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The story of hedgehog. Common App Essay / Personal Statement about a period that sparked my growth

Jiaxin Ye 2 / 5 2  
Dec 18, 2019   #1
Hi, guys, this is my personal statement about a period that sparks my growth. Are there any problems?

the new me

For the longest of time, a hedgehog woke up in my bed each day, and she could not leave the house without putting on her thorny skin to protect her soft body inside.

Since primary school, she was an independent learner and a model student who was always ranked in the top 10. She seldom asked questions in class, leading people to believe that she was tough as nails and never had any problems with studies. Reality was that she was afraid of being peeled off the shell to show that she was not perfect.

This summer, flying to America to attend the summer school at Harvard, she was filled with adrenaline, considering a new life in the West, yet the reality kicked her back into the dark cave of despair.

"Hi, I'm Ty," During the orientation, a girl started a conversation with her about chosen courses, "I dropped Chinese because it was hard."
"Really? Chinese?" She responded, "I agree. It has four 'tunes'. But we don't have grammar...we just speak it out."
"What do you mean? Tunes?"
"Um. Never mind." She pretended to be cool, but inside, she knew she had screwed up. She misused "tone" as "tune". She believed that her English was good, but she couldn't even form a logically correct sentence. Frustrated, she chose to complete the orientation alone, fearful of more exposure to her imperfections. The hedgehog was up to her old tricks.

The most crucial blow to her came in the form of red crosses on her multivariable calculus quiz papers. Staring at the tutorial videos containing questions that demanded drawing three-dimensional graphs on the fly, she was wracked with confusion. After hours of staring at the screen, all she achieved was dry eyes and a bruised ego. She wrote down the answers again and again and erased just as many that the paper was about to break. Her roommates' laughter filled the apartment as they enjoyed each other's company while her company was cold nights and homesickness. Staring at her best friend's profile photo, she felt tears dripping down.

Having struggled for three days to complete the three-dimensional draft assignment, she decided to attend the problem session led by the Teacher Assistant. Her apparent failures had removed the imaginary hedgehog spines, and she felt naked when walking into the classroom. No longer was she the perfect one. Now she was just another struggling student. Then, an American student, who was from Phillips Exeter Academy, asked about an obvious problem. No one stared at him condescendingly or murmured about him being stupid. Our hedgehog decided to take a chance, summoned all her courage and said, "I think there's something wrong with me". Suddenly, everyone looked at her puzzlingly. Feeling an electric shock, she forced herself to behave calmly and reformulated her question, "Sorry, I mean there is a problem with my homework". Mimicking the way other people presented problems and using dramatic gestures to help others understand her meaning, she began to get the understanding and support she desperately needed.

Back into the dorm cave, she found the thorns she used to protect herself from others' opinions were ripped. Looking into the mirror, she saw the ugly marks under the rippled thorns while she felt unprecedented peace inside of her heart. The story of that stubborn hedgehog was over. The girl, me, no longer wakes up under a hedgehog's name. I am now embracing the new me not for being perfect but for being courageous. I may not have the sweetest smiles or the highest grades. But I have the courage to become closer and closer to the outstanding group.
Maria - / 1,098 389  
Dec 19, 2019   #2
@Jiaxin Ye
Welcome to the forum! Here is my feedback on your writing.

Generally speaking, while I do not find anything staggeringly wrong with the writing, I find that the general manner of composition can still be improved. Since it is within your own prerogative to utilize a story-telling manner of writing for your application, you could have opted to relay the message a more academically-structured manner. For instance, merge together the first three lines/paragraphs that you have. Afterward, only prioritize which quotations are actually necessary. Oftentimes, in academic writing, for you to use quotations in a way that won't overpower your writing,

Apart from this, I appreciate the usage of the core message in the writing because I find it to be a fascinating approach to essays. What I would really only suggest would be to try and make your essay writing more compartmentalized and specifically structured around the idea of writing. This way, you'll be able to have more clarity in your overall writing.
OP Jiaxin Ye 2 / 5 2  
Dec 19, 2019   #3
Sure, thank you!

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