Hsimpson's essay~~ please help





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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: Hsimpson's essay~~ please help
By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:37 am: Edit

As we approached the end of a long, strenuous practice, Mrs. Carlson, our high school tennis coach, called us over. She inquired, “Would anyone be interested in helping out at a local tennis program?” There was a momentary silence broken by the grumbling and complaints of the upperclassmen, most of who were unwilling to give up their precious Saturday mornings. At the time, we were all hot and sweaty, and it was difficult to consider giving up those much-needed hours of sleep. I was the first one to volunteer, because I was being offered to opportunity to teach the game that I love to others, and I may have a good time doing it. My friends followed my lead, seeing it my way after a bit of persuasion. Little did we know how much we could each gain from this experience.
The camp was scheduled to begin each week at 8:00 a.m., but on that first day I got there at 7:30 to guarantee I did not miss a thing. It was a dreary, overcast April morning and, even with a sweatshirt on, I shivered in the cold. Before long, Mr. Pierce, the head of the program, arrived at the courts, his red pickup truck filled to the brim with hampers of new yellow balls, tennis rackets, and some sweet, sweet, hot chocolate. I helped him arrange the equipment over the four courts, and then descended upon the hot chocolate with the urgency of a gambler down on his luck lunging for a quarter found on the ground. As I stood there, gratefully sipping the hot beverage, a parade of minivans arrived, quickly discharging the chattering campers in groups of twos and threes. Within five minutes, the camp had filled with twenty of them. Clearly, there was a profound interest in learning tennis in our town.
My friend Ben and I were assigned to coach five young girls. While most could manage to hit the ball into the court, none of them actually had any aim. We developed a system to put them through their paces. Ben would toss the balls to the girls while I studied their moves, and then I would instruct them in their swings individually. I remember that ironically, Marie, the worst of the bunch, was the only student who ignored my advice. Not so coincidentally, she was also the only student who failed to show any improvement over the entire series of lessons. Fortunately, the rest of the group showed dramatic improvements by the camp’s end. In fact, two were such good students that I was even able to teach them topspin. I had a lot of fun teaching my favorite sport to my little gang. When it was time to say goodbye, I felt great regret in leaving the five little projects to whom I had invested so much time and so much of myself.
Although I was the instructor, I believe that I learned more from the clinic than the students. Marie confirmed my belief that learning is, ultimately, up to the student. A mentor can be your guide, if you are willing to follow his lead, but, in the end, you make your own way. I think I always knew this, but now I understood it from a different perspective, that of the teacher. By thinking that she knew better and refusing to let me help her, Marie missed out on a great opportunity to learn. As a result, she became a weaker tennis player than her peers who were willing to accept advice. I use Marie as a constant reminder for myself when my inclination is to ignore the suggestions from my friends and family. While I may not always follow their recommendations, I try to be open to hearing what they have to say. Marie showed me that sometimes others know more than you do, and it makes sense to listen so that you can make informed decisions.
I also learned that there is great satisfaction to be gained simply by helping others to succeed. I became happy by making others happy. To watch my campers grow and develop skills, especially since I was part of the reason for their growth, made me feel proud. I realized that there is genuine pleasure in helping people improve themselves. I have taken these lessons to heart, and volunteering has become a part of my life. I now teach at the tennis clinic each year, helping to build skills and confidence, and maybe, some day, an even stronger high school tennis team. I also participate in a summer library program, helping others to share in the joy of reading. Working at the tennis clinic taught me firsthand about the satisfaction of helping others. Whenever possible, I now try to find opportunities to share something of myself, since I know it will be a win-win situation.

By Y17k (Y17k) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:11 am: Edit

Change your sentene patterns/beginnings around a bit. Even after the first paragraph your essay becomes monotonous

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:26 am: Edit

you mean like with the commas?

By Wharton1986 (Wharton1986) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:56 pm: Edit

hsimpson....
il tell you why i dont like your essay.

its good writing and i would normally have said that i liked it.
only trouble is i dont like the way how you said that you take marie as an example when you realise you shouldnt be doing bad things.....


thats no motivation at all.
you seem to be syaing that her loss motivated you to do better.

what would make the essay good was if you wrote that marie indeed was having problems and wasnt ready to listen to you but you managed to win her confidence back and you managed to alter her game for the better.
your essay takes on a negative shade there and i dont like that.
you intentionally make the marie girl the black sheep of your group which makes her the underdog.
people like to see the underdog triumph but you dont write it like that.....

just my opinions anyway not neccesairly the right one but my opinion nonetheless.....

By A87 (A87) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:24 pm: Edit

"people like to see the underdog triumph but you dont write it like that..... "

EXACTLY! I was expecting you to win Marie over and have her end up being the best player of the bunch. But what happened? She didn't learn a thing. And that taught you about teachers and students.

What does this tell colleges about you? They automatically won't like you, because you didn't even TRY to help this girl who was struggling.

I hope you don't use this essay. You write well, I think you could make a great essay, but admissions officers will have no sympathy. This is your chance to show them how you're different than all of the other applicants with similar numbers, do it well!

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 10:19 pm: Edit

Wow! That is totally true guys. I was thinking that Marie could help me come to a realization and a conclusion, but you are absolutely right! That was a great way to explain it too. The thing is, I have no problem tossing out that conclusion but I don't know where to take this. If Marie succeeds, then doesn't that just turn this essay into a bragger? I was trying to show how I am able to learn from my experiences. If I come off as this great guy (as most Duke applicants are), how can I make myself seem special?

You guys made a very good point, but I've got to think of a way to turn the whole theme around.

By Wharton1986 (Wharton1986) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 07:52 am: Edit

use things like how marie was exasperated and believed she was a total failure.your other buddy had given up on her and claimed that she was a futile lost case and wasnt worth the effort.

yet you stood your ground cuz you like the true blue american always vouch for the underdog.
you askeed marie what her problems were.you told her you understood how she felt.you won her confidence.this m,ade her realise that she wasnt isolated fighting against the whole world.

something like that would speak volumes about your charecter and does NOT constitute bragging.

so your applying to duke..im not aware what the school requires but the way i look at it every school is hunting for someone with a strong charecter and it is the essay that is able to ellucidate this.

By Ouija (Ouija) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:20 am: Edit

Whatever you do, take out this sentence:

"I also participate in a summer library program, helping others to share in the joy of reading."

It makes no sense in the story and sounds like you're just trying to squeeze in more ec's into the essay.

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 12:09 pm: Edit

That is a good way to look at it Wharton. I understand what you are saying and I'll try to work with my essay.

Haha, that's also true Oija. My mom forced me to throw that in.

great advice guys, is there anything else I can work on?

How's the topic overall? Is it a unique topic? Also, I tried to avoid the twenty dollar words, does it come off that I only know small words or are they the right words to use?

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 11:40 am: Edit

Ok, I revised it. Please give me your input guys.


As we approached the end of a long, strenuous practice, Mrs. Carlson, our high school tennis coach, called us over. She requested, "Would anyone be interested in helping out at a local tennis program?" There was a momentary silence broken by the grumbling and complaints of the upperclassmen. At the time, we were all hot and sweaty, and it was difficult to consider giving up those much-needed hours of sleep on Saturday mornings. Even though I was just a freshman, I was the first one to volunteer, because I was being offered an opportunity to teach the game that I love to others, and might even have a good time doing it. My friends followed my lead, seeing it my way after a bit of persuasion. Little did we know how much we could each gain from this experience.
The camp was scheduled to begin each week at 8:00 a.m., but on that first day I got there at 7:30 to guarantee that I did not miss a thing. It was a dreary, overcast April morning and, even with a sweatshirt on, I shivered in the cold. Before long, Mr. Pierce, the head of the program, arrived at the courts, his red pickup truck filled to the brim with hampers of new yellow balls, junior tennis rackets, and some sweet, sweet, hot chocolate. I helped him apportion the equipment over the four courts, and then descended upon the hot chocolate with the eagerness of a down-on-his-luck gambler lunging for one last quarter spied on the ground. As I stood there, gratefully sipping the hot beverage, a parade of minivans arrived, quickly discharging the chattering campers in groups of twos and threes. Within five minutes, the camp had filled with twenty of them. Clearly, there was a more than a passing interest in learning tennis in our town.
My friend, Ben, and I were assigned to coach five young girls. While most could manage to hit the ball into the court, none of them actually had any aim. We decided that Ben would toss the balls to the girls while I studied their swings, and then I would correct their strokes individually. One student was troubling me. Her name was Marie, and she ignored all of my advice, even though she was the worst of the bunch. After the first lesson, Ben told me that he thought we should try to send Marie to another court next time. He believed that she was making us look like incompetent instructors. If I had taken his advice, we would actually have become just what he had feared. However, I chose an alternate route. I approached Marie at the beginning of the next session and had a talk with her. She was embarrassed about her lack of instinctive tennis skills. I explained to her that even the most talented athletes needed instruction to be their best. She was startled to learn that most of the tennis team, including myself, was still being trained. She seemed to become more open to my suggestions after this and started giving it her all. Her new attitude made all the difference in her performance. While Marie did not become the best player in the group, her willingness to accept advice ensured that she ended the clinic a much more skilled player than she had started.
I learned a lot from my experience at the tennis clinic with Marie. However, my conclusions have helped me become a better leader than a better tennis player. I see the importance in having patience and determination to make the best out of people. In addition, the best means of helping someone is by understanding them. While there may be pressures to give up on one person who is falling behind the group, I can never give in. Helping Marie in her game was a reward in itself. I felt proud that I had triumphed over taking the easy route and had done good as a result. This experience is an example I keep close to my heart as a constant reminder to never give up on my peers.


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