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My time on the streetcar; New Orleans streetcar - perfectly content environment


patryan5045 1 / 2 1  
Oct 26, 2013   #1
Any comments GREATLY appreciated:

As I started to sweat, I took my seat the first day and wondered how I'd endure the 45-minute ride without air-conditioning. I figured I'd stare out the window, admiring the passing Victorian houses while the people around me glued their eyes to their smartphones. I was on the streetcar. Not just any old form of public transit, the iconic St. Charles Avenue streetcar carries passengers along the historic, oak-lined streets of New Orleans. I had never had much experience on it, but I was about to become a regular on the streetcar, taking it five days a week to get from a summer class in the morning to my law-firm job on the other side of town.

So, there I sat all alone, fighting a losing battle against the heat and humidity of early summer. Soon enough, a man sat in the empty seat next to me. "Hello," I said and smiled politely. "Bonjour" was the reply. I was startled and intrigued. He went on to say, in decent English, that he was from Belgium and was vacationing here with his family. "Belgium..." I thought. I knew that it was north of France, and that the capital was Brussels and Belgian waffles are amazing, but I'd never met an actual Belgian person. Excited, I went on talking to my new Belgian friend until I had to get off and go to work. That day I realized that few locals ride the streetcar; it's almost full of tourists from across the globe.

The weeks continued, and before long, the streetcar ride became my favorite part of the day. Each time I climbed aboard, I found a new eclectic mix of people to pass the time with: whether it was a hipster or a businessman, a surfer or a war-veteran. 'Who will I meet today?' I'd wonder. One ride, I sat next to a Guatemalan woman and used my two years worth of Spanish classes to have simple conversations with her. Because I was going to Nicaragua for a service trip at the end of the summer, I did my best to hear firsthand about life in Central America. I remember how rewarding it felt to be able to communicate with her - to have a practical use for all those hours in the classroom. Of course, not all of my seatmates were quite so captivating. I heard more than I needed to know about a stranger's grandson's soccer team once or twice. Aside from those rare instances, the streetcar never disappointed.

When I think of my time on the streetcar, I am reminded that little things like getting to know a stranger can be fun and rewarding. I found the streetcar so meaningful because it was an active, engaging environment. To me, spending half an hour talking to a random British tourist is more valuable than memorizing my history teacher's monotone lecture on the Henrys and Margarets of the British aristocracy. I learn best and am happiest when exposed to people of diverse backgrounds with unique perspectives. In the future, I will look for opportunities to meet and learn from new people, just like I did in that sweaty streetcar in Uptown New Orleans.
sthakur 2 / 22 7  
Oct 27, 2013   #2
I like it! Focus on the good parts of the streetcar rather than including a few disappointments because it contradicts your point. And make sure you provide a lot more commentary and reflection on WHY it's meaningful to you.
thisweirdkid 2 / 10 1  
Oct 27, 2013   #3
I couldn't agree more with sthakur. You talked a lot about the streetcar and the people riding it. Instead, talk about what you've learned from the ride and what has the ride done for/to you. Also, the prompt is asking about 'the perfectly content environment,' so if I were you I would just mention all the great things and not the nuisances that occurred during your streetcar ride. Omg! This essay brings back all the memories of 'A Streetcar Named Desire." I wish I could visit New Orleans!!!

Other than that, it's great. It's easy to figure out what kind of person you are because you succinctly mention that you flourish the best when you get hands on experience rather than rote learning and boring lectures. I wish you all the best in you college endeavors.


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