This is my draft for the common app essay.
Its really rusty and I need help from someone to proof read it. Its about 750 words and I need to cut it down to 650.
Thanks I really appreciate it and please be as brutal and critical as possible. The more honest it is, the more it helps! Once again Thanks:)
Walking down the hallway of Chia-Yi Christian Hospital in Taiwan, I see people's quick glances and turned heads. They would stare at us with varying looks of curiosity and intensity, waiting to see what we are going to do here. With our bright yellow vests and a huge map in hand, the other volunteers and I knock from door to door to visit and interact with patients in all ages and health conditions, trying to make their day a little bit happier. Children come over with excitement in their eyes when they see the balloons we are holding, elders clap happily along as we sing and play the guitar. I am there, with a big smile on my face, and huge satisfaction down in my heart.
But people can get emotionall at nights. As the fourth day of my volunteering ends, I go back to the volunteer's apartment and lie in bed unable to fall asleep. After having the same bland meals for a several days, a lack of sleep, and being yelled from unwelcoming patients from time to time, I begin to feel tired of everything. I want to go home.
A scary thought suddenly pops up in my mind. Do they really need me? 15, the youngest age among all volunteers. Can a young person like me even make any significant differences? Moreover, I can't even fully understand many patients when they speak in Taiwanese, another Chinese dialect besides Mandarin. A thousand feelings flood over me ─ anxious, lost, ashamed ─ until I finally fall asleep.
I continue to carry on this struggle the next day of our volunteering in the dialysis center. We go from one bed to the other, while I keep thinking about my own problem, not really focusing on the conversations between the patients and us. All the noises suddenly stop. An elderly woman's hands begin to shak, eyes wide open with tears streaming down her face, yet holding tightly to my hand. Everyone is looking at me. Did I do anything wrong? I only remember asking her a simple question in Taiwanese, "Ā mā, lī jiā bà wèi (Grandma, have you eaten)?" (It is a common Chinese greeting like "How are you?" in the U.S). I lean towards her to hear what she says to me, but only recognized some simple Taiwanese phrases: "Wa jin hua hì!" (I am very happy!) She tells the volunteers, again and again, about how joyful she is to have someone finally come to visit her. Not even her own family came. Before I am about to leave, she ask me quietly to sing a song for her as if she is afraid of being rejected. And that day eventually become my first and probably last time singing in my broken Taiwanese.
I used to feel discouraged because I felt that I might not make any changes due to my young age and lack of Taiwanese proficiency. Neverthless, that Ā mà teaches me that even my contribution is small, just the ability to brighten someone's day can bring fulfillment to them and the hope that I can indeed do something wothwhile.
Similarily, I used to live in Taiwan and go to public schools where my English was usually better than my peers. In ninth grade, I came to the U.S believing that my decent English skills would be enough for me to thrive. The reality indeed crushed my confidence brutally as I suffered greatly from the language and cultural barrier. However, after going back to Taiwan for a summer, I learned that it could be hard to overcome a language barrier, either it is in Taiwanese or English, but it couldn't stop me from doing my best to make an impact to the community in any ways I can.
As soon as I return to the U.S, I decided to do more volunteer services from becoming the President of Working to Help the Homeless club to assisting the city's Council on Aging to organize a prom for senior citizens. Although I still struggle with English sometimes, I found a place to have a voice. Through volunteering, everyone has a voice in enacting change, improving the lives of others, and promoting a more just and verdant world. And I hope with my passion and advanced knowlege of psychology I studied in college, I can help more people like Ā mà to go through the inevitable challenges that their life presented, and ultimately make them say "Wa jin hua hì!" someday as well.