So, I wrote this essay recently, and I'm planning on using it as my main Common Application Personal Statement. I'm looking for critiques, kritiks, (for those of you debate people who will get that little joke) and general help on formatting, changing, warping, and/or shifting the essay, etc. I'm particularly interested in responses to the introduction, and what I could do to possibly make it stronger. Thanks!
10:27AM, Santa Clarita, California: Batman and Bugs Bunny dance around with microphones, rallying excitement. Moments later, Batman shouts "ARE YOU READY!?" to the crowd eagerly awaiting the opening of the wrought iron gates. 10:30 AM: Loudspeaker trumpets blare, gates swing, robotic attendants scan tickets, and people shove each other through silver turnstiles. The large, pasty man snatches my ticket, and then barks "WelcometoSixFlagshaveaniceday," without raising his gaze past the steel counter. As the turnstiles spin, my friends break into a run, sprinting across the park to the orange steel monstrosity that looms, arching above the other coasters before dropping underground.
I never feared roller coasters. I just shook in terror at their sight, sound, or mention. When friends laughed about thrill-seeking coaster adventures, the hair on my neck stood at attention. I had never ridden a coaster. I remember my friend Ali berating my inexperience. "Never? God, I lost my coaster virginity when I was six." He pauses, then looks up grinning, his eyes sinister. "We'll go on Goliath first." A monstrous Philistine warrior's form flashed before my eyes, and I shuddered.
At the park, we reach the coaster's line. After the marathon across the park, we are the first to arrive at the coaster, wheezing and panting. I shake silently with both excitement and terror. "Oh damn," I mutter quietly, awed by the towering steel structure. Years pass as we wait, joking nervously, laughing to dispel the fear. Finally, we board the coaster, trapped in our seats by steel lap bars. No turning back. We stare up, inching toward the 4,500 feet of cold orange steel that awaits us. Then, like thunder, it comes, powerful, drowning out all noise. ClickClickClickClickClickClick. The chain smashes against its gears, pulling us through the clouds. I close my eyes, silently chanting. It'll all be over soon. The clicking refuses to end. ClickClickClickClickClick. The coaster continues up. It'll all be over soon. All be over. Over. Over the edge clicks Goliath. The tip of the coaster teeters over the brink of oblivion. Then, for a split-second, we halt, balanced over the top of the drop, perched over the world. The shaking stops, the chanting quiets, the fear melts, and the coaster clicks again. Suddenly we move, fall from our perch and drop, earthbound. Day becomes night as we shoot through the tunnel, before rising again, hearts and stomachs pushed through our legs to our feet. The sun blinds us as we round the top of the second curve, momentarily weightless again, before falling back to earth.
Quaking in line, waiting to board Goliath, I was ignorant of what awaited me. I could not know that the ride was not about rising and drops, or twists and turns. Goliath was an experience which, while unlikely, changed my life. For nearly fourteen years I had lived in fear of roller coasters. The fading orange paint and steel scaffolding taught me not to judge the ride of life by appearances alone. It is important to drop prejudice and fear, get into the train, strap in, and enjoy the ride.
I really liked how descriptive you were with the whole experience because it makes the reader feel right there with you. Because of this and the ultimate message, I would keep it mostly the same, however I would change two things. One, the "coaster virginity", and the "Oh damn." These things are not expected in a college essay and took me by surprise and gave me ironically a sort of prejudice against you. They are very brash, and although I realize, and admissions officers realize, we all say that stuff, this just isn't the time.