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My world, my Greek family, my dreams - UC Prompt #1; Weightlifting and Psychology


lyra88 4 / 19  
Nov 17, 2009   #1
Essay for Common App - Weightlifting and Psychology

Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below. This personal essay helps us to become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself.

This is the writing section for the Common Application and I picked the option of writing on a topic of my choice; the UC Prompt#1.

I've chosen to use the same prompt as the University of California application. I'm sure many are very familiar with it...
However, I'd like to know if this is a good idea, to use the UC prompt for the CommonApp writing portion... I really don't feel like writing on a totally different topic just for one application :p

By the way I'm applying to Santa Clara University.
Here's my essay-VVV

Prompt #1
Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
-Aristotle

Since my parents have taught me to be proud of my identity, my Greek heritage never ceases to be important. I have always been proud of my Greek culture, religion, dancing, music, language and most importantly my family. Even as a child I was learning to speak Greek in the house; in preschool I was introduced to English. As I learned to read and write, my English and Greek skills accelerated at an equal pace; now I am proud to say I can speak, read, and write in the Greek language fluently. My culture has shaped much of my dreams and aspirations by allowing me to become in touch with a few things that really matter to me.

Every time I see my grandmother, age 97, she asks how school is, how my grades are, and what my situation will be after high school. She knows it's important to put school first. Even though I do not see her that often, I always keep thoughts in the back of my mind of what exactly I am doing and where I want to go. Getting a good education is very important to me not because I have been told so, but because I understand that being educated is important. I know that putting academics first will give me better options and opportunities in the future. Aside from general education, I know I will value my college education since it will teach me real responsibilities and allow me to start my life.

Education has taught me that it is important to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body. I have had the opportunity to try many different sports, however sticking to water polo, wrestling, and discus in high school. Sophomore year I picked up weightlifting, finally finding my niche in athletics. The reason I enjoy weightlifting so much is because it began to develop my physique, my strength, my athletic career, and the way many looked at me. I loved the new compliments I was receiving, as well as the bonus with the girls. It has only been until recently that my interest in lifting weights has matured, as now my knowledge has increased tenfold. I am constantly reading various articles on training, supplementation, and nutrition, learning something new every day. My new knowledge has convinced me that getting a personal record on a specific lift is largely a mental game. Whatever the mentality, I can say for myself that one can convince themselves to perform a little bit better through mental preparation. With that said, weightlifting has sparked my interest in psychology, as I plan on pursuing and exploring psychology in college.

In some way or another, the Greek civilization has had an important influence on several branches of modern knowledge. The ancient Greeks have always been promoters of philosophy and natural sciences. Although psychology has stemmed from philosophy, it uses techniques of natural sciences, providing a link between the two. Psychology seems to be my connection to my ancestry and my passion for weightlifting, two things that are very important to me.

Thanks and all feedback/critique is appreciated!

477 words
I know I am not the best writer, so please help.
I am open really to any suggestions so criticize away!
Thank you.
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Nov 19, 2009   #2
Be careful with punctuation; I have very strong roots in my Greek heritage, because, from a very young age,...

an equal pace; even now I'm proud to say I can speak, read, and...

This sentence seems incomplete and should be revised for clarity; I've had the opportunity to try many different sports, however sticking to the three I've done in high school. If you're going to mention three, say what they are. Or, you could leave that part out.

It's great the way you tie weightlifting to psychology, it makes so much sense! Your ending should reflect back on your Greek heritage or something from your opening paragraph, and this will be even better.
OP lyra88 4 / 19  
Nov 19, 2009   #3
Thank you for those suggestions! I slightly revised my essay... some more input on my revision would be appreciated!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 20, 2009   #4
I know I am not the best writer

How do you know!? You might soon come up with the most powerful, transformational prose anyone has ever seen. It's about providing someone with an experience.

The world I have come from is a world that honestly is much different than many others'. ----right here, intrigue the reader by saying this in a clever way! The philosopher named Hobbes once wrote that one of the purposes of language is to delight one another with interesting ways of expressing simple ideas. I bet you could come up with a great new way to write this first sentence. Look at some other essays' first sentences for ideas... not to take their ideas, obviously, but for inspiration.

Hey, this is some very good writing, you are better than you might think! But I see that your topic sentences for these paragraphs are all un-entertaining. Can you find clever ways to write these first sentences? Read some pages of a great book, and it will get you in the right state of mind for creativity.
Anguyen12t 3 / 5  
Nov 20, 2009   #5
try to write about how you yourself has done something for greek heritage.
Also,try to put some detail in the education part of the essay. tell what things you've done to keep your grades up
OP lyra88 4 / 19  
Nov 25, 2009   #6
Thanks again for those revisions! I further edited my essay, please tell me what you think about starting out with a quote.

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world."
-Buddha

Anguyen12t, I have actually included more on my Greek heritage in the second UC prompt if you would want to read and revise it. Thanks for the suggestion on including detail in the education part of my essay, it's just kinda tough to fit something in. I'm working on it!

Thank you
area5x1 1 / 1  
Nov 25, 2009   #7
You shouldn't say something like "It seems that every branch of knowledge has been traced back to a Greek origin." because then it just makes you look like you are ignorant about Far East cultures such as China and Islamic cultures in the Middle East, both of whom also contributed knowledge that is important today.
zealzou 11 / 54  
Nov 25, 2009   #8
I think this quotation is fine,not a cliche...
and ...you talk about several aspects of your Greek heritage..maybe get more specific and your writing will be more powerful. Anyway, I like your essay!
OP lyra88 4 / 19  
Nov 26, 2009   #9
area5x1: "In some way or another, the Greek civilization has had an important influence on several branches of modern knowledge." what do you think about this revision? any suggestions...

another general question: should I write more detail on my education, how I've kept my grades up - or should I write more on my Greek heritage? because I talk more on my Greek heritage in the second UC prompt...
Logical_Fella_C - / 33  
Dec 6, 2009   #10
Getting a good education is very important to me not because I've been told so, but because I understand that being educated is important.

I believe this sentence is an example of a logical fellacy called "circular argument."
You are basically saying that getting a good education is very important because you know that it is important. I hope you find a way to fix that somehow...

Aristotle was the very first person in the West to provide the definition for "begging the question" fallacy, which is often considered similar to "circular argument," though he actually argued that while "begging the question" is a fallacy, "circular argument" isn't.

Aside from general education, I know I will value my college education since it will teach me real responsibilities and allow me to start my life.

I get what you mean, but you should rephrase "allow me to start my life" to "allow me to become independent of my parents" or something along that line.

I have had the opportunity to try many different sports, however sticking to water polo, wrestling, and discus in high school.

^Suggestion: "I had tried many different sports, but decided to focus on water polo, wrestling, and discus."
You cannot put a comma before "however", as it is an adverb, not a conjunction. If you want to keep "however", you should replace that comma with a semi-colon instead.

The reason I enjoy weightlifting so much is because it began to develop my physique, my strength, my athletic career, and the way many looked at me.

"The reason... because" is redundant. It should be "the reason... that."

as well as the bonus with the girls.

Again, I get what you are trying to say, but If I were you, I'd probably leave this part out. If you wanna keep it, then try to find another way to say "bonus with the girls."

Also, as in the case of this sentence,

The ancient Greeks have always been promoters of philosophy and natural sciences

you used present perfect tense when addressing events that took place in the past. Use simple past or past perfect.

I don't wanna sound too harsh, but there are many, many grammatical errors in this essay. It'd be a good idea to revise it with your English teacher... I hope this helps. :)
OP lyra88 4 / 19  
Dec 7, 2009   #11
Thanks a million logicalfellowc!
I've never been a fan of my own writing lol..
This is exactly what I need, I truly appreciate it... I'll update the essay with corrections soon.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 8, 2009   #12
You shouldn't say something like "It seems that every branch...

Ah, that is good advice. When we look carefully, we see that "great minds think alike" because what they have in common is... truth. I notice that ancient Stoicism, for example, has much in common with some sects of Zen Buddhism, and if my understanding was not so superficial I would probably see even more connections.

Education has taught me that it is important to keep a healthy...---> What if you use a wod here that is more specific. What can you say that names the particular type of education you had? Maybe you will give an adjective or a word that is more descriptive.
OP lyra88 4 / 19  
Dec 17, 2009   #13
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
-Aristotle

[...] Getting a good education is very important to me not because I have been told so, but because I understand that being educated is important. I know that putting academics first will give me better options and opportunities in the future.Aside from general education, I know I will value my college education since it will teach me real responsibilities and allow me to become independent of my parents.

From the third to the eighth grade, I have been a part of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program at Elkhorn Elementary and Middle School, which offered challenging curriculum with a great environment to learn it in. One thing I have learned from my GATE education is that it is important to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body. I feel that I have done this by keeping active in various sports, but focusing on water polo, wrestling, and discus in high school. Sophomore year I picked up weightlifting, finally finding my niche in athletics. The reason I enjoy weightlifting so much is that it began to develop my physique, my strength, my athletic career, and the way many looked at me. I loved the new compliments, comments, and attention I began to receive. [...]

In some way or another, the Greek civilization has had an important influence on several branches of modern knowledge. The ancient Greeks had always been promoters of philosophy and natural sciences. Although psychology has stemmed from philosophy, it uses techniques of natural sciences, providing a link between the two. Psychology seems to be my connection to my ancestry and my passion for weightlifting, two things that are very important to me.

I have bolded the sentences that I have revised. The italicized sentences are ones I can't really seem to get creative with.
Critique is still welcome! especially with the italicized sentences...
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 20, 2009   #14
Yes, like this one... The ancient Greeks had always been promoters of philosophy and natural sciences. ---> it is hard to figure out what is wrong with it.. but the ancient Greeks have not always been anything in particular... they have not always been ancient. "have always been" is the problem here.

The ancient Greeks are notorious for having been promoters of philosophy and natural sciences.

And here is the solution for this sentence:
Getting a good education is very important to me not because I have been told so, but because I understand that being educated is important. ---> no stating the obvious! Don't waste any words.

:-)
OP lyra88 4 / 19  
Dec 25, 2009   #15
Haha, alright thanks a ton!


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