Unanswered [5] | Urgent [0]
  

Home / Undergraduate   % width Posts: 4

Change is my constant; BACKGROUND or STORY /Common App


hgood 4 / 6  
Oct 15, 2013   #1
Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I wasn't used to it being so frigid in July. I stood alone outside my house, shivering in my new school uniform, watching my breath create puffs of steam in the chilly air. I heard the rumble of an unfamiliar bus approaching from around the corner. It screeched to a stop in front of me. The doors slid open, and as I stepped inside I felt about 20 pairs of eyes scanning me up and down, picking me apart.

"Who is she?"

"She must be new."

"Look at her hair! Braids are for five year olds."

The bus driver mumbled something to me in Spanish and started driving away before I had found a seat. The motion of the bus flung me into the laps of two very startled teenagers, both of which, instead of helping me up, began laughing. Soon, the whole bus had joined in. I picked myself up and slumped into a solo seat at the back of the bus, fighting back tears.

This was my fifth first day at a new school in my short nine years of existence. I would have two more before my high school graduation. This particular first occurred in Santiago, Chile, where the seasons are opposite of the United States and school starts in late July.

Having a father in the military, I have gotten pretty used to packing up my life at the drop of a hat and moving to a different time zone. Constantly moving has meant that I've never had more than a couple of years to make friends. I've never had the chance to settle down or to get involved in the community. I've never struggled in school, but changing curriculum and learning environments every two years hasn't made it any easier. I've spent what feels like half my life on an airplane, flying from Argentina to Iceland to Austria and everywhere in between.

While moving isn't all sunshine and rainbows, it's not the end of the world either. The way I see it, the more you move, the more you learn. Not only about the different cultures you experience, but skills that you otherwise may have not aquired. For example, you learn to adapt quickly. When the language barrier presents itself, you learn to improvise, and to pay attention. There is nothing scarier than being surrounded by people speaking in a tongue that you can neither understand nor communicate in. Being able to think on your feet and pick up the vocabulary quickly is a big help in transitioning between cultures.

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned throughout my seven moves is to have an open mind. I know what it feels like to be the foreigner, the one everybody is making fun of because they used a word improperly or got lost on their way to the grocery store. I am more patient with people trying to break the language barrier, because I have been that person. I can now put myself in another person's shoes more easily and realize that just because we don't see eye to eye doesn't mean that their opinions and ideas aren't any less valid.

When I walked into my fifth grade classroom that cold July morning, wiping the tears from my face, I suddenly realized something. Everybody else I know has lived a life of constants: same school, same house, same people. I, until that moment, had envied them. Never having to leave. But that is not my life. My life is suitcases, moving boxes, airplane food, goodbyes, and new beginnings. My life is change. Change is my constant.

Please don't be afraid to be harsh! Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm a little wary of the length, it's just over 600 words, and some places I have read that admissions doesn't like to read essays that ramble on. Thanks in advance!

13etoiles 2 / 3  
Oct 15, 2013   #2
This is really an intriguing essay! The only thing I would say to make it even better is that you can expand more on how your moves have changed you. So expand more on your last 2 paragraphs and maybe shorten some of the beginning descriptions. Also, to make the introduction more intriguing, vary your sentence structures in your first paragraph.

The content is very unique and well presented, so just work on improving "you" part of this experience.
punkiebell17 7 / 11 4  
Oct 17, 2013   #3
It is a great essay! And you seem to have the exact same problem I have, which is writing too much. It's not a bad thing.

Constantly moving has meant that I've never had more than a couple of years to make friends. I've never had the chance to settle down or to get involved in the community.

You are saying pretty much the same thing with different words. You can either combine the two sentences and reword it to make it shorter or delete one sentence.
dumi 1 / 6,928 1592  
Oct 26, 2013   #4
Braids are for five year olds

Braids look as if they've done about five years back

The bus driver mumbled something to me in Spanish and started driving away before I had found a seat.
The motion of the bus flung me into the laps of two very startled teenagers, both of which, instead of helping me up, began laughing mockingly.

I picked myself up and slumped into a solo seat at the back of the bus, fighting back tears.

I hid myself in a rear seat of the bus, struggling to cover up my tears from others.


Home / Undergraduate / Change is my constant; BACKGROUND or STORY /Common App