Help? So i wrote a kinda long essay… for a competition and its due on the 31st… today is the 30th, i need people to revise it because, well i wanna win this competition. Just saying, the inside thing is that the names are the names of SJ and SNSD members (their English names) and this is a narrative essay so its kinda like a story ~ The Essay “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” - Ian MacLaren. I believe that this quote relates to me very deeply, because of the events that occurred last summer. It was a period of barely three months and what I learned was a life changing fact; anyone could be going through difficult times and you may never even know. I was being sent to summer camp because according to my parents I don’t make the most out of my summer breaks. I sighed as I boarded the fancy bus. I love my parents but this is super annoying, what if I meet someone I don’t like? Or worse someone who doesn’t like me. The bus barely moved an inch but I was feeling homesick already. The bus had six stops I noticed that there were more boys than girls, the six hour ride was long and boring. When the bus stopped in front of a small campsite I couldn’t have been happier to see the ground. I looked around and realized that it wasn’t as bad as it looked; I could still use my electronics, have air conditioning and what not inside the mediocre looking cabins. I was sharing with four other girls; one room was enough for five people. After we had unpacked, we were called down to the center lodge, our only administrator said that throughout the three months we were here, we would bond and get to know each other and to do any of that we would need to introduce ourselves. So the introductions began, there were nine seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores and one freshman. It was only the first day, yet my impression of them was so misguided. A girl named Sunny looked scary but was actually a really nice person when I got to know her; Erika was the oldest of all of us but she had such a baby face I found it hard to accept that she’s older than me. Marcus was and will forever be on his electronics, he doesn’t care about anything unless his electronics are at risk, and I thought he would be nice, I was so wrong! He is so mischievous I can’t even find words! Apparently Andrew was his cousin; Andrew was perfect; he was smart, rich, funny and everything and he was even modest. I still don’t know how it’s possible for Andrew and Marcus to be related. Andrew came from my school so we kind of knew each other; all that I really knew about him was that he was nick named as the Adonis of our school. His older sister Jessica was also taking part in this camp, she’s known as the ice princess, she tends to be very secretive and has a strong poker face but she acts differently around her friends, I see her smiling and laughing with her friends, which everyone believes is rare. A few days had passed, I was fairly used to things around camp, I even became friends with some of the girls that I shared the room with. We were out learning how to canoe, Sunny, Erika and I were sharing a canoe. Sunny, who sat in the middle, began talking about random things; she was a lot friendlier than she appeared, as mentioned earlier. Erika and I also added comments here and there but Sunny did most of the talking; she was determined to get to know everyone in camp. During the canoe trip Erika asked Sunny why she had been so determined to become friends with everyone, the atmosphere sullied as Sunny replied with two words. The words “I’m lonely” escaped her lips. She revealed that her mom had passed away a year ago and her father couldn’t accept it so he fell into depression; he lived in another state while she lived with her aunts’ family, she was a horrible mess after her confession to the two of us. It seemed like she had been keeping a lot of things to herself for a long time. I would’ve never guessed her family situation was that bad if she hadn’t told us. It made me realize that not everyone has a happy life at home. Sunny and I became closer after the confession and she had gone back to her normal cheerful and lively self. It was so difficult to tell that she was going through so much because of the way she genuinely laughed and smiled. She’s so strong, I thought mentally, she’s really strong for not breaking down, for not becoming depressed after what happened to her; it really made me look up to her. It was the second week of camp when Roxanne, Marcus (Mark), Casey and I had been assigned as the chefs for the week; we had exceptionally gotten closer due to the fact that we met and talked three times a day. It was Thursday and we were making breakfast, a yelp was heard when Mark accidentally burned himself. Everything was so sudden, I just froze and watched Casey run to Mark’s side, pulling up the sleeve of Mark’s shirt as he went to treat the first degree burn. It certainly wasn’t the only wound on his arm, cuts and bruises were more than evident on the pale boys skin. Mark didn’t say a word but it was understood that he would speak when he was comfortable telling us about his cuts and bruises. Had he been going through something at home? Or was it at school? It was sudden but two days after, Mark came to us during the campfire gathering and told us about the physical abuse he went through at home. Casey watched him as he explained, the words stumbling out of his mouth like marbles spilling out of an open sac. The gamer had always been snarky with his sharp tongue and sassy comebacks that the fact that he was being abused at home still came as a huge shock. Had he been as passive as Nathan, we would’ve seen it coming but he wasn’t. After Mark had gone to sleep, Casey stated that the only way Mark could get away from the pain was through games. They were his utopia, his happiness and his escape from the abuse, his family had been well off so the only reason he got abused was when he did something wrong or when his parents were stressed. That night I thought about mom and dad, they never hit me and I was thankful for that. I had only heard about physical abuse in class, I’ve never experienced it nor did i know anyone who went through physical abuse. About two weeks later I was walking beside Jessica to the dining hall, and she was awfully quiet. As I observed her, I realized she was as skinny as a stick and would barely eat more than half a meal. Tiffany and Erika asked her what was wrong and she replied with nothing, of course nothing had seemed wrong to her. In her opinion it was only right if an overweight person tried to lose weight. One morning before activities started, Jessica fainted on the way to the dining hall. In her hand was her cell phone, it had fallen down with her, the screen displayed a chat room conversation between her and some other girls. Most of the words weren’t meant to be repeated due to the unbelievable use of vulgar language topped by very rude comment. Some called Jessica fat, ugly and fake; and that was when everything made sense. Others had been calling Jessica fat and other mean things which made her insecure of her own body so much that she had become anorexic. When Jessica woke up, all of the girls were surrounding her in a more comforting than intimidating way. She hadn’t informed us of anything, keeping her calm and collected face on, she continued this way until one night I went out to retrieve my water bottle that I had left at the campfire. Jessica and Erika were talking, Jessica came out clean, sobbing into Erika’s arms, it was such a sad sight. She had appeared so strong, in my eyes her mask cracked the day she fainted, and her façade was no more. She had been through a lot and no one, not even Andrew, her brother, seemed to notice. She was like Sunny except she didn’t hide her feelings with a smile, she hid them with her poker face. But words hurt more than actions, and clearly they affected the said ice princess. The following week, I was partnered up with Andrew for inspecting the cabins; our job was to make sure everything was clean and in place. Though more often than not, Andrew would get mad at me for constantly messing up or going too easy on the other students. Andrew was and is the perfectionist type. Everything has to be clean and organized, if it’s not, he’ll have it fixed immediately. Ever since his sister’s incident, he became grumpier and stricter. Every time I saw him, I could clearly see the scowl on his face, even if I was a couple of meters away from him. I shuddered at the thought of facing his wrath, at least he had patience unlike Casey. We were inspecting Dennis’s cabin when I looked over to Andrew and saw him staring in a specific direction. My eyes followed his graze and landed on the thing he was observing so carefully. He was looking at a family picture, his eyes full of distant longing. I thought to myself, is there something that he’s going through? Like Sunny, Mark and Jessica. He caught me staring at him and cleared his throat. I looked away, then looked back, staring back into what seemed like a pool of sadness. I carefully spoke in a soft voice, as if life depended on my words. “Are you okay?” I asked. He replied that he was fine, he just wished he had a more complete family just like Dennis. Andrew wasn’t as secretive as Jessica so he spoke his heart out to me when we sat down for a lunch break. He explained to me that his parents were rarely ever in the same state, let alone the same house as him, he told me how ever since he was little he longed for a warm family. It was saddening, he just wanted to be acknowledged by his parents meaning he had to become perfect. It was the last week of camp the entire trip had been something I hadn’t expected when I first got on that bus. If I remember clearly, I was convinced that the trip would be anything but fun. Maybe fun isn’t really the right word for it but it was definitely life changing, at least my perspective on a lot of things changed. I looked over to my left and saw everyone start today’s activities and I thought to myself ‘anyone could be going through a difficult time and no one may ever know it.’ From that moment on until now, I try to be as patient and as kind as possible to the others around me, because maybe they could be going through something traumatic or stressing and we should be kind, because words and actions hold great power. ____ so if you don’t mind, can you please leave me a critique? I’m seriously so thankful to anyone who reads this and helps me with this, thank you!!!!!!