Reflection

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“You need to help your brother.” My mom said as she was reading over the college essay that I wrote for my Advanced Comp class. After searching the computer files, I discovered that she was right. Brandon needed help. He answered his essay just as I would have before taking this class. Restate the question in the first sentence, and drone on with an explanation.
On my first day walking into 34ACH, Mrs.Jorgensen said she was going to “teach us how to write”, but I already knew how to do that. Or so I thought, and apparently so did my brother. We were wrong. I didn’t even make it past the first paragraph before I told him he needed to start over. The pathetic thing was, that a month before this I would have said it looked great. Filling the page with vague, large words to sound smart, and making a list of accomplishments that college administrators already knew. That is exactly what my brother did. Exactly what the college admissions boards read 500 of every day, and exactly what would get him a big fat rejection letter from any college he applied to.
It just so happened, that weekend Brandon was taking college tours, and would have a lot of down time sitting in cars and airplanes. I handed him my binder and said “read the green and the yellow section. Rewrite it. Then I’ll help you.” While he objected to reading two of the largest sections in my white three ring binder, he also knew I wasn’t helping him if he didn’t put forth the effort in to learn it himself.
To my surprise, the day he came back he handed me my binder and his newly written essay. It was better, but he was still just answering the question. With an eye roll, he agreed to do it one more time, as long as I’d do it with him. During those few hours I explained to him that he needed to tell a story. One that would show all of the characteristics that he originally listed off, but without having to say them. The hardest habit to break him of was that certain rules that you learned in elementary school don’t apply anymore. Writing with over-expressive adjectives, and words no one knows the meaning of, is fluff. It doesn’t make writing better. Fragments are good to use, as long as they’re intentional, and clichés are not okay unless you earn them.

Once he understood these concepts, he came up with a decent essay. He got into all of the colleges he applied to, which I don’t think would have happened if he had submitted the work that he had originally started with.





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