is this a good college application essay (a little long, but I’ll give you ten points for a good answer :))?
I was prompted to write about a person who influenced my life.
The moment I met Miss Sarah Martin, I forgot her name. It would be three weeks before I remembered it and a month before I addressed her directly. Her words on our first interaction were not in any way extraordinary or memorable. Her words and actions in our encounters after that, however, are the most vivid and meaningful memories I have. I never expected a woman with such a small role in my life to become my greatest influence, but in her subtle way, she managed it.
Miss Martin was a student teacher assigned to my 11th grade English course. She had few responsibilities as such, most of her time was focused on the minor tasks of handing out papers, grading tests, and observing the class. Even so, in this limited capacity she managed to become a favorite among her students. From the second day onward, she greeted each of us by name and with a smile as we walked in the door to class, and extended this courtesy anytime she passed one of us in the hall. During class discussions she encouraged every idea; regardless of how bizarre or partially thought out it may have been, she always gave the right amount of attention to everyone’s thoughts. For me, her acceptance and praise gave me confidence and hope I never had. She is the only person I ever felt believed in me.
I was lucky to have met Miss Martin and have her in my life, if only as a student teacher. My luck drastically increased in October of that year as our assigned teacher decided to have a surgical procedure, which would cause her to be on leave for the rest of the year. Although she
could have opted to transfer to another school and continue as a student teacher, Miss Martin stayed with us and became our full time teacher. Throughout the year, my life changed dramatically because of her class.
Before Miss Martin’s class, I was unhappy with my life. I was incredibly shy, had no self esteem or confidence, and constantly increased my insecurities and low self worth by being hyper critical of myself and being cynical about the world. Her example and treatment of me changed all of this. Through her genuine kindness and unshakable optimism, she erased the effects of seventeen years of negativity.
In nine months, Miss Martin never raised her voice or became agitated in any way. That is not to say she avoided conflict or let bad behavior slide, she dealt with everything in a calm and understanding way. She saw the person beyond an unfavorable action and appealed to the good in that person to remedy the situation. Our actions could be undesirable, but that never altered her high opinion of any of us. I never caused trouble in class, but seeing how Miss Martin could have faith in people despite imperfection caused me to be less critical of the world and of myself. Even if I could not see or acknowledge it, Miss Martin made me believe there was good in me. Her care for the people in her life showed me that I deserved to be loved and respected and that I needed to love and respect others, without judgment or hesitation.
My social anxiety slowly dissolved as Miss Martin gently coaxed me out of my shell. Although she never said anything about it, she could tell I had difficulty in dealing with people. I could not say good morning until she had done so first, I opted to work by myself when she assigned group projects, and I avoided sharing any ideas during open discussions. Miss Martin never forced me to do anything I did not want to do, she did however nudge me slightly out of my comfort zone when she saw the opportunity to do so. She started conversations with me, she
encouraged me to work with other people, and during discussions she always asked me directly for an opinion. That little bit of extra support from her showed me that there was nothing to fear from others. The ridicule and judgment I anticipated did not exist. Instead, my efforts were met with acceptance, understanding, and every once in awhile, praise for a good idea that otherwise would have been kept to myself.
I do not know who I would be without Miss Martin. I do know how lucky I am that she was assigned to my class and that she became my regular teacher. I know how lucky I am she took an interest in me. I know that my ambition in life is to be the Miss Martin to others who do not consider themselves as lucky as I am.
Ditto here! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring essay. I see great things in store for you in the future. You are a very gifted writer and you should be very proud of that. =) I even feel a little of Miss Martin rubbing off of you onto me! Though I will never meet Miss Martin face-to-face, just reading your essay gave me a good picture of Miss Martin and made me almost feel like she was the student teacher of one of my classes! Good luck with applying for college and all the best in your future endeavors!!! (… and keep writing!)