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Discuss time when your ETHNIC background (or ASPECT OF YOUR IDENTITY) SIGNIFICANTLY affected ur life

agonzalez16 1 / -  
Sep 20, 2015   #1
Hanford, California. You know you've entered the San Joaquin Valley once the scent of cow manure wakes you up from your nap in the car while you're on your way to the tourist city of Los Angeles. All around the world, Los Angeles attracts tourists for its image of the film industry, its equivocal Hollywood sign and constant weather of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If not LA, then San Francisco, which is located in northern California, comes next to mind. San Francisco is known for its Golden Gate Bridge and technological savvy. Curious, you peek out your car window and automatically start to question whether you're going in the right direction. You find yourself surrounded by green and fields filled with groups of Holstein and Jersey cows, endless rows of white cotton, almonds, lettuce, grapes, strawberries, apricots, and pomegranates growing in large fields. The San Joaquin Valley, also referred to as the Central Valley, is known for being the "food basket of the world" due to its producers and food; rich dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Suddenly you notice parked cars aligned the side of the fields, people in between perpendicular rows, bending down, reaching toward the ground, with large hats, dirty towels and dusty clothes, restricting the dirty air from covering their skin. Essentially, these hard workers depend on these crops as a way to stay alive. From dawn to night, or night to dawn, these workers depend on these crops for their salary. It's their way of putting food on the dinner table. I try to envision my young parents and grandparents process of emigrating from Mexico City to being able to receive a job in the crops of California, working in the 110-degree weather and extreme conditions, in order to fulfill their American dream.

Now, I am here to work hard and persevere my dream. My past high school campus surrounded me with its green and yellow walls. I would walk slowly to class, scared to run into someone as the fog surrounded the entirety of my vision. 7:40 AM. Walking into the first of my seven classes of the day, one by one, I saw pale, bronzed, olive and cocoa faces take up the approximately forty-eight desks arranged in groups of five, filling the entire classroom space. I chose to sit in the group at the front of the class while everyone else began to fill up the seats in the groups behind mine. My parents always reminded me the importance of sitting in the front of the class,"Don't forget to sit at the front of the class!". I took my textbook, notebook, pencil and planner out of my heavy-duty backpack and carefully placed them on my desk. As I waited for my teacher, I turned my head, observed the rest of my classmates: some on the phone, others chewed gum with their mouths opened, and girls gossiped about "the latest news on the Kardashians." The teacher walked in at 7:45, I sat patiently and noticed that only a few of my classmates adjusted themselves in their seats and slammed their books on their desks; the rest of the class continued to do what they were doing before, effortlessly, as if nothing had happened.

Sit. Wait. Take notes. Hear the gossip exchange across the room. Paper airplanes would fly across the room, causing the students to giggle thus, creating entertainment due to the classes' "boringness". The teacher would then yell to a couple of students, forced them to go to the principal's office, meanwhile other boys snuck out of class to smoke in the restrooms. "Ring!" Repeat. This was my two years at Sierra Pacific High School, and unfortunately, I felt like a zombie in a preschool; everyday I would show up to all of my classes feeling powerless, weak and disturbed. Throughout the year, the energy of the class would decrease exponentially, almost like the process of death, however, by the end of the year, energy rose, driving faculty insane, causing everyone to care less about school. Instead, students and teachers alike looked forward and prepared themselves for the summer.

Indeed, I had excellent grades, but I was seeking to succeed at a top-level university. And I knew that in order to do that, I needed to be challenged academically. Sierra Pacific did not challenge me for my educational goals. During my interview with the Lawrenceville school admission officer, I was amazed to hear all of the opportunities that Lawrenceville had to offer; green campus initiative, learning the Chinese language, and dorms with roommates. I didn't even know that boarding schools EXISTED! But then Ms. Martinez had nervously confronted me, "but...you will have to repeat your sophomore year..." It took me a few seconds to register what she had told me, then in a matter of a few seconds I replied confidently, "Okay, when is the application due?" She was surprised by my response. I wanted to go to this "Lawrenceville", wherever it was. It didn't matter to me, I just wanted to learn with other motivated students like myself. Applying to Lawrenceville had its similarities to applying to a university; recommendation forms, essays, interviews and financial aid packets were all a necessity.

Being the oldest and the first woman of my family other than my mother, people always questioned me about leaving my siblings, my family, and repeating my sophomore year to go study at a school that resided 2,839.5 miles away from my home. It became a routine to hear people I knew or didn't know, doubt me, "'She doesn't even seem smart, she probably got in because of track or something.' 'She's just going to turn into one of those gringos'" I disregarded these comments but during my first semester on campus, these comments from back home kept luring into my mind. Lawrenceville made me feel like an outsider. Being one of the only Mexican American girls at a school filled with international and American students who are extremely wealthy shows that a Cali girl, like myself, did not feel comfortable in this environment. However, that didn't stop me from continuing my studies at this school. Instead of confining myself from the community, I decided to open up as an individual by figuring out how to become friends and live comfortably with these strangers. Eventually, I felt much more at ease and comfortable living in this small neighborhood. I tried even harder to prove those from back home that they were not correct and that even a low-income Mexican American girl can persevere such obstacles and attain high achievements.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 20, 2015   #2
Anais, the first thing I noticed about your essay is that you wasted a lot of the word count discussing things like the environment you live in ( description of the weather, road conditions, state identity, etc.) which only served as word fillers. You could have portrayed your immigrant background in a less wordy way which could have freed up the word count for more important aspects of the essay. Discussing the classroom environment did not really come across to me as something from your ethnic background or aspect of your identity that could have a significant effect upon your life because it is practically a common scenario in most schools these days. While I understand you feel these aspects of your background affect you negatively, it does not really tie in with the prompt requirements as I see it.

Essay prompts such as these require you to look back on your life for reflection. When did you Ethnic background really have a significant effect on your life? No, I am not talking about the whispers about how got into boarding school or the almost Simpson like attendance of your classmates in class. You need something stronger. An event that shows you are proud of your ethnicity and that you will never be ashamed or embarrassed by it regardless of the positive or negative effect on your life. The main reason being that being ethnic is not something that can ever affect you negatively.

Try to think of a time when you found yourself telling people "Being Mexican-American is something that can only benefit me because it makes me more special than you." That is the more effective theme for your essay in response to the prompt. Surely there have been times when you were told you were not good enough because of your ethnicity or because of your parent's background as immigrants. Delve on that topic. Discuss the issue that you had to overcome. Then you will have strongly responded to the requirements of the prompt. Remember, it has to be an event that had a significant effect on your life. Whatever that significant effect was is for you to choose and talk about.

Right now, the essay spends too much time discussing things that do not really seem to have had a significant impact on your life. You need to revise the essay in such a way that it pops up from other essay responses and leaves the reviewer remembering that event in your life. Otherwise, your essay just becomes 'one of those' applications in his mind.
lcturn87 - / 435 236  
Sep 20, 2015   #3
I would like to help you with some of your essay. If you decide to put the city and state in your essay, I think you should form a sentence. However, the first sentence is great and a very vivid reference. I think you should use "distinctive Hollywood sign" in your next sentence.

I think you should begin the next statement by stating, "If LA is not a preferred city to visit, then San Francisco, which is located in Northern California, comes next in my mind." (You begin the paragraph as if you are telling a story, so if you use "in my mind" it is as if you are giving the reader more information).

The next sentence was very difficult to understand. Here is a suggestion to begin this sentence: "If you travel in the city, you can curiously peek..." The following sentence state: "You will find yourself..."

You can separate your ideas into two sentences: "There are also people in-between perpendicular rows, bending down, reaching toward the ground with large hats..."

Only part of the last sentence needs correction: "I try to envision my young parents and grandparents process of emigrating from Mexico City and being able to receive a job cultivating the crops of California,..."

2nd paragraph: The first sentence you want to change your word choice "...pursue my dream". You should combine your ideas: At 7:40 a.m., I walked into the first of my seven classes of the day...."

3rd paragraph: There is just one missing word you can correct: "My parents reminded me of the importance..." Also, when you discuss your teaching walking into class, remember to state: 7:45 a.m. There needs to be a semicolon: "Paper airplanes would fly across the room, causing the students to giggle; thus, creating entertainment due to the classes' "boringness".

You should separate your sentences: "The teacher would then yell to a couple of students and forced them to go to the principal's office. Meanwhile, other boys sneaked out of class to smoke in the restrooms."

Place a comma after "everyday". Separate your sentence again by starting a new sentence: "However, by the end of the year, the energy rose and drove the faculty insane..."

There were parts of a few sentence that needed correction. I hope these changes will help you!

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