When World Collide

Common App Question: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


2007: “Are y’all comin’?” I yell to the kids on the playground as I run over to the swings. They look at each other and laugh, clearly making fun of the way I speak. I put my head down, embarrassed, and walk to the swings alone. I wish I hadn’t moved to Los Angeles from rural southeast Missouri, where people were more like me.

2013: My best childhood friend in Missouri, Emma, and I are spending a humid, dusty summer night at the town rodeo, and she introduces me to some of her friends. As she tells them I go to school in California, their jaws drop in astonishment. “Weird! I never knew anyone who actually lived there!” exclaims one girl. “How do you deal with all those crazy tree huggers!” says another. I bite my tongue. I hate feeling like an outsider.

My parents divorced when I was young. I moved from Missouri to Los Angeles with my mom, and from that time I have spent the school years in LA and my summers and school breaks with my dad back in Missouri.

When I was younger, I mainly focused on the downsides of this situation. The repeated switching between what I viewed as two opposite worlds felt like I was being pulled in different directions. I was figuratively living out of a suitcase, never at home in either location....

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