(1) College Essay: My Grandmother


Essay Topic: Write an essay about an event or experience that helped you learn what is important to you and why it is important.


My Grandmother (Final Draft)

Link: My Grandmother (Final Draft)

I hate going to the dentist and the very thought of it makes me shudder. During a routine checkup nine years ago, the dentist was puzzled by the arrangement of my two front teeth, and couldn’t figure out why they were so far apart. As a precautionary measure, he decided to run an X-ray test on my teeth. When the results came back, the dentist was shocked to discover that an abnormal second layer of teeth had developed behind my front teeth.The additional teeth had to be removed as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to the structure of my teeth.

When I was briefed that I had to undergo surgery, my mind clouded with panic. For the next few nights, nightmare after nightmare plagued my sleep. At dinner, the chopsticks and forks reminded me of the sharp utensils at the dental clinic. The sight of a sick person wearing a mask on the street instantly conjured the frightening image of a dentist in my mind. When the dreaded day of the surgery finally arrived, my parents literally had to drag me to the hospital. As I entered the waiting area for surgeries, the distinct and all-too-familiar smell of disinfectants washed over me like a wave. Fear overwhelmed me and I lost my composure. Kicking and screaming, I fought desperately to break free from the tight clutches of my parents who held me prisoner. All I wanted was to get away from this place and breathe in a lungful of fresh air. Then suddenly, I stopped struggling. A sense of calm and peace settled over me. An extraordinary sight had caught my eye. At the end of the crowded corridor, leaning heavily on her walking stick, stood my grandmother. I blinked and rubbed my eyes, unsure if it was only a factor of my imagination. She smiled warmly and reassuringly at me. With a tender and soothing voice, she promised me that there was nothing to be afraid of, and that it would all be over before I knew it. Taking her hand, together we strode into the surgery room. Three hours later, it was all over.

As the effect of the ether wore out, I slowly regained consciousness. I woke up to the pleasant aroma of my grandmother’s homemade Chinese soup. Through my blurred vision, I could make out several shapes hovering over my bed. As the world in front of me gradually adjusted and sharpened, I realized that the shapes belonged to my parents and my grandmother. Leaning over me, their anxious and concerned faces warmed my heart. In that moment, I realized the sheer importance of family. Other people in our lives may come and go, but family will always be right there beside us, never failing to offer their support and encouragement.


My Grandmother (Reflection on Writing Process)

Link: My Grandmother (Reflection on Writing Process)

1. What feedback was useful? Explain. 

I found Aaron’s feedback to be quite useful because he suggested how I could improve my paper. A suggestion that he gave me was to include more descriptive words and phrases to better convey my feelings and emotions to the readers.

2. What feedback is confusing and/or not useful? Explain.

Although I appreciated the praise I received for writing the story, I did not find this particular section of the feedback to be especially useful. This is because it did not provide me with information on how to improve.

3. What primary changes or adjustments will you make for your final copy? Why? Explain what you’re hoping to accomplish for the final.

In my final draft, I will aim to follow Aaron’s advice and suggestion by adding descriptive words and phrases to better convey my feelings and emotions to the readers. I will try to include a simile or metaphor to describe my feeling of terror and fear during this experience. I will also try to continue to improve my essay in order to make it more engaging to readers.

4. Mr Nollan’s Feedback: Excellent essay. The story dominates, but the conclusion is a bit off. How was your grandmother able to teach you what your parents could not? I think there’s something deeper that you learned in addition to the “family will always be there” cliche. How could you make the conclusion more powerful?

I honestly believe that the strongest lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of family. Even though this is cliche, it is nonetheless true. In response to your question, I think that the reason my grandmother was able to influence me when my parents could not was because I really looked up to my grandmother. I always only saw her good side and she was someone I really admired. On the other hand, I see my parents every day and their influence on me just doesn’t have the same effect on me (diminished effect). This really highlights the importance of role models and the huge influence that people we look up to have on our lives. I could have made my conclusion more powerful by not making it as cliche and by incorporating other lessons that I took away from this experience.


My Grandmother (Peer Edit)

Yolanda Chow: (Ideas/Content: 5/5) You wrote a compelling story about your experience getting a surgery and how it helped you realize the importance of your family’s support. (Organization: 5/5) The story was broken down into neat chronological paragraphs and transitioned well with each other without breaking the flow.

Chi Lok Lau: (Word Choice: 5/5) Good choice of words. The words fit the essay nicely and makes the essay much more interesting to read. (Sentence Fluency: 5/5) All the sentences flow nicely and is easy to read.

Jeffrey Chan: (Voice: 5/5) Unique! Voice shone through! (Mechanics: 5/5) Couldn’t find a mistake! Nice piece of work! Good story!

Mr. Nollan: Excellent essay. The story dominates, but the conclusion is a bit off. How was your grandmother able to teach you what your parents could not? I think there’s something deeper that you learned in addition to the “family will always be there” cliche. How could you make the conclusion more powerful?



2 thoughts on “(1) College Essay: My Grandmother

  1. I’m sure even Harvard will accept you if you submitted this essay. I never thought you were a person fearful of things, but you’re scared of the dentist? Who is this Jeremy I hear in the essay? I think you used specific detail for effect really well here, and it gave me a complete mental image. I also thought you made a solid message at the end with your concluding sentence. Keep it up, Jeremy!

  2. Your use of stories in this is excellent. Like Mr. Nollan always said, “Show, not tell!” It was an interesting and captivating read; the vocabulary used works well in conjunction with the sentence structure used. Your practically shines through the words here. Also, I liked how the pictures and the conclusion also set up a perfect two-pronged attack at the reader’s heart; the pictures reel the reader in, while the conclusion leaves the reader with a savory aftertaste.

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