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UChicago "In chinese, crisis is composed of two characters, danger/opportunity"

poleandreel 2 / 9  
Jan 16, 2010   #1
Prompt: On April 12th, 1959, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that included the quote "When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity." Crises are forms of adversity that people are faced with everyday. Explain the relationship between adversity and the results that emanate from it.

It is known that a path devoid of obstacles or grievances will most likely lead to nowhere-and thus, does not require any form of exceptional proficiency. Conversely, an individual who has been subjected to a variety of misfortunes will have developed ingenuity and gained valuable experience that many others lack. Adversity, in a sense, introduces you to yourself and allows you to see yourself as you truly are, instead of how you seem. There exists a universal misconception that failure is a negative aspect of life, while in reality, failure and distress provide the basis for opportunity. I am an individual who has significantly benefitted from the harsh lessons given by adversity.

As an infant, I was abandoned by both of my parents. Now, I'm grateful for anyone who accepts me for who I am. As a young child, I was trusted into an economically disadvantage and abusive family. Now, I value even the most minuscule amounts of money and affection that people bestow upon me. As a teenager, I experienced homelessness and poverty. Now, I cherish the small ram shackle mustard yellow shelter I once called home. Adversity tore at me like a fierce storm and altered me from the puny impotent individual I once was into the resilient and resolute individual that I am today.

I was never the type of person that would dwell on misfortune or be held captive by my past. Instead, I embraced all of my hardships and converted them into energy for my mission and as a result became the engineer of my future. I have amassed all of the vigor from quandaries that I have overcome. I have also realized that life bombards us with hindrance, not to halt our development, but to allow us to access our infinite potential. Over the course of my life, my mind has been cultivated to convert adversity into awakening. I disregard the immediate effects of dire circumstances, and concentrate more profoundly on the ensuing impact because it is always greater.

Every suffering encompasses with it, the nucleus of an identical or possibly superior advantage. The positive elements that arise seem to make the agony worth going through. Adversity is a ruthless paradox that allows us to learn from our mistakes and it also instills new intellectual prowess that will aid us in future troubles. Thomas Edison never quit when he failed to produce a properly functioning light bulb; but rather, he discovered more than 10,000 ways that did not work. I too, never surrendered to the temptation of quitting.

As life at home continued to diminish, I increased my determination so I didn't fall victim to the same plight that most other poverty stricken and abused children did, which was failure. I did not want to be entrapped in the same run down town that engulfed the smallest opportunity for success. My grades and involvement in school activities began to decrease because I was forced to perform laborious work after school in order to maintain our sub-par socioeconomic status. Although I had more responsibilities than any other adolescent, I never asked for a lesser burden. I made sure that I would always bear a little more than I could actually bear.

Accomplishments are measured solely by the size of the obstacles that one overcame in order to achieve that goal. The purpose of living is to learn from your miseries rather than trying to eradicate them. Happiness may be good for your well-being, but it is pain and sorrow that develop the efficacy of the mind. I believe wholeheartedly that I am now equipped to handle any challenge that presents itself. Growing up under these onerous circumstances has allowed me to become adept with adversity and thus, has produced a persistent and confident individual. The constant adversity has laid the necessary background for nothing but success-and for that, I am more than thankful.
NTabachnik - / 11  
Jan 17, 2010   #2
Fantastic writing and the formality is perfect for UChicago ("where fun goes to die"). It is honest and persuasive, and the prompt is excellent. It reflects both your past experiences and your present state of mind.

I'm transferring as well, let me know what you think of my essay!
Good luck!
linmark 2 / 328 7  
Jan 18, 2010   #3
Hi Michael,
Didn't want you to feel ignored so hope this counts (from an EF contributor at least...)
I thought the prompt was interesting and your first para strong. I was still engaged after the second para, but as of para 3 and 4, I was worn out by your "telling" vs. "showing." Its fine to talk about tragic circumstances, adversity etc. when there are specifics which are self-evident (i.e. the reader concludes for him/herself how difficult your life was.) But telling the reader how bad it was may not elicit the same sympathetic reaction.

Here are some opportunities for you to be specific (also note corrections in red:)

I was entrustedin to an economically disadvantaged and abusive family.

I was forced to perform laborious work after school in order to maintain our sub-par socioeconomic status. Although I had more responsibilities than any other adolescent, I never asked for a lesser burden.

PLEASE ELABORATE. WHAT LABORIOUS WORK? MORE RESPONSIBILITIES AND BURDEN THAN ANY OTHER ADOLESCENT? (I would avoid using the superlative here as it provokes the reader to react and challenge why your burden is more than any other ado's)

As life at home continued to diminish

Hope this helps you strengthen your essay. Good luck.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 20, 2010   #4
Thanks, Linmark, for looking out for the neglected people!

Let's get rid of unnecessary words that weigh it down:
It is known that a A path devoid of obstacles or grievances...

As a young child, I was entrusted into an... --- oh, I see that linmark already corrected this...

The constant adversity has laid the necessary background for nothing but success-and for that, I am more than thankful.
I think the expression is "laid the foundation"
Also... you end with an expression of gratitude, so it would be good to go back to the first paragraph, or the first sentence of this last paragraph, and mention the irony of feeling thankful for past adversity.

smallick13 - / 26  
Jan 20, 2010   #5
whatever u do, dont lie to get in.

suspended for giving useless feedback
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Jan 20, 2010   #6
this is probably late, but from your intro and conclusion, you do not grab the readers attention at all, the first couple of lines are very generic, stereotypical, the type of stuff that puts adcoms to sleep. And your conclusion just states more generic obvious things that are characteristics of boring college essays. Now, im not saying overall as a whole your essay is necessairly boring, but w/ adcoms, if you dont grab their attention early, you might never, their prone to just start skimming and they'll never then appreciate this essay.

But heres the bigger problem, you tell, but you dont show, you say you've changed, but you show next to nothing. You spend waaaaaaaaay too much time talking about adversity and its general effects, dont tell tehse, adcoms know most of this, show it, show how you changed, dont spend so long talking about adversity can be changing and how its necessary. Tell the story, this shows nothing about you, this just seems more rambling about adversity, mentioning adversity means nothing, adversities only true impact is when it is shown. And dont give vague random examples like those of thomas edison, tell the story through you. Thats probably your biggest drawback, if you just jumped right into your story instead of such a mundane intro that doesnt say much of anything significant that the adcom doesnt already know, and then tell the story and allow the story to do the analysis for you so to say, you would be in much better shape.

Sorry to be so harsh. You probably have an interesting story to tell, and you have a solid sense of diction and writing form(although some of your lines were a bit heavy, they could have been expressed simpler), but you just gotta not try so hard to impress which it seems like your doing, let the story do the talking.

Good luck
OP poleandreel 2 / 9  
Jan 20, 2010   #7
thank you simrath. i had originally wrote another essay describing my situation. if you could help me make a combination of this one and another it would be greatly appreciated. i can send you the link to it. thanks again!
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Jan 20, 2010   #8
yeah i can take a look, just send me the link, i might need a little time though, real busy right now, but yeah, we can do that.
OP poleandreel 2 / 9  
Jan 21, 2010   #9
ok no problem. Thanks so much! heres the link

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