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A Significant Influence - With A Free Essay Review
by A. Drennan (9/19/11)
My mom has influenced me the most in my life, she has taught me how to be strong and she has taught me how to keep going through anything. She is the person you can always turn to and the person that has pushed me to always do my best. My mom was there through it all weather it was breaking her bank for sports or all the late night sessions of homework to make sure I was satisfied with my grade. She is the kind of person that will make sure everyone else is taken care of before she is.
She is the person who taught me to never give up and to always keep my head up. She has made the person I am today. Without my mom I would have never learned how to be a friend or how to show compassion to another person. She is the one who is there to lean on when I cannot fix my own problem or would just like some advice. She always knows what to say or when to not say anything and to let me try and do things myself. Her influences affect the way I live. I know that if Im not able to share it with her and Im not going to like the impact it has on her then it is probably not the best idea.
All the sports and all the homework she has helped me make it through. Always right there next to me, making sure that I was the best that I wanted to be in everything. She never pushed even though she probably wanted to, but she also never let me give up on something that I was good at either. I always knew she would be there to catch me if I ever fell. She has shaped me into the person that I am today.
Without the influence of my mom I would have no morals. I would not know how to reach my true potential. She has always encouraged getting up and trying it again no matter how bad I was, if I had the passion to do something she wasnt going to be the one to knock down my dreams. She believed that if you have put your mind to something you can always succeed. Her and her mother always said to me What doesnt kill you simply makes you stronger. I may not always give her the best credit for everything but, most of the time she seems to know whats best.
Having read your essay, I still know very little about your mother and very little about her influence in your life. How can that be after you've spent four paragraphs telling me about that influence? Well, the problem is that what you tell me is so vague, so general, and so cliched as to be practically meaningless. You could be talking about anyones mother, so you are not really telling me about your mother and her influence on you. It seems to me rather that you have gathered together a collection of mostly general phrases and general ideas that people in general say about mothers in general. You say your mom encouraged you to get up and try again. Can I encourage you to take that general advice and apply it to this specific case? Delete this essay from your records and from your mind, and start again.
Start with something concrete. Begin with a sentence like, "One night three years ago my mom came into my room and said something that changed the way I live my life." A sentence like that would be the first sentence in an essay that explained in concrete detail what your mother said, why she said, and how it changed the way you live your life. Then, and only then, you would generalize, saying something like this in the final sentences: "That was one night three years ago. But my mom does shit like that every day. Every day she's helping me change the way I live my life." (Don't actually write those sentences. Crucially, don't use the unforgivably vulgar word "shit" in your college essay. I apologise for that!)
When I say you should write sentences "like" the first one, I mean write sentences that refer to specific events. For you it won't be about the time your mom came into your room and said something that changed the way you live your life and it won't be about the time you got arrested for underage drinking and your mom bailed you out of jail and then grounded you for six months and hired you a piano tutor. But it will be about something that actually happened and meant something specific to you.
Let's look at some phrases and sentences that shouldn't appear in your essay either at all, or without substantial revision.
1. "She has taught me how to be strong." Delete this. It's basically meaningless. It could mean that your mom taught you how to lift weights. It could me she taught you how to ignore homeless people asking you for a dollar. It could me she taught you how to endure constant disappointment. Because it could mean all of those things, it doesn't really mean anything.
2."She has taught me how to keep going through anything." The problem here is the same as the problem with the first phrase. What exactly did she teach you? What do you mean by "keep going through anything"? How exactly did what your mom taught you help you keep going? It would be better to delete the phrase and replace it with something like: "My mom helped me stop falling down by teaching me how to tie my shoe laces properly." Obviously that would be a trivial example of something your mother taught you, but it would have meaning.
3. "She is the person you can always turn to." Aside from the fact that you say "you" when you mean "I", the phrase is again an empty cliche. What does it mean "to turn" to someone? Can you give an example of a time you turned to your mom and explain what happened and how it helped change you?
4. "She has pushed me to always do my best." What does "pushing" you entail? What does "doing your best" entail? Can you refer to a specific time when you were doing some specific thing and your mom said, "Hey, that's not good enough. You can do better. Start over"? Can you then explain what happened. Did you redo your painting and win an award, or rewrite your essay and get an A, or run faster and get a medal?
5. "My mom was there through it all" There, where? What does it mean to be "there"? What does "through it all" mean? Now in this case you do actually try to get more specific. You add "whether [note spelling; weather is the thing with wind and rain] it was breaking her bank for sports or all the late night sessions of homework to make sure I was satisfied with my grade." This is better, but still not specific enough and not clear enough (in fact, it sounds like your mom does your homework for you). Did your mom buy her clothes at Goodwill to pay for your ice-skating lessons? Did she sit down with you and go through your essay sentence by sentence to help you figure out what you were trying to say and how to say it?
6. "She is the kind of person that will make sure everyone else is taken care of before she is." This sentence would be okay if the sentence following it began with the words "For example." Remember, however, that you are writing an essay entitled "A Significant Influence," not one entitled "All the Things That Make My Mom Great"; i.e., you need to focus on the question of influence.
7. "She is the person who taught me to never give up and to always keep my head up." How? When? What do you mean by "keep my head up"? Can you refer to a specific time you fell off a horse and broke your ankle and your mom took you to the hospital and stayed with you over night and then spent two months taking care of you and then took you back to the stables and made you get back up on the horse even though you were terrified? Or if that didnt happen, perhaps something else did.
8. "She has made the person I am today." Strictly speaking, this might be true, especially considering the dropped "me." Seriously speaking, it's another meaningless cliche. Besides, that would be a nice thing to say about your mom only if you can establish that the person you are today is a truly wonderful or brilliant person, and establishing that might distract you from your main purpose in the essay. Insofar as you are writing about your moms influence on you, however, you should say something specific about you to clarify the nature of that influence. You begin to do this in the next sentence.
9. "Without my mom I would have never learned how to be a friend or how to show compassion to another person." So here you are closer to saying something specific, but you don't explain how you mom taught you what she taught you. Note, however, that you could, presumably, write your entire essay about how exactly your mom taught you how to be a friend.
Okay, obviously I could go on like this, sentence after sentence, but I think the point should be clear by now and I don't want to waste your time. Obviously, I'm advising you to start over, but there is no point in your doing that unless you have a clear idea about what you want to say. I think you need to either (a) focus on one particular event--something your mom, or someone else, did or said, and explain how exactly that event came to pass and very specifically what impact it had on your life, or (b) a series of specific events that explain a particular type of influence your mom, or someone else, has had on you (for example, again, you could write your essay about the specific things your mom has done or said to teach you how to be a friend).
I've been a bit tough on your essay here, but given what you said about your mom, I'm guessing you can handle it. Feel free to resubmit your revision. I've removed your first name and the name of your school for the sake of your privacy; let me know if you want that information reattached to your essay.
Best wishes, EJ.
Submitted by: blond101910
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