Ten years from now Tim Dickson won’t even remember my name. The unknowing recipient of my undying love for two years, Tim had been everything a girl could ever ask for: smart, handsome, witty, athletic, with a voice that could make angels weep. Everyone knew his name. To a shy little country mouse, nearly invisible in our student body, he was the epitome of manliness. I sat in my corner of room C-119 and gazed adoringly at his profile as he amazed the class of Modern World History with his dashing style. Carefully planning the routes to my classes to coincide with his, I was his silent shadow.

After fourteen months, contrary to my hopes, Tim still was not aware of my existence. Determined to bring myself to his attention, I staged my entrance to his heart with all the flair I could muster. I would breach his defenses at the next history oral presentation in the guise of the dashing Cardinal Richelieu.

It was now or never! Striding into the classroom, my head raised, eyes flashing, I stood proudly, the colors of my eighteenth-century costume catching the light and giving me courage. My opening line shook with tight emotion. “Gentlemen, I am disgusted!” My voice alternately lashed out in rage and purred in soft persuasion. I gloried in my elocution. Each word was power. My voice rose to a brilliant conclusion, and I stood with my arms outstretched and my head bowed in submission.

Dead silence.

My left knee trembled uncontrollably. Why did no one speak? My hands began to shake so I pulled them behind me-like one condemned. My eyes gauged the distance to the door.

Then someone began to clap. More joined in. Tim looked into my eyes-and smiled. He smiled!

Joy, oh joy. My soul overflowed with rapture. I had done it! He noticed me! All the shame, all the worry, and all the castigation melted away in that moment. I knew how to make him love me. I simply had to speak better, sing better, act better, and write better than anyone else.

Determined, I joined competitions, played in concerts, and wrote essays that were read in class. When Tim transferred to the A.P. class, so did I. I threw myself into class discussions, attempting to dazzle him with my intelligence and intrepidity. Making friends with his friends, I dogged his steps.

The next summer Tim moved away. I never heard from him again. But the transformation in me had taken place. Now I was involved for the simple pleasure of being involved. Challenging people surrounded me. Biff taught me to love. Dave taught me to laugh. Ramez taught me to break my limits. Alit gave me confidence. Whenever I was in danger of reverting to a wallflower, one of my new friends would drag me into another club or activity.

In every foray into the threatening world of “school activities,” I still feel an overpowering impulse to run. But although my feelings haven’t changed, my actions have. My stomach still tightens when I enter a room of unfamiliar faces, but I walk in. I still want to run from risk and recrimination, but I keep my feet firmly planted.

Tim Dickson was the single best thing that ever happened to me, all because he didn’t know me from Adam.


The essay is choppy with underdeveloped paragraphs and an unnecessary stream of consciousness. Though it is admirable that the student has become more involved in school and pushed herself to excel (“I joined competitions, played in concerts, and wrote essays that were read in class.”), she has been pushed into doing so by others. The essay makes the student come across as impetuous, immature, and unconfident. The main detraction is that she lets the reader infer that she is easily swayed by others, particularly by men. This quality leads admissions officers to infer that the student could be swayed just as easily into dangerous activities and be unable to make mature decisions for her own self protection. Though admissions officers would appreciate the honesty, the student should have left out some of the intimate details of her personal life.

Poorly Done Detail Essay