I'm applying to Rice University this fall, and the following is one of their supplemental writing prompts:
The Residential College System is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings.
What personal perspectives would you contribute to life at Rice?(500 word limit)
Below is my response, any notes/comments are greatly appreciated!!
Blackout. You hesitate, anticipation flowing through your veins, as you perch on the edge of your seat, awaiting what's to come. Faintly, you hear 9 sets of feet shuffling silently in the darkness, the sound ending as suddenly as it started. Gradually the lights come up, and before you stands a cluster of dancers, placed and posed precisely in their starting positions. The music begins, and you watch in awe as the ensemble moves gracefully along with the melody, perfectly in sync. The choreography is mesmerizing, and as the song fades out, you are ecstatic with what you just witnessed, yet disappointed it couldn't last longer. Another blackout comes, and the sound of shuffling feet as the dancers exit the stage is drowned out by the deafening applause from the audience. The performers, however, have no time to revel in their approval. Some rush to the dressing room, having only 3 minutes to change their costume, hair, and makeup for another dance. Others sit miserably, thinking of their mistake of stepping with the left foot, when the choreography emphasized the right. One rests with her ankle iced and elevated, as she had injured it the week prior, but couldn't afford to miss the performance. Dance is not as effortless as dancers make it seem on stage, and instead takes years of pain and perseverance.
I have danced, both recreationally and competitively, for nearly 11 years. My mother says that I was always meant to perform, and through dance I can express this calling. However, when she signed me up all those years ago, she probably didn't realize all the blood, sweat, and tears, I would, literally, put into my training everyday. The endless stretching and conditioning is a constant discomfort, as I force my leg to extend higher than what should be humanly possible. Pointe shoes are another great example, as they force the wearer to balance all of their weight on the very small tip of the big toe, and yes, it's as excruciatingly painful as it sounds. Dance is a demanding pastime on the body, and few have the strength to persevere through its demands. However, in my years of training, I have not only learned the difference between a jeté and a saut de chat, but I've learned to push through pain for the fruit it bears in the end. From the uncomfortable stretching and conditioning came immense flexibility and strength, two qualities that are necessary to be a successful dancer, and I eventually learned ways to alleviate pain while en pointe, to be a stronger ballerina. I believe this quality of persistence is rare, yet crucial to achieve one's goals. Because of this, I think my perseverance would be a tremendous asset to Rice, as I refuse to give up when the going gets tough. Even when it seems like everything is against me, I know that what's on the other side will make all of the struggling worth it in the end.