Inner Beauty, Inner Beast
College Admissions Essay - Contraholics Anonymous
Learning takes place both inside and outside the
classroom. Those experience shape who we are. Describe
your most significant and memorable learning experience.
Hello; my name is Erin and I’m a Contraholic. This
will be my fifth year since I started. Actually, my
father got me hooked on contra. He picked up the habit
from my Aunt and brought it back with him. I had never
heard of contra prior to his addiction. Little did I know
how this folk dance would impact the course of my life.
My Dad used to drag me to the contra hall every
weekend but I refused to participate. I’d sit on the
sidelines and watch as everyone else enjoyed themselves.
But my defenses and excuses gradually began to weaken as a
result of the persistence of my father and his contra
friends. In the end it was too strong for me and before I
knew it my feet were moving by themselves. In a short time
I found myself allemanding and gypsying all over the
floor. I was hooked.
It would be a lie if I said I didn’t enjoy it. It
was relatively easy to do once I learned the basic steps.
Everyone did the same thing at the same time so there
wasn’t any of the self-consciousness that comes with
freestyle dancing. The contra hall became my second home
and I felt a connection to not only the contra community
but the larger family of mankind. I began to use contra on
a regular basis to escape the drama and boredom of everyday
life. Contra didn’t judge me; it was my best friend.
I didn’t experience any peculiar symptoms leading
up to infection but my family began to notice changes in my
personality. They were puzzled by my new self-confidence
and positive attitude. My self-esteem increased and an
appreciation for the differences in myself and in others
began to surface. Individuality and understanding became
my goals in life. The diversity of people I encountered
compelled me to develop social skills and patience. I also
made good acquaintances over a wide range of ages. I found
the eldest Contraholics to be the most insightful. They
had good advice for every situation and listened with
As the disease progressed I began to experience
spontaneous bouts of toe-tapping and rhythm counting.
Complications arose as the addiction spread to other
branches of dance. I soon began to show symptoms
of “Latinism,” “Ballroomism,” “Swingism,” and “Zydecoism.”
My horizons broadened as I became more aware and receptive
of other cultures’ traditions. This pursuit also became
one of my goals in life.
I have come to accept my condition. It will affect
me for the rest of my life. There is no cure for my
particular case, nor do I wish to be cured. Contra is who
I am, and I am proud to be a Contraholic!