THE BLOG
12/03/2014 01:45 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2015

My Gap Year Gone Wrong: A College Essay

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Have you ever slaughtered a goat with a machete and fed it raw to a grass-fed virgin on her 18th birthday? Have you, admissions committee?

In these jungles, they call it a wedding.

After graduating in the top 10% of my high school class with a GPA of 3.9, I was ready to take my gap year in Southeast Asia and then go on to a respected American institution of higher learning. I expected to see ancient Buddhist ruins, the magical Angkor Wat and perhaps some of the remaining small tribes living in the remote areas of Laos. What I did not expect... was to become their king.

We hadn't left the hostel more than two hours before when we were captured. At first we thought they were roaming narco-terrorists and tried to offer them money. But one thing they did showed me without a doubt I was dealing with a different situation: They ate my friend.

Though I deeply miss Peter to this day, over the next two years I grew to appreciate the tribes' culture by integrating into it, first as the chief's slave, then as a warrior and now as outright King.

The first month was the toughest. I didn't speak the language and had to adjust to a new living situation, a skill that I might add will come in handy as a college freshman. I began to learn their language in an effort to reason with them to stop them from beating me. Predictably, this led to further beatings. While I can't say that I agreed with the treatment, I think it would have been a little paternalistic for me to have told them how to run their tribe. Not to mention that I toughened up considerably.

I was also given a name, which I cannot write here, as the pronunciation would not translate and my tribe has no alphabet. Suffice it to say that it means "One Whose Friend We Ate."

During a raid on the village while I was still a slave, I was suddenly called away from my normal duties cleaning the chief's chamber pot and given a sword. Strangely, though I had never wielded a weapon before--My family (who I assume still live in Maine) are fervently in favor of gun control--the moment I sunk the blade into an enemy tribesman I found myself consumed by an insatiable lust for blood. I killed 10 men that day.

For saving the village from ruin, the chief offered me both succession to the throne and marriage to his daughter. After she proved her worth to me with an exotic veil dance, as is their custom, I accepted and signed the blood oath of property transfer between her father and me.

The next day I fed her a goat, and we consummated the marriage on a mountaintop.

I think that this is a very unique background for a college applicant. Though I plan to bring my bride with me to whatever school I am accepted to and though she has never before seen a city, I do not anticipate this being a problem for my studies. I think she will acclimate well to campus life--movie nights, pizza parties, ice cream socials--and I will only be emboldened by her presence to pursue my studies.

I see myself pursuing economics and earning an MBA by 2021.