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"a member of the Jazz Club" - University of Michigan - diversity short answer


wasabipeaz 4 / 21  
Jan 16, 2010   #1
Hey, PLEASE HELP ME. I don't know if what I've written is relevant to the prompt. I also need to cut down on words. It was way longer than this before, and because of my efforts to cut down it seems abrupt in many places. Can anyone please help me improve this/tell me if it's irrelevant so I can rewrite it? PLEASE help!

"We know that diversity makes us a better university - better for learning, for teaching, and for conducting research." (U-M President Mary Sue Coleman)

Share an experience through which you have gained respect for intellectual, social, or cultural differences. Comment on how your personal experiences and achievements would contribute to the diversity of the University of Michigan.


When I became a member of the Jazz Club in school, I only intended to learn how to play it. Handing over my position as vice-chairperson at the end of my term, I realized that playing Jazz was something I could never fully learn. Instead, I learnt a new way of life, and that became one of the most meaningful things I had ever learnt in my 12 years of schooling.

In no way did I have any personal experience or encounter with the people who would teach me what I was to learn - they lived in the 19th century. The Africans that were brought to America as slaves did not ask to be humiliated, collared, whipped and killed - for errs as trivial as working too slowly, yet, despite their beaten bodies, their hearts were so full of strength, life and song, and their work songs and field hollers paved the way for a Music such as Jazz, a Music so dear to America.

I admit, I was one of those who thought that Jazz was for playing in fancy restaurants with crystal chandeliers and spiral staircases. Learning this bit of history was a shock to me, but it helped me see the strength of the human spirit. Not only did these African slaves revolutionize the music of that era, they have also swum boldly against the current that was so eager to push them downstream.

In the world that I live and have lived in, sufferings as that of the slaves are unbeknownst to us, yet we moan endlessly about nothing more than a broken fingernail. Jazz has sparked a passion for music and taught me to improvise. The song of the slaves has taught me to find joy in what I have, and to stretch beyond what I can reach, and all this I will bring to the University of Michigan.

It's currently 313 words long when it's supposed to be approx 250 words long.
Any help will be VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. Thanks!
shortyi3 1 / 2  
Jan 16, 2010   #2
I believe you're on topic and that you answered the prompt.
I think you have a typo? "and killed - for errs as trivial as working too slowly"
Also, is it "learnt" or "learned" maybe I'm wrong, but I've just never seen it that way.
NTabachnik - / 11  
Jan 16, 2010   #3
Only intended to learn it- Learn what?
Vice- Chairperson of what?

I think that you need to be more focused in your thought. You dip in and out of several issues that are obviously important to you, but you do not delve into ONE of them. We are getting a wide, but blurred image of you are trying to say instead of a focused, clear one. We want to know the Whys, not only the Whats of the experience your are trying to convey.
OP wasabipeaz 4 / 21  
Jan 17, 2010   #4
to shortyi3: Thanks for your comments! errs is okay. as for learnt and learned, i'm not too sure, but i've always learnt it as learnt. :P

to NTabachnik: wow thanks I think you hit the spot. I'm sorry but is it possible for you to be more specific? because I'm not sure where I should go from here.

Also, is the relevance fine? I'm worried because it wasn't a real-life experience per se. How do I show that what I'm trying to describe is an experience that I perceived, not a physical experience (like I met someone who -enlightened- me or something).
klusterfunk 6 / 21  
Jan 17, 2010   #5
I thought your essay was right on the money, in the pocket, and in the groove...

This is a bit of a nit I'm about to pick, but it isn't an err to be unable to work beyond one's capable speed.

whipped and killed - for reasons (?) as trivial as working too slowly,
NTabachnik - / 11  
Jan 17, 2010   #6
I think that your relevance is fine once you narrow your focus.

I can't necessarily pin-point exactly how to narrow it down, but I think that you should read the essay, categorize every point you make, choose a category and focus on that alone. If you think that the other categories have some relevance, you can work them in, but make sure that you are focused.


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