General Question

jesienne's avatar

Help with this essay?

Asked by jesienne (800points) September 2nd, 2011

Right below is my friend’s assignment, and she wants to know my opinion towards it and see if anything that can be improved. However I myself is not a native so I just hope there could be some one that is willing to do us a great favour. We’re expecting some comments about the content and the parts that need to be revised and polished. Constructive criticism is welcomed.

Thank you very much!!!


The girl on my left side stood up, my heart remained clam though. I carefully walked with my heels while stretching my dress into a perfect shape, and flipped my fore hair that constantly tried to block my sight. As I stepped on the stage, my name was called, I started marching towards the center of the stage…


This was the third graduation ceremony I had attended. The previous two graduations were all for my bachelor’s degree, yes, the exactly same degree. I went to a branch campus of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) for my BA, so there was one graduation in the branch campus and the other one in HKBU. In June, 2010, I had my very first formal graduation. It was on a day when all of the year four students knew that we were not officially graduated yet, and even so, we all attended, all of my classmates. Maybe because we were obliged to go, or for that we all lived in the campus village, I don’t remember the reason exactly.

I made up my mind to take the super high heels with me to the ceremony after the graduation photo taking day a few days before the graduation. Every girl in my class (which is almost everyone, since there were only 6 boys in our class) was wearing high heels during the photo event while me, as the third shortest in the class still wore flats. That explains why my face in the graduation photo looks struggled and grumpy, because I was standing on my toes behind my least favorite teacher, imagine that.

In the changing room, I put on my new pair of Steven Madden, and walked with others supported me with their hands around me, it felt like I was carried to a hospital with severe trauma shock, because I was also yelling how I couldn’t walk with the heels. I saw this coming and that’s why I also took a pair of flats, just in case any of the inconvenience or fall down occur on the stage in front of the whole faculty.

The one who was calling out our names was from the school board, he might not be sufficient enough to articulate our names correctly, and many of the students before me had been called with totally different names. I love my name and I want it to be said beautifully right, so when I handed the mister my nametag, I also told him my name, then I successfully walked down from the stage with a big smile while taking photos with the head master.

Like I mentioned above, we were not officially graduated when the ceremony was held, therefore, what we got a yearbook that not everyone was in the four-year yearbook. To me, the yearbook seemed more like a catalogue of the school for advertising. After the ceremony, we all went to a lobby of the campus’ lobby and took pictures around with teachers, friends and families. I didn’t invite my parents to come, actually I sort of asked them not to come since there will be an official one in November, most of all, I wanted to share the moment mainly with my friends, and without worrying if my parents were feeling bored.

Before the semiformal graduation, all I wished for was to graduate and leave the school as soon as possible, there were so many terrible memories there, which I couldn’t wait to leave them all behind. Yet after that night, I started to feel disconsolate and a little blue, but with a smile kind of blue. We were all from different places and once we separated, it’s hard to say when or where we would ever meet again. People walk to various directions for their own pursuits.

My second graduation was the formal version of the same degree that was held in HKBU when I just went back home from Sydney. My parents were planning to come with me before we got home and found out our golden retriever, the so-called best behaved dog specie, had tear my mother’s visa to Hong Kong into pieces. My mom had moaned for the whole night while persuading my dad to attend alone. My dad claimed that he was too busy to go, which we both seriously doubted.

I was the only one of my class who was studying abroad then still went back for the graduation, thus they were all very surprised to see me attending. It had been half a years since we saw each other, unexpectedly, we felt closer. I even talked to someone who I had scarcely chatted with for the past four years, dating back when we used to meet everyday. Sadly, we were not a complete class this time.

All of us didn’t enjoy the ceremony at all this time. We never studied in HKBU home campus, we didn’t even bother much to take picture for the wandering mood. The staffs that were arranging the ceremony didn’t treat us well, they didn’t think we were as adequate to get the same degree as the home students had. We were being discriminated between the local students.

The ceremony instructor accused us of being disrespectful and impolite in front of the whole auditorium guests and other graduates while she was explaining the manners and procedures during the commencement. We felt offended yet we found a very childish way to revenge – we talked furiously after her blaming on us of interfering her. Thinking back to what we did then, we really sank to a lower level and made the ceremony looking rather disgraceful.

The whole impression of the graduation was vague, all I can remember now was my favorite charming Irish teacher was sitting a few seats next to me throughout the ceremony. The events came about after the ceremony was fairly fresh to me: I went out with my best friend (who was then studying for a master degree in Hong Kong), we chatted overnight and cried together about how hard it was to stay in a city where you have no one to lean on but yourself.

This graduation was my first overseas ceremony, I didn’t want to go at the very first place after I knew my parents would not come to Australia for me. However, if I didn’t go to the ceremony, I would need to wait for the delivery of my degree. Eventually I invited two friends to come for my graduation, still, I feel frustrating. The parents of my classmates were all going to fly here and watch their children graduate, and for me? I got no one here.

At the graduation day, my roommate, who is also my classmate, went out to pick up her parents to school, leaving me travel to the school all by myself. Sydney had been in sunny days in the past few days but this day. The moment I got up, I couldn’t stop myself of cursing the weather and the early ceremony. I had to get up early to catch a train then transfer to a bus as to get to the school in a rainy day. There were also changes among my guests, one of them said she had to work today that she could only come before the ceremony, the other one said he would have to leave right after the ceremony because he had to work, too. No good start on this day.

I got off the train and got on a bus moodily, my phone rang suddenly. I was in a complete shock seeing that rarely did anyone who would call me here in Australia. So there was a friend who I knew from last semester asking where I was because she wanted to take pictures with me but she was supposed to go to work now, so if I were close to the campus she would wait for me. Unfortunately, I was way before close, so this friend went to work ultimately. Still, I started to feel the little warmth. People do remember you.

After receiving the call, there were several calls afterwards. Having been through the traffic jam around the school area, I finally rushed into the gowns fitting zone. One of my invited friend was there helping me fit into the clothes like a bride’s maid, while I was yelling about buying a graduation teddy bear. After the registry there was no time left for me to buy souvenirs, at that moment, my other invited friend appeared with a teddy bear just on time. My nostril began to feel sour, I did my best to control my emotion and ran into the auditorium. Actually, I ran back to them after a few seconds realizing I was still wearing my pair of Converse instead of the formal pair of lady shoes.

Never had I listen to a speech in formal occasion that dedicated before, the lines that the headmaster gave were humorous and meaningful. Despite that, he kept mentioning us rewarding to our community, which I reckoned he was asking us to leave Australia as soon as possible euphemistically. After his speech, the dean started to call our names for our degree. I didn’t think I nervous at all when I was on the stage, at least not until I walked almost walk to the end of the stage forgetting to get off in the middle of the stage. People giggled when I walked backwards to step down, I blushed.

I don’t know how many people had written about their graduations, but I believe that every single one of them is a unique one. I am proud of myself being in a foreign country with no one I had previous known yet having friends here with me. Life goes one while people leave as always, but they never ever left my memory. Though sometimes I might get defeated, it doesn’t mean that I am weak. As all my closest friends had described me: very little, very strong.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

gondwanalon's avatar

This essay seems more like an entry into a diary or a journal. Frankly it is a bit boring. It needs pizzazz! It needs some energy and style; sparkle, vitality, glamour. Go back through it and attempt to rewrite it in the third person without all the I, my, mine, ours and me’s and replace them with his, her, it, their and them.

Think about what major ideas and or feelings that you want to convey and concentrate on that. Is this essay all about you or is about the complex situations, feelings and good friends on graduation day?

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s a very ambitious essay for someone who doesn’t know English well.

I think that my best advice would be to make the language simpler, and for the writer to avoid constructions and idioms with which she is not familiar.

For example “I carefully walked with my heels” means that the person is walking “on her heels”, which is an uncomfortable and unnatural way for a person to walk. My first thought is “injured feet”? When I find later that she is walking “in heels”, it casts a completely different light on the scene.

Another example: “the exactly same degree” is bad wording. In this case what the writer means is “the exact same degree”. But more important than that, we’re wondering “why go to three ceremonies for one degree”? That doesn’t make sense to us. To my mind, it deserves explanation long before I hear a description of the writer’s footwear.

Simplify. Don’t try to make this a suspense piece. Just write a simple memoir using simple verb tenses. There’s time to get fancy later, after the writer is (much) more familiar with written English.

Even so, the writer should be congratulated for attempting something so difficult when she’s still learning the language. My compliments. Now try again, in a simpler style.

john65pennington's avatar

An essay is an essay, but this borderlines a short novel. Also, some of the words are mispelled.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
6rant6's avatar

Whoever helped edit apparently missed this paragraph:

__Never had I listen to a speech in formal occasion that dedicated before, the lines that the headmaster gave were humorous and meaningful. Despite that, he kept mentioning us rewarding to our community, which I reckoned he was asking us to leave Australia as soon as possible euphemistically. After his speech, the dean started to call our names for our degree. I didn’t think I nervous at all when I was on the stage, at least not until I walked almost walk to the end of the stage forgetting to get off in the middle of the stage.__

jesienne's avatar

@6rant6 Did you just copy the para again?

Response moderated (Spam)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther