Saturday, 25 December 2010

Sample English Essays for SPM level

Assalamualaikum ..  Hye ! okay , i have provided 14 very useful essays for SPM level ..and i will keep updating them ...hopefully you guys will found this beneficial not only it adds up to your vocabulary level but also improvise your sentence structure and tenses ...Good luck !!





1 The lure of Possibility

Posted by Dhyra at Friday, December 10, 2010

I stand silently in the cool, crisp air. Around me, the houses cast off a sullen light in the covering darkness. I slowly walk forward, my thundering footsteps the only disturbance in an otherwise quiet night. Inside the house, the television blares on with soap operas. The moon is rising, emitting a faint light as it appears over the horizon. The stars are clearly visible, tiny jewels of light studded in the black quilt of the night sky. I look to the stars, and my mind wanders.

A majesty is evident in the quiet brilliance of these points of light. I lose myself in their shine. Out there are wonders. Millions of balls of gas, planets and even black holes exist up beyond the black veil of night. Hundreds of galaxies swirl gracefully out in the vast emptiness of space. The universe, with all its mysteries, looms just beyond the horizon.

I had read about space when I was in 2nd grade, spending many evenings sprawled on my bed, devouring books by Isaac Asimov on asteroids, comets, stars, planets and black holes. These heavenly objects represented the unknown and their enticingly mysterious names – Enceladus, Andromeda, Io – called to me. As a high school student, I read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and watched a Nova series on string theory on the Internet to get a better idea of how our universe works.

Something about the heavens draws me in. A hint of something exotic, beyond the mundane interactions of daily life. Up there, stars with so much gravity that not even light could escape twisted the fabric of the universe, quasars blew out large bursts of radio waves and dark energy stretched the universe’s boundaries. Scientists could explain neither how the universe began nor how the universe was going to end. Up beyond the black veil of night, something remains out of reach of human knowledge, wafting a scent of mysteries unsolved.

When I learned that we were going to cover space in school, I became thrilled at the prospect of discovering the universe’s secrets. I fervently hoped that the teacher would tell me about the Big Bang and black holes in detail. However, I was bitterly disappointed. The teacher glossed over black holes, instead focusing on teaching the names of the planets and moon phases, in the order that they both occurred. The universe, with all its mysteries and complexity, was condensed to 16 easy to remember words. Class focused more on the sparse words inside the McDougall-Little textbook than on the universe that lay outside, beckoning to us to view its wonders.

Yet, I cannot stay out forever. Already, I can hear them. The soft, insistent lisp of my opened textbook. The accusing hum of my computer. The grim tramp of duties coming to drag me away from my galaxies and dark matter. My heavy sigh tumbles into the night air; many days could pass before I could escape their grasp to come out again. With one last longing glance, I plod towards the door. As the door clicks behind me, I return to the comfortable, mundane sounds of television soap operas and clanging spoons in the sink.

Behind me, the stars smile mysteriously behind their black veil.


2 My Inspiration

0
I was a week into my second trimester of freshman year when my mom lost all feeling in her left side. She tried to blame it on a pinched nerve for days until we convinced her to see a doctor. The day of parent-teacher conferences at my school I met her in front and could tell she had been crying. She assured me that everything was fine and we went in, but she could barely walk up the stairs and refused to tell me what the doctor had said. She just smiled and tried to stay cheery.

That night we ordered pizza and my mom ate in bed because she was so tired. After dinner my dad told my brother and me that we needed to have a family talk. As I sat on the foot of my parents’ bed watching my mom struggle to tell us what was going on, I heard the two words that would alter my whole ­universe: multiple sclerosis.

I was only 14 and hardly well versed in neurological disorders so, naturally, all I could do was burst into tears. She explained to us that multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease that involves the central nervous system – specifically the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves – and that MS can affect muscle control and strength, vision, balance, and mental functions.

The tone in my house was a mix of mourning and solitude in the weeks that followed. My mom’s condition got severely worse before it got better. She was on steroid treatment to reduce the swelling in her brain, and was chronically fatigued and often confused.

In the months after her ­diagnosis I took on a new role in our family. I cooked dinner every night, did laundry, went to the supermarket, and even paid bills. It wasn’t hard at first, but after a while my schoolwork started to catch up with me. If only you knew my mom: she was one of those super-moms who found time to get everything done and was never crazed or disheveled but calm, collected, and great at everything! And then I lost all of that in what felt like the blink of an eye.

I had never felt so alone and helpless. I’m sure if I hadn’t gotten help I would have gone crazy. After a few months I went to my first MS support group. By then I had read every article on neurological disorders. I was excited to attend these meetings and ask the doctors all the questions the articles hadn’t answered. When the speaker that night stood and introduced herself, I was surprised to hear she was a registered nurse who specialized in multiple sclerosis. I had never heard of a nurse having such a specific field, and as she spoke I discovered how much Rita ­understood about how this disease was affecting my family.

I continued going to the support group, and over time I realized what Rita’s job really entailed. I had no idea how interactive a nurse’s career could be. I told her that I had been curious about a career in medicine but had ­never felt as passionate about it as when I realized how much an illness can affect a whole family. That’s when I discovered I wanted to be a nurse.

I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders, because I knew that I had finally found something I could be passionate about for the rest of my life. The work my mom’s doctors and nurses have done with her has vastly improved the quality of her life. They teach her to be optimistic and supply her with many types of support.

I think the best people to help others through hardships are those who have experienced them firsthand. And I feel that my experience will help me become an amazing nurse who can help other families through the difficulty of ­having a loved one with an illness.


3 My Moment

0
In movies and books, people often describe a defining moment when they figure out who they are. However, I never thought it actually happened in real life. I never expected to have a “moment” of my own. When it arrived, mine was much more powerful than I could have ever imagined.

During the spring of my junior year, my class watched a documentary called “The Invisible Children.” It was about three college students who take a trip to Africa and document their experience. At


Photo credit: Bonnie S., Fremont, CAfirst the film was slightly humorous; the filmmakers clearly had no idea what they were getting into. One said at the beginning, “I don’t really know what to expect. I hope we don’t, like, die or something.”

However, once the group arrived in northern Uganda, the mood changed. They learned what the consequences of a 23-year war had been for thousands of children. Many had lost family and friends, some had younger siblings who were captured by the rebel army and recruited as child soldiers, others had no home and slept in alleys too cramped for us to comprehend. There was footage of night commuters and child soldiers, many younger than me.

Before long, I was sobbing. I just kept thinking, What have I been doing with my life? I couldn’t believe these things were happening, yet at the same time I knew they were. I just hadn’t been paying attention. For 17 years I was blissfully unaware in my little bubble of Salt Lake City, Utah.

When the movie ended, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Later at swim practice it was hard to understand how my teammates could laugh and joke after what we had just seen. When I got home that night, I tried to tell my parents about the film, but I couldn’t get the words out. I hiccupped and choked my way through a description and what I thought I had to do now. I was able to convince my parents to donate $300 to The Invisible Children (I am still repaying them $20 a month). I went into my room and drew a big A on my white board with a circle around it, the following day I went looking for a job to save money for a trip to Africa.

For the next week, I was not myself. Every bite of food I took I thought of Grace, the 15-year-old who was eating for two. When I went to bed, I pictured Sunday, the 14-year-old boy sleeping on a straw mat on the ground in a displacement camp. My whole perspective shifted.

Since that day, I haven’t been able to picture my future in a way that doesn’t involve going to Africa and doing what I can to help. Ultimately, this is why I decided to major in engineering. When I found out about the Engineering Without Borders program, it was as if the clouds in my head cleared and sunshine burst through. After the initial shock of discovering what I wanted to do with my life, I could see myself accomplishing everything that had now become so important to me. I could not only go to Africa, but I could use my education and skills to make a difference.

With an engineering degree, my potential for change will be limitless. I will build wells, schools, and houses. I will design irrigation systems and orphanages. Engineering is tough, but I know – in what Yeats called “my deep heart’s core” – that this is what I’m supposed to do with my life.


4 Silence

0
Silence. A subtle ostinato of coughs begins; whispers fill the concert hall. Some guy breathes as if his trachea is seized in a death grip. Thousands of uncomfortable people shuffle. They’re conscious of every sound: every high-pitched ring in their ears, every low beat of their hearts. Meanwhile, the trumpeters are frozen, their lips silently kissing their mouthpieces. The violinists sit in suspended motion on the stage, as if space and time do not exist. The conductor stands, his baton ready,


Photo credit: Faith D., Holland, PAas still as ever.

Those in the audience who know nothing of composer John Cage’s “4'33” fail to understand the silent symphony gracing their ears. It is a composition of no notes – only the seemingly insignificant rustlings of the concertgoers make up the score.

As a violinist, I originally thought Cage was insane. I have spent years appreciating intricate classical melodies. Who would compose four minutes and 33 seconds of ­silence? How is that music? When I first heard about the piece, I was annoyed that anyone would waste five minutes that could be devoted to sweet, melodic music.

I was mystified by the piece until I realized that silence is one of the most important aspects of my life. Wordless moments – when the TV is off, when I’m snug in my bed with a book, when everything stops – are when I feel truly at ease. Every care or worry in my day dissolves like Alka-Seltzer hitting water. I’ve discovered that time spent in silence allows me to deconstruct my life and think about simple things.

I realized Cage is the master of making something out of nothing. In music, I was always taught that rests are not empty spaces in a piece; they should be played as if they are notes themselves. Rests are not empty moments devoid of thought. They are moments to count, to breathe, to absorb the ­impact of the phrases just played.

Every Thanksgiving, my family starts the feast with a silent prayer – our own real-life rest. Every year we say our thanks then bow our heads. Since my grandfather, the rock of the family and most honorable man I’ve known, passed away nearly three years ago, silence has been the most meaningful language my family can speak. The silent “conversations” at holidays have taught me much about the strength and stam­ina of the human condition. As we stand holding hands, crowded in my grandmother’s living room, lighting candles to honor the twinkle Papa always had in his eyes, silence is the perfect tribute for a powerful love lost. It instills more hope in our hearts than any poorly constructed words.

As I begin to make the largest transition in my life, I will remember John Cage’s “4'33” when life seems too hard, too hectic, or too meaningless. I will sit in my own symbolic concert hall, making symphonies out of my thoughts, learning everything about myself in total silence.


5 The Bitter and The Sweet

0
The candy’s smooth wrapper crinkles as I trace its edges with my fingertips, imagining its contents. The wrapper tears like a fine fabric, revealing a corner of dark chocolate. I break off a piece and take pleasure in its creamy essence. I have always had a sweet tooth, but it is not just sugary snacks that I crave. Being raised by a single parent has been a bittersweet experience, but one that has given me resilience and ambition.

When I was young, my mother would tell me that the racks of candy in the store’s checkout line belonged to the cashier. She said this not to confuse me, avoid spoiling me, or even to teach me a lesson about earning rewards, though she inevitably did. She said it because she didn’t want me to worry because she could not afford a 50-cent chocolate bar. Nevertheless, I saw through her tactic and made a promise to myself that I would grow up to be prosperous enough to buy my family all the Hersheys on the stand.

Instead of focusing on our economic instability, my mother selflessly pushed me to strive for success so that I could lead a more comfortable life than hers. She worked long hours every night and struggled to pay the minimum due on her bills. Still, she would find time to read and snuggle with my sister, Emily, and me. Mom taught me the value of perseverance, education, and moral fiber. Although I did not have two parents, I was loved and nurtured just as much.

Not all of life’s milestones were easy; some left an insurmountably bitter taste in my mouth. Domestic abuse, divorce, and homelessness, for example. I dealt with these when my mother married a man in Maryland and moved us several states away from our roots in Georgia. The first few months were great: baseball games, family trips to the mall, dinners together, and movies. It felt like we were the perfect All-American family. Then things changed. Baseball games were too expensive, and trips to the mall were replaced with days Emily and I spent isolated in our rooms on his orders. Screaming matches between my stepfather and my mother interrupted dinners, and he swapped movie tickets for vodka.

We spent five years living in a family setting that had turned into a war zone. I remember the verbal spats became so routine that I would no longer rush to my little sister’s room to cradle her in my arms and wipe away the tears spilling down her cheeks. Emily and I grew so used to this lifestyle that we just turned on the televisions in our rooms to drown out the screams. We became immersed in the world of sugar-coated sitcoms, pretending the spiteful cursing matches downstairs were normal.

Then one evening, an argument erupted. My sister and I had begun to predict the start of these altercations. We called our system ETF, Estimated Time of Fight, named for its accuracy. Emily joked about patenting it some day. But on this night my mother swung open my bedroom door and told me to pack – we were leaving and not coming back. I could hear Emily sobbing in her room.

We loaded our things into Mom’s Ford, my step­father barking hatefully all the while. We drove for a long time before Mom pulled into the parking lot of a large store. I gazed out the window, watching people carry bags to their cars and head off to their warm homes. They were oblivious to our bittersweet tears. They had no idea how relieved and traumatized we felt, all at the same time. I was 14, my sister 11, school was still in session, and we were homeless.

“We’re not the first people to go through this, and we won’t be the last,” Mom assured us.

A friend of my mother’s let us stay with her. Each day, Mom would wake us before dawn so we could commute from Virginia to Maryland for our last three months of school. I remember looking out at the gleaming Washington Monument from the Potomac bridge, wondering how many others in the nation had suffered in silence. How many had packed up and moved on?

We eventually relocated to Texas, where Mom is still working to re-stabilize her life. And now, as I compose this essay with some dark chocolate – my favorite candy – close at hand, I realize my family and I are at the best point in our lives. I have triumphed here, both academically and personally. I ­satiate my hunger for knowledge by remaining dedicated to my intellectual pursuits – for example, the Distinguished Graduation Plan with its rigorous course of study and community service, and the learning opportunities it offers.

I savor the fact that I am not a bitter product of my environment; I am not a person who lets trying times interrupt her focus, for I know that they are learning experiences also. Success, like candy, can be the sweetest treat of all


6 Tenagersims

0
My name is Meagan. There is nothing extraordinary about me. I am a seventeen year old, counting down the days till graduation, just like every other senior in the world. I’ve accomplished a lot in my short seventeen years of life, as have I made mistakes. I’m not perfect; show me one person who is. I’m on the path of self discovery, which, as I have come to realize is not an easy conduit. Trials and tribulations have presented themselves in great abundance. Adolescence; something we all must fight to overcome.
I clearly remember the last time I had to move. I was eleven going on twelve. It was the summer before my seventh grade year. At that point, starting a new school wasn’t really THAT big of a deal.
I spent the next four and a half years going to Mountain Home. I made four of the best, most amazing friends anyone could ever ask for. When I had to leave them I was crushed. I’ve never had to deal with letting go of people I was friends with for so long. Leaving people I’ve known for a year and leaving people I’d been around for most of my teenage life was so much harder than I had expected.
Over the majority of the summer, I convinced myself that I wasn’t going to meet anyone that didn’t already have their “established” group of friends. It was my senior year, what else could I expect? I was sure that the majority of people I was about to call my classmates had been at this school for most, if not all of their high school years.

I soon realized that starting a new high school was way different than being the “new girl” in elementary or even middle school. It wasn’t as easy to gain “approval” of my classmates now as it had been back then.
I felt like a freshman all over again. However, at least as a Freshman I had my friends; people I knew. I could very easily name well over ninety percent of my class. Here, at this new school, I knew no one.
I am usually not a “shy” person. I am very outgoing and bubbly. But for some unexplainable reason none of my previous qualities followed me to this new school.

As the day progressed, I was dreading lunch time more than anything. I didn’t want to be the weird girl that was forced to sit in the corner by herself due to her lack of friends. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. It was the first day of school, there were bound to be other new students in my position, right? Well that may have been true, and I’m sure it was, but in my mind I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as: I was alone.
I am still struggling to meet new people, haven’t really made much progress yet. I just can’t seem to put myself out there. I’ve never had to worry about what others thought of me because socially, I’ve been around the same exact people for the last five years. I didn’t realize that as I grew older things that didn’t use to be so important, all the sudden seemed so dramatic and life-changing.

I’ve been told over and again by my mom that I will eventually have to enter the “real” world and that the worry I have over all of the things that have happened in high school will almost immediately evaporate upon said entrance.

What adults fail to realize is that every day in a teenager’s life is a battle. We’re no longer children, but not quite adults. We struggle to make the right decisions. We struggle to find out who we are and what we stand for. We struggle to just fit in.

As I looked at through the list of topics we were given to write about I only found one that was applicable to me. And believe me; I struggled for the longest time, deciding which moment in my life to write about, after all, there were so many. So, I decided to look at the bigger picture. And it occurred to me that all of my struggles have come with being a teenager. From there, it just made sense; it sort of “clicked”. And although I still have about a year and a half left, I honestly believe that being a teenager has been the hardest experience in my life; something I’m sure that I will carry with me for the rest of my existence.


7 Who Am I

0
I like reading The Economist and watching "I love the 80s." I like tennis, Fazoli's breadsticks and writing assignments. I value honesty,


Photo credit: Ashley F., Quincy, MAcommitment, scholarship and kindness. These are hard and true facts, but there is a lot I do not know about myself. I don't know how I feel about the death penalty, I have mixed feelings about religion, and I don't know what I think about a cashless society. I have no stock answer to offer about a life-changing experience or a moment of enlightenment, and it is hard for me to give a comprehensive proclamation of who I am, for my identity unfolds more every day as my experiences grow. Since I am only 17 years old, life has a lot of unfolding to do.

I dislike saying "I am trying to find myself" because my identity is not lost, it just needs more uncovering. Luckily for me, what I love to do and want to be helps me uncover more about myself. I want to be a writer. I may not end up a professional writer but I will always write, even if I am the only one interested in my work, because writing is my self-reflection.

When writing, I sometimes get worked up into such a fervor that I barely know what I am saying. I just let my fingers fly over the keyboard and the ideas pour from my head. When I go back through the jumble of unpunctuated ideas, I notice a theme running through the writing. I don't try to put a moral in the theme, but invariably it happens. Evaluating the theme and the rest of the writing helps me interpret my own character and decipher my at times bottled-up feelings. In opinion essays, my values show. In stories, the fictional characters express my beliefs.

Every day my experience and knowledge increase, and I learn more about myself. Each time I write what is in my head as honestly as I can, another piece of the identity puzzle is revealed. Mostly, I like what is unearthed (though this varies depending on how "teenage girl-ish" I'm feeling). I am not worried that I don't know everything about myself. As I get older, I'll figure it

8 The Lure Of Possibility
0
I stand silently in the cool, crisp air. Around me, the houses cast off a sullen light in the covering darkness. I slowly walk forward, my thundering footsteps the only disturbance in an otherwise quiet night. Inside the house, the television blares on with soap operas. The moon is rising, emitting a faint light as it appears over the horizon. The stars are clearly visible, tiny jewels of light studded in the black quilt of the night sky. I look to the stars, and my mind wanders.

A majesty is evident in the quiet brilliance of these points of light. I lose myself in their shine. Out there are wonders. Millions of balls of gas, planets and even black holes exist up beyond the black veil of night. Hundreds of galaxies swirl gracefully out in the vast emptiness of space. The universe, with all its mysteries, looms just beyond the horizon.

I had read about space when I was in 2nd grade, spending many evenings sprawled on my bed, devouring books by Isaac Asimov on asteroids, comets, stars, planets and black holes. These heavenly objects represented the unknown and their enticingly mysterious names – Enceladus, Andromeda, Io – called to me. As a high school student, I read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and watched a Nova series on string theory on the Internet to get a better idea of how our universe works.

Something about the heavens draws me in. A hint of something exotic, beyond the mundane interactions of daily life. Up there, stars with so much gravity that not even light could escape twisted the fabric of the universe, quasars blew out large bursts of radio waves and dark energy stretched the universe’s boundaries. Scientists could explain neither how the universe began nor how the universe was going to end. Up beyond the black veil of night, something remains out of reach of human knowledge, wafting a scent of mysteries unsolved.

When I learned that we were going to cover space in school, I became thrilled at the prospect of discovering the universe’s secrets. I fervently hoped that the teacher would tell me about the Big Bang and black holes in detail. However, I was bitterly disappointed. The teacher glossed over black holes, instead focusing on teaching the names of the planets and moon phases, in the order that they both occurred. The universe, with all its mysteries and complexity, was condensed to 16 easy to remember words. Class focused more on the sparse words inside the McDougall-Little textbook than on the universe that lay outside, beckoning to us to view its wonders.

Yet, I cannot stay out forever. Already, I can hear them. The soft, insistent lisp of my opened textbook. The accusing hum of my computer. The grim tramp of duties coming to drag me away from my galaxies and dark matter. My heavy sigh tumbles into the night air; many days could pass before I could escape their grasp to come out again. With one last longing glance, I plod towards the door. As the door clicks behind me, I return to the comfortable, mundane sounds of television soap operas and clanging spoons in the sink.

Behind me, the stars smile mysteriously behind their black veil.

9 Waiting For The Bus


Last summer, I found myself ­sitting on a couch opposite a 38-year-old Filipino man named Peter who smelled like stale tuna, dirt, and a dream deferred.
“WheRe are you from?” I asked.
“Here.”
“What made you homeless?”
“I need my green card.”
“Where do you stay and get food?”
“I need my green card. I need … my green card. I go clean the mall. I make plans for the future." later discovered, by talking with the soup kitchen staff, that Peter is mentally handicapped. He moved to the U.S. when he was five, but he still had an accent. He probably already had his citizenship.

This was an unconventional way to explore a social topic. My best friend’s mother was the manager at a homeless shelter, and their fund-raising event was coming up. My friend was a film major at our school, and I was a theater major, so we pooled our talents and made a documentary about the causes of homelessness and how the shelter had helped many find counseling, food, shelter, and showers. I interviewed; she filmed.

It quickly became apparent that ­Peter wasn’t the only homeless person with seemingly insurmountable problems. There was Don, a 58-year-old professional drunk who had been in and out of rehab and jail most of his life. He was a colorful storyteller – he recalled in vivid detail being there the first time Ozzy Osbourne bit off a bat’s head. A marijuana stem was tattooed on his arm. When he was 15, his friend started to ink the tattoo, but Don decided to stop halfway through the process – an appropriate metaphor for his life. Every time he went into rehab, every time it looked as if he had found steady employment, he quit halfway through.

Then there was the woman simply known as the Bag Lady. A paranoid schizophrenic, she had amassed a ­collection of detritus and kept it in a grocery cart, never letting it out of her sight. She spent her days waiting for a bus that never came; she would scrutinize each one that passed her stop, invariably deciding it was the wrong one. She kept all her clothes layered on her body, even during the oppressively hot and humid Georgia summers. One day, she uncharacteristically tried to remove her clothes to take a shower at the ­shelter. She couldn’t. Sweat and dirt had plastered them to her body, and my friend’s mother had to rip them off her. She became hysterical when we asked to interview her.

As I helped set up the camera in the cafeteria to pan across the room, I became overwhelmed watching everyone. Peter prayed for his green card. Don displayed the tattoo that was never completed. The Bag Lady stared out the window at her stop in hopes that her bus would finally arrive. I could only think of that dream deferred.

My studies in homelessness continued long after the camera stopped rolling. I ­conducted more interviews, this time for myself. Most of these people were thrown onto the streets because an ­unexpected debt had upended their ­already volatile paycheck-to-paycheck existence, or because they were addicts who had never found adequate rehabilitation, or because they had a mental illness. Realizing the fragility of the line that separates “person” from “homeless person” has helped me treat everyone with compassion.

Instead of lecturing the homeless on not using welfare to buy drugs or hugging my purse as I speed by a park bench, I take time to listen to them. This experience also helped when I worked for the Obama campaign. I registered more people to vote in one day than most interns did in a week, because I approached the people lying on park benches, the ex-felons and homeless people who didn’t know that they could vote in Georgia. One man cried as he filled out the registration form; the State of Georgia had taken his vote from him 20 years ago. After that, the Savannah campaign held drives at all the homeless shelters.

Learning about the plight of homeless people has made my world a little more beautiful. I learned the difference between a mandolin and a guitar from a street musician named Guitar Bob.
I learned about the history of metal ­music from Don. Al taught me how to weave a rose out of palm tree leaves. Most importantly, I learned that these people are not welfare leeches, drug abusers, or society’s cross to bear. Homeless people have specific problems that aren’t impossible to manage, and with a modicum of effort and ­ingenuity, perhaps one day their bus will finally come.

10. Where Do I Belong

A few days ago, I saw a tiny black ant making its way up the pink-tiled wall of my bathroom. Oddly amused, I watched this little creature climb up three feet and then fall to the floor. I found two things ­extremely shocking. First, I had never seen an ant fall; second, I was actually getting worried about the little guy, and tried to ­explain to him that he had to stay away from the vertical lines of grout. Never mind the fact that I was talking to an ant.

But the most amazing part was that just a second after falling from well over 500 times his height, this little ­genius found his way back to the wall and started climbing again. One would think that he would ­either hurt himself or learn a lesson, but he insisted on going up that wall again and again. And he kept falling, keeping me ­absolutely mesmerized, as though I had witnessed Medusa herself and not an ant, hypothesizing as to where exactly he was trying to go.

Finally, I gave up and went on to what I had to do that day. My final theory was that he was simply trying to get home, because it was already quite late, and he seemed to be scurrying along in the general direction of the crack between the window and the wall. I guess I’ll never know whether he made it.

There is, however, a point to my ant story: In the summer after sophomore year, I took a rather uncommon and ­extensive vacation – to a post-Communist developing country. Having been born and raised in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, I was, on the one hand, returning home to visit my grandparents. But as soon as my mom and I stepped into the Bishkek airport, I realized how out of place I felt.

My mom was right at home, speaking her native language with the people she spent most of her life with. But I spoke Russian hesitantly and with an accent, and insisted on talking to my mom in English. The place I had once called home had become a foreign country, and that little girl was now an American – a dreadful thing to be in a Russian-speaking Asian country.

When I returned to my now well-­appreciated South Florida town, I once again felt like a stranger in a place I had called home. I realized that I wasn’t like most of my friends, who had been born in Fort Lauderdale and spent their entire childhood in the suburbs. I had come from an alien world and could ­never be a flag-waving American.

Sometimes, you see, I feel just like that ant on my bathroom wall. I try to get home but the world is so big and dangerous that I don’t even know where home is. Yet I keep trying and trying, no matter how many times I trip over the grout and fall to the floor, because I’m convinced that eventually I will reach a place that will really be my home – not my mother’s and not my stepfather’s, and not my best friend’s.

My visit to – and return from – Bishkek taught me, among other things, that I will never feel truly at home – ­either in the U.S. or in Kyrgyzstan. I ­realize I must let go of both the places I have called home. Caught between two cultures and belonging to neither, I have to focus not on what country I’m from or what language I speak, but on who I am. And though not belonging isn’t ­exactly the best teenage condition, I am beginning to understand it is actually to my advantage to be an outsider. In my cosmopolitan epiphany, I may have lost a national flag or two, but I gained something truly worthwhile – an irreplaceable freedom of the soul that can never be taken from me.

That’s not to say, however, that I’ve ­given up scaling that pink-tiled wall. But that little crack between the window and the wall isn’t a country or a house anymore; it’s me.






11. Music In My Life

0
For a young person with little experience, music can be a hard concept, especially singing. At the age of nine, I stepped into the field of music. ­Little did I know that it would be life-changing.

My story begins in 2001. My mother asked if I would be interested in singing. I hadn’t given it much thought. She suggested I join the Phoenix Boys Choir. She explained what it was and how successful it had always been. I decided to try out.

When I arrived, I met the conductor in charge of the younger boys. She had me sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” A few moments later the conductor announced that I had passed my audition and would soon be a member of the training choir. I was so thrilled I couldn’t say a word. This would turn out to be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I was going to be a member of the internationally known Phoenix Boys Choir!

I moved up through the levels of the choir quickly. Every boy longs to be in the most elite group – the Tour Choir. After two years, I made it. At 11 I had learned more about music than I could possibly have imagined. I learned music theory and how to read music. By the end of seventh grade I had been to Spain, Italy, and France. In Rome we performed at Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was a blessing to be able to sing in such a holy setting. We also sang in the Florence Cathedral. We traveled around the United States ­performing with other choirs. Often we sang for ­dignitaries.

I think God blessed me with this talent because he wanted me to share my voice with others. I’ve heard it said that when you sing, you pray twice. I have learned hundreds of songs. We sing in many languages, and since our director always explains the songs’ meaning, I understand and really become part of the music.

If my mother had not inspired me to try something out of my comfort zone, I never would have experienced what the world of music has to offer. More importantly, I might not have unveiled my true self if it were not for my mom and sing­ing. Singing makes me happy, and it is a huge part of who I am.

I hope to keep singing and increasing my knowledge of music. I have graduated from the Phoenix Boys Choir, and I now sing with the phenomenal Mens Choir, a group for former Boys Choir members, which has provided me with many opportunities. Last February, I took part in the American Choral ­Directors Association Honors Choir of 186 students chosen from five states. Because of this, I was offered a scholarship to the Idyllwild Music Aca­demy for summer camp to become a better singer. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend.

I am very grateful for all I have accomplished musically and want to keep striving to become a superior musician. God has blessed me with the gift of music, and I’d love to share it with others so that they too can find the music in their lives


12 . A Black Stool

A black stool, as black as the night sky, stood alone. There was nothing special about it that anyone could see. It was simply a cheap black stool, but it was not ordinary to me. To me it symbolized something special in my life: time spent with my brother.

Our family purchased the infamous black stool because my brother told my parents that he must have an electric piano. And he needed something to sit on while he played. True to my brother’s nature, he rarely played the must-have item. And the black stool sat there reminding us of the impulsive purchase. No one ever went near it. That is until the day my parents purchased computers for my brother and me.

When, out of the blue, my father decided to buy us computers, I knew the people in the next town must have heard me yelling with joy. Of course my older brother got a much nicer and faster computer. He was even given a new computer chair with wheels. I, on the other hand, did not get the executive chair. “Use the piano stool,” my father said. With my lip sticking out a mile, I went to the basement to get the filthy old stool.

In the weeks that followed, that stool became my favorite item in the playroom. After school I would run into our house like a madman to use my computer. My brother and I would play the same video game. Having a ball, we loved our time together. For the first time, I felt like I really connected with him. Previously I had only seen him at dinner. Now we shared adventures on the computer.

On that stool I have learned many life lessons. I learned to deal with sorrow and anger. From time to time my brother would get depressed, thinking no one loved him. But I was there, on that stool, loving him and helping him get through those dark emotions.

Because of that stool and a pair of computers, I gained a best friend. This ordinary object will always remind me of that special time I shared with my brother.


13. Failing Successfully

0
My day in the sun had arrived – my magnum opus would be revealed. I had just delivered a memorized speech that I had labored over for weeks, and I was about to learn how the panel judged my performance. The polite but sparse audience leaned forward in their folding chairs. A hush fell across the room. The drum rolled (in my mind, anyway).


The contest organizer announced the third-place winner. Alas, the name was not mine. Then he read the second-place winner, and once again it was not me. At last, the moment of truth came. ­Either I was about to bask in the warmth of victory or rue the last several months spent preparing. While neither of these came to pass, my heart felt closer to the latter.


Losing is a part of life, and I have dealt with the emotional baggage that travels shotgun with it on more than one occasion. However, it was an indescribably underwhelming feeling to drive 200 miles round trip, get up obscenely early on a freezing Saturday morning, and yet still finish fourth out of four contestants. After Lincoln lost the 1858 Illinois Senate race, he reportedly said, “I felt like the 12-year-old boy who stubbed his toe. I was too big to cry and it hurt too bad to laugh.” Oh yeah, I could relate.


I had spent many hours in front of a computer and in libraries doing research for the Lincoln Bicentennial Speech Contest. As I pored over several biographies, one notion stood out: Lincoln was handed many sound defeats, but he never allowed them to (permanently) hinder his spirit or ambition. While I believe many history lessons can be applied to modern life, I hadn’t considered “the agony of defeat” as a historically valuable learning experience. I never dreamed I could relate to Lincoln! A president no less, and the greatest at that. I thought “failing ­successfully” was a very appropriate topic, given the many letdowns Lincoln experienced, and so this became the title of my speech.


After not placing in the first year of the speech contest, I really wanted to compete again. Lincoln had been the epitome of persistence, so I was not going to give up on a contest about a historic individual who did not give up! I reworked my speech for the following year, and while I did not come in last, again I did not place. Some days you’re the dog, and some days you’re the hydrant, and this was ­definitely a hydrant day that brought me down for a while.


I couldn’t accept the fact that I had failed twice in something that I had worked so hard on, until I contemplated the individual whom I’d spent so much time learning about. Never mind the lost prize money (ouch, major) and praise (ouch, minor) – I had learned, really learned, about a great man who had experienced failure and disappointment, and had many chances to give up. We remember Lincoln because he didn’t take this route; he didn’t throw lavish pity-parties, and he persevered to ­become, according to many, the greatest American president.


While I did not earn monetary awards as a result of this contest, I did gain a new perspective. Through learning about Lincoln, I discovered that I can fail successfully, and that it is possible to glean applicable wisdom from the lives of those who have come before us. Now, whenever I’m faced with a setback, I remember what Lincoln said after his unsuccessful 1854 Senate race: “The path was worn and slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other out of the way, but I recovered and said to myself, ‘It’s a slip and not a fall.’



14. A Better Barbie

0
I don’t have any alumni ties to Brown, though it’s possible I could be the long-lost granddaughter of James S. Miller. Never have I sailed the Pacific Ocean on the back of a humpback whale, nor can I wrap sushi with the skill of former Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. I haven’t done much research regarding podiatry, and chances are I will never win the Michigan Mega-Millions lottery. I am, however, the proud owner of a Little Mermaid Edition Barbie.


At some point in almost every




Alittle girl’s life, she becomes engrossed in the Pepto-Bismol-pink world of Barbies, a place I entered at the age of seven. My sister, Hannah, and I decided to take our collection of 11-inch plastic friends for a dip in the pool one sweltering summer day. Hours of giggling resulted from tossing the Barbies as high as we could into the air and watching them dive gracefully into the waves. Three … two … one, I launched my Little Mermaid doll in the same fashion as Apollo 11. We watched her rocket into the sky. I glanced at my sister, who was scrambling through her scorecards to make sure she had the well-deserved “10” ready. My eyes returned upward, anticipating the gymnastic stunts Barbie would undoubtedly deliver to her enraptured audience. Where was she? The crowd was growing restless. Had she landed on the moon?


Utterly bewildered, we combed through the freshly mown grass and woods, but unfortunately, our search bore no fruit. After a moment of sorrow, our tiny attention spans directed us to a different game, and our minds fluttered away.


Over the years, I encountered many of my own quirky adventures. As a field biologist intern, I camped for 15 days on an uninhabited island, purified my own water, surveyed the endangered Piping Plover, tested the water quality of lakes, and found my way out of 70,000 acres of northern Michigan wilderness. My view of the world broadened through travels and encounters with the Costa Rican, German, French, and Australian cultures. I won varsity letters, had my poetry published, and volunteered at a local hospital, and as I grew older, the mystery of the once-beloved Little Mermaid Edition Barbie faded into a misty memory.


One recent fall day, rainbow-colored leaves swirled through the air and the chilly breeze carried its pleasant scent, an amalgamation of bonfire and pumpkin. Upon the rooftop was not good Saint Nick, but rather my dad, cleaning the leaves off our house. Tied to the branch of an ancient oak tree, the tire swing moved my body in a pendulum motion. My dad approached with something dark in his hands. “Eh … does this belong to you, or Hannah?” he said with a look of perplexity painted on his face. I couldn’t believe my eyes: It was the Little Mermaid Edition Barbie! The poor girl – she was an absolute disaster. I affirmed my ownership of the traveler, and took her battered body in my hands.


Nine years had passed since I had seen the almost-world-renowned Olympic diver. I recalled that summer day and smiled as memories flooded my mind. She looked as though she’d been struck by lightning a few times, weathered heavy monsoons, and held onto the gutter for dear life during tornados. Her mangled arm appeared to have been mistaken for a worm by a ferocious momma bird. Leaves, dirt, and other debris were entwined in her once shiny, cherry locks. Her attire was tattered – she seemed to have fashioned herself a Tarzan-esque ensemble. Her ingenuity was impressive; it reminded me of an experience in which I had to craft socks out of a garbage bag and medical tape, then wear them for three days in pouring rain. Nevertheless, one thing stood out as I ogled my long-lost friend: her face.


She wore a radiant smile, a look of contentment, self-confidence, and accomplishment. With head held high and a positive attitude, she had battled life’s unexpected challenges. She knows now what it means to strive and succeed. I realized the world of pink doesn’t fit someone with so much potential, so much passion for learning, so much heart, independence, and creativity. I looked at her and saw myself reflected in her sapphire eyes.


Like her, my dreams lie far beyond those of a Stepford wife, and with the ability to bend and not break, I am ready to step out of my plastic box society, through the Van Winkle gates, and into a world of endless possibilities. I crave the works of Thoreau and Emerson, not mall directories or grocery lists. I desire adventure and the opportunity to study new cultures. I long to write what I want and voice my opinions with my whole heart behind them. And as the Little Mermaid Edition Barbie sits on my shelf, next to musical and athletic trophies, behind silly pictures of friends, and alongside books by Maya Angelou and Lewis Carroll, she reminds me of myself. For this ambitious girl, pink is not enough; she is ready to dive into Brown

24 comments:

  1. nice essay...tq :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice essay..i like it..please make it more..i'll always support this essay..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing effort.


    My website white board paint

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Feel free to surf to my website white board paint

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful, what a blog it is! This weblog provides useful data to us, keep it up.


    Here is my site; sunbrella fabrics

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, I wish for to subscribe for this weblog to get most recent updates, therefore where can i do it please assist.


    Feel free to surf to my web site uk dishwasher

    ReplyDelete
  7. hye!your essays are great i wanna ask for your permission to copy your essays!thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Saya pun nak copy jugak. Minta halalkan ya !

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great poѕt. I used to be checking constantly this blοg
    anԁ I am іnspіred! Extгemеly useful information sρeсifісаlly the сlosing sесtiоn :) Ι takе сaгe of such infо muсh.
    I used to be lоoking fоr thіs partіcular info fοr а lοng time.
    Тhanκ уоu and best of luсk.


    my web blog; ipad repair shah alam

    ReplyDelete
  10. Veгy good post! We are linking to this particulaгly
    great artіcle on our wеbsite. Kеep up the goоԁ writing.


    Tаke a lοok at my weblog repair iphone malaysia

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thankѕ for thе marvelous ρostіng!
    I quite enjoyed reading it, yοu happen to be a great
    author.І will ensuгe that I bookmark your blog
    and dеfinitely will come back ԁοwn the rοad.
    I want to encourage you to defіnitely continue
    уour great pоsts, have a nicе weekend!


    Also visіt my web-site Iphonerepairpetalingjaya.Wiki.Zoho.Com

    ReplyDelete
  12. My relativeѕ eѵery timе say that І am killing my timе here at web,
    eхcept Ι knoω I am gеtting
    know-hoω eveгy day by reading thes nice artісles.


    Herе is my web sіte; iphone repair kuala lumpur

    ReplyDelete
  13. We absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post's to be just what I'm
    looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content
    for yourself? I wouldn't mind creating a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome web site!

    Here is my site; Glider Rocker

    ReplyDelete
  14. It was a great writing skill...enjoy reading your essays and get a lot of nice-flowing words.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's very easy to find out any matter on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this article at this web page.

    My weblog :: www.ofbuddy.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality used to be a leisure account it.

    Look complicated to more introduced agreeable from you! By the way, how could we
    communicate?

    Stop by my site :: buddyfront.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would
    really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would appreciate your work.
    If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

    My web-site - glider and ottoman

    ReplyDelete
  18. I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content.
    This great article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.

    My homepage: george forman extra large grill []

    ReplyDelete
  19. You'll be using three fingers, your first, second and third fingers to form the E Major Chord. 5, the Windows Marketplace is preloaded onto the phone allowing the ability to download apps from the phone itself without having to log onto a computer to download them. In the end, students would have acquired the skills and knowledge to improvise on the spot.

    Also visit my homepage Top 20 US UK Music

    ReplyDelete
  20. hey,thanks for the great essay.It really inspired me so much.Can I make a request?could you write an essay about something mystery such as a dream or nightmare or something like that.Really appreciate if u could.

    ReplyDelete

contengan peribadi ^.^