(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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- Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:33 pm
JP5701 wrote:I was seven the first time I saw my dad abuse my mom. The evening began like any other night in my house. I had been in bed, trying to drown out the sounds of my parents’ argument by burying myself in a book, when the yelling began to grow louder. That my parents were yelling was nothing new; they had started fighting around the time of my brother’s birth and just never really seemed to stop. But they were typically able to show more restraint. Their fights normally consisted of angry, hushed whispers, the kind I could only hear if I sat next to the vent at the bottom of the stairs and tried to listen. But that night, their shouting continued to escalate in volume, eventually waking up my four-year-old sister, J____. When she finally made her way into my room, I was still sitting on my bed, debating if I should try to interrupt their fight. Clutching Gaby, her beat-up Cabbage Patch doll, J_____ climbed into my bed sleepily, sandwiching herself between Gaby and me. I remember we sat there for a while, both silently listening to the yells echoing from down the hall; J_____ trying her best not to fall asleep, me trying my best not to cry. When the shouting suddenly stopped, I remember feeling a brief moment of relief, before I heard a loud thump and the sound of my mother’s muffled scream.
I bolted out of bed and down the hall, throwing open my parent’s bedroom door to find my mom pinned down on the bed, my dad’s hands wrapped around her throat. I jumped on his back and started pounding on his shoulders, screaming for him to let her go. As he turned around, he looked at me, his face a contorted with anger, confusion and something close to bewilderment. He loosened his grip on my mom’s neck as he stepped back, allowing her time to scramble to her feet. She immediately began screaming at him, lunging at his face and trying to hurt him, the way that he had hurt her. Dodging my mom’s hands, my dad looked at me, his face filled with shame and tears. With a final glance at my mom, who was still screaming and by then, crying hysterically, he walked out. A few seconds later, I heard the rumble of his Volkswagen bug as he drove away, a sound that over the years I would hear a lot.
For the next five years, I watched as my parent’s continued their cycle of abuse, fighting and separating, only to reconcile days later. I spent many nights of my childhood fighting sleep, just in case I had to stop a fight before it escalated to physical violence. By the time my parents divorced in 2000, I was a 12 going on 40. While my parents were absorbed in their ongoing war, I was designated caretaker of my siblings. It became my responsibility to tutor my sister in math when my mom locked herself in her room to cry. I was the one who entertained my brother with games when my dad was too depressed to get out of bed. And I was the one who stole food from my mom’s house so we would have something to eat when we went to my dad’s house for the weekend.
Between the divorce and the recession, my dad’s income depleted. I remember spending weekends at his apartment eating nothing but cereal and milk. Asking my dad for money to pay for AP courses or softball fees became futile. Asking my mom would have been even worse. My mother’s animosity for my father manifested into an all-out refusal on her behalf to pay for anything “kid-related”. A seemingly simple request for lunch money would result in a barrage of insults against my father, and likely start a fight between the two. By the time I reached high school, I knew I was on my own. Afternoons and weekends were spent performing whatever odd jobs I could find to earn some money. Debate competitions, SAT practice books and college applications were all paid for with money I earned babysitting or walking dogs. And while it was frustrating at the time to feel completely unsupported, I believe I am a stronger person today because of it.
By the time I reached college, I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to have same college experience as most of my other friends. Following freshmen year, I worked 30-40 hours a week, sometimes as much as 50. And while my workload sometimes left me scrambling to complete a paper last minute, or forced me to pass on a Saturday night party, I think I am better off than most of my peers. While my childhood was unorthodox, and at times, devastating, I don’t think I would be the strong-willed person I am today if not for the obstacles I had to face growing up. In an odd way, I owe my strong work ethic and my perseverance to my parents. As I continue to pursue my goals of attaining higher education, it is my belief that my experiences, and subsequent accomplishments, will only serve to increase the overall diversity of your school.
- Posts: 285
- Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:33 pm
Yeah, sorry I fixed some and highlighted that they were fixed, and others I just highlighted and left for you to fix, so that might be a little confusing. If you have a specific question about any of them just ask.
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