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I am writing an essay in which I used a simple chronological flow. Setting first the background, then the circumstances I was involved in and the decision I took, and finally my conclusion after the experience.

I reviewed it several times, but since the story is in my mind. I might be skipping details or interesting information. Plus there might be a way to express it in a more succinct manner.

I would greatly appreciate if you could critique the flow -- if there are parts that are missing which would help to a smoother progress of the story -- and pointing out better ways to express any phrase or idea -- maybe by erasing unneeded words, sentences or paragraphs, or well, expressing it in a better form.

Your observations are greatly appreciated.

Thanks

*NOTE: For comparison purposes, I have included the modified paragraphs below its respective paragraph. *

Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your decision? Would you make the same decision today? (600 words)

A few months before finishing graduate school, I was starting to visualize my graduate life when suddenly a friend told me the latest news: Lehman Brothers had collapsed underscoring the real concern that the economy in the US was in a precarious state. I had a limited perspective on the situation, but I knew that my student visa was close to expiring and my student loans were running out. I needed to find a job quickly.

A few months before finishing graduate school, I was starting to visualize my graduate life when a friend told me that Lehman Brothers had collapsed. This was terrible news, since it underscored the real concern that the economy was in a precarious state, and increased my fear that my student visa would expire or student loans run out before I could get a formal job. I needed to find one quickly.

After a couple of months, I found an interesting job opportunity. It was a due diligence job for high-tech patents. It sounded like a good opportunity that was going to extend my visa as well as pay for my living expenses and student loans. For these years of economic instability, it was going to provide me with a stable job.

Nevertheless, once the initial excitement faded away, I got my main priority back in place. My priority was to pursue a career in the robotics industry. Thus, the logical initial step was to get a hands on robotics job which would help me understand the technicalities behind building and delivering a robot. This step, in my eyes, was highly important, since it would lay down a path to grow in the field.

Nevertheless, once the initial excitement faded away, it was time to refocus on my main priority: to pursue a career in the robotics industry. Thus, the logical initial step was to get a hands on robotics job which would help me understand the technicalities behind building and delivering a robot. This step, in my eyes, was highly important, since it would lay down a path to grow in the field.

Somehow working in High-Tech patents did not seem so appealing anymore. It would completely deviate me from the robotics industry and the experience I needed to start off. In short, I was sacrificing my long term priorities for short term comfort; so, I decided to pass up the opportunity.

Somehow working in high-tech patents did not seem so appealing anymore. It would completely derail me from the robotics industry and the experience I needed to gain in that field. In short, I was sacrificing my long term priorities for short term comfort, so I decided to forgo the opportunity.

My decision did not come free of consequences. I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and staying with friends; I had to work as a volunteer in order to maintain my visa status, and I had to learn how to manage the uncertainty that comes without a formal job. But, after a few months, I was rewarded with a job in the automation industry. A job in which I was going to develop software for CNC machines. It was an exciting role in the right industry.

My decision did not come free of consequences. I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and staying with friends, I had to work as a volunteer in order to maintain my visa status, and I had to learn how to manage the uncertainty that comes without a formal job. But, after a few months, I was rewarded with a job in the automation industry, in which I was going to develop software for CNC machines. It was an exciting role in the right industry.

From this experience, I realized that when one’s priorities are clear, the right decisions are easy to figure out. The difficult part is convincing oneself to take the risks and sacrifices that a decision will entail. Turning down the job opportunity was the right decision in my mind and heart, but somehow convincing myself to pursue an uncertain and risky path instead of a stable and comfortable one was incredibly challenging.

I am happy that I pursued the right decision and everything worked out; yet, I am conscious that decisions based on one’s passion and values need not always turn out so well. That sometimes, circumstances and timing can undermine one’s personal goals in life. Despite this, I still believe that in the long run, staying true to one’s priorities will lead to a more fulfilling life and if I were in a similar situation today, I would still do the same.

I am happy that I pursued the right decision and everything worked out, but I am conscious that decisions based on one’s passion and values do not always turn out so well. That sometimes, circumstances and timing can undermine one’s personal goals in life. Despite this, I still believe that in the long run, staying true to one’s priorities will lead to a more fulfilling life and if I were in a similar situation today, I would still do the same.

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If you want further feedback on this essay, I'd consider a second question that references this one, since you have an accepted answer on this one, rather than an edit. –  justkt Jan 4 '12 at 13:18
    
@justkt: Thank you for the observation, but isn't it common to modify already established answers? In my understanding that is the point of a wiki forum, that it can continuously improve the already answered questions. Best ;-) –  Peretz Jan 5 '12 at 0:47
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it is possible to modify an answer, but in the case of a site like writers if the information is constantly changing in the question all the answerers would have to come back to update their answers, there would be less incentive for new answers to be provided, etc. I recommend breaking the questions up. –  justkt Jan 5 '12 at 1:14
    
I agree with you. Maybe next time I break apart my essay in more fine-grained points. Thanks. –  Peretz Jan 5 '12 at 1:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The flow isn't bad. You have some wording issues and one large clarity problem.

A few months before finishing graduate school, I was starting to visualize my graduate life when suddenly a friend told me the latest news: that Lehman Brothers had collapsed. This was terrible, but it only underscored the real concern that the economy in the US was in a precarious state. I had a limited perspective on the situation, but I knew that my My student visa was close to expiring and my student loans were running out. I needed to find a job quickly.

Use "suddenly" very sparingly, and try to keep it attached to physical actions, like a car crash or a gasp. You could talk about how the door to your room suddenly slammed open and your friend burst in with news, but not "she suddenly told me something."

Similarly, you are describing an ongoing process ("I was starting to visualize") which is interrupted by a concrete event (Lehman's collapse). Either you are in the present moment or you are generalizing, but you can't do both in the same sentence.

Nevertheless, once the initial excitement faded away, I got my main priority back in place. it was time to refocus on my main priority: My priority was to pursue a career in the robotics industry. Thus, the logical initial step was to get a hands on robotics job which would help me understand the technicalities behind building and delivering a robot. This step, in my eyes, was a highly important, step since it would lay down a path to grow in the field.
Somehow working in High-Tech patents did not seem so appealing anymore. It would completely deviate derail me from the robotics industry and the experience I needed to start off gain in that field. In short, I was sacrificing my long term priorities for short term comfort; so, I decided to pass up the opportunity., so I chose to leave the job.

You can't pass up an opportunity after you've accepted it. If you didn't take the job, then you need to reword as something like "While the job had a lot to offer, after I thought about it, I realized I had to focus on my main priority."

My decision did not come free of consequences. I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and staying with friends;, I had to work as a volunteer in order to maintain my visa status, and I had to learn how to manage the uncertainty that comes without a formal job. But, after a few months, I was rewarded with a job in the automation industry. A job, in which I was going to develop software for CNC machines. It was an exciting role in the right industry.
I am happy that I pursued the right decision and everything worked out; yet, but I am conscious that decisions based on one’s passion and values need not don't always turn out so well. That sometimes, circumstances and timing can undermine one’s personal goals in life. Despite this, I still believe that in the long run, staying true to one’s priorities will lead to a more fulfilling life and if I were in a similar situation today, I would still do the same.

"need not" means more like "isn't obligated to" (You need not return this), not "expected to" (things don't always work out).

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1  
Lauren thank you for your reply, and happy new year. I went through your changes, and I found them really helpful. I just have a couple of observations that I would like to see if you could help me clarify. 1) I feel there is a break in the 1st paragraph between these two sentences "... was in a precarious state. I had a limited perspective on the situation, but I knew that my My student ..." what do you think? 2) Instead of "While ...... main priority." what about So, I decided to forgo the opportunity. does that sound correct? Thanks –  Peretz Jan 3 '12 at 2:40
    
1) I see your point. How about "...precarious state. This added to my main concern: my student visa..." 2) yes, but it's not a new sentence. "...short-term comfort, so I decided..." –  Lauren Ipsum Jan 3 '12 at 14:35
    
Thanks for getting back so quickly, I modified the paragraphs -- specially the first one I modified it considerably. If possible, I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Also, I included the other paragraphs so people that look at the essay can get a better idea of the changes that were done. Thanks –  Peretz Jan 4 '12 at 0:42
    
First para: should be "student loans run out" (would run is the verb phrase). Third para: "This was highly important, since" (remove repetition of "step"). Fourth para: "comfort, so I" (the last clause is not independent. It needs a comma, not a semi-colon. No comma after "so"). Use lowercase for "high-tech" in all instances; it's not a proper noun. Other than that, it looks good. :) –  Lauren Ipsum Jan 4 '12 at 1:13
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very very interesting. I just clarified a huge typo that I always have. I just read that it is the same with yet. Thanks. –  Peretz Jan 5 '12 at 1:43

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