Please help me with my essay!

<p>Here is my essay for Stanford. The prompt is to explain about a picture of something important to you. The picture I chose is one of my grandma's marriage. Please point out any grammatical errors, inconsistencies, whether you like it or not, and any suggestions you might have. Thanks a whole lot!</p>

<pre><code> The year was 19__. On this bright, sunny day, the woman in this picture had no idea of the future that awaited her. She had no idea that the rest of her life would be spent in America where she would eventually be a mother to six children and a grandmother to fourteen children. She had no idea that she would have such an immensely positive influence on so many people. On the day of her marriage, my grandmother, or Oma as I called her, had no idea of the impact she would later have on my life.
When I was a little girl, I would go to my Oma’s house every day while my mother went to work. I really enjoyed going to her house. She would tell me stories about her childhood growing up in Nazi Germany. Often times, she would teach me how to say something in German. When my mother picked me up in the afternoon, I would proudly tell her what I had learned and beg to stay just a little longer. My mother would laugh and tell me I could come back tomorrow.
As I grew older and started school, my daily trips to my Oma’s house stopped. Visits occurred every week or two as opposed to every day. My Oma, though, was still the same: just as fun, just as vibrant, and just as lively. She would stay that way for several years.
As time went by, however, my family started to notice changes in my Oma. She became more forgetful and would ask the same questions over and over again. We soon came to learn that she had Alzheimer’s. This news was a real blow to me. I couldn’t handle the thought of my Oma’s deterioration. It couldn’t be true.
In the beginning, the effects the disease had on my Oma were small and often comical. One time she told my cousin Aaron and me that we should date. Although it was funny at first, it was sad to realize that she truly was forgetting who her grandchildren were. The reality of the situation began to set in.
As time passed on, my Oma grew progressively worse. She would run away from home, unintentionally steal items from stores, and forget where she was and what she was doing. It became obvious that she could no longer live unattended. After much thought and deliberation, we decided that my Oma would come live with us during the day and with my aunt during the night.
Having my Oma live at our house meant sacrifices for our family. Taking care of her was our first priority—not what we wanted to do. Every day after school I was in charge of her for about and hour and a half. This task required constant attention. My Oma would cry, ask to be taken to the train station so she could return to her home in Germany, and try to run away. I often had to sit next to her and explain that she couldn’t just leave. After a few weeks, she needed help with simple things like walking across the room and using the restroom. It required all of the care and patience I had to make it through those months.
My Oma died the summer after that year. Looking back, it is ironic to me to see that the one who used to take care of me ended up as the one I took care of. Taking care of her helped me to see how short life is, and that we must seize opportunities as they come our way or we will miss our chance at happiness. My experience with my Oma has influenced me to go into the medical field. Someday, I will be able to help others in situations similar to that of my Oma’s. Hopefully, I will be able to have as much of a positive influence on others as she had on me.
</code></pre>

<p>I don't like it.</p>

<p>First of all, the beginning is uncreative. The year was...it was a bright, sunny day. Use your imagination; your intro is about as generic as it gets.</p>

<p>Then you talk about your grandmother. Is your grandmother applying to Stanford? Because if she is, this would be great. Unfortunately for you, you're supposed to be turning in an essay about YOU, not your grandmother. This essay is 95% about her and 5% about you, so the best you can do on a 1-10 scale of essay greatness is 0.5. Yeah, not looking so good.</p>

<p>Then you suddenly just kind of pop in the fact that you want to be a medical doctor. First of all, you're not applying to medical school; you're applying to Stanford's undergraduate school. So many people change their majors that you sound a bit like a stereotypical Asian byproduct of parents who all want their kids to go to medical school. Also, you haven't really convinced the reader of your feelings, so it seems almost as if you used your grandmother as a plug because you didn't have anything else to write about.</p>

<p>Hey, harsh criticism, but that's how I feel about the essay. If I were you, I'd scrap it and start all over again, trying to write something that doesn't sound as manufactured. Surprisingly, though, your essay (which is definitely not good) is not that far below the quality of an average essay. Most essays seriously suck, so don't despair. If you can get your essay to suck less than average, you're not too bad off.</p>

<p>If you took this criticism seriously (because I am serious), then feel free to ask for feedback about certain things, and I'll be happy to respond :).</p>

<p>Wow, not exactly the response I was expecting. Anybody else have an opinion?</p>

<p>Okay, so I changed "bright, sunny day" to "vivid, clear day." A small change, yet better than bright and sunny. Also, I took out the part about medical school. My last paragraph now reads: "My Oma died the summer after that year. Looking back, it is ironic to me to see that the one who used to take care of me ended up as the one I took care of. Taking care of her helped me to see how short life is, and that we must seize opportunities as they come our way or we will miss our chance at happiness. When my Oma was alive, she used to tell me that I could achieve anything I set out to do. I know that if she were still here today, she would encourage me to keep my chin up and continue striving for my dreams. I promise that I will not let her down. I will continue making every effort to make my dreams a reality."<br>
Any better? Any other opinions?</p>

<p>Yeah I know it sucks having your pride and joy bashed by anonymous strangers. I know I alternate between sympathetic and mean depending on my mood. Anyways, it's easier criticizing than posting essays.</p>

<p>But for the most part, I agree with ubercollegeman. The catch phrase here is "show, don't tell." You narrate too much. Lots of "we did this" "we did that" "then this is what happened..." You're not honest enough. Your Oma becoming forgetful is obviously a very distressing experience. So instead of saying "As time passed on, my Oma grew progressively worse," and then throwing in a couple examples, make the examples the main point. Break the admissions committee's heart. Be specific. Be brutally honest. Say something like:</p>

<p>"One day I came home to find my Opa rocking back and forth in the kitchen.</p>

<p>"Opa? Opa, are you okay?" I asked, frantic.</p>

<p>She looked at me, wide-eyed. "Take me to the train station, [flipchick]," she said. "I'm going home to Germany."</p>

<p>And that was the cruelest moment of her disease."</p>

<p>This is a perfect segway where you can talk about how YOU dealt with her disease, how YOU were strong, etc. It can work. Grandparent essays usually don't, but it can. Head up, shoulders back, keep at it. Good luck.</p>

<p>Thanks Raspberry! I have taken a little bit of your advice and edited my essay a bit. I'm afraid I couldn't get the dialogue to work very well, but I have added some things and changed some others. Here's my new essay. Does it sound any better at all? I just finished writing the essay today, so I'm in the very early stages. Thanks for your help (The year will be a whole year once I find out the exact year).
The year was 19__. On this clear, vivid day, the woman in this picture had no idea of the future that awaited her. She had no idea that the rest of her life would be spent in America where she would eventually be a mother to six children and a grandmother to fourteen children. She had no idea that she would have such an immensely positive influence on so many people. On the day of her marriage, my grandmother, or Oma as I called her, had no idea of the impact she would later have on my life.
When I was a little girl, I would go to my Oma’s house every day while my mother went to work. I really enjoyed going to her house. She would tell me stories about her childhood growing up in Nazi Germany. Often times, she would teach me how to say something in German. When my mother picked me up in the afternoon, I would proudly tell her what I had learned and beg to stay just a little longer. My mother would laugh and tell me I could come back tomorrow.
As I grew older and started school, my daily trips to my Oma’s house stopped. Visits occurred every week or two as opposed to every day. My Oma, though, was still the same: just as fun, just as vibrant, and just as lively. She would stay that way for several years.
As time went by, however, my family started to notice changes in my Oma. I remember her asking several times whose house we were in and why we were there. We soon came to learn that she had Alzheimer’s. This news was a real blow to me. I couldn’t handle the thought of my Oma’s deterioration. It couldn’t be true.
In the beginning, the effects the disease had on my Oma were small and often comical. One time she told my cousin Aaron and me that we should date. Although it was funny at first, it was sad to realize that she truly was forgetting who her grandchildren were. The reality of the situation began to set in.
As time passed on, my Oma grew progressively worse. We had to search for her around her neighborhood because she had run away, we had to pick her up from stores where she had unintentionally stolen something, and we would have to endure long conversations on the phone with her in order to convince her that she was in her own house. It became obvious that she could no longer live unattended. After much thought and deliberation, we decided that my Oma would come live with us during the day and with my aunt during the night.
Having my Oma live at our house meant sacrifices for our family. Taking care of her was our first priority—not what we wanted to do. Every day after school I was in charge of her for about an hour and a half. This task required constant attention. One time, during the middle of winter, my Oma demanded that I take her to the train station to return to her deceased father’s house in Germany. Each time she tried to leave I had to escort her back into the living room. She didn’t like that and began to yell at me and hit me. This was the lowest point in my Oma’s illness.
After a few weeks, my Oma needed help with simple things like walking across the room and using the restroom. I had to help her do so many things that I took for granted. This changed my outlook on life and allowed me to see all of the blessings I enjoyed. My complaints about a class in school or a hardship with a friend seemed utterly selfish when I looked at my Oma unable to perform simple life tasks. I set out to be more grateful for all that I had been given.
My Oma died the summer after that year. Looking back, it is ironic to me to see that the one who used to take care of me ended up as the one I took care of. Taking care of her helped me to see how short life is, and that we must seize opportunities as they come our way or we will miss our chance at happiness. When my Oma was alive, she used to tell me that I could achieve anything I set out to do. I know that if she were still here today, she would encourage me to keep my chin up and continue striving for my dreams. I promise that I will not let her down. I will continue making every effort to make my dreams a reality.</p>

<p>This essay needs to be rewritten completely - there is no easy fix to it. The sole purpose of your first paragraph is to justify the picture you attached. It does not work. Maybe you can start the essay buy SHOWING you taking care of your grandma, and do the rest in sort of flashbacks, SHOWING her influence on YOUR life, ending with the photograph (which does not have to be of her wedding - it can be her with you when you were little, or when she was old - whatever will make sense to fit your essay).</p>

<p>The sentence "Taking care of her was our first priority—not what we wanted to do" does not make any sense - it contradicts itself. (But fixing it will not save the essay.)</p>

<p>Sorry if it sounds too harsh, but there is no point trying no polish an essay that needs an ax to fix.</p>