|By Duperme (Duperme) on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 02:48 pm: Edit|
I have two essays, one im going to send to Harvard EA as my personal statement, the other as an additional essay. I need you guys' to rip my essay apart, and then tell me which is the better one.
The booming voice erupted from the loudspeakers, "Our next band is My Side of Paradise!"
As I walked up the stage, I thought of December's Last Words, our chief opponent at tonight's Battle of the Bands. The other two bands were nothing compared to December's Last Words, whose emotional performance had captivated the audience.
I remembered watching this band play at the St. Paul Fireball Espresso two years ago, when I was just another spectator straining his neck to see the stage. Still playing cover songs with My Side of Paradise, I was determined to one day reach their level. Since that time, I had spent every vacant minute with my band practicing in the drummer's basement. Tonight, my efforts would be put to the test.
I plugged my guitar cable in the amp turned to face the audience. Illuminated by a dim light, the faces of a hundred people followed my every move. Meanwhile, blazing lights that shone onto the stage forced a trickle of sweat down my forehead as I pulled a guitar pick from my jeans¡¯ pocket. I nodded to the drummer.
One, two three, four: the drummer tapped his sticks. We struck our first note, detonating an explosion of sound that vibrated through my heart. As the vocals, guitars, and drums blended into a harmonious melody, I was soon absorbed into the music. Eight songs later, I was sweating profusely - as was the crowd. As the roaring crowd drowned the last note from my guitar strings, I grinned at the other band members
As we were exiting the stage, one of the judges approached the microphone. He cast a quick glance in our direction and announced, "The winner of the 2002 Battle of the Bands is...My Side of Paradise!" Another cheer erupted from the audience.
I stared at him, absorbing what I just heard. Expecting immense joy to engulf me, I was disappointed to realize that I felt indifferent. I did not feel guilty for defeating December's Last Words, whom I greatly admired, nor was I dissatisfied with our performance. Instead, I felt as if Battle of the Bands was a farce - a trivial competition that awarded a worthless title.
Confused at the time, I understand in retrospect why I felt emotionless. By placing so much aspiration on winning Battle of the Bands, I fashioned a false pinnacle of what I perceived to be the greatest achievement; I thought that I would feel rewarded for all of my band¡¯s hard work by winning. However, after reassessing my values, I understood my true motives for dedicating myself to music.
Each song I write with my band feels priceless because each is a product stemmed solely from our creativity. Each song embodies my personal endeavor to expand my creative boundaries, as well as that of the other members. To know that I am constantly pushing myself to my limits - to know that I am continually testing myself to see what I am capable of achieving - grants me an incomparable satisfaction. Thus, whether or not My Side of Paradise wins competitions, I will continue to play my songs beneath the blazing stage lights.
As I was making a popsicle-stick house with one of the third-grade girls, another girl walked up to us hesitantly. With her eyes cast downwards, she asked if she could have some popsicle-sticks. Since this was my second day as a mentor for Royal Oaks Elementary, I did not know all of the kids' names. I asked, "Hi, what¡¯s your name?"
She immediately stiffened as if I had caught her in the act of doing something bad. She looked down at her feet, unintelligibly murmured her name, and then quickly added, "I¡¯m a Hmong person."
The look on her face instantly drew a twinge of sympathy from me; she looked as if she were ashamed to be Hmong yet felt obligated to announce it. The statement also sounded automatic, as if she stated her nationality every time someone asked for her name. I studied her face, trying to understand why she had said this. Drawing from my childhood experiences, I concluded that she announced her nationality as a subliminal way of installing a barrier between herself and me.
Like her, I had raised barriers around myself. I can remember vividly the humiliation I felt on the first day of kindergarten, when the teacher made a role call of everyone¡¯s name. When she reached my name, she made a dramatic but failed attempt to pronounce it, and then followed it up with a long set of questions, reiterating to the class every so often that I was from China. Although her intentions were to welcome me, she only augmented my consciousness of my differences, which can be very distressing for a five-year old boy. From that day on, I felt isolated from the rest of my peers. To add to the sense of isolation, I realized I was different in other ways as well. During lunch, the other kids paid for their school lunch while mine was free; other kids had a fresh rotation of clothes while I only had several used outfits; and other kids never tasted dehydrated milk while I drank it regularly from the food shelf.
Although I had always wanted to integrate into my kindergarten society, I subconsciously installed a barrier between the rest of the kids and myself. Feeling like an outsider, I presumed that others would not want to associate with me; therefore, I never tried to associate with anyone else.
However, as I matured and as I adapted to the language and culture, I realized that my dissimilarity was not adversative, but rather advantageous. It had become advantageous in the respect that it has allowed me to see people from different perspectives; I can understand why this little girl is ashamed of her nationality but feels compelled to announce it, and I can associate with the frustration that many of these third-graders feel. Now that I am living in a comfortable middle-class home, I can assist others in need.
Hoping I could make this girl feel better, I pointed to my chest and said, "I¡¯m Chinese, I¡¯m Asian like you." She looked at me for second, seemingly surprised by my remark. She then grabbed a small fistful of popsicle-sticks and hurried away. Undoubtedly, I was unable to change her outlook in one sentence; it was an attempt nevertheless.
|By Siriuswishbear (Siriuswishbear) on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 03:05 pm: Edit|
Wow...i don't know which one i liked better! i thought they were both great! I wasn't really looking too hard for mechanical, grammatical or other errors, but nothing really popped out at me.
|By Klh (Klh) on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 08:32 pm: Edit|
r Essay number 1 take out every paragraph except the last which is EXCELLENT, then redesign your paper to tell why you actually write songs and why winning an award is not important remember it is all about the passion and creativity of writing and expressing yourself through another medium (music). You are onto something with the first paper totally scrap the second and explain why you actually write songs in the first place. Be careful what you post if you need truthful advice bring it to your teachers, elementary jr high and yes even hs.. they want to help.. Be wary of giving others ideas for their essays
|By Duperme (Duperme) on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:37 pm: Edit|
the problem with writing soley on why i write songs is that it might be boring, and it wont stand out with the thousands of other personal statements. But then again, the problem with what I have right now is that a big chunk of the first essay doesnt say anything concrete about me, its just a story that leads to say something concrete.
About the second essay, i wanted to stress how I am different from the rest of the Harvard Applicant pool, but I didnt want to sound like I was asking for pity. If thats want ended up happening, then I might need to scratch it. I think I need some more advices before I make any drastic moves.
Can anyone else leave some feedback? once again, dont be afraid to be brutally honest.
|By Giovanni (Giovanni) on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 09:41 pm: Edit|
I really like both of yours Duperme. The first one is rockin' hehe. and the second one is cool because you take a seemingly trivial incident and make it meaningful. Gooooo Duperme!
|By Duperme (Duperme) on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 08:23 pm: Edit|
your response sounds too "nice" giovanni, but thanks for being nice. But I would rather have some more criticism so that I can make them better. So be as brutal as you want! i know theres fault you can find in my essays
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