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UNC - 500 Word Supplement - The Banana Boat


twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Jan 19, 2010   #1
So basically, I am wondering if my conclusion is too preachy/cliche. I just added because I wanted to be closer to 500 words. Shuld I jsut take it out? Thanks for your help! Post links if you want me to read yours. =)

We tend to spend our time doing the things we know we do well--running because we're good runners or painting because we're talented artists. Tell us about a time when you tried something for which you had no talent. How did it go?

The Banana Boat



I can't dance. Whenever I divulge this information to friends or acquaintances, I receive the same inevitable expression. The slight furrow of their brows, the squint in their eyes, and the twist in their lips all intimate their complete confusion. I know what they're thinking - "But you're black!"

It's true, I am an anomaly. A black girl who can't dance is like a tadpole that can't swim. There was a time when this irony embarrassed me. At school dances, whenever the music commenced, I quickly moved to the center of a large crowd in desperate hopes of hiding my awkward movements and lack of rhythm. I understood that stereotyping was silly, but I could not help feeling somewhat inadequate at my inability to live up mine.

Oh you're black, so you can dance right?

It's what many assume, but it could not be farther from the truth. It took sixteen years to grow out of my mortification. I remember that night clearly. It was the winter homecoming dance of my sophomore year. As such, I had faithfully retreated behind a large group of people while I simply rocked back and forth to the music in order to avoid standing out. However, as I danced self-consciously in the midst of my peers, I realized I was not having any fun. I looked around at everyone else, freely dancing without restraint. It was then that I began to understand how ridiculous I was being: by hiding who I was, I was sacrificing much more than I was gaining.

It was not easy. In fact, for the first ten minutes I felt an overwhelming sense of awkwardness. However, with every jerk, on or off the beat, that awkwardness melted away. I am sure people were staring at me in bewilderment, wondering what in the world I was doing. Yet, at that point, it no longer mattered. I was free. I felt bold and proud of who I was and my lack of dancing skills. Interestingly, my inability to perform the popular dance moves, forced me to use creativity to develop my own - including my all time favorites: the airplane rock and the banana boat.

Perhaps it's human nature that cultivates a tendency to boast the qualities I know are good, and hide the ones that typify my shortcomings. However, through my dance experience I learned that I am not just the things I do well, or, thankfully, the things I utterly fail at. Rather both comprise me equally. Now I try not to acknowledge one, without accepting the other, because they make me who I am. I can't dance, but I'm proud of who I am.
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
Jan 19, 2010   #2
hey its TwizzleS

I understood that stereotyping was silly, but I could not help feeling somewhat inadequate at my inability to live up mine.

what did you mean here? by live up mine~

Oh you're black, so you can dance right?

and why is this separated? is this supposed to be a quote?

It was then that I began to understand how ridiculous I was being: by hiding who I was, I was sacrificing much more than I was gaining.

only here did you begin to talk about a definitive event. before was all introduction, yes?

I am sure people were staring at me in bewilderment, wondering what in the world I was doing. Yet, at that point, it no longer mattered.

The first sentence here continues the negative strain of thought. maybe combine it with the second one here to make it seem a more progressive realization

I was free.

after this, you could put something about it somehow felt natural

Interestingly, my inability to perform the popular dance moves, forced me to use creativity to develop my own - including my all time favorites: the airplane rock and the banana boat.

you can talk more about what those are, why they became your favorite, etc. because they can show more about how you broke out of your mentality that you could not dance.

Maybe you can shorten that conclusion, write more about how although you couldn't dance a tango or a waltz, or (skanking/etc), that you made your own dance moves. you can connect this with your realizations that while you can't dance, like a professional, you can still do things that reflect who you are, (maybe a reference to banana boating). Good luck~
srandhawa 10 / 157  
Jan 19, 2010   #3
first off sorry, for the late response, i just finished turning my application in, i know my essay was rough, so i really wanted to finish it up w/o distractions for a little while. I did further even change it a little from the suggestions you gave me, but i didnt get a chance to see your new corrections until just now so your new concerns werent fixed in the essay i sent. But anyway, sorry for the late response, hope you still have time to read my response.

Anyway, for the essay, this prompt you answer is a risky one, i personally dont like the prompt because it invites answers that the adcoms dont really know what to do with. So what that you tried something you couldnt do, doesnt really tell much about you and what your good at which si whats gonna get you into college? Know what i mean? So i'll start by saying you take a risk, when i read this essay, to be honest, i didnt know what to make of it, you cant dance, soo...? Know what im getting at? Doesnt really show that much about you, in general, its always better to emphasize who you are and what your good at, not what your not. But thats just an idea for future reference, i just wanted to warn you that this is kind of risky way of doing things.

Anyway, the essay, dont get me wrong, its not bad by any stretch, but i read your other ones and like my football one, this just seems to be lacking that zazz, that extra element if you know what i mean that leaps off the page that your essays had in the past. You tell the story, but it doesnt get as deep as it could, i know theres a word limit, but.... One thing if you havent submitted this taht could help you is that you focus on a specific scene in the homecoming to start your essay off with, and show how awkward this was for a black girl, and how your surroundings really reacted, like if they moved away from you, laughed at you, dropped their soda, etc. Exaggerate if you have to a little, the key to your essays is really making it seem like you not being able to dance and what you did at the dance was awkward and had a weird effect on people. If you start that sooner, really show the awkwardness, then the emphasis you put on black people not being able to dance can be seen and it doesnt have to be emphasized from the start and have to be a forced theme in your essay. Dont know if that makes any sense.

Also, you dont need the last para, i know what your trying to do, but your making too general off claims, that both what your bad at and what your good at comprise you equally, thats a little sweeping of a generalization and you dont say anything about what your good at so i dont know, i just dont think that should be in there. Also, you take hte easy way out in your conclusion, stating the good and bad are what comprise you, if you want a conclusion, then i would talk more about the freeness, creativity, and boldness and how you've used that to develop into who you are for events that happened after this and for the future. How has this event affected you today? If you could make that more specific rather than just the broad ideas in the last para, you'll strengthen your essay tremendously.

Again, i dont want to be harsh and dont panic, your essay should be fine the way it it is, its an interesting topic, but as i said theres always some risk when you talk about what your not good at because theres no real defined or specific way an adcoms suppose to interpret it and you risk them just not really being influenced by it or thinking much of it. But this is solid, you should be fine if you just turn this in as it is, w/ only 1 hr. 30 min left, i dont think you have enough time to really revamp things. btw, since we basically applied to teh same schools, let me know if its possible wehre you got in when you find out by end of march(dont worry about me im not getting in anywhere), i would kinda intersted considering we spent a bunch of time reading each others essays, if its possible, i dont know how it would happen, but whatever, good luck, thanks alot.


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