Free College Admissions Essays: Train Ride

Free College Admissions Essays: Train Ride

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Train Ride

The members of the Committee on Admissions seek to gain an understanding of you as a person through a written essay. This essay is your opportunity to discuss an idea that is important to you, to write about a person who has influenced you, or to describe an experience that has helped shape who you are. The committee is also interested in how you think and how you express your thoughts.


I ride the metro whenever I can. I've ridden all five lines into fifty different neighborhoods. Sometimes I go to my internship downtown; other days I visit the museums at the capital; but many days I travel alone, without a destination, merely to enjoy the experience. Experiences like this:

A small black boy climbs down from his father's lap and walks shyly towards the young man sitting across the aisle. His attention caught by a bit of color on the man's wrist, he tugs at his cuff and looks questioningly up at him. The man is dressed in business attire - but upon rolling up his sleeve reveals a solid mass of tattoo from wrist to elbow. A smile creeps into the man's face as he watches the boy marvel at the art.

I enjoy people watching. I speak to no one, I only observe everyone, and wonder about their lives. What did the man with the tattoo study in school? I hope he is some kind of artist. What kind of music does he listen to? I imagine that we listen to many of the same songs. He looks too young to have children, but does he plan to? The way he humors and smiles at the boy, I hope he does. I imagine he has younger siblings who adore their big brother. In my mind I explore the possibilities and I make up answers to my own questions. Then I move on to others, to the people who just sit alone and keep to themselves. They fascinate me the most, because their outward appearances give me so little insight into their lives. They may seem dull and anonymous to most and go unnoticed by others on the train, but I know that each person, like myself, has their story. Each person has a favorite song, a best friend, and a nickname, and each person is going somewhere.

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Each person has probably fallen in love, each has probably had their heart broken, and without question, each person has experienced both pain and pleasure, both failure and success.

Too often we caught up in the drama of our own lives, which feels to us like the only thing that matters in the world. Sometimes we let our personal problems overwhelm us and weaken us. Riding the metro is my antidote. I choose a seat, settle down comfortably, and watch the endless abb and flow of people from station to station. Seeing so many people and realizing that my life is only one tiny part of an entire aching humanity puts things into perspective. "These are things every person experiences," I think to myself. "It is what makes us human." And when I step off the train and back into my own life, I have a new strength to face the experiences and challenges that make up this wonderful life, along with a new appreciation for my fellow men.

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