You guys tore up my last SA so I started fresh





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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: October 2003 Archive: You guys tore up my last SA so I started fresh
By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 12:51 am: Edit

PERSONAL ESSAY
Spoiled. No other word better describes the way I feel at this point in my life.
As the team bus takes me from the sanctuary of a five star hotel to the stadium of that week’s game it drives past row upon row of one-room shacks. Stray dogs, hobbling on three functional legs roam the street. Children playfully scamper around with dirt caked cheeks and clothes that clearly have not been changed or washed in days, while parents with faces older than their years stare blankly at the bus. Their sullen eyes dare you to gaze into them and see the struggle they have seen. Grandma, like a statue, stands on the roadside with an oversized basket far too heavy for her size, selling pumpkin seeds to anyone who will slow enough to acknowledge her presence. The veins in her arms bulge and the muscles appear strong and tight, as though they should belong to a teenage boy, and not an aging woman.

Once again this year, I find myself in the presence of the rich. Monterrey itself is arguably the wealthiest city in all of Mexico. It is easy to become blind to any problem of poverty when you all see are shiny new buildings, neon lights of massive movie cinemas, and sky-high prices in lavish shopping malls. Moving up the chain of status, within the city I study at the private institution Tecnológico de Monterrey alongside many of whom the vast majority of Monterrey residents would consider the ultra-privileged. To top it all off, I am a member of the university’s money guzzling American football team that expends a disproportionately high amount of funds in the name of traveling in comfort.

Studying in Mexico is not the first time in my life I have found myself in the company of the rich, however. Last year, as a matter of fact, I was in very much the same situation. During my post-graduate year at Western Reserve Academy I was baptized into a world of fancy cars, designer clothes, and pampered living that I earlier considered only to take place in the movies. Hudson, Ohio is to the United States what Monterrey is to Mexico. From a football teammate bragging of having his own personal wing within his family’s home, to an attention starved classmate showing off ‘daddy’s Ferrari’ in the school parking lot, I was blind-sided with a lifestyle that, at the same time as feeling surreal, was appealing to me, and something I felt I would strive to achieve for myself.

I wish I could say it was enough by being in a third world country to wake me from the stupor of the spoiled life I had been living and put my priorities back in order, but in truth it also took the help of my parents and eldest brother. As my parents receive the occasional letter from each of their two sons living abroad, one in Ghana and one in Mexico, they receive one message telling of struggles faced helping people with the Peace Corps, and another telling of luxurious trips through a country that deals with a crisis of poverty very similar to that in the previous nation. It is not as if the feedback I have gotten from my parents has caused me to drop out of school and give away all my worldly possessions (though I cannot argue with one who would). Nor have I developed any sense of bitterness towards those who have shown me hospitality in the past two years. Rich or not, I have been surrounded by some extraordinarily caring people. Poverty in third world countries goes far beyond the actions of these individuals. What the feedback has caused me to do is become more aware of how much I have to be thankful for, and to reassess the things that are important to my life.

By Wjk323 (Wjk323) on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 01:59 am: Edit

hm...good essay.
watch out for grammar mistakes though and isnt this essays kinda of cliche?
uhm..monterrey huh? i was there last year for a MUN simulation and maybe i was in the wrong side of the city but i never saw anything that you are describing. (yet again...monterrey is a huge city)
Well, anyways i liked the essay, but which college are you writing this for? Oh yeah, you should write about the saddle shaped mountain. hehe..just kidding...

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:03 pm: Edit

i expected people may see this essay as being cliche.
I felt good writing it, i just couldn't come up with an ending that didn't feel corny
As for Monterrey, it's actually easy to find areas of the rich or the poor. In general i would say it isn't hard to isolate yourself from the poor though. Especially for example in the suburb San Pedro. From what I hear it is the wealthiest suburb in all of Latin America.

By the way, 'Serra de La Silla' didn't fit in my essay, but I do plan to climb it one of these days

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 09:20 pm: Edit

more help please

By Jeff3308 (Jeff3308) on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 10:24 pm: Edit

Boring! Your essay is a carbon copy of most that I read. Regular white guy, discovers another culture, has spiritual awakening. What a caring guy you must be! However, it's BS. It tells me nothing about you, and what you'll bring to the school. What ever happened to originality...Does everyone have to be PC.

By Neo (Neo) on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 10:27 pm: Edit

Classic (Jeff's post, that is).

If the essay doesn't say anything about you to the adcoms, you might as well have cut-and-pasted it from an internet website -- because that's about as personal as it'll seem to them.


However, I'll be back with a more direct review later.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 02:08 am: Edit

Give the guy a break! It is not an essay about sports and it is not about cultural awakenings.

Despite not being a great essay, it is not a tapestry of cliches. Buzzy tries to contrast the spoiled life of a few "chosen" who spend an abject amount of money on a completely meaningless -the sport is not, the location is- sport in a very poor country. It is quite hilarious for football players to call themselves "Borregos". That is worth an essay in my opinion!

The Hudson on the river presents a poorly presented interlude but we can get the idea of the essay.

I wish the essay would sound more "true" and be more poignant but it does have some merit. If Buzzy "really" feel for the natives, he will find the way to paint a compelling picture. The ingredients are there, the question is if he will have the sensibility to find himself and pull it off?

By Chrisg (Chrisg) on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 06:53 am: Edit

IMO, the essay needs more personal detail, less description of opulence. What, exactly, did your parents tell you? What was your response?

What are you thankful for? What is important in your life? These questions should at least be discussed, if not answered. The implication is that the rich lifestyle doesn't appeal to you as much anymore, but I'm not sure I believe that after reading the first few paragraphs, which are all about luxury and opulence.

To be honest, I think I detect a little ambivalence from you about this issue, and I think you'd do better to be honest about that, and maybe use it for a little humor.

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 07:18 pm: Edit

Wow, thanks for the advice everyone. I now see a couple of ways I can fine tune this.

Chrisg-you're right on about the abivalence, and I think I can explain it in a sensible manner in the essay

Xiggi- You don't like the portion on Western Reserve. Is it unneeded, or just poorly written?
I thought it would be useful show that experience.
On a side note, I was surprised at the knowledge you have of both schools I mentioned.
Borregos is kind of a ridiculous name isn't it.
If it helps though, we are technically "Los Borregos Salvajes"

Thanks again. I'll look forward to all of your suggestions on the next draft

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 07:47 pm: Edit

Buzzy

I believe that the essay gets sidetracked when it jumps back to the US. I understand that it explains why the lifestyle may have been appealing but I am not sure that you should really stress that. To me, it seems that it is a part of your essay that could be misunderstood by an adcom and end up costing you. So, unless you find it absolutely essential, I would reduce or eliminate that section.

By Ivy_Chick989 (Ivy_Chick989) on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 09:03 pm: Edit

Just wanted to say that my sister attends Monterrey Tech as well, and when i went up to help her settle, I have to say you were spot on with your descriptions! What you say is true, and i totally agree with you on the Mexican culture. My sister's boyfriend lives in some place called Juares or something, no puedo recordar...but anyway, the contrast was almost shocking(Juares may be a bit of an extreme exmaple, its nationally notorious for being extremely dangerous and so on). Any way, just wanted to say kudos on that. But I also have to say i agree with xiggi on the sidetrack thing...as it drifted to the states , its almost like a different essay. Oh and jeff, you're an @$$hole. Get used to it(no offensive language, see?lol). Anyway, jeff...i dont see you submitting the perfect essay, and until you do, shut your piehole.

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 09:35 pm: Edit

xiggi- after reading through it again, i can see how the WRA section isn't really adding anything to the essay
i'll take that into consideration with the next draft. Thanks

Ivy chick- your sister is at Tec? I know the school is kind of big, but I know a good deal of the international students. Maybe I know your sister
if you want send me an email at buzzy_8@yahoo.com

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Thursday, October 09, 2003 - 01:01 am: Edit

here it is, Draft 2

PERSONAL ESSAY

Spoiled. No other word better describes the way I feel at this point in my life.

As the team bus takes me from the sanctuary of a five star hotel to the stadium of that week’s game it drives past row upon row of one-room shacks. Stray dogs, hobbling on three functional legs roam the street. Children playfully scamper around with dirt caked cheeks and clothes that clearly have not been changed or washed in days, while parents with faces older than their years stare blankly at the bus. Their sullen eyes dare you to gaze into them and see the struggle they have seen. Grandma, like a statue, stands on the roadside with an oversized basket far too heavy for her size, selling pumpkin seeds to anyone who will slow enough to acknowledge her presence. The veins in her arms bulge and the muscles appear strong and tight, as though they should belong to a teenage boy, and not an aging woman.

Once again this year, I find myself in the presence of the rich. Monterrey itself is arguably the wealthiest city in all of Mexico. It is easy to become blind to any problem of poverty when you all see are shiny new buildings, neon lights of massive movie cinemas, and sky-high prices in lavish shopping malls. Moving up the chain of status, within the city I study at the private institution Tecnológico de Monterrey alongside many of whom the vast majority of Monterrey residents would consider the ultra-privileged. To top it all off, I am a member of the university’s money guzzling American football team that expends a disproportionately high amount of funds in the name of traveling in comfort.

My situation has me feeling ambivalent. I am torn by the fact that, being a part of this type of team is what I have desired for so long. I have sacrificed so much for a sport that, coming from a microscopic high school, I never had the opportunity to experience a team that had the resources it needed, and received the attention of the public. You don’t trudge your bike through harsh Wisconsin winters at four in the morning in order to lift in the neighboring schools weight room, without the dream of becoming part of something bigger. You don’t daily walk out of the weight room ragged, with skin that no longer fits, and the feeling you were just hammered by a heavyweight boxer, without a vision in mind of someday being with a program that lets reap the rewards of your sacrifices. The team in Monterrey is allowing me a glimpse of what I always wanted. From top to bottom it is a professionally run organization. The facilities are great, the coaches are knowledgeable, it takes care of its players, and the community is supportive. On the other hand however, the lavish lifestyle feels extremely uncomfortable in this setting. It has me asking myself the questions of whether I am deserving of this, and in the grand scheme of things, how important are the things I sacrifice so much for? What good is a football game to someone who struggles to find the resources to eat each night?
While my passion for the sport remains unchanged, quickly I am learning valuable lessons on keeping things in perspective.

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Thursday, October 09, 2003 - 10:30 pm: Edit

bump

the last two sentences are revised under the
xiggi-another copy... thread

By Chrisg (Chrisg) on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 02:22 am: Edit

I think you're moving in the right direction, but still some big changes needed. Reading the essay gives me the impression that you are having some doubts about the goals you once set for yourself. I don't think it's a good idea to leave the reader of a college essay with your self-doubts as the final thought. If you want to introduce that, try to resolve it. And let the reader decide if you have learned a valuable lesson.

Here's what I would do:
paragraph 1: delete "their faces older than their years" and everything including and following "their sullen eyes." Not needed. People know it sucks to be poor and hungry.
paragraph 2: delete direct references to wealth and poverty and just describe the wealth of the city through your eyes.
paragraph 3: Delete everything after "From top to bottom.."

Then, I'd reorganize the essay so it tells your story in a simple chronological way, starting with training in the winter, wanting to achieve this goal, then going to Monterrey, then a very brief description of seeing poor people.

Then ??? Maybe some discussion and resolution of your internal struggle. Maybe some description of discussion with your parents. Maybe nothing. Just describe and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

Keep putting your spirit into the thing. I hear it come out when you talk about training, and in the earlier draft when you talked about your family.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 11:25 am: Edit

??? I could not disagree more!

By Buzzy_8 (Buzzy_8) on Monday, October 13, 2003 - 11:00 pm: Edit

ok so I have some mixed opinions now.
any more opinions?
xiggi, can you elaborate?

chrisg- i don't understand exactly what you mean in the way you suggest I should change paragraph 2.
In paragraph 1 i'm trying "to paint the picture" as everyone tells me to.


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