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Step by step we all climb the ladder of our individual success. We seek out certain people, places and words as tools to aid us in our journey in reaching that peak. No matter what missteps we take we dust our selves off and carry on determined to reach our goals. My high school track coach was harsh yet inspiring. He instilled in me what it takes to make my aspirations a reality and to reap the rewards of success. Every day at the end of practice he would bellow the phrase: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Assimilation of this quote did not resonate with me until I was on the brink of deserting all of my goals just after my first year in college.

Becoming a computer engineer has always been my dream. The ever growing and evolving field of technology fascinates me so I came to Texas Tech in pursuit of my dream. A month into my first year I was at the recreation center getting some running in. Moving along gracefully with music in my ears I felt at peace. Suddenly that peace was shattered when someone ran in front of me. Having no time to react I tripped over them and snapped my ankle. It was gruesome; some students ran over to me and marveled at the sight of my mangled limb while others ran from me faster than someone with the plague. My ankle looked unreal, like something out of a movie but felt as real as the air I gasped for around me. The ambulance was called and I was whisked away to the ER. They treated me and put me into a cast and on crutches for the first time in my life. I was thrown into a boat without a paddle. Even still I was determined not to be beleaguered by this new adjustment until I could no longer mentally cope. Biting the bullet I dived head first into the waters of my impediment.

Beep! Beep! Beep! "it can't be six already?" I said to myself wearily wiping the sleep from my eyes. The treacherous journey of starting my day has begun. Hobbling to class on one foot in 40 degree weather seemed to be cruel and unusual punishment. But I knew why I was there, I trudged through the pain hungry to accomplish my goal. Every "step" I took was marked with a defining click! Upon turning each corner I would see people holding the door for me heeding the message from my clicks telegraphing my infamous presence. It became increasingly more difficult to get to class and even more so to get there on time. Arriving tardy in one course too many times called for withdrawal from it due to it's policy inside the syllabus. Devastated but hopeful I still turned my head up high. After being withdrawn from the course I was called into my advisors office. Sitting in the chair inside her quarters I presented my usual cherubic aura not expecting what I would be informed of next. I was told that I would not be able to attend anymore in the spring due to the lack of credits with my class being dropped. My mind went into shock, nothing registered. Looking away I stared off into the distance hoping to see what I had planned for in my future could still be seen on the horizon. Her words struck me like lightning. And conjured a storm of despair right before my eyes. Everything loomed over my head like a rainy day from then on. The once lively faces I saw around campus seemed to wear emotionless masks hiding their once profound luster. Cars, people and time moved in slow-motion, and so did I. No longer would I go out with friends or speak to my roommate. My grades dropped, and they were the worst I had ever seen in my entire life. I was but a shell of my original self. Depression caught me in a vise like grip, I was a hermit in my dorm room waiting for my doomsday as the thought of failure seized my mind. Caught in a limbo of calamity I started to count the seconds I had left on that campus waiting to see everything I had hoped for go up in flames. The waiting eventually came to an end. Fall semester was over and the final goodbyes were said to everyone whom I met and gained friendship with. I set off for my dreary journey back home. The nine hour drive was bleak. Sitting in the car I watched the scenery change outside of the window as we rolled along. I had nothing to be proud of upon returning home. Coming home a failure was all I could think of, a fisherman without a single catch. I did not accomplish what I set out to do.



Spring rolled around and I was home. Still being immobile I finished up the year of college online at home. With no determination to pursue my dreams I sat in my room after the semester had ended. Applying for another year of college online seemed to fit my position. Navigating the web pages I got to the enrollment section of my online college. Just as I aimed my mouse to click "enroll" my coach's words rang through my head louder than a stadium of five thousand cheering fans. The match was struck at that point and forged an undying flame of valor in my heart. Rising from my morose demeanor I summoned the courage to reapply to the college I had set out to help me in reaching my goals. Tearing through the gloomy clouds over my head I stopped feeling sorry for myself. A ray of rejuvenating sunshine radiated over my spirit and breathed new life into my once defeated frame. Reapplying to Texas tech fired the first shot of the unfinished battle between me and achieving my goals. Even though I had the success of being admitted in such great university before the success was not final. Although I broke my ankle causing me to experience failure my situation was not fatal. My will to continue and be given the opportunity to be admitted again into this university sparked great zeal within my being. I am fortunate to have been a Red Raider before, and to be a part of something as grand as what everyone involved with Texas Tech makes it out to be would be all I could ask for. Having the chance to put my guns up again and wear red and black proud will bring me face to face with my goals. I will have the chance of going one on one with them again to triumph over them in victory. Most importantly becoming a student at Texas Tech will take me one step higher on my ladder to attaining my success.

___________________________

ESSAY REVIEW

The last sentence of the first paragraph doesn't really make sense, which is a pity because the last sentence of first paragraphs is always treated by a reader as a very important sentence; it's important to get it right. It would make more sense, of course, if you just deleted the first two words.

The first sentence of the next paragraph is probably a little less than the truth and probably also a bit more banal than the truth. (As Bertrand Russell once said, "Sentences with the word 'always' in them are always a lie." Don’t think about that too much.)

In your second paragraph, you get thrown into a boat. You don't have a paddle but you do have a bullet, which you bite before jumping out of the boat and into the water. That's a great story, but I'm sorry to say, it is difficult to understand its existential implications. Figurative language is my favorite flavor of icecream, but it becomes a bit cloying if you've got to get through a whole tubful in the course of single Hugh Grant movie. I actually really like the expression "waters of my impediment" even though it doesn't make any obvious sense. You remind me of Hamlet taking arms against a sea of troubles. But though, like Hamlet, you have a tendency to indulge in mixed metaphors and overwrought expressions, because you are not quite Shakespeare, you run the risk of sounding more grotesque than sublime. The overwrought nature of your writing can appear a little forced, and therefore less than honest. That's as much as I feel comfortable saying about your style, except perhaps to add that I personally would much prefer a simpler, less ornate mode of expression, where the focus is more obviously on the truth you want to communicate rather than on the manner in which you want to communicate that truth.

As for the content of the essay itself, as a story, it is reasonably compelling (which is to say, I sympathize) but whether it will achieve your purpose in writing the story will depend on what that purpose is. If this letter is part of your reapplication, for instance, and its purpose is to persuade the reader that you are ready to return to college, then I suspect that there is perhaps something missing. There are lots of people who break bones in college, for example, who manage to survive academically. Your injury was presumably more debilitating, physically or psychologically, than the average broken leg, and if that was the case, you need to emphasize that fact. That may sound strange to say given the effort that you have put into the more or less exaggerated poetic element of your exposition, but that kind of effort can undermine your achieving your purpose (it may appear that you really are just exaggerating). It would be much more effective to say something like "My injury was more serious, and more debilitating than most sports injuries." If it made you depressed and for that reason impacted your grades, say "it made me depressed, and for that reason impacted my grades." If there was a bit of self-pity involved, you can even say, there was a bit of self-pity involved. In other words, keep it simple and honest. If your assessment of what went wrong appears to your reader as a simple, honest assessment, then your expression of your determination to succeed, which should also be articulated in a simple, straightforward manner, will have a better chance of being seen as honest and so believable. I would recommend writing the essay without resorting to a single metaphor or cliche anywhere, at least in the first draft (the new first draft; yes, I'm sorry to say that I am recommending that you start again from scratch, although that doesn't mean you have to abandon everything in your current essay). Doing that will force you to focus on communicating the truth of your story. Once you've done that, you can then worry about prettifying the prose.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Rixic
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