Right now, my essay clocks in around 800ish words, and I would love to cut it down. All comments and suggestions are welcome, and I'd be happy to return the favor! :)
Prompt: How did you learn about Vassar and what aspects of our college do you find appealing?
"Here, walk backwards with me!"
I thought my tour guide, Adam, was kidding. He wasn't. This was not exactly how I anticipated my first ever college tour to be conducted.
I'd been interested in visiting Vassar ever since I encountered a Vassar Representative at a fall college fair at Nassau Coliseum. The photos showed a beautiful campus, and the curriculum fit me like a glove, but it was the representative's enthusiasm for the school that sealed the deal. I have often imagined myself being as in love with a college as she seemed to be and knew in an instant that a visit was in order.
Back to Adam.
It was a crisp wintery day when I ventured to Poughkeepsie, and Vassar's grounds looked like something out of a Thomas Kincaid painting. When I met Adam, I learned that he had grown up one town away and enjoyed an animated chat about Long Island. When the rest of our group arrived, Adam began the tour and I couldn't help but stare, wide eyed, as he turned to face the assemblage to walk backwards! I looked at the other guides and each one was doing the same thing. Better yet, every guide was walking backwards while it was snowing!
I found myself immediately worried for Adam's health. He was detailing campus highlights, meanwhile the only things I could think of were the potential hazards Adam would face. What would happen if he unwittingly stepped on a patch of black ice? What if he slid, fell and hurt himself? He wasn't even wearing boots or sneakers! Who gives a college tour wearing dress shoes when it's snowing? If that wasn't bad enough, Adam was facing into the wind and blowing snow. What if a wintery gust blew right in his face as he was walking backwards, he became disoriented, tripped over his sneaker-less feet, fell, and hit his head? I was going to have to keep close tabs on Adam.
He regaled the group with Vassar's colorful and extensive history while I watched his feet. He told a colorful tale about the freshman experience while I concentrated on the pavement behind him. Suddenly, he stopped and I nearly knocked him over. What happened? I looked up to find his blue eyes locked on mine as he uttered the fateful phrase: "Why don't you just walk backwards with me? You might actually enjoy it!"
Had he actually just singled me out in front of the group? He had and, in doing so, he knew I had no choice. The rest of the group looked on skeptically, my fellow prospective students sizing me up, as Adam turned me around. "Trust me." He resumed his relay of all things Vassar as I struggled to walk backwards using his voice as my only guide. My cautious initial steps led to countless stumbles, and it took every ounce of my resolve to not look over my shoulder. I had to trust Adam, a student who I had only met ten minutes prior. Why do these things only happen to me?
As I slowly let my eyes shift focus from the pavement to what was directly in front of me, it was an entirely new perspective. I imagined the various fragrances and picturesque view of Shakespeare Garden in the spring enveloping me as Adam described it in full detail, and pictured flowers blooming with each passing step. I experienced Adam's wonders of Vassar from his unique tour guide perspective. And then we were at College Center! Due to the inclement weather, the Center was the most active part of campus. I, the novice backwards walker, was being aided and waved to by other students. I couldn't help but feel like I already belonged amongst this eclectic mix of Vassar residents!
The one part of the tour that stopped me in my [backwards] tracks was the library. From a young age I've devoured books of all kinds and entering the Vassar library proved moving and magical. The gothic architecture, Cornaro Window, and the endless tomes all left me light-headed. I had found Nirvana. The proverbial deal had been sealed.
The subsequent colleges that I visited bore the great disadvantage of having to measure up to Vassar. Sadly, no other library felt magical. No students randomly waved at me. Not one guide invited me to walk backwards. No one painted as inviting a college portrait as Adam had. Not only was his tour spectacular, but he also managed to teach me the true meaning of going against the grain. I know that I want to be in Adam's position come next year to such an extent that I have been secretly practicing walking backwards. Oh, and should I be conducting a winter tour, you can be sure that I'll be armed with ice melt!