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REED's ROME; the first time I ever...


andre16 1 / -  
Sep 23, 2014   #1
REED's ROME the first time I ever.. essay is killing me because I feel like my writing is way too informal. I wrote this quickly because I procrastinated and it just sounds like i'm talking to my friends but I don't know how to elevate it without making it sound like a thesaurus threw up all over it.

The first time I ever...
The first time I ever failed a class, I cried. Having done average although not exceptional throughout middle school without having to put any effort gave me an unrealistic and distorted image of what I believed achievement was; thus I entered high school with the wrong mentality. Algebra II unforgivingly challenged everything I knew about math, which turned out to be not much. Now I understand that failure is perhaps a peculiar topic to discuss given that this short essay will be one of the factors used to determine whether or not I'll be granted acceptance into this program; however, understand that failing algebra saved me. Failure ultimately gave me the courage to ask questions again.

Teachers too often remind students the importance of asking questions. I still see the confident faces, claiming to understand every single aspect of a memorized lesson that teachers themselves may not even comprehend fully. Embarrassment, or rather fear of being embarrassed plagues us. So that's how I went through freshman year. I nodded and accepted algebraic reasoning, did my homework with trusty Google by my side, and seamlessly calculated answers without any clue as to how i'd arrived there or even what those same answers meant. I was a sham; my knowledge tested on exams I stared at blankly, passing the first quarter only because of a math program that largely inflated grades. Then, after trying so hard, tears of frustration that only my computer saw, I received a C. I gave up; thus the beginning of the end started.

As one can imagine, the year only got worse for 15 year old me. The failure slip did not come as a surprise; neither did my 2.8 GPA, or that C in AP World. Apart from academic failure, I had come to the conclusion that movies and tv shows made high school seem ridiculously fun and easy, only positive words attached to what I deemed stressful and an unfriendly environment. I assume that these horrible experiences with high school and the whiny teen angle must bore the reader, but I promise that without these dreadful years, young adults wouldn't be the same. I'm sure that the perfectionist straight A's since birth student is brilliant, and i'm not trying to belittle their achievements; however without my rocky freshmen year and then grade crazed sophomore year, I wouldn't have stumbled into the year that really made me.

Here comes another cliche, but hear me out. After seriously struggling through chemistry and breezily passing regular statistics, I moved onto AP Environmental and AP Statistics. AP Environmental, well this class helped me decide what I wanted to be. I was probably the most annoying student, no really, I could not stop asking questions. Intrigued and fascinated, I stayed after school, became an active member of green club, and decided that maybe taking hour long showers were a bit excessive. AP Statistics, well that resulted from failing algebra II, taking regular statistics or "sleeping period" as some seniors addressed it, and deciding that maybe I could once again challenge myself in math. I met Mr. Koski, who somehow was in love with math. Yes, that's exactly what I wanted after failing algebra: a math teacher who focused on how math worked algebraically, symbolically, graphically, and numerically. Yet, Koski taught me that failure is never an option. I went after school, and around January, even started showing up at 6:30am for a wacky math practice class he called early bird. The plot twist doesn't stop there, I also joined (was forced?) to join math club. Surprise Surprise, Andreina still doesn't know any math, but i'm learning. Having failed and struggling every day in pre cal, and staring at mu alpha theta tests thinking, "I don't belong here." have only taught me to keep going. They've only taught me that, "Hey I don't know this now but i'll know it eventually, keep going." I'm not this super stellar my SAT and grades rock there's no way you won't deny me student. I love what I do though, I love who I am and learning and actually understanding things that were once so difficult for me? It's such an amazing feeling. It is almost as good as eating swiss rolls, only better because understanding math for me now is like a swiss roll that feeds my soul and mind.

asi677 2 / 3 1  
Sep 23, 2014   #2
Hi. I agree with what you said about your essay being too informal. Instead having the sentence like "I was probably the most annoying student, no really, I could not stop asking questions" you could just say "Because AP Environmental interested me so much, I was curious about every detail my teacher talked about. I always raised my hand and inquired about the different subjects, probably annoying all of my classmates, but it was worth the extra details." Also I think you could organize it better (sorry I have no idea how to show how I would personally organize it) but I think unnecessary parts like the first part of the second paragraph can be removed (the part about teachers asking students to raise their hands) since I think your essay is more about how even though you failed your first year of math, you still love that subject. Focus more on the part about loving math and show how math is basically a part of your personality. Good luck with your essay!
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Sep 23, 2014   #3
andre, it would really help us in reviewing your essay if you provided the prompt for this essay. That way we can tell the degree of informality allowed within the essay. You see, this is an informal essay and not an academic one so it alright to make it sound like you are talking to a friend, within certain parameters. Those parameters are usually contained within the essay prompt. That said, here is my take on your essay in its current form. I'll be restating some of your sentences to give it a more formal feel since that is what I think you are after :-)

- I guess I cried because I came to the rude realization that simply gliding along as an average student in middle school was not really the achievement I thought it was. High school had a totally different set of rules when it came to academics and this time, I could not simply "wing it" in order to pass my classes. Classes such as Algebra 2 showed me that I did not know anything about numbers and the rules of math. In hindsight, failing Algebra may have seemed like the end of the world to me back then, but now I understand that my failure to pass that class actually saved me by teaching me how to become a better student. By learning that it takes courage to ask questions and that questions, no matter how hard must be asked.

- Don't talk about whether you will be accepted or not into the program. That is a defeatist attitude that does not have a place in an application essay.

Teachers too often remind students the importance of asking questions. I still see the confident faces, claiming to understand every single aspect of a memorized lesson that teachers themselves may not even comprehend fully. Embarrassment, or rather fear of being embarrassed plagues us. So that's how I went through freshman year. I nodded and accepted algebraic reasoning, did my homework with trusty Google by my side, and seamlessly calculated answers without any clue as to how i'd arrived there or even what those same answers meant. I was a sham; my knowledge tested on exams I stared at blankly, passing the first quarter only because of a math program that largely inflated grades. Then, after trying so hard, tears of frustration that only my computer saw, I received a C. I gave up; thus the beginning of the end started.

- I think that this story should somehow integrate into your first time introductory paragraph. This is actually the foundation of the first time you failed. So it does not belong in a 2nd paragraph. Can you blend this into the first one somehow?

- The paragraph about your failing chemistry and other classes is irrelevant at this point because you already established that you felt like a failure in math. Then you met My Koski, who helped you discover the need to ask questions and learn about math. Concentrate more on developing this point. It is highly important to enhancing the content of your paper. This shows how you turned your failure into an eventual success, which I believe is the expectation of this essay, to see how you overcome failure the first time. Am I right?


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