College Essay (yes, I am a Junior. I have to do this for AP Language.) for both University of Rochester and Northwestern University. The question asked the applicant to describe a piece of art/music that has an influence on him/her, and how it influenced them.

Because of my writing A.D.D, I'm not entirely sure I answered the question.


For most audience members, the second movement of a symphony means naptime. The music becomes soft, a lullaby sweeping away the tension and excitement left hovering in the air by the first movement. But as the orchestra segues lithely into the second movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony, sleeping through the second movement seems to me like blasphemy. A few bars of introduction pass before the English horn solo rings from somewhere towards the back of the stage. The melody sweeps around the droopy-lidded front row and swirls around the box seats, its tendrils finally reaching the mezzanine where I sit. But once it reaches me, I am no longer there. I've floated back to the first time I heard this piece performed live. I am sixteen, young, passionate, driven, and in love. I'm sitting in a theatre in Boone, North Carolina, right next to the person I wish I could reach out and touch, but even sitting beside me, she is a thousand miles away. I am transported back to a time when I am completely confused, emotional, exhausted from hours of practicing, and yet the happiest I've ever been.

Just as we are certain that the clock will strike twelve and one day will fade into the next, the second movement ends just as quickly as my memory. The orchestra moves on to the third movement, and before I know it, the concert is over. Months and years later, as I pick up the English horn to practice that excerpt for college auditions, I am still taken back to that auditorium. I can hear that night ringing from the bell of the horn, and in that moment, I couldn't be happier.