Sound of…Music? | Cornell University Undergraduate Application Essay

I wake up an hour before the stampede towards the shower begins in my summer camp residence hall. Quietly, I close my dorm door so as to not startle my week-long roommate awake–I had to be alone. My clothes and towel hang on the stall as I brace for the cold water to tickle my face. But first, I peek outside to reassure myself I’m the only one. I begin softly, hesitant to allow the words to escape my mouth. I become more comfortable, allowing my irreparable voice box to squeak what little lyrics my memory salvaged of the Bob Marley song I had heard the night before. Finally, after a week on campus, I can sing in the shower. A suppressed chuckle makes its way from outside the stall. Immediately I stop, pitying whatever poor soul had to endure my paltry tribute to the Reggae legend. “Somebody call American Idol,” the voice mocks. I would be leaving the campus the following morning. Surely to the dismay of my one-man audience, I unloaded my broken version of the tune once more.

Now, I cannot sing–actually, I do sing, but it would be to disgrace anybody with actual talent to qualify it as that. No matter how hard I try or have tried, the extent of my musical ability is comparable to the stutter of a car before it starts:…

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