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"It's a dangerous place"; UC Common App/ World I come from



blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 25, 2011, 05:35pm   #1
I know that the conclusion needs some more work, but the problem is that I will exceed the word limit. Any thought on where I could cut some with words without affecting the content. Also I would really like to hear your thoughts on the introduction, I am starting to have my doubts about it. Any comments on content and grammar, structure,clarity! I have no one at all to give me feedback so all comments are appreciated.

prompt :Tell us about the world you come from and how it has haped your dreams and aspirations


"Its a dangerous place!"
All the way my nine year-old mind ran with various scenarios of the dangers present: was it a building on the verge of collapse, or perhaps a toxic explosion from one of the labs? We were closing towards the gates now, and I stepped out, expecting to hear the familiar flow of Arabic in the air. I was used to the busy morning commotion, and I wondered why everything felt too still. But suddenly I heard a strange sound in the distance, a language I had never heard before. Like a rush, more of them descend across the air: Russian, Japanese, French , more languages than I could count. It never occurred to me at that instant, that this was the start of a new life for me. I stood there, my initial fear turning into an urge to understand the words, and the stories of those who spoke them.
Our family members and friends were convinced that the new school was bound to change me. How a girl so young could grow amongst such conflicting view points, they reasoned, without getting confused about what's right or wrong. "She will have no guidance, no link with our culture", my aunt said. She paused, trying to conjure the words, " she will break apart someday... it's a dangerous place."
I lived my entire life in the Middle East, but the boundaries of my world don't stop there. The diversity that surrounded me led me to realize that the world contains so many secrets, and everything around me sparked questions I tried to answer. My friend shuriti would mention her last holiday in India and my mind would run wild imagining the way it feels to walk in the streets of Calcutta or be amidst the exotic music of a festival. One question would lead to another until I find myself searching for the history of Indian festivals, what they mean and what they signify. I would be moved to try Asian food my friend's mother made, to learn some Russian and Chinese words with pride, for within them I was learning exclusive feelings of a culture. I would watch the Lebanese dabka performance and wonder how such a dance originated.
I kept asking questions, finding within every answer an understanding and appreciation of different perspectives. However, the more I learnt about different cultures, the more I became drawn to learn about my own heritage. I could see what was distinct about the Egyptian way of life : the feel of an Egyptian wedding, the intricate method of preparing food, and the hospitable nature of Egyptian people. I fell in love with Egyptian literature, naguib Mahfouz. While Arabic in our school was only a second language, I strived to surpass that level and spent many days after school ameliorating my Arabic writing skills.
I was inspired by my heritage to write: and I began to compose poems and stories that my friends eyed with disbelief. " I never knew Arabic was so beautiful", they said after I translated the words. They too, wanted to comprehend the history behind that language. At a family meeting, I read one of my Arabic poems, my family looked with disbelief.
"Come and sit beside me, for I was a poet too." My aunt said with tears in her eyes.
that day ,I managed to show my family that the stereotype about diversity was wrong

I like a new color in a portrait, have something to add.. I have a determination to find the answers, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that brings me here : to a place where I can begin not with answers but with questions,where I will bring my own color along.



blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 25, 2011, 07:36pm   #2
Please help!


marahThreads: 3
Posts: 13
Author: Marah Hamdan
  [Suspended]  
Nov 25, 2011, 09:00pm   #3
This is the best essay i have read today, am sure UC would be lucky to have you, as of the essay, its very will written, and i feel your confusion about the conclusion, it needs more work and finality, however, i think you can cut the first 2 lines of the introduction, and add something shorter and more clear, and instead add those precious 2 lines for the conclusion.
and as a middle eastern myself, i love how you personated the traditions, its adds a flavor to the essay.
at the end of the essay, the lsat two lines, are they with the essay, because i was kind of confused about them ?


blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 25, 2011, 09:06pm   #4
Thank you very much! I am so worried about this you have no idea! Yes the last two lines are supposed to be in the conclusion.


CleopatraThreads: 8
Posts: 37
Author: Lila Hassan
   
Nov 25, 2011, 09:09pm   #5
As a reader, I was fully absorbed into the story. You describe it very well and makes the reader thoroughly enjoy what you're writing. However, the beginning words of certain sentences are grammatically off. For example, "But suddenly I heard a strange sound in the distance..."
Yes, it is a story, but you should not forget that this is also an essay. You should never start a sentence with "But" or "And". It also adds the spontaneity and catches the reader off guard when a sentence starts with "Suddenly" only. This is because my mind was picturing somewhere, but suddenly it moves somewhere else. It will keep your reader at his/her edge and get them truly involved with your story. Also, the reasoning part of where your family was not sure that you should enter a diverse school should be put between quotation marks:
"How a girl so young could grow amongst such conflicting view points," they reasoned, "without getting confused about what's right and wrong. She will....."
I think you should also switch some of the words around. The first sentence is stronger when written as: "How could a girl so young grow amongst..."
Avoid contractions such as 'don't' 'can't' 'won't' etc. in formal writing
"I lived my entire life in the Middle East, but the boundaries of my world don't stop there" should change to "do not stop there"
Naguib Mahfouz should be capitalized and introduced. He is not Egyptian Literature but he is a great example. "I fell in love with Egyptian literature and writers, such as Naguib Mahfouz."

Your content is great but some sentences do not connect with the overall meaning of the passage. The very first sentence of the essay, for example, does not introduce the subject of accepting diversity and exploring new cultures well. It starts my mind off with thinking, "the writer lived in a tough neighborhood/surroundings/danger" and that you are going to talk about hardships rather than the change in your life that led you to diversity. To help shorten the essay without losing meaning of the passage, I would eliminate this sentence.
If you're really really short on space, I would also eliminate the part of where you showed your family the poems and writings, but I hope you find a way around that because it's a beautiful part of the story.

My advice for more space would be to just make your sentences as clear and concise as possible. Do not have wordy or long sentences and you'll manage to find space. It's a beautiful story. I'm Egyptian as well, I relate, and even if I wasn't I was very interested in what you had to say.
Great essay :)


blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 25, 2011, 09:32pm   #6
Thank you very much for your helpful comments! I will try to work on the sentences.


CleopatraThreads: 8
Posts: 37
Author: Lila Hassan
   
Nov 25, 2011, 09:50pm   #7
You're already obviously a great writer. I'm sure you'll manage well. Show me your next draft, I'd be more than happy to read it :)


raphael0729Threads: 5
Posts: 20
Author: Raphael Fabisiewicz
   
Nov 26, 2011, 04:04pm   #8
You are a truly fantastic writer! I'm so lucky to have someone as good as you edit my paper. Here's my best for your paper now...

  • "We were closing towards the gates now. and I stepped out, expecting to hear the familiar flow of Arabic in the air." What you wrote is not wrong, but I think this slight change makes it more readable. I wasn't quite sure where the emphasis went in the original.
  • "...why everything felt too so still." I'm not sure saying "too" is necessarily wrong, but "so" sounds much more natural to me.
  • "Like a rush, more of them descended across the air: Russian, Japanese, French-- more languages than I could count." Decide on a verb tense; the previous sentence was past tense, and here it is present. I think past sounds good here. Also, I think a dash is appropriate here.
  • "How [font#FF0000]could[/font] a girl so young could grow amongst..."
  • "...world don't do not stop there." Not sure if "don't" is appropriate in this kind of essay, but I'd bank on it not being appropriate
  • -Capitalize your friend Shuruti's name.
  • "I was inspired by my heritage to write, and I began to..."
  • "They too wanted to comprehend..." No comma.
  • "That day, I managed..."
  • "I am like..."

An absolutely beautiful essay. Shows determination and inspiration. I especially like the part where you talk about specifics from various cultures. Great job!


blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 26, 2011, 05:05pm   #9
Thank you very much!


I was stuck with the conclusion, and I hope you guys could help me with it.

My world led to me to find my own voice. It led me to realize that those who leave a mark are not afraid of being different. Because I grew between worlds so radical, I am not afraid of being the first at anything I do. I have a determination to find the answers, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that brings me here: to a place where I can begin not with answers but with questions, where I will bring my own color along.


adrig16Threads: 1
Posts: 7
Author: adriana guzman
   
Nov 26, 2011, 05:21pm   #10
really good... your introduction is strong
maybe you can consider taking out some vague details in your essay to reduce the word count, that's what i did


blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 27, 2011, 06:16am   #11
Thank you I will remove the first two sentences.


blueshoreThreads: 3
Posts: 51
Author: Sarah Abolail
   
Nov 27, 2011, 04:19pm   #12
Here's the revised draft with the conclusion.Hope you guys can help me strengthen it! Any comments will be very appreciated :)

We were closing towards the gates now. I stepped out, expecting to hear the familiar flow of Arabic in the air. I was used to the busy morning commotion, and I wondered why everything felt so still. There was a strange sound in the distance, of a language I had never heard before. Like a rush, more sounds descended across the air: Russian, Japanese, French, more languages than I could count. It never occurred to me at that instant, that this was the start of a new life for me. I stood there, my initial fear turning into an urge to understand the words, and the stories of those who spoke them.
Our family members and friends were convinced that the new international school was bound to change me. "How could a girl so young grow among such conflicting view points", they reasoned, "without getting confused about what's right or wrong?" "She will have no guidance, no link with our culture", my aunt said. She paused, trying to conjure the words, "she will break apart someday... "
I lived my entire life in the Middle East, but the boundaries of my world do not stop there. The diversity that surrounded me led me to realize that the world contains so many secrets, and everything around me sparked questions I tried to answer. My friend Shuriti would mention her last holiday in India and my mind would run wild imagining the way it feels to walk in the streets of Calcutta or be amidst the exotic music of a festival; One question would lead to another until I find myself searching for the history of Indian festivals, what they mean and what they signify. I would be moved to try Asian food my friend's mother made, to learn some Russian and Chinese words with pride, for within them I was learning exclusive feelings of a culture. I would watch the Lebanese dabka performance and wonder how such a dance originated.
I kept asking questions, finding within every answer an understanding and appreciation of different perspectives. However, the more I learnt about different cultures, the more I became drawn to learn about my own heritage. I could see what was distinct about the Egyptian way of life: the feel of an Egyptian wedding, the intricate method of preparing food, and the hospitable nature of Egyptian people. I fell in love with Egyptian literature and writers like Naguib Mahfouz. While Arabic in our school was only a second language, I strived to surpass that level and spent many days after school ameliorating my Arabic writing skills.
I was inspired by my heritage to write, and I began to compose poems and stories that my friends eyed with disbelief. "I never knew Arabic was so beautiful" they said after I translated the words. They too wanted to comprehend the history behind that language. At a family meeting, after I read one of my Arabic poems, my family looked with incredulity.
"Come and sit beside me, for I was a poet too." My aunt said, with tears in her eyes. That day, I managed to dispel stereotypes about diversity.
My world led me to find my own voice. It led me to realize that those who leave a mark are not afraid of being different. Because I grew between worlds so radical, I am not afraid of being the first at anything I do. I have a determination to find the answers, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that brings me here: to a place where I can begin not with answers but with questions, where I will bring my own color along.


ItsokaytoGagaThreads: 15
Posts: 128
Author: Sidharth Dandekar
   
Dec 1, 2011, 01:47pm   #13
You write really well Sarah! I enjoyed reading your essay. :) Good Job!




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