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While reading the essay below, notice how each new body paragraph begins by referring to the content of the previous body paragraph. These transitions help the reader follow the essay as it progresses from one idea to the next. The essay is color coded to show how a body paragraph refers to the previous body paragraph and all body paragraphs refer to the thesis statement.
The time on the clock reads seven seconds. Behind by one point, the Marksville basketball team has one chance to score and win the game. The guard dribbles down the court, passes behind her back to the center and races to the basket. The center pivots and fakes a shot before dumping the ball back to the guard who fakes to the right, crosses over, and banks the ball into the hoop as the buzzer sounds. The other players rush to the basket and embrace Heather, my cool-headed sister who scored the winning shot. For Heather, this scene is not a fantasy. In fact, she has been a star basketball player ever since she was a little kid. Unfortunately, these days Heather is more interested in putting cash in her pockets than putting basketballs into hoops. Although quitting basketball and getting a job would allow my sister to buy a car and start building her resume, she should continue playing basketball because being on the basketball team will build character and create lifetime friendships.
Heather's first claim is that she needs to quit basketball and get a job so that she can afford a car. It is true that my parents will not buy her a car and if she wants one, she will need to come up with the money on her own. However, she does not need a car and having one will be more of a burden than an asset. My parents and I all have cars and are willing to drive my sister where she needs to go. Also, my parents are both willing to let Heather drive their cars as long as she respects their rules of use. On the rare occasions where a car is not available, she can ride the bus or catch a ride from a friend. Owning her own car will give her a bit more flexibility, but while she might be able to flip burgers or bag groceries to earn enough money for a car, paying for gas, insurance, and maintenance will be extremely difficult with a part-time, minimum-wage job. After buying a car, if she wants to drive it, she will need to pick up additional hours. Soon, she will be working more just so she can drive her car to work. Owning a car simply does not make sense for a high school student.
Whether or not she needs a car,my sister believes that getting a job is the best way to build a college resume. She is right that colleges want students who can work hard and manage their time well; having a job and doing well in school at the same time would prove her work ethic and time management skills. Getting a job is not the only way to prove this, though. Colleges are just as impressed by students who demonstrate their work ethic and time management skills by doing well in school while participating in extra-curricular activities. When she applies for college, Heather will be able to highlight her basketball involvement. As a team leader, she will likely become captain of the team her senior year which she will also be able to include on her application. Colleges love to admit students with leadership experience. In fact, her basketball accomplishments will be much more attractive to colleges than her burger-flipping or grocery-bagging skills.
Having a strong resume to get into college is important, but the character-building experience of playing on a high school team is even more important. First, playing on the basketball team will make Heather a hard worker. After school every day, she will need to muster up the energy to learn plays, run sprints, shoot free throws, and watch videos of her opponents. At six o’clock every Saturday morning, she will need to drag herself out of bed to do the same. Such hard work is obviously not always glamorous. However, to be great, one needs to give up the idea of constant glamor. Additionally, playing basketball will teach Heather perseverance. Heather will sometimes miss her shot; sometimes, her team will lose. Playing on the basketball team will teach her that successful people stumble on their way to success. In other words, successful people understand that failure is a part of success. Hard work and perseverance will not only make Heather a good college student; hard work and perseverance will make Heather a good person.
Having quality characterfosters one of the most important things in life: friendship. Heather will not be alone on her team. She will need to depend on others as others depend on her. This co-dependency will build a bond between Heather and her teammates, a bond that will not exist on the basketball court only. Off the court, Heather will be able to approach her teammates for support and advice. Whether she needs help with math or a shoulder to cry on, Heather will be comfortable going to a teammate. Whether or not she maintains her friendship after graduating, Heather will have a greater ability to meet new friends in the future. Because of her ability to be dependable and dependent, she will form equally strong bonds with her future friends. Life is not always easy; it can be particularly difficult without quality friendships.
While in high school, Heather can spend her time driving to work or driving to the hoop. The car will end up in a junk yard a couple of years from now, but the memories and skills she acquires from playing basketball will last a lifetime. She has an important decision to make; clearly, Heather will get more out of playing basketball right now than getting a job.