Please Critique My Third Essay

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: November 2003 Archive: Please Critique My Third Essay
By Sturmstiger (Sturmstiger) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 09:51 am: Edit

Okay, this is the Third totally different essay I've written. Please take a look and tell me how do you really think about it.
(Btw. I am a Chinese applying as international)

Traveling in this over-crowded sleeper bus in the Yungui Mountains of southwestern China, I had to seriously think about life. Every ten to twenty minutes I could see a crashed coal truck or sleeper bus lying in the valley. You never know whether you'll be on the narrow road or in the deep valley in the next minute, for a small move of the driver's hands could make that shift. For all my life I had been working so hard for a better future, but here where future was not the sure thing to come, any of the peasants or peddlers on this bus could have a life more meaningful than mine, for he had at least made some real contributions to the society.

I wouldn¡¯t think about that at school, I would instead think about how to learn the things in the books and get a high score in the College Entrance Exam. For millions of students in China, this is the key problem. We are told as we grow, that those who can work out this problem will have a bright future. Though I never believed that, when this ¡°great mission¡± went against my dreams and interests, I would usually suppress the latter. However this time, my desire to visit new places and see new people won the conflict: I decided to take a long journey around China together with a young German, while my all my classmates stayed in school that summer like most other Chinese students of Grade 10.

I knew I would learn about the history in Central and Northwestern China, and I knew I would be impressed by the sight and culture diversity in the Southwest, but I didn¡¯t expect to learn about life in the first day of the journey. On the train to Zhengzhou, I met a girl of my age. She told me that she was studying tour guiding in a technical secondary school. "Technical school", I thought, was not the place for "good students". Not able to attend college, they won¡¯t have "bright futures". But when she talks about her experience working in a local tour agency on probation and her dream to become an international tour guide, I could see the pride and excitement shining in her eyes. I realized I was wrong: One does not need a university degree to pursue her dreams.

I learned more after I met my Germen friend Raphael in Zhengzhou. After high school, he went to join a Korean-based voluntary organization to avoid military service. As a faithful believer of peace and love, he had worked in many war-stricken countries like Cambodia, East Timor and Afghanistan, and helped those people in need. He would return to university and study NGO after the journey. I then understood that you don¡¯t need to know everything before making contribution.

The amazing ancient architectures and wonders of Nature inspired more of my thoughts. Together with the above, they changed my view on life and way of life. Returning from the journey, I restarted my project on operating system design that I loved so much. I also joined the Young Volunteers, led a reform in the school Students Union and did many other things that I had been longing for years but never had the courage to spare enough time. I always keep in mind the words of a young man who gave up his job as a successful designer in an advertisement firm in Shanghai and is now the owner of a small bar in the ancient town of Dali. Playing his guitar, he said to me, "Go for your dreams, before life erodes your passion." (607 words)

Two of the three people who read it said it's bad, so if most of you think that way, I'll have to prepare for my Forth essay.

By Bethjanelle (Bethjanelle) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 12:10 pm: Edit

I think the line "I had to seriously think about life" is a bit premature. First engage the reader, explain your fear during this situation before making such a dramatic statement as that. I'm not entirely sure where you are at during this time, put me there. Create a sense of place, that should definitely prove to engage the reader. Those dramatic statements are fine, if only first validated.

Also, the reference to "You" in the second statement seems to displace the reader from your personal experience.

The sentence that starts with "For all of my life..." First of all, that's a bit cliche. I also think that the sentence is a bit long and rather awkward, probably due to the length. It's also a bit confusing, probably because you're trying to present several ideas without putting down a period. That whole sentence needs work.

Hmm... there's a lot I have to say about this, but I dont' want to post it all, it'll take quitea long time. I want to know what prompt you are responding to first of all. I also think that there needs to be a more cohesive bond to this essay. It's not bad, but it's a draft and needs a lot of work. I'd be more than willing to help, so if you're interested, let me know.

By Sturmstiger (Sturmstiger) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 02:20 am: Edit

Thanks a lot!
It certainly needs a lot of work. I wanted to know whether the general idea is clear. My English teacher he understood what I want to say said only after he read it twice. It will need big changes in the sentences, but I am more interested to know more about the overall structure before working on each sentences.

By Sturmstiger (Sturmstiger) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 03:46 am: Edit


By Duperme (Duperme) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:17 pm: Edit

"I also joined the Young Volunteers, led a reform in the school Students..."

You should be specific on what kind of a reform you made (did you get the school to allow soda machines or did you lead a coup against the school board?)

Also, the last paragraph is a bit disjointed from the rest of the essay.

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 10:02 pm: Edit

mostly a lot of shifts in pronouns and verb tense :p

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