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Can you look over this 250 word essay?

ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
edited December 2012 in Parents Forum
So for Princeton one of the prompts is: Name someone who inspires you, or something like that. It can only be 250 words, so I tried to keep it short. Is it cliche/cheesy?

As an omnipresent force, my Dad symbolizes more than just a man who has brought me into this world. He is instead an emotion or energy that I can feel inside of me always. He is the constant reminder of my duty to uphold the morals of my family, and he is the motivation for accomplishment in my life. Though not with me in the physical sense, his contributions as an emotional force in the sharpening of my character has helped me grow as a confident young man. He is a man I can admire and a man I can wish to be, but more than anything else, he is a man that I can forever know will support me in all my endeavors. As I look forward towards the future I see him as a part of the greater meaning of my life; he will always be another influence in my decisions and a sign that I have chosen the right path. While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me will be present always.
Post edited by ilcapo235 on
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Replies to: Can you look over this 250 word essay?

  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    Ilcapo:
    The response is far too vague; it does not even mention that your father is dead so that what you think is his inspiration is what you believe he would have told you to do, were he alive; this is unless you have been told specific things about him and are being influenced by what others say about him. I think, however, that you need to provide specific examples of the guidance you have received--whether from him or others speaking in his name.
  • achatachat Posts: 2,146Registered User Senior Member
    Instead of : "though not with me in the physical sense", I would have just said outright that he's not alive in the first sentence.

    "While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me will be present always."

    Say 'always present' instead of 'present always'.
  • soozievtsoozievt Posts: 28,785Registered User, ! Senior Member
    I agree with what Marite wrote and had the same impression when I read the essay. The topic is fine but you wrote it in such generalities. Needs more specifics and examples. My daughter did that Princeton essay last year and wrote about her grandfather. It happened that he had just died a couple weeks earlier but her essay was not a "death" essay and in fact, it was not even obvious he had died but it came up in one of the last lines when one example she brought up of her "theme" involved something he said to her right before dying, but again it was not a death essay but the influence of him on her life and sort of "messages" she learned from him. There were very specific examples. Try that. And you do not need to turn it into a death essay but in some passing moment, you could let on that your dad is no longer living where that fits.

    Susan
  • KilimanjaroKilimanjaro Posts: 34Registered User New Member
    Two words, "Prove it." I'll explain.

    For a job application, often people write, "I am hard-working, dedicated, and intelligent....." but it doesn't prove a thing and says absolutely nothing. I can tell you that I'm Queen Elizabeth, but it doesn't make it a fact.

    In your essay, you say that you admire your dad. Why? Did he give up a huge raise and job promotion so that he could spend more time with you (for example)? Give your essay an edge that has your "name" on it, with personal examples.

    You wrote, "While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me will be present always." How do I, as a reader, know he had a firm hand? Don't tell me that he had a firm hand. SHOW me.

    Think of the most memorable times with your father. Choose just one and explain how it impacted your life.

    Or think about the greatest lesson he taught you.

    For example, perhaps you saw your father give up something that would have made him immensely happy. But it would not have been good for your family, so he put the happiness of his family above that of his own. Yet, later, you learned that the happiness of your family is what helps create his happiness. Thus, you learned the valuable lesson that looking beyond your own selfish needs can be used to help ourselves and isn't necessarily negative. And since then, you always consider how your actions will impact others so that ultimately, it all works out for everyone.

    In essence, instead of stating mere opinions (my dad is the best in the world), give concrete examples that help prove your point.



    Good luck.
  • ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
    Hey guys - sorry to keep asking you guys to read these essays, but a lot of times I end up writing as if the reader could read my mind. Does this make more sense, or reflect a little more?

    As an omnipresent force, my Dad symbolizes more than just a man who has brought me into this world and has become an emotion or energy that I can feel inside of me always. He is the constant reminder of my duty to uphold the morals of my family, and he is the motivation for accomplishment in my life. Though not with me in the physical sense, his contributions as an emotional force in the sharpening of my character has helped me grow as a confident young man. He is a man I can admire and a man I can wish to be, but more than anything else, he is a man that I can forever know will support me in all my endeavors. For much of my childhood, I tried to emulate my father who had passed away years before. Strangely, my character instead emerged as the opposite of what everyone told me his was. While he played football, I took photographs. He was tough and firm, I was sensitive and compassionate. He, a Republican, I, a Democrat. Even more than anything else, he was a man who viewed academia as a bore, while I relished in its glory. After a few years of searching for myself, though, I learned to embrace my own identity as something my father would be proud of. The differences that had for years shamed me into believing I was not following in my father’s footsteps slowly disintegrated as I entered into adolescence. Today, not only am I my own man, but I am my father’s son. As I look forward towards the future I see my dad as a part of the greater meaning of my life; he will always be another influence in my decisions and a sign that I have chosen the right path. While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me will be present always.
  • KilimanjaroKilimanjaro Posts: 34Registered User New Member
    I do think it's an improvement in that you have chosen to speak more personally. But quite frankly, it has a ways to go. Your first sentence simply says nothing that makes me want to read more. The first seven lines are, again, vague generalities that that show nothing.

    Later, you do get specific, but it's also confusing. I'm afraid I still don't see anything that he actually did to inspire you. It sounds to me like the memory that you've created is more inspiring than the actual man. All you've told us about him is that he's firm and tough and a Republican. The rest just seem to be the way you feel about him.

    My question is, "Why does he inspire you?" (What did he do? How did he act? What did he say?)
  • ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
    Well the deal is -

    I've never met the man. What I am trying to say is that for much of my childhood, I struggled to try and follow in his footsteps. What I soon realized, though, was that we were nothing alike. For a while, I had a quasi-identity crisis until I figured out that it didn't matter if I was the exact same person as my father, because he wouldn't have cared!

    Make sense? My Dad, and his absence, has let me become the person I want to be.
  • ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
    What if I cut out that beginning stuff - now that I look at it, none of it makes any sense anyways hahaha


    He is a man I can admire and a man I can wish to be, but more than anything else, he is a man that I can forever know will support me in all my endeavors. For much of my childhood, I tried to emulate my father who had passed away before I even had the chance to meet him. Strangely, my character instead emerged as the opposite of what everyone told me his was. While he played football, I took photographs. He was tough and firm, I was sensitive and compassionate. He, a Republican, I, a Democrat. Even more than anything else, he was a man who viewed academia as a bore, while I relished in its glory. After a few years of searching for myself, though, I learned to embrace my own identity as something my father would be proud of. The differences that had for years shamed me into believing I was not following in my father’s footsteps slowly disintegrated as I entered into adolescence. Today, not only am I my own man, but I am my father’s son. As I look forward towards the future I see my dad as a part of the greater meaning of my life; he will always be another influence in my decisions and a sign that I have chosen the right path. While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me will be present always.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 12,101Registered User Senior Member
    Ilcapo235, you probably said more in your "well, the deal is...." post than you did in the essay. Work with that type of honesty and the words will come easier.
  • ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
    OK - SO SORRY TO KEEP DOING THIS!

    I just re-wrote the whole thing from scratch, and this one makes A TON more sense to me. Tell me if you like (unless you are bored of this topic already)

    For much of my childhood, one of my goals was to be everything my dad was when he was alive. I wanted to walk like him, talk like him, do the things he did when he was my age….everything! What society had told me was that a boy was to be like his father, and since my father wasn’t around, I had to go by what I saw in pictures or video. Unfortunately, these small snapshots of a man’s life did not go far in describing his true character. Nevertheless, I clung to every aspect of his character, and emulated him in every way – until one day, when I stumbled across my mother’s diary, and learned that no man, even my father, was perfect. What I learned that day was that the man I had been creating in my mind was an ideal that I believed a father should be. He was strong and firm, but loving and caring. I didn’t believe he ever made mistakes. So when I read the diary and learned that he did make mistakes, my Dad became someone even more important to me than ever before. Suddenly, I was freed from the expectations to live up to the examples he set, and I jumped on this opportunity to become my own person. The change was quick and drastic; I went from an athlete to an artist, a Republican to a Democrat, and a tough kid to a compassionate one. Essentially, I found my true self. For a while, I wondered if I was shaming my father by not emulating him in every way. Did he think I was weak because I played no sports? Crazy because I supported Kerry? What I soon realized was that a father, whether living or dead, would love his son no matter what he did. So today, I continue living my life by my dad’s examples. I know that as he watches me, he is proud of everything I do and captivated by my life’s twists and turns. While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me will be present when I need his advice, and absent when I need to figure it all out on my own. My dad, the ideal father.
  • KilimanjaroKilimanjaro Posts: 34Registered User New Member
    If I were on the board, I'd personally knock on your door and invite you to the university. You've shown that you're a person who can grow and who has grown. You've shown that you're a person who can think for himself. To me, those are major ingredients for the recipe of success in life.

    I'm sure there are spots here and there where it can be tightened up a bit, but you definitely have the spirit.

    Superb job!

    By the way, I believe it was Ernest Hemingway who said something to the effect of "The first draft is word that begins with SH for solid waste that this software will not allow." Only on very rare occasions does a person write something that truly needs no revision. Even Pulitzer-winning writers constantly revise their work.

    I think your father is smiling right now.
  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    >>Nevertheless, I clung to every aspect of his character,>> can you explain how you knew what his character was? because of admiring stories you had been told by your relatives?
    >>and emulated him in every way>> again, how did you know how to emulate him?
    >>and a tough kid to a compassionate one.>> striving to be a tough kid to striving to be a compassionate one (the rest of the sentence will need to be fixed, however).
    >>So today, I continue living my life by my dad’s examples.>> I don't get the idea that you live by his example from the concrete information you've provided.
    >> the firm hand with which he guides me will be present when I need his advice, and absent when I need to figure it all out on my own.>> this is awkwardly put. Can you find another way to express yourself here?
  • ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
    Marite -

    For the questions you asked about how I knew who he was and how to emulate him - do you think I need to answer that directly in the essay? I don't have much space left, because it is a 250 word essay and I am already over. I guess my question is, does this severely take away from the essay or is it OK to leave that stuff as is. As you read, were you wondering, how does he know who his father was?? Or are you just saying this because of careful inspection?

    I will fix the other stuff, thanks!
  • ilcapo235ilcapo235 Posts: 1,193Registered User Senior Member
    Ugh, you guys must be so sick of me....here it is:

    For much of my childhood, one of my goals was to be everything my dad was when he was living. I wanted to walk like him, talk like him, do the things he did when he was a kid….everything! What society had told me was that a boy was to be like his father, and since my father wasn’t around, I had to go by what I saw in pictures or video. Unfortunately, these small snapshots of a man’s life did not go far in describing his true nature. I clung to every aspect of his character, and emulated the man these pictures, films, and tales told me he was – until one day, when I stumbled across my mother’s diary, and learned that no man, even my father, was perfect. What I learned that day was that the man I had been creating in my mind was an ideal that I believed a father should be. He was strong and firm, but loving and caring. I didn’t believe he ever made mistakes. So when I read the diary and learned that he did make mistakes, my Dad became someone even more important to me than ever before. Suddenly, I was freed from the expectations to live up to the example he set. The change was quick and drastic; I went from failing as an athlete to flourishing as an artist, questioning the Republicans I affiliated myself with to embracing the platforms of the Democrats, and striving to be tough kid to striving to be a compassionate one. Essentially, I found my true self. For a while, I wondered if I was shaming my father by not emulating him in every way. Did he think I was weak because I played no sports or crazy because I supported Kerry? What I soon realized was that a father, whether living or dead, would love his son no matter what he did. Today, I try my best to blend the examples he has set for me with my own passions and dreams. I know that as he watches me, he is proud of everything I do and captivated by my life’s twists and turns. As I look forward towards the future I see my dad as a part of the greater meaning of my life; he will always be another influence in my decisions and a sign that I have chosen the right path. While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me from above will always be present, knowing exactly when to push me along and when to let me figure it out on my own. My dad, the ideal father.


    I apologize if you despise me for posting all these essays...just ignore them :)
  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    It looks fine. I've edited it a bit:
    For much of my childhood, one of my goals was to be everything my dad was when he was living. I wanted to walk like him, talk like him, do the things he did when he was a kid….everything! Since my father wasn’t around, I had to go by what I saw in pictures or video. Unfortunately, these small snapshots of a man’s life did not go far in describing his true nature. I clung to every aspect of his character, and emulated the man in these pictures, films, and the tales I was told – until one day, I stumbled across my mother’s diary and learned that no man, even my father, was perfect. The man I had been creating in my mind was an ideal that I believed a father should be. He was strong and firm, but loving and caring. I didn’t believe he ever made mistakes. So when I read the diary and learned that he did make mistakes, my Dad became someone even more important to me than ever before. Suddenly, I was freed from the expectations to live up to the example he set. The change was quick and drastic; I went from failing as an athlete to flourishing as an artist, questioning the Republicans I affiliated myself with to embracing the platforms of the Democrats, and from striving to be tough to striving to be a compassionate. Essentially, I found my true self. For a while, I wondered if I was shaming my father by not emulating him in every way. Did he think I was weak because I played no sports or crazy because I supported Kerry? What I soon realized, however, was that a father, whether living or dead, would love his son no matter what he did. Today, I try my best to blend the examples he has set for me with my own passions and dreams. I know that as he watches me, he is proud of everything I do and captivated by my life’s twists and turns. As I look forward towards the future I see my dad as a part of the greater meaning of my life; he will always be another influence in my decisions and a sign that I have chosen the right path. While others may pass through my life, the firm hand with which he guides me from above will always be present, knowing exactly when to push me along and when to let me figure it out on my own. My dad, the ideal father.
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