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"Time's up, the proctor called" ; Princeton/ Person with significant influence


jfang 1 / 10 3  
Oct 26, 2013   #1
This isn't done yet, but please tell me what you think! I need to edit the second half a little bit more.

Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way (about 500 words).

There I was, on my 17th birthday, hunched over the AP Calculus BC exam. Polar.Taylor.Parametric. All the topics I'd learned morphed into one great glob of confusion, incarnated into the haphazard calculations I'd written down. Staring at the questions, I felt my throat closing from panic. I can't do this. Tears, swollen with misery, trekked in rivulets down my face. Pitter-patter. They stained the page with damp blotches. Why today? Why me?

Time's up, the proctor called. I'd long since thrown down my pencil in defeat. Wiping the wetness from my cheeks and hiding my dejection with a smile, I listened to my friends chat about the test. I kept my head tilted back to keep tears from spilling over the cusp of my eyelids.

Alyssa was the only one who asked. "What's wrong?" The tears that had been held back by the dam of self-image suddenly flowed torrentially. With her, I felt safe to not just leak out a few tears, but to close my eyes, nostrils flaring, breath quivering, and sob into her tight embrace. "You're not allowed to cry on your birthday." Handing me a tissue to wipe away the self-pity, she said sternly, "You're going to get a 5."

Alyssa must've been magic, because that's exactly what happened. But her magic affected me in a much more profound way that extended beyond the scope of that test.

There I was, months later, texting my friend Jake. Our conversation started normally, but for some reason I couldn't name, he seemed off. I decided to go with my gut and ask if he was okay. Even when he claimed he was, I persisted. Call it intuition; call it sixth sense; whatever. I like to think that was caring. Finally, I managed to coax out of him, "My sister's in the hospital." I felt the coldness akin to an autumn chill seep into my veins, and I knew that this must be what Jake was feeling, but much, much worse. I'd never felt my heart genuinely go out to someone in their pain before. But that day, I was different.

Though he said he didn't want to talk about it, I convinced him to. I knew that in order for him to experience healing, he needed the comfort and hope I could bring. I knew him well enough to know that "I'll be staying up late tonight," actually meant "I can't sleep and need to talk to someone." I told him everything would be okay, that I'd pray for him. I said all the right words, but instead of the awkwardness normally accompanying pity, my compassion was infused with real feeling.

Because that's what an empathetic person does. That's what Alyssa would do. I finally realized what I hadn't been able to on my 17th birthday. Why was she able to see my pain, when everyone else couldn't? Because though she is smart, logical mathematician, she overflows with empathy. She saw, because she cared enough to look in the first place.

Jake thanked me profusely for caring, for seeing through his bravado when he wanted to hide behind it, and for being, in his words, "a good friend and a tremendous girl." But really, he should've thanked Alyssa.
ChristianB 5 / 22 1  
Oct 26, 2013   #2
This essay definitely needs some work, especially because it's for Princeton. I think that it's very confusing when you jump from the AP exam to you talking to Jake. I didn't really get it until you weakly clarified it in the end. And even then, I feel like the relationship between her empathy and your empathy is fairly week.

Also, I think you should show Alyssa's empathy better. I don't really think it shows through that well when she tells you you're going to get a 5.

And another thing with the line "I knew that in order for him to experience healing, he needed the comfort and hope I could bring," it's a very big statement to say that he needs your comfort to bring healing. I see what you're trying to say, but the way you say it, I think it makes you sound a bit sure of yourself, you know?

Keep editing it and re-post it before your deadline. Good luck! :)
swagmaster420x - / 4 1  
Oct 27, 2013   #3
i actually love this essay... haha lol idk about what the person above says but i think your points are made very well... and the transition to jake is clear to me and makes sense

Because though she is a smart, logical mathematician
slight error, but i think it'll rest great with the princeton niguandos, especially because it's about caring and community :)
and i dont think you need the extra "beyond the scope of that test"
i feel like if you have decent stats (2300+) you'll get into a least one of harvard princeton yale stanford
out of curiosity, do you fit that bill?
OP jfang 1 / 10 3  
Oct 27, 2013   #4
swagmaster:
Thanks for the encouragement :)
My English teacher liked the connection, so idk, I guess I can only hope that the admission officer does too :P

Lol yeah, I do :P
Only 16% of 2300-2400 get in, but Princeton seems to like my high school a lot, so hopefully!

christian:
Thanks for your input!
Yeah, I emphasized the empathy more originally but the essay was too long so I kind of cut it

I don't know the background of most of the people on this site, but I trust you since your essay was really really good :)


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