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Title: The Road Now Taken


lowcal 12 / 27  
Dec 20, 2009   #1
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?

Struck by sudden panic, we all realized the impending hour of the
Masquerade Ball. The aroma of the fresh out-of-the-oven brownies and the roar
of the vacuum cleaning were all examples of what we Interact members were doing
to prepare for the fast-approaching dance. Students scurried past one another
trying to get everything done in time. Rushing to encircle the pillars with
decorative lights, I paused to observe the frenzied work force of students. A
few feet away from me were two students high on ladders attempting to hang an
ornate poster. With a bright red background, dangling ribbons, and glitter
spread to form words, the sign read "Welcome to the Masquerade Ball! Not only
will you have fabulous time but you also will help children in desperate need
in third world countries." A picture of a young girl beaming with a gap-toothed
expression lay juxtaposed to the large poster. My eyes fixated on the picture.
At that moment, I couldn't help but smile, remembering my recent life-altering
experience in the heartland of Bangladesh.
The bus slowed to a stop. I took a moment to glance at my
surroundings through the window. The sky painted a mixture of colors much like
that of Edvard Munch's The Scream. I had arrived in a small village known as
Morrelgang. Stepping out, I felt the damp weather press against my skin.
Though the above scenery displayed a pleasant and heartwarming view, what lay
ahead of me did not compare. The road on which people walked or even
bicycled across had a scattering of hazardous rocks and mud. Five children,
dressed in wretched clothes stood before me. Many of them strode barefoot.
Those with shoes had only ones of poor quality. Despite their conditions, all
the children flashed me bright smiles. At that moment, my throat clenched and
my heart tried to keep itself from shattering. At that moment, I was facing my
own family.
As I tried to hold myself together, a young girl, my niece,
approached me blithely and wrapped her cold hands around mine. She wore a faded
red long-sleeved dress with tears trailing to where the skirt ended. Her hair
was tied up in a messy knot with a ribbon of matching color. Her entire body
was aesthetically-clothed. She constantly dangled her bare feet against the
mud-covered earth floor. Not minding how she looked, she gently tugged on my
arm as a signal for me to follow her to her home.
As she swung my hand back and forth while we walked along the
rugged road, I felt her body shiver frequently against my skin. Observing her
condition, I felt somewhat selfish since I had been comfortably warm with my
zipped-up leather jacket and fuzzy brown moccasins. Slowly, I released her
hand, careful not to offend her, unzipped my jacket, and proceeded to wrap it
around her petite, shaking body. Joyfully, she accepted my gesture and snuggled
herself deep inside the jacket.
We soon stopped in front of an enormous house, built primarily out
of wood and mud. About 20 feet tall, the house was painted in shades of bright
red and blue. Trees as tall as lamp posts stood near the right portion of the
house. Stairs molded from a mixture of gray cement and golf sized rocks led to
the inside. Back home in the United States, I had never lived in, nor seen a
building even remotely similar to this mansion. To be honest, I couldn't
imagine ever living in a setting like what lay before me. However, as I saw my
niece gleefully run towards her home, gesturing for me to follow along, I
gained an immense respect for her lack of embarrassment from where she came
from.
Once in her room, I instantly spotted a medium sized gray shoe box,
embellished by a bow shaped from a white piece of yarn, placed on top of a
wooden bedside table. When she noticed my expression, she giddily told me to
have a seat on her bed. She grabbed the shoebox excitedly and placed it on top
of my knee, pleading me to open it. I untied the elaborate handmade bow and
lifted the lid. Inside lay a homemade necklace and bracelet made of rainbow
colored beads and brown and ivory-colored yarn. My heart melted. Even though I
had seen a million dollars worth of jewelry in my lifetime, I still thought her
gift to me was the most precious piece of jewelry I had ever laid my eyes on.
While I stared at my niece's present, I was filled with a sudden fear of
presenting her with the gift I had brought.
Surrounded by a lifestyle in which shiny and materialistic objects
were easy to obtain, I assumed that by merely buying her a golden jewelry set
would make my niece happy. However, after seeing how much time and effort she
had put into making a gift made me feel inconsiderate and less giving. I did
not want to offend her because I could afford what she currently could not. I
did not want her to feel inferior to me. However, I did not want her to go
through life without having at least one moment of luxury, a life I had been
living every day. Hesitantly, I reached into my purse to grab a maroon box
which held my present for her.
I began to silently hope and pray that she would not get upset. In
my head I imagined seeing a frown on her face once she saw the costly jewelry.
Instead, she flashed her small teeth at me and leaped onto my lap to give me
bear-like hug and kiss on the cheek. Slowly, she moved towards my ear and
whispered, "Thank you so much Auntie, I really, really love it." All the
immense anxiety within me suddenly washed away. Happily, I smiled back at her
beaming countenance.
After moments of staring at the picture, I came back to reality.
The girl's smile in the picture reminded me of the same smile my niece gave me
the day I gave her the golden jewelry set. Her smile reminded me of how despite our contrasting
lifestyles, we both shared the same ideal of life, the ideal of equality. Whether one could
afford to make a piece of jewelry out of beads and yarn or a diamond necklace worth someone's lifetime savings, I believe that each person deserves to be treated with equally respect. I do not base a person's disposition through first impression but through elongated observance of temperament and spirit. I carry myself on the morals of keeping an open mind towards people, places, and things. Much like the concept draw out from Robert Frost's elegant The Road Not Taken, my perspective of life to take the chance of seeing others by the same token aspired me to become more knowledge in different realms. While I yearn to challenge myself on many intellectual levels, I also am curious of understanding other peoples roots and ethics they hold with them every passing day. Walking across the college campus populated with fresh new faces from small towns in Eastern Asia or even local cities in Texas, by the end of the day, I plan allow individuals to show me who they really are and not what today's stereotypes have set them up to me. While I do reminisce my niece's smile through moments of my life, I do not mind encountering another elated countenance.
Katsch 4 / 63  
Dec 20, 2009   #2
Woah, first of all, this looks far too long. You don't want to overburden the admissions officer reading your essay. I believe they asked for two to three pages double-spaced [I had this prompt as well], and yours looks to be about a little over four pages double-spaced.

I would perhaps transition a little better from you looking at the banner to your experience in Bangladesh. I felt some mental whiplash going between those paragraphs. Also, perhaps explain in a few words what Interact is? Do you really need to talk about the masquerade ball at all? It doesn't tie into the end of your essay, it feels more like a side topic you're trying to show off. I'm sure it's in your activities section, just focus on your trip to Bangladesh.

This is a little nitpicky, but I don't see any reason to compare the sky to Munch's painting unless you want to look intellectual.

I think some of the description when you're talking about your niece is a little excessive. I know you want to put in some good imagery, but don't lose the focus of the reader in all of the small details.

Much like the concept draw out from Robert Frost's elegant The Road Not Taken, my perspective of life to take the chance of seeing others by the same token aspired me to become more knowledge in different realms.

I find this sentence rather confusing... you really don't need to bring in references of works of art or literature to sound like you know what you're talking about.

It's kind of funny, we each this one sentence in the conclusion that sounds similar. Maybe great minds think alike.
Mine: "Instead of filing people under categories based on just one aspect of their identity, whether it be age or ethnicity or major, I plan on letting my fellow students show me who they are and what they can do."

I plan allow individuals to show me who they really are and not what today's stereotypes have set them up to me.

I don't think you should bring in anything about stereotypes though. You weren't exactly stereotyping your niece were you? It feels a little tangential.

Nevertheless, you have a nice writing style, and if you focus your essay more, I think it'll be great.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 22, 2009   #3
The aroma of the fresh out-of-the-oven brownies and the roar
of the vacuum cleaning were all examples of what we Interact members were doing
to prepare for the fast-approaching dance.
I stared at this for a long time, and finally I decided that I think the intro is more powerful without this sentence. This sentence is a little awkward and hard to follow, and it's attempt at imagery does not work, because it take more than a mention of brownies and vacuum cleaner noise to create an experience. It is hard to explain what I mean, and I am not sure I am correct, but see if you like it without that sentence.

All the immense anxiety within me suddenly washed away.

Or

All The immense anxiety within me suddenly washed away.

Happily, I smiled back at her beaming countenance. --- awesome sentence!


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