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Travelling back to my past - Stanford

haliunsora 1 / 1  
Oct 24, 2014   #1
Hello, I'm an international student, applying to Stanford. So this is my personal essay. Deadline is Nov 1. Is it too wordy? Please give me feedback and ideas to improve it. I will really appreciate your help. Thank you

Travelling back to my past

The philosophy professor, G.Lhagva, was discussing about the philosophy of self. "For Socrates, the goal of one's life is to know Thyself" , the professor started, "Lao Tzu says 'Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing the self is enlightenment ; so, who are you? " and then he stopped for a few minutes. Those few minutes enabled me to travel back to the major incidents I had come across in my life that changed my view of life and shaped me into who I am today.

At the age of four, I attended the National Dance Academy of Mongolia and later participated in a national competition. The competition required intense dance routines and hours of practice, a difficult task for anyone of my age. I was exhausted but learned the basis for everything worthwhile I will achieve in life. Hardwork. "You scored eight from the judges while the other girl scored nine. You turned to me to ask why the other girl was better than you were. Then you went to rehearse more, telling me you can be better than any other participants" , my mother often tells me. Now that I think about it, the competition became my foundation of doing anything with hardwork.

I went to Singapore to study when I was eleven. Living alone in a foreign country was a big challenge for me. As I was very dependent on my parents, I had to learn to do things by myself and to adapt to the new environment. In addition, I was the worst student in my class because of lack of fluency in the english language. Disappointed, ashemed, and lonely. But those times helped me understand how precious my family and friends were to me. By recognizing what to be grateful for, aknowledging them, and appreciating them, I was strenthened to be patient and overcome obstacles. There were times when I got sick but with no one to take care for me. There were times I had no money that I had to rely only on water all day. Nevertheless, I did not lose hope and studied harder. I am so grateful for the lessons those struggling days gave me.

Three reflective years late, I finally flew back to my hometown, Mongolia. I did not pay much attention to the society around me before I went to Singapore: the dominating poverty, pollution, and numerous homeless children on the streets. Well, I am not trying to degrade my country. I have always been glad to be born in a country with amazing history and nature. "So why are we in this state?" , I asked myself. This question turned on a light in my mind. YES. I wanted to contribute to the world and become someone who could make changes to society.

I often watched parliament's assembly, learned about government and political system as much as I could. I took part in debates to learn to express myself and evaluate the thoughts of others. Occasionally, my grandfather, historian and former politician, would tell me unwritten history of Mongolia and the struggles of the society he has lived through. My passion for political science grew bigger day by day.

During the summer of 2013, my beloved little brother went through surgery for Cerebral Palsy. Both of his legs were in casts for three months, he could not walk or move around. Doctors said that he would have to get the same surgery once in every ten years. Despite his pain, he worried about the concerns he might be giving to the family. I gave him hope and promised that I will study hard and pay for his surgery bills after ten years.

I might be lacking in many ways, but I have stable reasons and "why" to lead me through anything that happens in life. I want to do my best to create a caring society. I want to make my parents proud... (647words)

vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 25, 2014   #2
Khaliun, can you please tell us what the personal essay prompt you are trying to answer is? The reason we need to know this is because right now, the essay is too wordy and suffers from too much information. While I realize that you consider all of these events very important in your life, not all of it may be relevant to answering the prompt that Stanford has provided to you. We may be able to tighten the essay and focus it more on the prompt requirements, but I need to know the question so that I can advise you about what to delete, shorten, or lengthen in the paper.

The essay is also suffering from a lack of a central theme. That can be developed by a thorough understanding of the prompt which will then lead to a better developed and prompt aligned essay. I hope that you can supply the needed information soon so that we will not waste time in revising your essay :-)
OP haliunsora 1 / 1  
Oct 25, 2014   #3
I chose { Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story}. Please help me
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 25, 2014   #4
Khaliun, I strongly advise that you pick only the most important event from your life to discuss in this essay. You should only concentrate on one topic because that is the focal point of the essay. That one life event that, had it not occurred for you, would not have helped you reach the point in life where you are now. I would suggest that you develop the part where you talk about going to Singapore to study alone when you were eleven. This shows a strength of character, development as a person, and maturity of point of view at an early age because you had to take care of yourself since your parents were not around to assist you. This is the story that is central to your identity and your development as a person and should not merely be told as a part of other stories. This is to me, the most important achievement of your life that you should be proud to tell people about because it helped shape the person you are today.

Trying to discuss too many topics in one essay like this one will only provide an identity complex for you because it will be next to impossible to create one solid personality for you from all the experiences. In each experience, you developed in a particular way. However, the most life shaping experience was the one you had in Singapore in my opinion which is why I am asking that you concentrate on developing that aspect of the essay alone. It more than answers the essay prompt in my opinion and will help enhance your paper theme and central idea.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 26, 2014   #5
Khaliun, the essay does not clearly state the reason that you went to Singapore to study. Was this a decision your mother made after your father died? Why was there a need to send you away for school? During that year away from your family, what life and personal lessons did you learn? Can you reflect upon those moments in your essay? I believe that you should delete the story about your professor at the start of the essay. It does not really relate to anything in the main theme so you can just state your case directly.

The essay suffers from grammar and sentence structure problems but I feel that we should only address those problems once the main content of the essay has been polished. There is no use fixing those issues because the structure of the essay will change as we revise the content. So please, work on my suggestions for now so that we can further align the essay with the prompt and polish the content :-)

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