Quinn Cappiello — Common Application

Essay:

Sweat dripping down my back, I dash through the subway station feverishly searching for a map. The A train heading uptown has mysteriously disappeared, and I worry that I will not be able to find a way to my first dance class in New York City. I ask a man wearing a Yankees jacket and a yellow baseball hat where the track for the uptown A Train is, but in classic New York fashion I am shrugged off and left to find the track alone. After several minutes of searching, I discover where I need to go and luckily a train rolls up to the platform the moment I reach the track. I hop on the subway feeling accomplished, but then look down at my phone to realize that I only have seventeen minutes to get to class on time.
When I arrive at the studio the class has not even started, but I am already drained from the intense experience of my first commute. Regardless, I scale the stairs so that I can check in to class. Just as I enter the studio and begin to feel my body relax, I notice that I am standing directly next to three Radio City Rockettes whom I have admired for years through social media. Standing tall in their LaDuca heels and sleek leggings, it is clear that they are an exceptional breed of dancers. Their poise and strength are evident and although I consciously try to absorb their energy as I ready myself for class, all I can think of is that I hope I measure up.
Still on an adrenaline high from my subway sprint, I force myself to breathe deeply. I had been waiting months for the experience of a class taught by Nick Palmquist, whose choreography I have obsessed over for years. And nothing, not missing A trains or the trio of instagram Rockettes beside me, was going to stop me. With each movement I could feel myself become more me.
Watching the Rockettes move in unison with my motions made me secretly swell with excitement. I was here and I was in my element. Though I began the class standing in the back of the room, I found myself inching forward each time we practiced the combination. By the end of the class, I had proudly established myself in the front of the room and saw that in the presence of extremely notable dancers, I not only rose to their level, but I fit right in. The other dancers in the room may have been older or had more experience than me, but it did not matter. I held my own and danced comfortably among people I had once thought to be celebrities. Pride welled up inside of me with the realization that leaving my comfort zone resulted in this opportunity to grow.
I left class feeling confident and knowing where to walk without the aid of a map. I found the correct subway track with ease and wondered how I ever questioned if I could do this; I can and I did. I discovered that I fit into this daunting setting and held my own in the presence of professional dancers now known to me simply as Bailey, Jordan and Alicia. Over the span of the summer I continued to take classes with other renowned teachers who helped me to push my boundaries further and I began to appreciate a different view of myself. By trying something new, in different realms with extremely talented people, I discovered I can steady myself, take in the positive energy, and succeed. I am my own guide and trust myself to navigate the path on my next adventure, maybe this time without sweat dripping down my back.

 

Tips for Writing:

The greatest piece of advice I can give when choosing a college essay topic is it is important to spend a lot of time and thought choosing your topic because with a good concept, the essay should write itself. It is smart to choose a topic that you are passionate about and shows another facet of yourself that is not showcased anywhere else in your application. A great way to brainstorm is to think of events or stories that may not be totally life changing, but were important enough to teach a lesson that you use everyday. Not everybody has insane experiences, but everybody learns from their past, so focus on something you have learned that if you did not know your life would be different. It was very helpful to write a bunch of memories on a blank piece of paper and try to expand on the different stories into lessons learned and how that shows a college more about me and my personality. If a specific topic or story leads to a great deal of other ideas, it is probably a topic that you could write a lot of details about. Always try a first pass at an essay and if it does not work, try another idea. Do not be afraid of starting over and expect to write a lot of essays before finding the right one. Stay true to your values and experiences and try to trace back the root of your most formative learned lessons or skills.