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"Whenever someone shuts the door..." - Common App Essay Help


Jpuck 4 / 28  
Dec 25, 2010   #1
This is a response to the Common App Essay about a significant person and their influence, if you could please tell me how the essay is/any necessary grammatical changes and/or give me feedback on an appropriate title it would be greatly, greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

When my unkempt and sloppily dressed IB English teacher emerged from the doorframe of my IB Math Studies class, I wanted to slink under the desk and hide. "May I speak with Jenny?" he inquired to my math teacher. I could not help but think of how arrogant he was being, intruding upon another teacher's class time to speak with me.

Whenever someone shuts the door behind you, it is never an enjoyable situation. Ever. "Sit", he said, as if I were some rogue dog incapable of knowing what to do in this particular situation. "No, I think I'll stand", I retorted. "Look Jenny," he said, stroking the Thoreau beard at which I always laughed, "you're easily my most brilliant student, and at the same time, my most troubled..." he let his words linger, despite what he said about his speaking skills, he knew how to emphasize a point, "and therein lays the problem. You are your own worst enemy, and I think it's time you knew it".

He was right and wrong at the same time, like he always was, not that I would ever admit it if he were the former. I do spend a lot of time preoccupying myself by helping other people solve their problems and very infrequently tending to my own. He was wrong, however, in the assumption that I did not know it. I knew it then, and I have known it for years, I just never wanted to address the issue.

Mr. Garrick and I certainly have a colorful relationship, but underneath all of the head butting and argumentation over improper grammar and unfair pop quizzes is a mutual understanding of respect and shared backgrounds. The beginnings of our relationship were tenuous at best. I thought he was an ignorant and arrogant overworked English teacher, and he believed I was just another "privileged white IB kid" that thought I knew more than he.

After several afternoons discussing and revising papers, our relationship became a little more personal. I discussed my meager upbringing by a single mother and grandmother and he relayed that he, too came from a similar background. I felt comfortable to discuss the medical issues that plagued me all my life and made school difficult to attend and he began to understand that I was much humbler and humbled than my peers. He spoke candidly about being stabbed in middle school, robbed in college and how much it broke his heart to run out of funds that lead to him having to halt his quest for a graduate degree. It was in those long afternoons in his office that he made me realize that he wanted me to succeed just as much as I wanted to succeed, but he was going to make me work for it.

Although many individuals have influenced my life, my English/T.o.K. teacher Mr. Garrick has been one of the most significant. A tough nut to crack, and even more difficult to please, my relationship with Mr. Garrick has only ever made me want to strive for more, achieve more, and attain success. I have never worked harder, or exerted more effort than I have in my IB English and IB Theory of Knowledge Classes. Mr. Garrick has shown me that I must be willing to rise to the occasion and that no one will show sympathy for poor circumstances - it is the responsibility of the individual to overcome what appear to be insurmountable odds to be successful at both the societal level, and in their own right. And for that I am eternally grateful to the sloppily dressed man with the Thoreau beard for all that he has made realize.
Derander - / 1  
Dec 25, 2010   #2
"not that I would ever admit it if he were the former" <-- this seems slightly convoluted. Perhaps something like "not that I would ever admit the former"?

"I discussed my meager upbringing by a single mother and grandmother and he relayed that he, too came from a similar background. " If you were reading this out loud you'd insert a pause between "he" and "too", but I do not think that a comma belongs.

Good essay.
kevin1225 1 / 6  
Dec 25, 2010   #3
I wanted to slink under the desk and hide
do you mean sink? because slink has a different connotation like moving stealthy.

"Look Jenny," he said, stroking the Thoreau beard at which I always laughed, "you're easily my most brilliant student, and at the same time, my most troubled..." he let his words linger, despite what he said about his speaking skills, he knew how to emphasize a point, "and therein lays the problem.

bit of an run on sentence...

He was wrong, however, in the assumption that I did not know it . I knew it then, and I have known it for years, I just never wanted to address the issue.

maybe clarify "it" again?

The beginnings of our relationship were tenuous at best
try to use a different word, tenuous again has a different meaning to it

Overall an excellent essay. However, maybe you can outline a few more points why this teacher is significant to you?
OP Jpuck 4 / 28  
Dec 25, 2010   #4
Thank - you.

I shortened that run-on sentence after I read the essay through a second time. Your feedback is much appreciated.
turntablespp 6 / 41  
Dec 28, 2010   #5
I could not help but think of how arrogant he was being , intruding upon another teacher's class time to speak with me.

He was wrong, however, in the assumption that I did not know it

Mr. Garrick and I certainly have a colorful relationship (i loved this line!)

Overall, this was an amazing essay! Not a lot of grammar mistakes, and shows a lot about your character :)

p.s. thanks for reading my essay!
kagayaku 1 / 5  
Dec 29, 2010   #6
"how arrogant he was being" and "sloppily dressed man"

I'm not sure if you want to bash a teacher this much in an app essay. Some admin officers might not like the flavor. But then again, I wouldn't want to mess with your writing style. If you keep it, you are taking a gamble.

"Eternally grateful" is a cliché that you might want to avoid... "very grateful" might be better...

All in all a great essay with no big grammatical errors.
I like your 5th paragraph about the similarities between you two.

Like somebody else said, shows a lot about your character and that's exactly what they're looking for.
Thanks again for reading my essay! I changed a paragraph or two and I'll have that up in a couple hours. If you have time for a quick read over that would be a great help! Thanks


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