February 28, 2017

Homework Help: College Essay

Posted by Anna on Monday, June 18, 2012 at 5:31pm.

One seemingly normal day in junior year, my friend and I were taking a train together home from school. We were on an extremely crowded F train headed for Queens. Packed against the door that separated one train car from another, overly warm and squished with no pole nearby to hold onto, it was pretty uncomfortable--typical of New York City subways. As the train jerked to a sudden stop, I tripped and fell forward to the train door that supposedly separated us from the next train car- and something struck me. Through the window of this train door, I could see a gray backpack lying on the floor. I looked at my own backpack, which was lying against the train door on my side. I immediately noticed that it wasn't my backpack that was being reflected through the window, because my backpack was pink, not gray. Confused, I questioned my friend Rachel about this. She was as lost as I was. We could also hear strange cranking sounds coming from behind the door, but couldn't see what was causing them.

"Maybe we're just really tired," I said. However, no matter how hard we tried, we could not stop pondering this topic. What came next was the cool part. Using reason and logic, we worked our way through this problem. We actually made it like the scientific method. The problem was obviously the fact that what we saw in this window was not what was supposed to be reflected. We tried thinking of possible hypotheses, but to no avail. Our procedure was basically to use our brains and observation skills until we could reach a conclusion. To start, we observed that the window didn't reach all the way to the floor, so my backpack on the ground couldn't have been reflected. I suggested that perhaps the gray backpack we saw was real and not reflected, but it was still strange because we could still see our faces reflected on the window. At one point, out of frustration, I was tempted to just yank open the train door and get my questions answered once and for all, despite the big sign on the door saying "Do Not Enter". However, we could still hear the strange mechanical sounds coming from behind the door, and Rachel advised me not to open it in case of danger. I sighed. We were back to brainstorming ideas again.

After a period of bouncing ideas back and forth, we finally reached a conclusion. I knew that train cars were supposed to be connected by thick but flexible cords, meaning that the other train car was supposed to be jiggling from side to side, but it wasn't. Rachel then pointed out that we should be able to see the other people in the next train car, but we only saw darkness. As we stared through the window, it took us a while to see the contour of a neck and we realized that the "darkness" was the black suit of a man leaning against the window of the next train door. All of a sudden, everything clicked. There must be an extra compartment attached to our train door for the conductor! The gray backpack never fell because it was sitting on a floor, and not wiggling cords. The mechanical sounds we were hearing must be the conductor pulling the levers to open and close the train side doors, except he was at one corner of the compartment that we couldn't see through the window. The compartment must also have a window itself so that we could still see the people in the next train car.

You should have seen the gleeful excitement on our faces as everything fell into place. When the train stopped at our station, we immediately ran out to know once and for all what we had been looking at for 45 minutes. We were left laughing hysterically as we saw the conductor’s head pop out of a window in front of us. Since elementary school, I had always been taught to use the scientific method to solve problems, but until now I never would have thought it useful to apply to a real life situation. Perhaps adults who overheard us were in disbelief at our slowness, but for me, solving this mystery with our own logic made this the most accomplished train ride ever.

Do you think my topic is too insignificant and weird for me to use? Also, is it bad to write this essay like a story instead of like an actual essay?

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