Bus Number Seven

Share an experience through which you have gained respect for intellectual, social, or cultural differences. Comment on how your personal experiences and achievements would contribute to the diversity of the University of Michigan.

As an underclassman, I took a city bus and a connecting school bus ride lasting over an hour to get to school. Little did I know that bus number seven would open my eyes to a new group of special people. I was surprised to find myself surrounded by a cultural barrier. Everyone else on bus seven was African-American—including the bus driver. During the first ride, everyone was asked to introduce themselves to each successive pickup. Fortunately for me, I was the first one on the bus, and therefore got to know everyone individually.I started to hear about the struggles of the hardest working parents to send their children to an expensive, independent school. I started to understand the socioeconomic differences apparent between urban and suburban families. As a first generation immigrant myself, I could sympathize with their hardships. More importantly, I started to make a special connection with these students. They often asked me to aid them with their schoolwork, and I tried my hardest to lend a helping a hand. The friendships I formed as part of bus seven live on today, and many of the students I tutor as part of community service are the companions with whom I spent mornings and afternoons sharing a ride home. However, because of the racial differences, it was hard to combine my friendship circles during school. I began to engage in the role of social mediator. I slowly exposed my core group of friends to these special new friends. The social disparity I experienced as part of bus seven enriched my knowledge of society and is an experience I can utilize after high school. As part of a social minority myself, I feel I can add to a college atmosphere with a rare but positive personality that can help bridge the gap between minority and majority groups of a university community.

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