Essay for MIT EA

A supplemental essay. My advisor is writing me a recommendation to go along with the essay - should tie in very well. My main 500 word essay is very good so I don’t need critique on it This one is just a rough draft:

There is a small room in the far corner of the library-media center. It is next to the wall of windows overlooking the courtyard, a well-lit area of the library frequented by many students. To these individuals, the room harbors a certain mysterious air. Occasionally, a student carrying a tall stack of books and binders would stumble into the library, clumsily unlock the door, fumble with the light switch, and disappear into the room. The student would sometimes prop open the door with her foot in an effort to maneuver herself into the space, allowing onlookers to catch a fleeting glimpse of its insides. The walls are lined with books, files, and banners; any empty spaces are filled with pictures and collages. A long wooden table sits across the middle of the room. Often, other students are already inside, discussing matters with urgency, leaning over papers and folders—organizing, planning.

We are the officers of the Human Relations Club: a student-run organization centered on multicultural education. The largest and most active by far in our high school, the club runs a multitude of regional and statewide events each year. The largest of these events is the annual Prejudice Reduction Conference held at Quinnipiac University. With attendance exceeding one thousand students and adults, the conference brings together over seventy high schools from every corner of the state. I had never before directed such a large-scale event and could not have imagined the magnitude of work involved. Instead, I was captured by its purpose and its initiative. The conference seeks to educate and raise awareness in high school students through the sharing of each other’s stories, knowledge, and culture. In a world so verbal about discrimination yet so hesitant to act, I chose not to be another onlooker shaking her head futilely at the world around her. I chose to participate, to speak out, to press for change. The task catered perfectly to my idealistic spirit. I was excited to be involved, eager to start.

And start, we did. The conference is scheduled for March 2005; my partners and I began work in early June. I was shocked by the laundry list of tasks that needed to be accomplished by the end of the summer. We met with our Steering Committee of moral and political leaders, and began the arduous task of building a conference from scratch. There were early morning meetings, lunch meetings, meetings in the afternoon, meetings well into the night. We needed to book a keynote speaker, decide on a theme, contact workshop presenters, fundraise, send out email after email, contact after contact…

Merely a month into my work, I was overwhelmed. A few more weeks passed in pure stress and confusion before I realized that a change was needed. I began to prioritize, making lists and keeping notes. I wrote one letter at a time, booked one speaker at a time, and forced myself into painful organization. Suddenly, our mounting to-do list began to dwindle. I no longer needed numerous reminders and became, instead, the one to send them out. My newly acquired organizational skills made a once daunting task of directing a statewide conference manageable and rewarding. I am once again able to focus on the beauty of the event, and enjoy the opportunity of associating with incredible people whom otherwise I would have never been able to meet. Though a work in progress, coordinating the Prejudice Reduction Conference has been an exceptionally gratifying experience.

Carrying my stack of notes and materials for the conference, I often wander into the HRC Room in the far corner of the media center during third and fourth period to find my partners already inside. There are other officers present as well. Some are organizing the programs for elementary or middle school education while others are drawing plans for our annual Walkathon for United Way. My partners and I sit at the wooden table on this October day and look over registration forms for the conference in March. The soft music trickling from the clock radio on the bookshelf is interspersed with static. Still, it seeps under the door and into the library, triggering a few inquisitive glances in the direction of that closed door. Behind that door is an idealistic bunch, clinging to our visions of a better world. We are dreamers and we are doers, working toward a goal that is a little bigger than all of us.