Amherst College

I’m going to talk to you about my experience being mute. I erased the line, feeling immense anger as I toiled over the right way to tell my story without sounding fraudulent or, worse, inept. The task should have been a simple one, talking about...

University of Virginia

The adrenaline pumping through all of us was palpable as we stepped offstage after our opening night performance, excited to see our friends and family who came to see us perform The Sound of Music. My castmates and I were proud of our successful...

University of Virginia

As I drove up the driveway, my little sister called from the backseat, “we’re home!” I immediately launched into a performance of “Home” from the musical Beauty and the Beast. I could hear my siblings groan from the backseat. The message was...

University of Virginia

Our Town, a classic play by Thornton Wilder, is about as simplistic as it gets: no props, no set, and a simple story of a boy and a girl in a quiet town. Although the story may seem unremarkable, I was profoundly affected by Emily’s words toward...

University of Maryland - College Park

While shaking the commissioner's hand, I felt myself overrun with emotions. Thirteen years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice all overlapped into one moment as I looked him in the eyes: a beautiful sense of accomplishment and gracious respect...

Washington University in St. Louis

Tap-tap-tap. My fingers tactfully hover over my controller as a white ball darts between players on the screen. For me, the afternoon FIFA is a ritual that precedes even my mom’s famous grilled cheeses.

Soccer has long been a keystone in my life....

University of Texas - Dallas

Dustin couldn’t read. He knew letters, but not words. I saw him throw his book on the floor, a tired copy of Little Critter, as I plopped down in bus 75 seat 11, the unforgiving Mississippi sun burning through the left-hand window. I looked over...

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

On my fourth grade Sports Day, my father proudly embraced me and called me his ‘Sherni’ - or ‘Lioness’ - when I finally outran a girl twice my size. I had been coming in second to her for years. It became my parents’ nickname for me, encompassing...

University of California - Los Angeles

When I first joined Boy Scouts in fifth grade, I was the only person of color in my troop. I didn’t have a mentor who looked like me. I became aware that many minorities like me don’t have a role model to look up to, so I decided to be that model....

Georgetown University

I’m hiking in the woods with a friend and suddenly, he stops and asks me “which way is north?”

“That way,” I say as I point correctly towards north.

Very often, I can pinpoint my exact location on a map and have a sense of direction with limited...

Washington University in St. Louis

What was the worst mistake in US history? Could it be the Compromise of 1877? Or Vietnam? Or could it even be Columbus stepping foot on the Americas? This question has always intrigued me, and I would like to explore possible answers to this...

University of Puget Sound

My crown! It's lost! My crown is gone!" cries Babar the Elephant. As a toddler, mom would read my favorite bedtime story Babar Loses his Crown, an elephant who (you guessed it) loses his crown in Paris. That story, and others like it, are in...

University of Washington

I showed up to school in thongs today... no not that type of thong. Indeed, Australians call flip flops, thongs. As my physcis teacher told me he 'reckons' I should take off my thongs and put on 'runners' (i.e. sneakers) to avoid labratory...

University of Southern California

When I was in seventh grade, my mom, who is an acclaimed pianist, was invited to participate in the Vienna ConcertoFest, a two-week summer program to perform concertos. My mom asked me to join and participate with her at the festival. I played...

University of Vermont

I have experienced two nights that I would consider the best of my life. One, which I like to call Green Light Night, involved a rained out marching band competition, belting “The Ants Go Marching” while dancing through the pouring rain, listening...

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

It is no secret that northern New Jersey is home to one of the most vibrant Italian-American communities in the country. Although The Sopranos might have taken their portrayal of us a bit too far, it is definitely true that our culture is defined...

University of Rochester

As a 3-year old boy, I recall with clarity my fear of joining other children lined up at the edge of the pool. I remember looking down at a painted black line at the bottom of the pool as if it were challenging me to jump in. I stood alone arms...

Whitman College

I've gone 21 days without showering, swum across frigid lakes, climbed over mountains, and eaten the seemingly inedible. I believe any task can be accomplished with the right attitude, no challenge is too great, and no peak too perilous. I apply...

Bowdoin College

It's 2:45 on a Friday afternoon. I’m sitting in my Honors Humanities class, discussing the “Weltanschauung” of the Ancient Greeks. In a few weeks we’ll have moved on to exegesis analysis of the story of Job. When the bell rings, signaling the...