People say that inner beauty matters more than outer beauty. But when I looked into the mirror and saw my face covered with unsightly blemishes, it was hard to tell myself that and believe it. By the time I entered high school, my acne had gotten worse, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. So in the summer of ninth grade, I embarked on an unexpectedly difficult and emotionally trying quest for clear skin, an experience that culminated in one of my proudest achievements.
My typical daily diet consisted of sugary cereal for breakfast; salty turkey sandwiches, soda, and chips for lunch; a candy bar for snack; and rice and fried noodles for dinner. I never thought that my diet would be a cause of my acne, but the possibility first came to me when I was reading a skincare article. Desperate for a cure, I searched “clear skin diet” on the Internet. The websites that turned up all echoed the same message: a balanced and healthy diet is crucial for beautiful skin. The recommended foods listed included large portions of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and fish; 8 glasses of water daily and only small amounts of high-sodium, high-fat, and high-sugar foods. I researched further and found out that the expensive chemical cleansers that I had been using were not the answer-gentle face washes and a coat of sunblock were inexpensive products that could reduce breakouts. I knew that changing my entire diet and skincare routine would require a tremendous amount of commitment and willpower. But determined to improve my skin and my self-confidence, I began to transform my lifestyle. I started by incorporating fruits and vegetables into my meals and replacing sugary cereal with whole grains, chips with carrots, and fried noodles with salmon. For a long, painful week, I stuck to this diet and restrained myself from any junk food. My skin was noticeably smoother, clearer, and brighter. Yet I found myself relapsing, unable to continue for long without indulging myself, unable to swallow the horribly plain salads and chewy carrots. Every time I stopped, the acne came back. It came to the point where I despised the acne and coveted the clear skin enough to force myself back on track. It became an excruciating pattern of cravings and self-restraint. I struggled with these two impulses until I became used to healthy eating, even enjoying it. Now, two years later, my skin is better than ever and I have never gone back to eating the way I had before.
I have no awards or medals to show for my particular achievement. But no academic distinction in the world can match what I gained from my experience with changing my diet: healthier skin, self-confidence, and newfound mental strength. Above all, I realized that by improving my outer appearance, I had enriched my inner appearance.
开头的“inner beauty matters more than outer beauty” “one of my proudest achievement”和结尾的“by improving my outer appearance, I had enriched my inner appearance” “no awards or medals to show for my particular achievement”从内容和形式上都得到了呼应，虽然文字有限，但是阐述的观点非常直接而又铿锵有力。在观点阐述之后，作者又毫不掩饰地表现出自己作为女孩子对美的渴望，即便是外在的美也异常地重要，皮肤状况给她带来的自卑感成为她想要改变自己的导火索，犹如丢入平静湖面的小石子，激起了作者内心的涟漪，而内心波澜引发的一系列动作和后续反应就促使了作者的成长。这样的写作方式非常值得借鉴，每一步都是一环扣一环地进行着，使得内容衔接很顺畅、信息更真实。
全文作者对自己的不足和人性的特质都毫不避讳的展现，“for a long, painful week”用形容词有效描述了内心对于克己过程的抵制心理，“unable to swallow the horribly plain salads and chewy carrots”中“吞咽”“可怕的”字眼也真实地反映出她对健康饮食的不喜，“It became an excruciating pattern of cravings and self-restraint”说明了人性对于美和美食的平衡和战争的反复过程，也侧面说出了作者在改变自己过程中的艰辛。人性中对美好事物的渴望和对自我放纵的默许是再常见不过的了，一点也不造作，而作者通过心理的不断调整和行动的不断突破，最终战胜了放纵行为，实现了自身的提升或者飞跃，这一切的变化犹如破茧成蝶。虽然在学术上没有出众的成果证明，而从这样的变化过程也能够窥探到申请者的潜质和毅力。
1. Embark: 乘船；装载；着手；从事。同义词有“launch、commence、start”，而这个词带有未知的冒险的成分。
常用词组是embark for，embark on/upon，embark in。
Echo off: disappear slowly
Their voice echoed off into the night.
Echo with: be filled with the repeating effect of a sound
The room echoed with the sound of music.