Different

Many students expand their view of the world during their time in college. Such growth often results from encounters between students who have lived different cultural, economic, or academic experiences. With your future growth in mind, describe a potential classmate that you believe you could learn from either within or outside a formal classroom environment.


He walked into the classroom like any other student would on his first day of class. He carried the same books, same vaguely uncomfortable air about him, and same barely-concealed eagerness to learn as the rest of us. Yes, in all regards he was a perfectly normal student, except for the one thing that struck me profoundly from the outset: he was old.

He was in his mid-40s, by my estimation, a bear of a man with a large but neat salt-and-pepper beard and a jovial, laid-back atmosphere about him. He wasn't afraid to speak his mind, and never hesitated to share a quick witticism or one of his many anecdotes. He was experienced, worldly. This man had been everywhere, done everything, and had something to say about it all. No matter the subject, there was some little song of experience to be sung, some small scrap of knowledge to be imparted to us youngsters (as he called us). I would grow to respect this man, and I began to look forward to seeing him. I truly valued the insight he could give me into things I had not, and in many cases, could not have yet experienced. Sure, the other students may have come from different backgrounds than I did, but we all shared some pretty fundamental similarities: we had all grown up in the...

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