Harvard Additional essay

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: October 2003 Archive: Harvard Additional essay
By Greatsurgeon (Greatsurgeon) on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 07:07 pm: Edit

This is my harvard additional essay.. its around 800 words... please tell me if you think its any good. thanks~

When I first met Brother Ralph, I was a mere nine years old, and he was an elderly gentleman who attended my church in Edgewood, Maryland. I did not know his full name, nor did I care to. I simply knew him as ‘Brother Ralph’, and to this day, I still do not know his full name. Brother Ralph took an interest in me the first time he saw me. I was a young, chubby, Korean child carrying a yellow barrel half full of spare change, money that my Sunday school was raising to help starving children worldwide. Brother Ralph approached me and gave me all the change he had in his pocket. At the time, I was a numismatic- an amateur coin collector, and I pored over the change he gave me to look for anything of value. I spotted a dirty wheat penny, a not so valuable coin, but it stirred excitement into my naïve heart. Unbeknownst to me, Brother Ralph had seen the whole ordeal, and the next Sunday, he approached me again. Once more, he gave me all the change he had, but this time, he also pulled out a bag of wheat pennies. I had never seen so many wheat pennies in my life, and I was speechless. A man, who hardly knew me, was kind enough to support my hobby. This exchange of coins became a weekly ritual for years.

During this time period, Brother Ralph became a faux grandfather to me. What amazed me was that Brother Ralph lived in Pennsylvania, and drove for two hours each Sunday morning to attend our small church. All the children loved Brother Ralph; he always had candy, toys, or books to distribute. As I look back, I realize that Brother Ralph was not at all wealthy, he was nowhere near it. He drove a ramshackle station wagon, and lacked many necessities, yet he always had something for us youngsters. Then, one Sunday, Brother Ralph was not at church. This was highly unusual, as I had always seen Brother Ralph’s smiling face every Sunday morning. Brother Ralph was nowhere to be seen the following Sunday either. However, Brother Ralph came back to church the next Sunday, but this time he had tubes in his nose, and he was lugging an oxygen container around. My parents told me that Brother Ralph had lung cancer, and did not have much time to live.

This man, who brought an extra joy to my life and the lives of countless others, was silently suffering from lung cancer since the day I met him. However, his ever worsening lung cancer did not prevent him from driving two hours to Maryland, and giving me his weekly donation, and wheat penny findings. The months wore on, and lung cancer was slowly draining the life out of Brother Ralph. One Sunday, Brother Ralph, knowing of my love for trains, proposed that my family come visit him in Pennsylvania, so he could take us to the “Choo Choo Barn” and take us on a train ride. We went the following Saturday, and it proved to be one of the most enriching experiences of my life. There were trains everywhere, real trains, and model trains. When we took our train ride, Brother Ralph and I chose an open car to sit in, and then, in the soft light of the vibrant spring afternoon, I realized that Brother Ralph was dying. I inherently knew that he was going to die before, but knowing and comprehending are two completely different entities.

I suddenly began to cry, and Brother Ralph asked what was the matter, ashamed, I said that there was nothing wrong, but the tears kept flowing. Brother Ralph knew what I was thinking, and he told me that everything was ok, that life was short, but I would see him in heaven. Several weeks later, Brother Ralph didn’t come to church again. That Monday, we received a phone call that informed us that Brother Ralph had died. This time, I didn’t cry. I knew that Brother Ralph was in a better place, lung cancer had taken its terrible toll on him, and although he remained strong to the very end, he was suffering daily. Brother Ralph taught me many a thing about life. He was a man of few words, but his actions spoke for him. Brother Ralph was poor, yet he was happy, and he always made the others around him happy, through his deeds. Brother Ralph befriended a young child that he hardly knew, and brought joy to his life by simply giving him some wheat pennies and attention. When Brother Ralph died, I vowed that I would follow his example and bring happiness to all around me. The world needs more Brother Ralph’s, and to this day, I still have every wheat penny Brother Ralph gave me.

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