Real Life Copy Editing: Editing Mom’s Scholarship Essay

The other day I had a surreal experience.

Photo Courtesy Flickr/Orin Zebest

My mom emailed me an essay, which she had written, to edit. You might be thinking that the event felt surreal because my mom used to help me with my homework and now I was helping her. Not exactly. When I was growing up, I liked to be independent and rarely asked my parents for help with schoolwork.

Instead, the experience felt surreal because we had switched roles in a more tangible way. I graduated from college in May and am now searching for real world jobs. While after more than twenty years since my mom briefly attended college, she will be starting school at the end of September. Culinary school, but still.

The essay she wrote was for a scholarship. Its guidelines were simple: Write an essay explaining your successes, culinary career goals, and how attending the Arizona Culinary Institute will help you achieve these goals.

The essay represents a new (and scary!) beginning for both of us. Below are both her original version and the version after my edits. I’d just like to show what my college education paid for (!), and my mom’s courage for starting fresh, no matter what age.

Did I mention that she got the scholarship?

Original:

Garlic and Gingersnaps

It’s time to find out if my unique ingredients, that I know I have, can take me to the next level in order to accomplish my culinary journey. To finally try and harness my passion for food and cooking. Garlic, a fundamental component in many dishes of various regions around the world. The flavor varies in intensity and aroma with different cooking methods. A gingersnap is a crisp, spicy cookie flavored with ginger and molasses. The gingersnap is most popular in the U.K., Australia, and my birthplace, New Zealand. I am fundamental  in what I want to achieve and yet I do not forget where I have come from that brings a uniqueness to my culinary ambitions.

To summarize my successes defines me not only for my career accomplishments but also on a personal level.  I have achieved an over 20+ year career in the travel industry. I put myself through travel school at 18 years of age. I have always had a passion for travel. I don’t know if it stemmed from my heritage, I am a New Zealand born citizen, migrated to the U.S. at 5 years of age with my family, lived in California briefly, and then was moved to Kansas for my fathers’ work. At a very young age I have always been ambitious and goal driven. My goal….to leave Kansas and see the world. And so I did through my career starting as a gopher delivering tickets at a travel agency to then proving myself as a travel agent, escorting travel groups around the world, and ultimately managing an entire leisure travel division at a major corporation before  I left my career.

Yet  a career has not always defined me. I would say one of my greatest accomplishments was doing the best I could do to raise a family while I worked, then left my career to see that I was there for my family as best as I could and now the result are I have two daughters that are college graduates, something  I wasn’t able to achieve for various reasons. I couldn’t be more proud.

This brings me to the doorsteps of the Arizona Culinary Institute.  Here I am, not your typical student, that is asking for an opportunity to show that my drive for success has not gone away..it has just been dormant or has been put-on-hold per say. I now have an unexplored passion and a drive that will once again make me very successful in now..a culinary career.

You ask anyone in my family who is the most passionate when it comes to food and they will all say,…”oh yeah that’s Mom….oh yeah that’s sis….oh yeah that’s my wife.” They would also say that on most occasions they have never showed up at my house without the expectation of receiving the extremely planned printed menu and a total table setting to match. It has not been unheard of to find a  bedtime chocolate on your pillow in my home along with your breakfast menu for the next morning. My family would call me nuts……………I would simply say that I don’t like to disappoint.

I decided that if I was to pursue my passion for cooking I needed to make it serious and get the best culinary education. My personal goals are first, to achieve an eventual chef status, but then ultimately run my own catering business. I feel I have not only the passion for this industry, but can back it up with my prior career’s experience which I feel has prepped me for a culinary business. Food and travel are the best global combination. The certification from the Arizona Culinary Institute will get my foot in that door.

What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while. I love my family everyday……I cook everyday…….I add some creamer to my coffee once in a while. I want to matter everyday now.

Final:

Garlic and Gingersnaps

It’s time to find out if my unique ingredients, that I know that I have, can help me accomplish my culinary goal— to finally harness my passion for food and cooking.

My past successes and, I hope, my future successes boil down to the unconventional combination of two ingredients: garlic and gingersnaps. Garlic is a fundamental component in many dishes of various regions around the world. A gingersnap is a crisp, spicy cookie that is most popular in the United Kingdom, Australia and my birthplace, New Zealand. Like garlic, I am fundamental in what I want to achieve—a culinary education. And yet, like the gingersnap I offer a lesser-known perspective.

Combining garlic and gingersnaps makes an atypical mixture. Just like me, an atypical culinary student. At 44 years old I’m just beginning my culinary journey. But my past successes have led me here. I have achieved more than twenty years in the travel industry. At 18 I put myself through travel school and started my career as a gopher delivering tickets at a travel agency. I then proved myself as a travel agent, escorting travel groups around the world, and ultimately managed an entire leisure travel division at a major corporation.

On a personal level, I would say that one of my greatest accomplishments was raising a family while I worked, and then leaving my career to see that I was there for my family. Now the result is that I have two daughters who are college graduates. That’s right. Mom’s starting school in September while the daughters search for jobs. I couldn’t be more proud.

Now it’s my turn to study—to study my unexplored passion for food. If you asked anyone in my family who is the most passionate when it comes to food, they will all say, “Oh yeah that’s Mom….Oh yeah that’s sis….Oh yeah that’s my wife.” They would also say that on most occasions they have never showed up at my house without the expectation of receiving the extremely planned and printed menu and a total table setting to match. It has also not been unheard of to find a bedtime chocolate on your pillow in my home along with your breakfast menu for the next morning.

But as much as I love my family, it’s time for me to extend my culinary ambitions beyond feeding the troops. I decided that if I was to pursue my passion for cooking I needed to make it serious and get the best culinary education. My personal goals are to achieve a chef status, and then ultimately to run my own catering business. I feel I have not only the passion for this industry, but can back it up with experience from my prior career, which I feel has prepped me for running a culinary business.

This brings me to the doorsteps of the Arizona Culinary Institute.  Here I am, not your typical student, asking for an opportunity to show that my drive for success has not gone away, it has just been put-on-hold for a while.  I hope that the Arizona Culinary Institute can see the potential in me—garlic, gingersnaps and all.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Real Life Copy Editing: Editing Mom’s Scholarship Essay

  1. Kirsten, great work! Editing is a skill that a lot of college grads still haven’t mastered. Even in the workplace it’s amazing how grammer and punctuation skills go unnoticed.

    Also tell your mom I said congrats!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s