These essays were written by a high scoring student in 2010

Number 1

Prompt “The desire to belong is motivated by our fear of being alone.”

Five really good mates. Five different stories. I’ll call them A, B, C, D and E for simplicity’s sake.
Now A was my best mate. He didn’t get along well with the other boys in the group. They irritated him. One of the boys in our group was a bit of a charmer. Let’s call him B. He did better than the rest of us with the ladies. He’d have girls ringing HIM up to “hang out.” Lucky bastard, we thought to ourselves. Now this ladies man had a thing with boundaries. He didn’t like them. He didn’t abide by them. Even if they were set down as part of the unwritten code between mates. You see, what happened was, B got in contact with A’s lady friend and “dogged him” as we all called it. A found out. Consequently, A got mad. That was to be expected I guess. B denied it - as you do. So, A stopped kicking back with us. What did I do? I dogged A too. I just kept hanging out with the group. He didn’t like it and in retrospect I don’t like the way I behaved either, but hey, nobody wants to be a loner.
Now onto B. I’m in the process of talking to a nice blonde lady friend. Pretty cute too I might add. I mention it in front of the boys and they do the usual, “Ahh nice one bro, go for it!” A couple of weeks later and I’m starting to take talking to this girl slightly more seriously. In a random conversation she brings up B. Now she’s piqued good my curiosity. I know he hasn’t got the best track record. A wasn’t the only mate of ours that he’s dogged. I ask her about him and she tells me he’s gross. I’m even more curious! The suspense is killing me! I ask her why and she tells me why. He’s had a few conversations with her and he’s been frank and more than just a little bit graphic with his conversations. Now it’s my turn to be mad. And for the exact same reason as A. Shame I didn’t listen to A from the start. Monday rolls around and I see B at school. I refuse to shake his hand. I tell him in a not-so-polite manner to go get...well, I’ll leave it up to your imagination. Now it’s my turn to stop hanging out with the group. And to A’s credit, he doesn’t do what I did; he sticks by me. He hangs out with me, forgoing the company of the other boys. Well, he doesn’t like them either but hey, I have to give credit where it’s due.
C’s turn. He’s recently gotten a new girlfriend. None of us actually like her but whatever floats his boat. We’re happy as long as he’s happy. Now I particularly don’t like her and it’s because we’ve got our own history, to say the least. She’s turned him against me. Apparently I talk behind her back and stare at her uncontrollably. He tells me off and I give him much the same treatment as I did B. Nobody likes being told off, especially if they didn’t do it. That’s the end of C and me[[#_msocom_1|[C1]]] .
Time for D. Now this kid, he was funny. But not the normal funny where he cracks a witty joke or two. No, this was that one kid who thought it was funny to act like he had been dropped on his head as baby. Or thrown onto his face in his case. Anyway, moving onto the point, I’m hanging out with him one afternoon and I talk about C’s girlfriend. I’ll admit, it was the first time I had said something but it was out of spite. You know when you’ve been convicted of doing something wrong whether it be by a parent, a teacher or a friend and you haven’t actually done it, so, using flawed adolescent logic you decide, “If I’m already guilty, I might as well do it!” Big mistake on my part. The next morning we’re at school and I’m making fun of D. Oops, I’ve pissed him off it seems. I don’t see him until lunch time. In the meantime he and C’s girlfriend have had a nice little chat. Their topic? Me. She confronts me and yep, you guessed it, she got the same treatment as B and C. That brought that friendship to a disastrous end.
Ahh, what can I say about E. Throughout all the arguments with all the other boys, he’s maintained a fairly neutral stance. He’s been the Switzerland of these fights. Good. Anyway, the holidays come and roll by in the blink of an eye. I find out afterwards he’s invited the boys over to his house and they’ve all gone out heaps of times during the holidays. How many phone calls did I get to join in? None. Now, by this point, being a loner is looking more and more like a feasible option; not that I care about being alone. I’ve got other mates. It that damned “principle of the matter” that you hear so much about.
I’ve got to say that at the start of the year, I didn’t foresee any of this. Hell, I’d be lying if I said I did. Five mates. Down to one. Now that’s a predicament. At the beginning of the year, I was so subconsciously scared to stop hanging out with the boys that I dogged the only true friend I had from the start. Now, I’ve realised that the prospect of being a loner has been starting to look more and more like it’s going to happen but I’m okay with that. I realise that I may not always have the friends that I do now, and I’m fine with that too. That’s probably just me trying to convince myself that I’ll always have friends. That might not always be the case either. But once we overcome the fear of being alone, do we truly manage to surpass all mental restraints we’ve placed on ourselves? We can stop caring what our mates will think of a certain action. We can stop caring what that cute girl will think. We can well and truly be ourselves without the fear of having to mould ourselves to someone else’s requirements merely for the luxury of fitting in. Now this may seem like a pessimistic quote but it’s one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and it’s one I believe, “I was born into this world alone and I’ll die alone.” And that’s the way I’ll behave because at the end of the day, I know for a fact that regardless of my actions, my family will always be behind me.
“You know, all I asked for was the definition of identity and belonging...I didn’t ask for a three hour lecture on the topic. Thanks for the help on the homework anyway dad”, my son says as he rolls his eyes.
“Well that’s what you get for having a dad who’s a lawyer, son. Someone who always wants to win you over,” I say with a good-natured laugh.

I know I didn’t incorporate G.U.A.I.A.
I find it a bit hard to do that. I’m going to write another essay on this same prompt. Hopefully, that’ll be more closely linked to G.U.A.I.A.

I think it’s an A.
Small concern. I think a reader usually gets some pictures as they read. It’s hard to do that with ABCD and the voice. If you were to do this in the exam I’d like to ‘see’ things. I really only saw a blonde girl.
Give ABCD some human characteristics and an appearance.

The end is outstanding. We’ll talk about GUAIA. I think we can be pretty subtle. I’ll show you a good article tomorrow from the chief examiner which really says that reference to the text can be subtle - so long as the examiner can see that the text informs your response in some way. That means you don’t need to be at all overt and that will suit you. For instance AB or C could be Asian and the argument about what’s a real Aussie – or something like that.

[[#_msoanchor_1|[C1]]]It’s me rather than I because if you leave out the ‘C’ the sentence would read as That’s the end of me.’ ‘That’s the end of I’ sounds wrong.

Number 2

“Most people are not satisfied with who they are – and this explains why so many people struggle and strive for success.”
Hi there Alice!
Here’s my entry into Growing Up Asian in Australia the Sequel sequel:
Just another normal English class. We’re talking, laughing and joking around. And me? I’m trying to write an essay. Suddenly something a girl says catches my attention. Let’s just say that she’s well known for making broad generalisations. Stupid ones. I remember one time in particular, she said something along the lines of, “It’s none of her business that drug addicts are leaving used needles in the street.” Needless to say, I flamed her over that comment. Anyway, back to the story at hand. The thing that she said that caught my attention was, “Most people are not satisfied with who they are – and this explains why so many people struggle and strive for success.” [[#_msocom_1|[C1]]] I turn around and give her what’s known as “the death stare.” She knows she’s set me off. She does it all the time. And what’s worse is, she’s ready to argue.
Suddenly, I think to myself, “Maybe she’s baiting me? I think I’ll be civil.”
“I think you’re wrong and you shouldn’t make such a general statement. The reason I think you’re wrong is because people strive for success not because they are malcontent [[#_msocom_2|[C2]]] with WHO they are but rather WHAT they ?? or what they HAVE. I think it’s a good thing that people aren’t content. The best example I can think of is someone who lifts weights. They may have an awe-inspiring physique but they’re never content with what they have achieved so they strive for more. This is what produces greatness. This is how legends are born. I can think of an ad by Michael Jordan. You know what he says in this ad? ‘Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I lead you to believe it was easy when it wasn’t. Maybe I made you think my highlights started at the free-throw line and not in the gym. Maybe I made you think that every shot I took was a game-winner. That my game was built on flash, not fire. Maybe it’s my fault that you didn’t see that failure gave me strength. That my pain was my motivation. Maybe I lead you to believe that basketball was a god-given gift and not something I worked for EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE. Maybe I destroyed the game. Or’re just making excuses.’ It’s a powerful ad. It gets me motivated and thinking every single time I watch it. It motivates me to “struggle and strive for success” as you so blithely put it. You know why? Not because I’m upset that I’m Omar. But BECAUSE I want something more in life. Want me to be honest? I will be anyway. My greatest fear in life is that I’ll be mediocre. Just another guy who falls by the wayside and I’m another “average Joe.” You live your life content with what you have and what you are. And I’ll go out and I’ll build myself a better future, a better life, a better body...a better EVERYTHING because I’m not content with what I have. That’s what stops me from just dropping out of school. From just giving up on life and saying, this is the hand that I’ve been dealt and it’s all I’ve got to play with and I’m gonna play by the rules. Well, I’ll tell you something, I’m NOT gonna play by the rules. I’m gonna work my arse off and ‘STRUGGLE AND STRIVE FOR SUCCESS’ and at the end of the day, I’ll have more than you.”
“Actually, Omar, I think there’s an element of truth in what she’s saying”, interjects the teacher bemusedly.
I look at him dumbfounded. Here’s a guy I thought was smart and he’s supporting this imbecile.
“Please explain “I reply dryly.
“Well, look at this way. Have you ever known someone who was not happy with who they were?”
“Well, have you ever known someone who was not happy with whom they were AND tried to do something about it?”
“Well, I knew this boy once. He was an introvert. He’d stay in at lunch-time and read books, he’d avoid the boys and girls and you know how it is with high school kids...we’re immature and we started picking on him. So he got sick of it. You know what he did? He started hitting the gym. Day in and day out. Until one day, we finally took some notice of him. He was pretty big but he was still shy. Why? Because he lacked confidence, he tried to change WHO he was. He still didn’t get popular though. There was just an eerie quality about him. You know where he is now? Still in the gym. Day in and day out. He’s absolutely massive and he’s made millions. But he still hasn’t changed WHO he is.”
“I guess you’re right sir. I guess I agree with this statement to a certain extent after all. It’s not MOST then. But SOME.”
“Well done. And try not to be so rash next time. Give it some deeper thought instead of giving it a quick glance and making an assessment” he replied with a smile.
“HA! HA! HA! I TOLD YOU SO!” she gloated gleefully.
“Piss off.”

Hope you like it Alice. Let me know what needs changing!

It doesn’t quite seem like something that would suit GUAIA. I think the sequel does need to be ‘Growing up Wog in Australia’ or something like that, but you would also need to refer to the pressures on a guy like this one who is ‘wog’. That’s important and it fits both the prompt and the idea that this is a piece for Alice Pung’s new anthology. The girl needs a bit more personality I think. What is it about these grumpy girls who appear in each of your pieces? I think this ‘girl’ needs to be your equal. In other words able to argue back. Imagine someone like that. She can be gorgeous. And Muslim!

The thinking in this is more sophisticated and as these prompts are fairly challenging and harder than the one you’ll get on Thursday, you should feel relaxed. Great response to the prompt A+, writing B+ and B for the GUAIA reference. I think you’d get an B+ to an A.

[[#_msoanchor_1|[C1]]]You could keep the essence of this and put it into a more colloquial. ‘Look idiot, everyone has an inferiority complex that’s why they’re nerds.’ Etc.

[[#_msoanchor_2|[C2]]]Discontented. A malcontent is a discontented person. Malcontent is a noun.