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"Sit up straight, don't slouch" - significant risk, dilemma - common app essay


ndortonne 1 / 3  
Nov 4, 2010   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

"Sit up straight, don't slouch", a phrase mom would constantly repeat to me in creole as she drove me to school. Every morning she made sure that my clothes was immaculate, my hair was neatly combed and that my homework was done correctly the night before. Discipline was folded in her roots since she was a young child in Haiti, and she did the same to pass on her morals to me. The meaning of the wise words of my mother and father that I lived according to at home, took a 360 degree turn at school. The culture shock I experienced attending school in an impoverished part of Miami, was accompanied by a slur of racial insults and crude remarks. Elementary school was the first time that I heard from a fellow classmate that being an African American with proper manners and etiquette, was enough to profile you as being white. Being called an "oreo" took on a more caustic tone as a child, but as I grew older I took that term as a compliment because I knew that my parents, both of whom came from Haiti as immigrants, had worked hard to raise me up with good morals and principles that I still keep to this day.

I will elaborate it some more, but is it ok so far? or too narrative like for a common application introduction
didyagetthat - / 1  
Nov 4, 2010   #2
I like it. I think it's not too narrative. It's pretty strong and captures my attention, but the strength and effect of the introduction, i believe, depends on the essay itself and how you tie back to it.

So it's hard to tell if it's good and effective until I see the rest of the essay, but by itself it's pretty good.
OP ndortonne 1 / 3  
Nov 5, 2010   #3
Can you make any revisions you feel necessary please and tell me your opinion)
I wrote the common app essay for the #1 prompt, but i dont know if it fits more with the second one.
Thank you so much!

1.Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

"Sit up straight, don't slouch", a phrase mom would constantly repeat to me in creole as she drove me to school. Every morning she made sure that my clothes was immaculate, my hair was neatly combed and that my homework was done correctly the night before. Discipline was folded in her roots since she was a young child in Haiti, and she did the same to pass on her morals to me. The meaning of the wise words of my mother and father that I lived according to at home, took a 360 degree turn at school. The culture shock I experienced attending school in an impoverished part of Miami, was accompanied by a slur of racial insults and crude remarks. Elementary school was the first time that I heard from a fellow classmate that being an African American with proper manners and etiquette, was enough to profile you as being white. Being called an "oreo" took on a more caustic tone as a child, but as I grew older I took that term as a compliment because I knew that my parents, both of whom came from Haiti as immigrants, had worked hard to raise me up with good morals and principles that I still keep to this day.

Having been the first American born generation in my family, my sister and I had experiences that quite different from what my parents' went thru day and age. The cultural barrier that I began to see be created between my parents and I, put more pressure on me than most children had to find their personal identity. During my youth, censorship existed everywhere within the four walls of my bedroom, except where I brushed my teeth. I was led to believe that American pop culture would be intoxicating to my mind if I was exposed to explicit language, violence, and innuendo on certain television channels, as well as on the radio. My mother would point out children in the mall to me that had on expensive clothes and jewelry and tell me they were the typical "spoiled" American child, and I was to never end up like them and take the opportunities and privileges I received for granted. The negativity's of being American seemed to arise in every action I made. When it came to school, my teachers taught me the lax and relatively simple methods of doing basic math, English, and reading skills. At home, my mom saw that for my age I was behind in basic grade level subjects. The tension only grew thicker, as she attempted to impose upon me the strict methodology of studying that she practiced back in Haiti: memorization and learning material with no shortcuts. As this reflected in my school grades, I got teased even more for being "to smart." I grew up with the mentality that a modicum of hard work, determination, and perseverance will get you to wherever you want to be in life. To experience such animosity from others just like yourself at a young age, was a lot to bear. Was this the laziness and incompetence my mom warned me about in Americans?, or was I just not acting the same as others who were my race

Through all the entaglements and formalities that came with being Haitian- American, one underlying principle remained. Even though my parents may not have been fond of how society portrayed itself at times, they knew that America is a country where dreams can come true for anyone, citizen or immigrant. Their words of wisdom constantly circulate in my head to this day like an hourglass; each grain of sand represents another passion of mines waiting to be released, and each second is filled with endless possibilities. Once the hour glass is empty and turned back over, it restarts the draining process, much like how my stamina is as well. When I feel all hope is lost, I keep charging through any obstacles in my way, and once I overcame the ultimate barrier in my life I became a more enriching and diverse person. One of the ways that I decided to embrace this side of me was by pursuing laboratory research opportunities.

My second inspiration to engage in scientific research came about after I was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disorder called Sjorgrens syndrome. After numerous doctors' visits, nobody could trace the agonizing joint pain that had plagued me since childhood. Countless times I received the same vague diagnosis of late-term "growing pains." Two years ago, a rheumatologist went the extra mile to consult other doctors and finally diagnose me with the rare, incurable autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome. The doctor immediately put me on medication to alleviate my symptoms. From that day, I developed a desire to help discover cures for others in similar situations. I was inspired to always persevere when obstacles arise, just as my doctor had done for me.

I have already made great strides in following through on my aspiration to find cures, by engaging in scientific research. I participated in the Student Science Program (SSTP) at the University of Florida. In SSTP, I developed a work ethic as I learned how to balance morning lecture sessions, lab research, and a nighttime course. Furthermore, I learned firsthand that teamwork is essential to reaching goals in an efficient manner, whether diagnosing diseases or finishing a project. In assisting classmates with assignments and also receiving help, I look forward to bringing out the true potential of my classmates and myself. Working through the problems step by step with others is one of the greatest ways of learning. In the dorms, I know that my ability to compromise will help me have amicable friendships with my future roommates. University life, with its multitude of student personalities, is a great resource for me to create new friendships over similar interests

The diagnosis was a wakeup call for me to start reevaluating my priorities, as noncompliance with my medications could result in severe complications. I was compelled to start volunteering at the local hospital to serve a listening ear for patients during tough times. Communication is one of the most vital skills I developed in the process. Just as I have learned from patient experience, I envision myself utilizing communication to learn life lessons from my fellow classmates' experiences, through engagement in classroom discussion and club activities.

I now realize that sometimes life requires that one takes charge of a situation and perseveres. If my doctor had given up on me, I would still be in pain and left without answers. I am determined to follow through in whatever activities I will pursue in college, such as scientific research. The opportunity to be immersed in the college of my choice diverse community, to learn and to give back, is the chance of a lifetime, and one that I hope to experience.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 14, 2010   #4
Hey, I think you have both essays here... you could revise the end of the first paragaph so that it expresses the significance of the experience of the diagnosis... or you could revise it to name a specific ISSUE, such as cultural barriers.

You seem to have both of those themes in this essay, and if you want to keep both, you need to find a common thread. What does the cultural barrier have to do with the diagnosis? Find a common theme, and make it your thesis. I think you will do better with the topic about an experience.

:-)


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