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A time-travel machine to go back in time in your own life and change something


answers: 35
May 7, 2009, 10:25am   #1
hey well I am from Colombia and I am applying to get accepted in a program which will help me finance costs so I can apply to college in the US so I had to do an essay about this:
A3. If someone invented a time-travel machine that allowed you to go back in time in your own life, and change something that either you or someone else did that has had a direct impact on your life, what would you change, and why? Reflect briefly in your conclusion on whether you think such a machine would be an asset or a detriment to society.

I also donīt know if I should title it.

SEE BELOW

May 7, 2009, 10:18pm   #2
Um, wasn't the assignment to write about something you would change? And don't you end up by saying that you wouldn't change the thing you are writing about? In other words, you end writing about something that you aren't supposed to be writing about, if you are trying to follow the instruction you have been given.

Apart from that, your essay suffers from chronic vagueness. I can't imagine your friend, your old school, your new school, or your new friends based on your limited descriptions of them. You tell, rather than show, throughout, and it is never clear why this decision bothers you so much (you traded in one friend that you weren't that close to at a place you hated for a bunch of friends you really liked at a place you liked).

So, you need to either choose a different example altogether, or else use narrative description and dialogue to show the reader how much your friend meant to you, and why you fell apart, and why you might regret this even now, etc.
I always recommend using a title. I think a decision not to use a title is a decision not to use one of the most powerful parts of the essay. Every important document has a title, and your essay is important.

This long, difficult sentence needs some commas and.... actually, this is a run-on sentence:

Sometimes these decisions ameliorate our lives, and sometimes they donīt, but we know that nobodyīs life is perfect, and we have all committed mistakes. we are not proud of Hopefully, we have learned from them.

And this one needs some adjustment: About a couple of years ago, I made a decision in 2007 that cost me the lost of a cherished friend...

Ahh... I see what Sean means about the vagueness.

So I guess that If I had the option to go back in time and change the moment I asked my parents to change me of school, I wouldnīt take it, because...

Yes, above, maybe you should change that to say something you WOULD change, so you'll be in compliance with the prompt for the essay.

I like your writing style, even though it is watered down. I like the reflective style you use. Still, eliminate some of these superfluous sentences. :-)
May 8, 2009, 12:14pm   #4
ok thanks for your recommendations.

I actually did think about the lack of descriptions in the essay but itīs just that, that moment is something I donīt like to remember, I donīt even like to talk about it and there isnīt something else that I can think of writing. But thank you so much Iīll try to better it and Iīll post it again.
May 8, 2009, 09:38pm   #5
I had a lot of unpleasant childhood memories, ones that I hated to think about. I wrote them all down, though, a few years back, as part of a creative piece I was working on. Oddly enough, they don't bother me much now. I don't mind thinking about them, and can't understand why I let the memories of such trivial things bother me in the first place. Writing can be very therapeutic, like that. I think at lot of the memories we shy away from have so much power over us because they fill our mind, becoming larger than life. Once you've pinned the details to the page, though, you regain perspective, and can leave them there.
May 9, 2009, 11:21am   #7
yeah I guess that would be a good idea to let it go.

I found a page that talks about weack verbs, sean you said it would be better to try to use strong verbs and I investigated and well I am going to try to change as much as I can.

kevin what are superfluous sentences and run-on sentences, how can I change that?

and I already think of how can I turn my essay into something I would change. And thanks for saying you like my reflective style jaja I didnīt even know it was my style although I do not know why whenever I write something it turns out to be reflective.
With parts like this one below, I think you can find a way to say it in half the number of words. Your content is good, but you use too many words to express your cool ideas. So, get out those superfluity clippers and clip!

Also:

...and as heart-breaking as it is, I cannot be certain about whether my life wouldīve been as good as it has been and as it is now if I changed that decision. Also, although we do not speak at all now I still appreciate...
May 11, 2009, 01:52am   #11
It especially counts for descriptions. Weak verbs in dialogue aren't so bad, because people often do use weak verbs when speaking, so at least if you use them then, your characters' speech will sound realistic. But description is all about conjuring up vivid images, which are precisely what weak verbs don't do. So, for your descriptions, use the strongest verbs you can find.
May 16, 2009, 07:37pm   #14
hey you guys, I finally finished it and I hope it is good now, feel free to tell me wheter you think itīs good enough to be offered admission or crap. jajaj
PD: I put a title and also I underlined some words because I am not sure if they are well like that.

thanks for your help


A SHIFT THAT COST ME A CHERISHED FRIEND


Decisions form a significant part in everybodyīs existence. Sometimes these decisions improve our lives, and sometimes they donīt, but we must consider that perfection does not comprise the life of anyone and that we all have committed mistakes of which hopefully we learned from.

Most of us appreciate errors because afterwards we try to avoid them in the future, and also because of the precious morals that we picked up to include in our decision-making and enhance our lives. However, I cannot deny my desires to change a specific situation about my past.

After the unsatisfactory effort of parents to encounter me a school, they ordered me to attend to whatever institution that they wanted regardless of my opinion.

Doubtlessly, the first day of school becomes unforgettable. The four-flour building with Its faded beige-brown painting and its streaked walls reminded me to the horrifying primary school shown in the movie "Matilda", which inspired instead of joy and excitement, sadness and discouragement.

The inside looked passable. The play field was significantly large, the classrooms owned a proper decoration and the teachers gave the impression of being kind. Although the impact wasnīt as big, you still expected Mrs. Trunchbullīs appearance and her terrifying discipline.

When I entered, my uneasiness could show itself. The week resulted awful to me because I didnīt know niether the people nor the setting.

The remembrance of my behaviour during the first weeks still causes me laughter and a slight blush on my cheeks. I remember that for almost two weeks I sat next to the teacherīs desk on the floor. I must have seemed a troubled boy there.

After some days, she had me sit on a desk with the other kids and made an effort to help me break the ice with my classmates. thatīs when I met him. I will always recall and value that from him. Out of all the children there, he talked to me first and that facilitated me the adjustment. I handled to stay at the school.

He asked why I sat on the floor for all those days, and I told him that I just felt it safe and ok there, he replied, ok and he asked me, Do you want to play? I said yes and we began to fool around. It meant so much that he showed careless about me sitting on the floor like a silly boy.

We did everything together after that, like a dynamic duo, and we remained very good friends for a long time. Unfortunately, years later due to various issues between us, we got apart.

A very unpleasant, undesirable, and unhealthy year ended. By that time we would only greet each other, the talk between us seemed no talk at all, but despite that, I still thought of him as close friend.

The construction of the school by my neighborhood finished and all my friends in the block started to make plans on how great it was going to be being all together at school. I began to recall the lonelyness, and dislike of my prior school year, so I decided to drop out of it and start over.

Indeed, throughout the next years I lived wonderful experiences that I am sure I will forget but I often wonder whether it was my fault that our friendship prevailed unfixed because I did not keep in touch. Then it comes to my mind that almost a year and a half later after I left, when we saw each other again, niether of us tried to say hello, perhaps the moment filled of awkwardness, or maybe he didnīt want to get in touch anymore.

That situation provokes restlessness in my mind because it upsets me to see, how you pass by someone you knew, like you had never met. For that reason if I were given the option to go back in time and change the moment I saw him again, I would take it as awkward as it might be, because friends like him cannot be easily found, and I donīt want to feel that I was the one who messed our friendship up.

Sometimes, certain circumstances drive us to our limits and make us think that we will explode, but then we are offered a chance to evade and explosion and we opt to take it without think it through, and maybe later we will second-guess that offered chance and may want to modify it.

To conclude, making decisions no matter whether we feel certain about it or not, is not entirely terrible, most of all if later we find out that we did a mistake because the important fact is that we will be able to acknowledge it and take responsibility on it. That in my opinion means matureness on us. However every personīs wishes and decisions vary and I consider that if we really resent something we did in the past and it has affected our lives, then using a time-travel machine to go back and modify it, would not be wrong, plus if such action will improve one personīs daily life, then so be it. Satisfied and undisturbed people is what this society needs. It all depends on the decision and how it affects the person.



Ivan Suarez
Decisions form a significant part in everybodyīs existence. Sometimes these decisions improve...

I think this second line would make a good first line. Also, combine the first 2 paragraphs.

Your paragraphs should be put together so that they all have at least 3 or 4 sentences.

When I entered, my uneasiness was obvious to everyone. The week had awful results for me, because I knew neither the people nor the setting.

...and that facilitated my adjustment. I managed to stay at the school.

This is a very nice essay! It is important, though, that you work on writing with solid, 3 or 4 sentence paragraphs. Good luck!
May 19, 2009, 06:24pm   #18
Much better. You have chosen something you would change, so your essay meets the prompt, and you have some good descriptive details in there. You still leave the reason the two of you drifted apart maddeningly vague, but I guess you aren't ready to go into specifics yet, so there's not much help for that. I'd take Kevin's advice, and combine your paragraphs so they aren't all so brief. Don't go overboard, though -- just get them up to standard length. Also, read through and revise for tenses. You tend to oscillate between the past and present tense when describing past events. You can use either -- the use of the present to describe past actions can be done deliberately, to make the action seem more immediate -- but not both. For this essay, I'd probably put everything in the past tense, but the choice is yours.
May 20, 2009, 08:02pm   #20
sean, when you say that I tend to oscillate between the past and the present tense, is all of this part an example of that?

Decisions form a significant part in everybodyīs existence. Sometimes these decisions improve our lives, and sometimes they donīt, but we must consider that perfection does not comprise the life of anyone and that we all have committed mistakes of which hopefully we learned from.
No, that is not an example. An example would be this:

Doubtlessly, the first day of school becomes unforgettable. The four-flour building with Its faded beige-brown painting and its streaked walls reminded me...

In that example, you started by using the present tense ("becomes") and switched to past tense ("reminded"). However, in this case it is alright, so don't change it! Sometimes it is okay to switch from past to present tense.

Here is one that you might want to change:

Indeed, throughout the next years I lived through wonderful experiences that I was sure I will forget but I often wondered whether it was my fault that our friendship prevailed unfixed because I did not keep in touch. It came to my mind that...

Does that answer your question? You do not really have errors with the verb tenses. It is just a matter of style.

It sounded awkward when I switched tenses, so I decided to stay consistent.
That sounds better than:
It sounded awkward when I switched tenses, so I stay consistent.

Neither is WRONG, but one of them flows better.
May 21, 2009, 10:50am   #22
ohh I see, it does sound better that way. By the way Iīve been putting together some paragraphs so that they have like you said three or four sentences. I am going to start working in the other one.

thank you so much.
May 21, 2009, 06:53pm   #23
Hmmm . . . I was rereading your essay, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was that made me criticize your tense use. Kevin is quite right -- you don't really have much of a problem with them. Well, here are some more specific improvements you can make:

"Doubtlessly, the first day of school becomes unforgettable. The four-flour building with its faded beige-brown painting and its streaked walls reminded me of the horrifying primary school shown in the movie "Matilda", which inspired, not joy and excitement, but sadness and discouragement."

You should actually change the first line, too. I don't think its just a matter of the tenses, though. Do you mean that the first day of school becomes unforgettable for you? For the reader? For everyone?

Also

"When I entered, my uneasiness could show itself. The week resulted awful to me because I didnīt know niether the people nor the setting."

might be better as:

"When I entered, my uneasiness revealed itself, and a truly awful week began, one in which I knew neither the people nor the setting."
I can see what it was that made Sean say you "oscillated" between tenses. The cool thing, though, is that you did it quite well, shifting from explanation to reflection and letting tenses show the shift. However, that doesn't change the fact that it generally creates a little awkwardness when tense shifts happen. So... it's no big deal, but definitely worth consideration....
May 22, 2009, 05:00pm   #25
good!!!!!! because I was kind of having a hard time trying to identify them lol!!

Doubtlessly, the first day of school becomes unforgettable.

yeah my intention is to say that most peopleīs first day of school becomes unforgettable.

hey you guys Do you think I did well with strong verbs? Is there any? jajjaj
May 23, 2009, 04:48pm   #26
Your verb use is fine, as far as strength goes. I suspect that you have sometimes sacrificed grammatical accuracy to get that, though. For instance,

"Out of all the children there, he talked to me first and that facilitated me the adjustment."

"The remembrance of my behaviour during the first weeks still causes me to laugh and brings a slight blush to my cheeks."

"It meant so much that he showed careless about me sitting on the floor like a silly boy" I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say here, but you need to change the part in red to something else, of that I am certain.

"I handled to stay at the school." "Handled" is the wrong verb here. Perhaps "decided"?
Jun 19, 2009, 06:04pm   #27
hi you guys, I tell you that I stopped working on these essays for a bit because I was going nuts. lol.

this morning I revised this essay to see if there was something I could add or change and I decieded to add more descriptions and I change the begining. let me know if you think itīs ready because I am kind of already late to present it. Thanks.


When I was a little younger, I always wondered why people seemed to appreciate their mistakes, why when someone asked them what they would change about their lives, they answered with great wisdom that they wouldnīt change anything. I remember I thouhgt "there has to be something they regret they did and wish to change" but as I grew older, I learned that people say that because when you take responsability of the error that you made, you see beyond the whole situation and you find that youīve learned something. There is a feeling that grows inside you and says "you know what happens if you repeat it, so donīt". However I still think that no matter how much you learn from a mistake, there must be one that you dream to change.

I recall that we visited at least six schools and none received the nod from me. For that reason my parents demanded me to attend to any school they wanted regardless of my opinion. They enrolled me to a truly awful primary school nearby our home, I didnīt like it of course, but what I thought wasnīt really a matter to them.

Without question, school first days become unforgettable. As soon as I entered my uneasiness showed itself. The four-floor building with Its faded beige-brown painting and its streaked walls reminded me of the horrifying primary school shown in the film "Matilda", which aroused sadness and discouragement instead of joy and excitement.

Its inside looked passable, The play field was significantly large, the classrooms owned a proper decoration and the teachers gave the impression of being kind. Although the impact wasnīt as big, you still envisaged Mrs. Trunchbullīs appearance and her terrifying discipline. The week had awful results for me because I knew niether the people nor the setting.

The remembrance of my behaviour during the first weeks still causes me to chuckle and brings a slight blush to my cheeks. I recall that for almost two weeks I sat on the floor next to the teacherīs desk looking like a troubled boy. After some days, she had me sit with the other kids and made an effort to help me break the ice with them. That was when I met him. He was as tall as me, his straight hair was like dark-blonde-brown hair, he was very friendly and I guess very popular as well. I will always retain in my mind and appreciate his gesture. Out of all the children there, he talked to me first.

He asked why I sat on the floor for all those days, and I told him that I just felt it ok there, he replied, "ok", and he asked me, Do you want to play? I said "yes" and we began to fool around. It meant so much that he showed careless about me sitting on the floor like a silly boy. that facilitated my adjustment and well I managed to stay at the school.

We did everything together after that, like a dynamic duo. We played during the break, and in the classroom every assignment we were given, we would do it together or I also used to go to his house after classes to play. We had awesome times together and we remained very good friends for a long time. Sometimes we argued due to my egoism, I didnīt like to lend my school supplies and I was actually kind of annoying about that, but it all meant nothing seconds later. Eventually other more annoying issues in between, got us apart.

A very unpleasant and undesirable year ended. By that time we would only greet each other, the talk between us seemed no talk at all. Despite that, I still thought of him as a close friend. The construction of the school by my neighborhood finished and all my friends in the block started to make plans on how great it was going to be being all together at school, we were done with primary school and closer to high school. I began to recall the lonelyness, and dislike of my prior school year, so I determined to withdraw my enrollment and attend to another school.

Indeed, throughout the next years I lived through wonderful experiences that I was sure I will forget but I often wonder whether it was my fault that our friendship prevailed unfixed because I didnīt keep in touch. Then it comes to my mind that almost a year and a half later after I left, when we saw each other again, niether of us tried to say hello, perhaps the moment filled of awkwardness, or maybe he didnīt want to get in touch anymore. That situation provokes restlessness in my mind because it upsets me to see, how you pass by someone you knew, like you had never met. For that reason if I were given the option to go back in time and change the moment I saw him again, I would take it as awkward as it might be, because friends like him cannot be easily found, and I donīt want to feel that I was the one who messed our friendship up.

Sometimes, certain circumstances drive us to our limits and make us think that we will explode, but then we are offered a chance to evade the explosion and we opt for it without thinking that maybe later we will second-guess that chance and may want to modify it.

To conclude, making decisions no matter whether we feel certain about it or not, is not entirely terrible, mainly if later we discover that we did a mistake because the important fact is that we will be able to acknowledge it and take responsibility on it. In my opinion that means matureness on us. However every personīs wishes and decisions vary and I consider that if we really resent something we did in the past and it has affected our lives, then using a time-travel machine to go back and modify it, would not be wrong, plus if such action will improve one personīs daily life, then so be it. Satisfied and undisturbed people is what this society needs. It all depends on the decision and how it affects the person.

Ivan Suarez
Jun 20, 2009, 12:02am   #28
ivan9210:
Sometimes, certain circumstances drive us to our limits and make us think that we will explode, but then we are offered a chance to evade the explosion and we opt for it without thinking that maybe later we will second-guess that chance and may want to modify it.

Try to avoid one-sentence paragraphs. In rephrasing this into two or more sentences, you will probably make it clearer. As it is, I'm not certain to what "it" refers and also wonder whether you mean "choice" the second time you use the word "chance."
Jun 20, 2009, 02:05pm   #30
You're meaning is clear, which is good. Your writing is still weakened by many minor grammatically errors though. For instance:

"For that reason my parents demanded me to I attend to any school they wanted regardless of my opinion."

"Without question, the first day at a new school first days becomes unforgettable"

"he construction of the school by my neighborhood finished and all my friends in the block started to make plans on how great it was going to be being all together at school; we were done with primary school and closer to high school.
Jun 24, 2009, 12:40am   #33
hello I changed the title of the essay and I wanted to know what do you think about it.

The title is "The Two Sides Of shifts"

I was also wondering whether I should double space the essay, I was not asked to do that but maybe itīll look more esthetically organized.

Thanks.
Jun 24, 2009, 05:13am   #34
If you were asked not to do something by your teacher, you should probably not do it. Teachers don't like it when students deliberately ignore their instructions.

Your essay title doesn't seem to work that well to me, but I'm a bit tired at the moment, which could be throwing my judgment off. Still, I'd pick something that better captured your main point.
Jun 24, 2009, 09:23am   #35
The new title is intriguing and thus might draw the reader in.

Some teachers are very particular about things like spacing, font size, etc. so, as Sean says, it's always best to just do whatever they say about superficial things like that, regardless of your personal feelings.



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