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"Sticks and Stones" - Common Application Essay for New York University.


auds 2 / 40  
Oct 13, 2010   #1
The topic is:Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

I'm not sure that this essay is strong enough and paints a picture of who I am as a person. Please help, and comment is greatly appreciated. :) Thanks

Sticks and Stones

Life is all about growing up and becoming not only a better person but a better citizen through the experiences and challenges faced throughout life. You never stop learning until the day you die. Growing up, life seemed beautiful and miraculous to an innocent child, and I saw everyone the same way. I was just a kid wanting to be friends with everyone; no fighting, no rumors, no drama, no discrimination, just recess and nap time. Elementary school was a breeze because at that age everyone was more worried about exhibiting exemplary behavior in order to be chosen as hall monitor, and I believed that middle school would have the same ease when it came to building friendships with others, but it was the complete opposite. As soon as I stepped in middle school I was labeled without anyone getting to know the real me.

Once middle school began we were no longer seen as children but adolescents with raging hormones and in a search for whom we were, but what we really wanted was to fit in and to be like everyone else. I was never able to "fit in". During my middle school years I was seen as a nerd because I was constantly reading. People made fun of the clothes that I wore thanks to my mom who loved to dress me up in ribbons and bows and it didn't help that I was socially awkward, but worst of all I was made fun of because I was from a poor third world country; Haiti. There was an incident in the 6th grade where I was asked where I was from, and when I announced that I was from Haiti, I received a disgusted look or from my classmates and horrible comments, such as "Haitian people eat cats, Haitian people are extremely dirty," and things of that nature. For a while after that, I never told anyone that I was Haitian because I was embarrassed and afraid of what people might think. Or, if they discovered that I was Haitian, I would try to change the subject quickly because I didn't want them to inquire to ask me some really ignorant question such as, "do you practice voodoo?" as though all Haitians practice voodoo. As a result of the negative comments, hurtful glances and the way people acted around me, I felt very insecure and ashamed of my culture, and started telling lies to conceal where I was from.

Looking back on it now, I'm very embarrassed that I allowed my peers to break me down by their words, but at the same time, this experience shaped who I am today. Yes I made the mistake by caving in to the pressures of wanting to fit in, but at the same time, it's human nature to judge others whether its intentional or not, though it's not a great feeling when you're that person being judged and degraded. Words cannot express how badly I was hurt, but I am grateful because it taught me taught me to value my culture, embrace my individuality and be proud of where I came from.

ravkaurg 3 / 7  
Oct 13, 2010   #2
This is well written but try starting out your essay with an attention grabber. Perhaps a specific anecdote of a hurtful experience and continue from that point. The ending is where it gets interesting, try starting that earlier and digress from then on.
OP auds 2 / 40  
Oct 13, 2010   #3
You really think so? I thought my beginning was powerful. The thing is, my middle paragraphs include my anecdote, so I need a little bit more clarification on what your saying, cause I really wanna wow my readers :)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Oct 16, 2010   #4
You never stop learning until the day you die.

This sentence seems unhelpful, and it might not even be accurate. (For example, some Buddhists say the Buddha is still in training!)

what about this one: Life is all about growing up and becoming not only a better person but a better citizen through the experiences and challenges faced throughout life.--- I think it is too complex and wordy... and it raises a question of what it means to be a good citizen rather than just a good person. I think, actually, that you can replace this intro with something entirely different...

Reread the essay, and think of a new intro sentence. That is just my humble idea for you; I just don't like the first 2 sentences.

As soon as I stepped in middle school, I had an experience that taught me about _________: I was labeled without anyone getting to know the real me. (fill in the blank. I added one of their key words, "experience" so that they will see that you are answering the prompt.)

:-)
OP auds 2 / 40  
Oct 17, 2010   #5
omg thank you sooooo much!!! I really appreciate it!!! gosh you are such a life saver. I was actually thinking about replacing the beginning with the sticks and stones idiom. Do you think that's a good idea?
zengrz 5 / 103  
Oct 18, 2010   #6
Hi.

Your essay has a good start, but I think the ending is a little bit abrupt. There is so much more you can talk about in the third paragraph.

Yes I made the mistake by caving in to the pressures of wanting to fit in, but at the same time, it's human nature to judge others whether its intentional or not, though it's not a great feeling when you're that person being judged and degraded.

What made you realized this? Talk about your inner struggle, like how you used to feel about the negative comments and what changes you perspective. Personally that is what I am very curious about because it will allow me to see your as a unique person.

Hope to see more from you.

G L~
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Dec 7, 2010   #7
gosh you are such a life saver. I was actually thinking about replacing the beginning with the sticks and stones idiom. Do you think that's a good idea?

You are a lifesaver, too. Thanks for all the great work you are doing at EF lately!

I think you should not include the sing song poem about sticks and stones. It is not an original idea! You write very well, and I think you ... well, one option is to include the idiom, but then ADD to it!! Add a new line to the poem. "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but _________________..." That will be wicked cool.

:-)


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