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We are so small but yet so powerful. Common App essay!

Alicegz 2 / 25  
Dec 17, 2011   #1
Hi! This is my Common App essay. I don't think it's very good, but I like the topic. I wanted to make it more personal so I added the second paragraph, but it's too abrupt, I know. It would be great if you guys could read it and give feedback on whether it gives enough insight into me as a person, if the flow is good, and if it's a good Common App essay in general. Thanks soo much! btw, please be harsh!

Looking up above the spruce trees, past the 20-story high buildings, and at the last traces of clouds, I see not just the moon and stars, but also the universe that they make up. Compared to the 100,000 light year-wide Milky Way galaxies and the possibly infinitely large universe, I feel smaller than an infinitesimal speck, more powerless than a caged bird, and never more significant than any other human, knowing that no matter what I accomplished, my short life will soon only become a forgotten, distant memory. This was how I used to view humans' places in the world- as minute, unimportant, and restrained. I used to feel like we were just another combination of all the innumerable atoms on Earth; we were nothing different from ants or bacteria, but just had a different distribution of atoms. Now, however, I have realized that our existence was no coincidence at all. We were created to make advances and leave our mark in this world.

When I was young, just the thought of the size of our world terrified me to tears. My earlier experiences partly influenced this thinking. From the ages of two to five, I got extremely high fevers and went to the hospital every few weeks for shots. There was no diagnosis and I was scared that all the people I loved would suddenly be gone; that I would be gone. Fear drove my body to work harder to defend myself, and by the time I started kindergarten I was a braver girl with a stronger immune system. I was afraid that I would be forgotten, but at the end I realized that I had the power to push myself to get better.

I feel like our unique attributes set us apart. Our ability to love and hate, amuse and dishearten, captivate and repel are our special characteristics. We have taken resources provided by nature and innovated them into other-worldly creations. Our philosophies, technologies, sciences, and arts have made us advanced and have given us complex ideologies. Even though we are miniscule, our size is not a direct correlation to our power. Our abilities to feel and think are the real indications of strength.

The realization of our powers has propelled me to play my part in the advancement of our society. My constant pondering about our role in this world has led me to pursue in a variety of activities that involve anything from performing at retirement homes to researching in medical labs.

In addition, I have started to believe that my abilities do not just lie in the realm of playing piano or doing western blot, but that I can also influence my community by just initiating conversations with an unfamiliar acquaintance or spending more time with my family and friends. Reaching out to others in even the smallest way can create a monumental difference in somebody's day, and the power of one person can lead to the strength of our world.

Word count: 496

You guys don't have to read this part if you don't want to. Today I was trying to write a new one and I decided to write about how I cried about everything when I was young, and how I have evolved into a stronger person. This is the beginning of it. Thanks:)

"Honey, please stop crying. What is it this time?" my mother exasperated. It was only the first week of daycare and my mom, who works nearby, had already been phoned three times to come to the school and tame my uncontrollable cries. I tried to respond, but my throat was clenching too tightly around my larynx. Finally, between my rhythmic alternations of sobs and hic-ups, I managed to gasp out, "but mom, Sophie kicked me and it still hurts!" And so the crying continues.

That was me when I was young. I was not spoiled or perpetually sad; I just had a strange obsession with this act of secretomotor phenomenon. I cried every time someone pulled my hair, called me a crybaby; every time I recited the multiplication table wrong, or swallowed water in the swimming pool. Not only did I never stand up for myself, I was also weak. As I grew older and entered elementary school, my emotions began to stabilize.

I remember I was at one of my school swim team's daily practices in the outdoor pool that we rented. I remember panting as the nine-year-old me kicked furiously in an attempt to finish the last 50 meters of my twenty laps of backstroke. Listening to the pellets of rain echoing as they splashed mercilessly on the water as well as my face, I remember willing to give anything to be like those people that were snuggled up on their couches, watching the weather reporter talk about the storm invading the city outside. My skin was numb and my body was on the brink of collapse, but my brain had not been affected by the harsh weather. The whole time it reminded me that even though practice was hard, my persistence would help me until the end.
AnnAMaY 1 / 3  
Dec 17, 2011   #2
I think this is a very creative way to write your essay. However I think a lot of time is spent on your weaknesses. I understand taht you want to tell the story of how you were weak but now you're stronger, but I think if you emphasise on your strength a litle more it would be great !
OP Alicegz 2 / 25  
Dec 17, 2011   #3
Which essay were you referring to? Was it the second one? Thanks for the comment and I'll definitely take that into consideration! I'm more leaning into using the first essay for my common app though. It would be great if you could give me feed back on the 1st one. Thanks!
AnnAMaY 1 / 3  
Dec 17, 2011   #4
Yes I was reffering to the 1st essay.

Even tough I think the intro is really unique , I think you need to get to the point about making advances in the world.

I suggest placing the line "we were created to make advances in this world" 1st as a line of own in the beginning. This way they wont they will get your idea immediately and read on to see how you arrived at it.
OP Alicegz 2 / 25  
Dec 17, 2011   #5
Thanks kenyaboyfresh for being a bit harsh-I needed that! My essay is for the common app's "Topic of your choice".
kexu2012 5 / 8  
Dec 18, 2011   #6
Hello! I really like your second draft over the first one!

The first draft: though the first paragraph uses beautiful words, but it's just too negative. Although the last sentence "Now, however, I have realized that our existence was no coincidence at all. We were created to make advances and leave our mark in this world." shows your intention of changin yourself positively, there's few description of the precise process of your transformation. I think readers want more to see a people's growth, how they turn into the stronger ones and abandon their fears. I think you have great story! It can be really inspiring an story if you find a better way to tell it.

The second draft: I like it! In fact, i used the similar "opening" as you do in this one. I think the first two(!) paragraphs in this draft can remain, but only strengthening the transition "As I grew older and entered elementary school, my emotions began to stabilize." And i really love the description of your swimming in rainy day! It's strong!

My few suggestions:
Save the first two paragraphes in the second draft, but especially emphasize on your transformation. Why change? What's the specific moments and things that striked you to be stronger? What did you go through to get rid of your fears and your "secretomotor phenomeno"? What kind of person you became after that life-changing situation? HOw do you judge your past from nowadays prospective? I think admission officials would really be moved by your spiritual power showed in your self-changing process, and in that way your story can be more "powerful"!

Just for reference!!! Let's help each other and good luck to all of us!
august23vn 4 / 18  
Dec 18, 2011   #7
Well this is my opinion. I think that the first draft is well written, and beautiful, but the camera lens is somehow not rightly positioned. As I read through the essay my mind keeps spanning the vast universe, in which you are literally lost. You manage to appear in a few scenarios, but it's not enough, you know. The whole point of common app is to say something about yourself, and you may employ numerous means to work toward it, perhaps by describing someone you love, or an event, a series of event that shape your worldview, specific actions that you've taken. The topic is just fiendishly hard, too philosophical, that it takes you so much effort to elaborate on and occupies the space that should be dedicated to sth more important. What did you do? How did you spend time with your friend and family? How did you reach out to others? Unlike other posters, I would advise you against the topic. It makes you flex the muscle too much, trying to be someone so grand and wrestling with something so great and abstract. It's Ok to be normal.

I would suggest that you go for the second one. Perhaps because I can relate to this personally, but, really, it seems to be more "you", more insightful. There's some substance lurking beneath it, dig it up. The first part has already been nicely done, truly engaging. Now you just need to tell them how you've overcome it, not just brushing everything into one sentence " The whole time it reminded me that even though practice was hard, my persistence would help me until the end.". Just be honest and sincere.

I wish you best of luck in the application process.

Thank you for your meticulous comment on my essay. It must have taken a lot of your time, and I appreciate it with all my heart (I'm being sentimental, I know.)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 21, 2011   #8
Hello, the collaboration in this thread is so impressive! If I was working in an admission office, or if I was hiring someone, I would be very impressed if they linked me to their participation in this thread.

I wanted to also mention that it is redundant to say "but yet"...
You should only use one of those words in the title, but yet I see that you used both here.
OP Alicegz 2 / 25  
Jan 1, 2012   #9
Sorry I don't know how to remove the 1st version of my essay!
Please tell me what you think and I will definitely return the favor!
OP Alicegz 2 / 25  
Jan 1, 2012   #10
I think I'm going to close this one and just start a new one.
Nicole11 3 / 12  
Jan 1, 2012   #11
Great essay the only thing I would change is when you say "The girl, who was name Xinxin, was apparently one of my mom's former patients." Apparently sounds awkward I would just delete it from the sentence. Besides that it is great. Good Luck!
OP Alicegz 2 / 25  
Jan 1, 2012   #12
Thank you so much Nicole. Best of luck to you too! Do you think it was too sudden in some parts or if I should talk more about myself? thanks!
Nicole11 3 / 12  
Jan 1, 2012   #13
I do think you could talk about yourself more. Since the story of Xinxin takes up most of the 500 word count maybe you can shorten it.
birdcages 2 / 11  
Jan 1, 2012   #14
"The girl, Xinxin, was one of my mom's former patients." <-- suggestion on how to change that sentence, haha.
Also, imo, it flows nicely - not too choppy/sudden at all.

Anyway, I agree with Nicole - I think you should talk more about yourself. I don't think it'd be too hard to shorten the paragraph about Xinxin while keeping it just as powerful; definitely keep the bit about her parents thanking your mother. Let me know if you need any help doing so!

I really like it, by the way - it's really sincere & speaks a lot about you.
OP Alicegz 2 / 25  
Jan 1, 2012   #15
Thanks so much you guys!
Nicole-yeah I agree. I thought my mom's story was really sweet but I did ramble on about Xinxin for too long. haha

Dilara-I totally missed how all the descriptions seemed to refer to the girl's hair. Do you have any thoughts on the essay in general? Thanks!

Brenda-Thanks alot for your input and I think your suggestion is great! I'll be revising my essay to add in more about my self.
Dilara1010 4 / 17  
Jan 4, 2012   #16
Please return the favor I really need help :)

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