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Non-traditional Student College Personal Essay


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Aug 25, 2009, 12:36am   #1
I'm a 32 y/o female and about to apply to college after a 10 year absence. Any suggestions and tips would be helpful. I know the flow of my paper isn't as fluid as I would hope it to be but I'm hoping the suggestions in this forum will give me the direction I need. Thanks!

I firmly believe in the powerful message of Ecclesiastes 3:1, which states, "There is an appointed time for everything and there is a time for every event under heaven". When I was growing up, my parents instilled in me the importance of education. Thus, I have long realized that stagnancy of knowledge has to be one the worst mistakes in my life. However, looking back on my own life, I can see these different stages of growth that have helped me to understand my own potential and the path I wish to take in life.

When I started college at 18, I didn't have the maturity needed to focus on school. I just wanted to work. I had taken classes part-time over a four year period not truly engaged in academia. I didn't want to spend time in a classroom, when I didn't even know what I wanted to do I life and my grades reflected that. So I left home and school to work odd jobs. Over the years, I've worked as an administrative assistant for a non-profit agency, as an assistant to an accountant compiling tax forms and receipts, I've worked in the marketing field, and even did sales for a furniture store for quite some time. It wasn't until I found a job as a receptionist, at a private doctor's office where things started to change for me. This was my first true exposure to the medical field. I had done volunteer work before in a hospital but this was my first time interacting with healthcare professionals and patients. My job was basic fairly basic administration but I enjoyed it. After six months of working the front desk, my boss, who is a physician, asked if I wanted to learn how to take out stitches. With no previous medical training before, I was curious to learn a new skill. Soon, I was working in the back office learning to apply pressure bandages, interpreting labs and pathology reports for patients, and assisting in minor surgeries.

The doctors in the group granted me much more opportunities for hands-on care than I could have found in a public setting. On one memorable day, I assisted in a facial surgery removing a deep skin cancer from the mandible area. Far from feeling repulsion, I was fascinated by the sight of the internal parts. I realized that I was viewing a physiological structure that enabled movement, and found the experience to be breathtaking. The surgeon taught me how to do a running stitch on the patient, a skill, which would not have been normally taught if I had worked elsewhere else. It was also the first time in a long time, where I felt I was making a difference in people's lives. It was then at the age of 29, I knew I wanted to go back to college and get my degree in nursing.

Attending college at this point in my life has not been easy. I work for a small private doctor's office and often stay at work late at night to finish medical insurance paperwork and call patients to counsel them for surgeries the next day. Commuting every night to get to class after working 10 hours was taxing. However, the distance and time seems so tiny when I think of the wealth of information I am gaining in my classes.

Now is the time for me to tackle my true goal in nursing. I believe that all of my life experiences have been necessary to bring me to this point. I mentally prepared and persistent enough to excel at any endeavor, and have developed the compassion and commitment to nursing that will drive me through the years to come. I look forward to my future with great anticipation, and know that the time has finally come for me to realize my dreams.
Aug 25, 2009, 01:33am   #2
The essay is good. Your flow isn't as bad as you fear. There are a couple of places that need grammar revision and a couple more that could lose some redundant words. Here are a few thoughts:

SFLady77:
I firmly believe in the powerful message of Ecclesiastes 3:1, which states, "There is an appointed time for everything and there is a time for every event under heaven".

The opening isn't the strongest. The quote feels plopped into the middle of the sentence instead of smoothly incorporated. Punctuation goes on the inside of the quotation marks in the US.

SFLady77:
that stagnancy of knowledge

While your education was put on hiatus, your knowledge didn't really stagnate. You haven't spent your time in a coma. Your life experience is an important part of your current desire to become a nurse-don't discount it too much.

SFLady77:
When I started college at 18

Spell out "eighteen."

SFLady77:
over a four year period

over a four-year period.

SFLady77:
It wasn't until I found a job as a receptionist, at a private doctor's office where things started to change for me.

Most doctors' offices in the US are private. If it were a public/free clinic, I would specify, but the word private feels extraneous. Until is a word that refers to time. You don't need the comma. Change where to when to maintain continuity: It wasn't until I found a job as a receptionist at a doctor's office when things started to change for me.

SFLady77:
interacting with healthcare professionals and patients.

I'd put patients before healthcare professionals. The way the sentence is written, it looks like healthcare is modifying both professionals and patients.

SFLady77:
My job was basic fairly basic administration

Whoa, Nelly, That's an awful lots of basic. Just how basic was your position? The administration of Band-Aids? Nix the redundancy but also consider a revision. You don't want to demean your role as part of a medical office.

SFLady77:
With no previous medical training before, I was curious to learn a new skill.

This isn't really working for me. The "no previous medical training" and the "curious to learn a new skill" aren't closely enough related in my mind. I could see you being anxious because of your lack of training, but not curious. Curious can also have a negative connotation. It implies that you are wanting to know something that is not really your place to be asking. Saying that you were eager (or any other number of synonyms without the negative connotation) would be better here.

SFLady77:
interpreting labs and pathology reports

Make labs singular here.

SFLady77:
The doctors in the group granted me much more opportunities for hands-on care

many more opportunities

SFLady77:
I assisted in a facial surgery removing a deep skin cancer from the mandible area.

Facial is not needed because you tell us later in the sentence that the cancer was in the mandible area.

SFLady77:
The surgeon taught me how to do a running stitch on the patient, a skill, which would not have been normally taught if I had worked elsewhere else.

Wow. It seems that it would be illegal/unethical for you to stitch up a patient. Was this the same patient with the facial surgery? What about scarring? I don't know how things are normally done in the medical world, but this scenario leaves me with little respect for the physician. The second comma is not needed. I have no idea what the word else is doing hanging out at the end of this sentence, but you need to send it packing.

SFLady77:
get my degree in nursing.

There has to be a better way to say this.

SFLady77:
Attending college at this point in my life has not been easy. I work for a small private doctor's office and often stay at work late at night to finish medical insurance paperwork and call patients to counsel them for surgeries the next day. Commuting every night to get to class after working 10 hours was taxing. However, the distance and time seems so tiny when I think of the wealth of information I am gaining in my classes.

The timeline of this paragraph doesn't make sense. You work, often staying late at night to call patients. Calling patients late at night? Do you ask them if their refrigerator is running? Then you leave work late at night to attend classes? In the middle of the night? Do most colleges have a graveyard shift?

SFLady77:
I mentally prepared and persistent enough

I am mentally prepared

There are a few other grammar mistakes, but I will wait for a revision or let other forum members have a go. There are a few people here who are experts at pointing out unneeded commas. I would hate to take away all of their fun.
Aug 25, 2009, 11:32am   #5
Liebe:
Notoman:
but I will wait for a revision or let other forum members have a go.

^You have done a thorough job already.

Aw, Liebe, I *know* you have something to say! What about the comma in this sentence:
SFLady77:
I look forward to my future with great anticipation, and know that the time has finally come for me to realize my dreams.

(SFLady77: It doesn't belong because the second part of the sentence cannot stand alone and the two parts have equal weight.) While you pick up on misplaced commas, the comma abuse isn't your pet peeve like it is for Simone. I thought you would have something to say about this sentence though:
SFLady77:
Now is the time for me to tackle my true goal in nursing.

I feel like I should apologize for taking away your fun with the work/school timeline because that is your specialty. The early bird gets the worm,*grin*
Aug 25, 2009, 09:03pm   #6
Thank you so much for the tips. This was the first draft which popped in my head. I know I have a long way to go but these suggestions put me in the right direction. I greatly appreciate the feedback.



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