Please tear this essay to pieces if you need to! Thank you!
PROMPT: The quality of Rice's academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What perspective do you feel that you will contribute to life at Rice?
"Are you dust cloud people?". My friends and I started at the strange voice. We turned and looked at the man on the street who had asked the question, our eyebrows raised. He spoke again. "Were you brought her by the dust cloud?" We smiled, suddenly understanding. By dust cloud, he was referring to the giant cloud of ash that was still spewing forth from a volcano in Iceland. We told him yes, that we had been on a trip to Italy with our school's music program and that our plane was grounded in Germany because of the volcano. We had a pleasant conversation with him for a few minutes about how whether we were enjoying Germany and what we had been doing before we arrived there. He recommended a few cafes for us to try, and then we parted. Our group had been in Germany for two days, and encounters like this were becoming quite common.
Every four years, my school's music program embarks on an overseas trip. In April 2010, we went to Italy. We toured cities and played exchange concerts with bands from local schools and never stayed in one city for more than a single day. During dinner on our final night, the TVs in the restaurant where we were eating were all showing the same image of a billowing cloud of smoke. Since the reports were in Italian, nobody understood what was going on. The tension in the other diners worried us, though. The next morning, our chaperones told us that a volcano had erupted and that the airports were closing. An executive decision was made: if we do not leave now, we might not get home at all. We boarded our plane and made it as far as Munich before all European air travel was grounded.
Most students were distraught that we were stranded indefinitely (initial forecasts said that the airports would not reopen for six to eight weeks); our week in Italy had been a tiring one, and a lot of students were getting homesick. I was thrilled with this new opportunity, though. At our final exchange concert in Rome, one of the Italian students with whom I talked told me something that has stuck with me to this day. She said not to believe for an instant that the Forum and the Colosseum were all that Rome had to offer. She said that a person could spend a week in Rome and still not truly know the city. With this in mind, I was eager to explore my new surroundings and see past the touristy plazas and cathedrals to get to the real Munich. I spent a whole day getting hopelessly lost in a marketplace. I went to the Munich zoo. I sat in a park and watched people as they walked past me. I shopped at a supermarket, washed my clothes at a laundromat, and played on a playground.
When the airports reopened five days after we arrived and we were allowed to go home, I had come to a conclusion about Munich, and my results surprised me. While I did see some beautiful architecture and castles and I did stop to marvel at how old some of the buildings were, what I noticed most of all were the people. They rode the subway to work. They took their children to the zoo. They smiled and laughed and loved just like the people in my hometown in California. When you are in a large tourist group, it is easy to get caught up in the history of a place and rely solely on a tour guide to explain everything to you, but when you have the time like I did to roam freely and really see all that is to be seen, you become aware not just of the place's past but also of its vibrant present and you see that the people there are not different from you at all.
To Rice, I bring the perspective of one who has seen firsthand that no matter what language people speak or what foods they eat or where they are from or what experiences they have had, people are people. To Rice, I bring the perspective of a dust cloud person.
1. In the second line change "her" to "here." **Were you brought "here" by the dust cloud?
2. In the 6th line change "cafes" to "cafe's"
3. 2nd paragraph, 3rd line you can add: "with whom I talked to..."
4. 2nd paragraph, 6th line change "touristy" to "tourist." I understand what you're trying to do, but it just doesn't portray you as smart as I think you are.
5. I like the overall direction you're heading in within the 2nd paragraph but I think you should go back and re-think the lines when you describe the exchange between your friend at the concert. Try to make a transition into talking about Germany and reaching it from Italy because it sounds like you are implying that Munich is in Rome.
6. Work on the start of your 3rd paragraph (Starting at "When the airports opened again...). Again, I get where you're trying to go, but it just doesn't sound cohesive with the concluding sentence. You never explictly state what conclusion you reached about Munich. I like how you recall your observations, but maybe you could try cutting some of those so you can state your conclusion about the city as a whole.
7. 3rd paragraph, 6th line down, change "aware not just of the place's past" to "aware of the city's past" because place's sounds too vague and it just reads weird.
8. Continuing with that sentence as a whole, try to combine the part where you make note of the past and vibrant present or just end the sentence after "vibrant present" because that last bit sounds like you're just running on. But try combining the bit about the people before you cut it because I do like it.
9. I love your last sentence because it ties everything together. It's really unique as well.
Overall, you have a good story to tell and I like your approach, I just suggest that you work on some technical stuff like making sure the essays flows and the words you pick are descriptive enough.
Can you check out my roommate essay to Stanford? It's titled "The African American girl with a Spanish name who's in French Honor Society. I know.."