Life in a small Alabama town can be tough for a self-proclaimed “art school feminist who loved banned books, French films and protest songs.”
“Ever since I moved here, I’ve felt like an outsider in my community. I live for the arts while my town prioritizes football and fishing. The general population is Caucasian, Christian, Republican, anti-gay, and pro-guns — or so I thought,” Alabama School of Fine Arts senior Adriane Tharp writes in her college essay, which she recently shared with The New York Times.
However, Tharp writes, working at her local Domino’s helped the art student understand and appreciate the community around her. Tharp came to learn that the population in Adamsville, Alabama was “far from homogenous, as diverse as the pizzas they ordered.”
Here’s how she describes her experience at the pizza chain:
My favorite thing about working at Domino’s was interacting with the assortment of people that pizza unified. I felt so anonymous in uniform, confident enough to answer phones and talk to strangers. Eiad, our pizza chef from Pakistan, resembled Bob Dylan and sang folk songs from his homeland when business was smooth. One of the other insiders played guitar, managed a costume shop and once welded a statue for Marvel Enterprises in New York. Teenagers came in, grass-stained and sweaty, immediately after soccer practice. Men in flannel with babies in their arms and two kids trailing behind them allowed their children to choose what to order. Elderly women in floppy sunhats and fake pearls would call before Bible school and ask for 20 large cheese pizzas to satisfy everyone.
In the fall, Adriane Tharp will attend Wesleyan University. Chris Lanser, a Wesleyan associate dean of admission, explained to The New York Times why this applicant had such a standout essay.
“The point of the essay is not to tell us that she needs work or doesn’t,” Lanser said. “What she wants us to learn from this is that she is able to embrace difference and learn quite a bit from those differences.”
You can read Adriane Tharp’s full college essay at The New York Times.