St. Olaf College
A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
It was my first day of high school- a public high school in Chicago. As I pushed past the sea of people bustling past me to get to my classroom, I felt like a buoy being tossed back and forth by the high tide. Three months prior, I graduated from a private Christian academy where diversity was defined by shades of blonde – bleach, strawberry, or dirty. At my new high school, however, blonde gave way to an array of skin tones, religious beliefs, and cultures. I treaded through the hallways and my sea-blue eyes widened as I heard unknown words in unfamiliar accents ping-ponged back at forth. My eyes continued to widen in awe as they caught a glimpse of something especially unusual: a girl with a scarf covering her hair. “It’s a hot day in September,” I reasoned. “Why in the world is she wearing a scarf?”
My inner conversation was silenced as the late bell rang for first period; I walked through the classroom doors to once again encounter “scarf girl.” My teacher droned on about how “x” is an “apple” and how “y” is a “banana” and that we should never make “fruit salad,” but algebraic fruit salad was the least of my worries; my focus was across the room. “Does she wear that at home? Does she have different colored ones? How does...
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