons I grew up to be a feminist is my parents. They raised me as an only child until the age of 12, after which they had another daughter who drove away the solitude I had always felt. Throughout my life I watched them disregard every tantrum from the society for not having a son, which led me to assume I was as good as one. I spent all of my time trying to gratify my parents; trying to gather their approval. I have been obedient, respectful, understanding and academically forward. I have been a source of pride to my parents at many occasions and have always dreamt of supporting them during their old days. Today, the dream is still the same; the difference is that I envision their son doing it instead of me.

To someone viewing this situation, it may look like another instance of sibling insecurity. But for me, it is much more. Having been raised in a society where wives are physically and verbally abused in every other home; where daughters are disowned for being engaged in love affairs; where children are always asked to pray for brothers and never for sisters; where people have as many as 12 daughters in hope of having a son and then refuse to educate all of them because they do not have the required source of finance, I always felt blessed to have parents who were not misogynists like most in my society. But today, I feel like I was wrong all along. I wonder, could my parents be one of those I recently criticized as being misogynists?

I understand that they have the right to bear as many children as they desire. However, the fact that if my sister or I were of the opposite sex, they probably would not have found the need to have another child, neglecting the unfavorable financial circumstances we are in, makes me feel worthless. My existence does not seem to hold any value to neither my society nor my parents.

As a child, I was also a subject to ethnic discrimination and bullying in my school. Back then, I did not know that it was wrong and always thought that I was the one carrying the defect. But not this time. I refuse to be treated differently for something that is a part of me that I do not have the power to change. Unlike my society, I know that my existence holds a reason and now, I have found it. Sexism is a disease, one of the mind that I cannot treat with my knowledge in genetics. However, I will bring a change to the mindset of people towards women in any possible way I can.

I may forgive my parents for the pain that they have caused me, the insecurities I have felt, the doubts I have had about myself, but I cannot forgive them, as a woman, for thinking I wasn't good enough.
Believefm 3 / 9 1  
Dec 13, 2012   #2
Its very wordy if that makes sense. try to tone it down a bit and talk about the core issue whether its feeling belittled by your parents or women's right to be viewed equal to men. But your passion in the essay is great
OP zdv 12 / 68 2  
Dec 13, 2012   #3
thank you for the feedback. i think i understand what u mean by wordy. can you give me any advice on how to change that?
thespoonguy 6 / 23 1  
Dec 14, 2012   #4
i like the concept. go with the same ideas and see if you can fit the same content in less words. combine sentences, rephrase sections. i've had to do this a lot too and i find it hard to resist excessive use of words. but editing it gives you the chance to convey more in one essay.
OP zdv 12 / 68 2  
Dec 14, 2012   #5
Thank you spoonguy. I think i will try rephrasing it. any other advice about the content? do you think anything is unwanted and still there?

I will post a new version soon.
lobafemi - / 1 1  
Dec 14, 2012   #6
It is a well thought-out essay... just need a bit of softening so as not to sound angry.
reymiii - / 5  
Dec 14, 2012   #7
After 18 years, my parents have had another child

18 years after what?

I have been obedient, respectful, understanding and academically forward

doesn't really paitn a pretty picture

my sister or I were of the opposite sex

you can just say boys

thought that I was the one carrying the defect

thought I was the defective

I may forgive my parents for the pain that they have caused me, the insecurities I have felt, the doubts I have had about myself, but I cannot forgive them, as a woman, for thinking I wasn't good enough

don't end on such an angry note. You don't have any concrete evidence of them thinking you werent good enough in the essay. This just ends on a really nasty note that makes you look bitter and just not an enjoyable person. So end happier, or prove your parents don't view you as equal.
eng_geek 4 / 6 1  
Dec 14, 2012   #8
I loved your essay! Actually we share the same feelings.
Nicholas Win 1 / 8 4  
Dec 17, 2012   #9
Wow, your essay is really nice, and your idea is unusual ! However, "but I cannot forgive them, as a woman, for thinking I wasn't good enough" is a little awkward imo. Instead of writing like that , "but i will make them regret for thinking that I am not good enough"

P.S, English is not my language so please forgive my grammar errors. According to our religion and country, it is rude to show disrespect to parents so your ending is a little awkward to me, however, as a whole your essay is really good !
awakemysoul 3 / 8 1  
Dec 19, 2012   #10
I think this sentence sort of throws the reader off of the main subject "As a child, I was also a subject to ethnic discrimination and bullying in my school. Back then, I did not know that it was wrong and always thought that I was the one carrying the defect."

It still makes sense without it, so maybe you should take it out or try to incorporate it more into the story, so as it not to seem like you're just adding it into your essay, but thats just my opinion, its completely your choice :)

But otherwise, very good essay overall!!
OP zdv 12 / 68 2  
Dec 19, 2012   #11
thank you everyone for your meaningful feedback. i am really very grateful to all of you. i have made a few changes to the essay keeping all of the feedback in mind and adding somethings of my own. please read it and tell me how you like the new version. was the old version better? is it too much? any advice is appreciated. also if anyone could help me cut down a bit, that would be great. :)

"Was I not good enough?" I ask myself over a hundred times as I look at my mother uttering the words "We need someone to take ahead our family name". I try to portray a smile but there is a lump in my throat that is preventing it. I feel like I am choking and there is no water, no way not to choke.

After 18 years of giving birth to me and 6 years of giving birth to my sister, my parents have had another child- a boy. While the measure of everyone's joy at this event seems infinite, I seem to be lost in thought, trying to determine what I did wrong. I think I know the answer but I am trying to find another explanation. There has to be another explanation, or I am left with "I was not a boy".

I have always believed that one of the reasons I grew up to be a feminist is my parents. Throughout my life, I watched them disregard every tantrum from the society for not having a son which led me to assume, I was as good as one. I have been a source of pride to my parents at many occasions and have always dreamt of supporting them during their old days. Today, the dream is the same; the difference is that I envision their son doing it instead of me.

To many, this may look like another instance of sibling insecurity, but to me, it is much more. Having been raised in a society where wives are physically and verbally abused every day; where daughters are disowned for being engaged in love affairs; where children are always asked to pray for brothers and never for sisters; where fetuses are aborted for not being male; where people have as many as twelve daughters in hope of having a son without having the means to finance all of their educations, I always felt blessed to have parents who were not misogynists like most in my society. But now, I feel like I had been wrong. I wonder, could my parents be one of those I recently characterized as misogynists?

I understand that they have the right to have as many children as they desire. But the fact that despite our unfavorable financial circumstances, they chose to have another child simply because me or my sister are not boys makes me feel worthless. My existence does not seem to hold any value to neither my society nor my parents.

Also a subject to ethnic discrimination and bullying as a child, I always thought I was the defective. But not again. I refuse to be treated differently for something that is a part of me that I do not have the power to change. Unlike my society, I know there is a reason behind my existence and now I have found it. Sexism is a disease, one of the mind that I cannot treat with my knowledge in genetics. But I have made a promise to myself to bring a change in the mindset of people about women in every way I can.

As for my parents, I may not be able to forgive them as a woman, but as a daughter I already have, for the love they have given me and the sacrifices they have made are much greater than the pain they have caused me and the doubts I have had about myself.
sarthakjain 19 / 58  
Dec 20, 2012   #12
you referred to your brother as "boy" in whole essay. I felt it a little discomforting. otherwise, the essay is really awesome and idea is great. My only comment - just soften a little bit in some parts. Anger is dominating feeling I got from this essay, than passion. But That's just me, you don't have to take my advice :)
chessman567 5 / 170 11  
Dec 26, 2012   #13
I tend to like the other essay you wrote; the one about the apple. But that's my opinion. Also, I agree with sarthakjain above. The anger is domineering and you should sugar coat it in some parts.


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