on the bench for close to two hours, staring at the bell, huddled
close together on that brisk night in late August.
She barely said anything, simply listened to all my dumb stories
about my friends back home and then responded to them with an
appreciative laugh. We had been here all of two weeks but I could
already feel a sort of bond forming. 
I was glad I had found someone I could talk to so soon. The green
leaves that hung above us ready to twirl to the ground in the
coming weeks, now rustled softly in the cool breeze.
The Victory Bell sits all alone, off in the
northwest corner of the Coe College campus, 
the least used corner of all. 
Though it may be overlooked
by most people everyday that isn't the first and last day of school,
 it plays a central
role in my existence here in Iowa. It is in this place
where I will sit and reflect on my assignments and my purpose
in college, and I have made many important decisions here. If
it wasn't for the Bell and its accompanying Bench, who knows where
I would be today. Maybe floating around aimlessly in outer space
or swimming in a Florida swamp or running a paintbrush shop in
The Bell 
is housed under a nifty little stone structure made of a faded
yellow rock. The house starts with two columns four feet apart
from inside to inside, and maybe about two feet wide and deep,
that proceed up ten feet before slanting in towards one another
and forming an arc fifteen feet from the ground.
 It looks as though someone took a two-pronged
fork, jammed it into the ground and then broke off the handle
in disgust. 
Shadows dominate most of the structure (for
we are only here in the dark of night)
 but I can still see the true, khaki-like color
of the stone in the weak orange light of Eby. 
The bell hangs suspended from an iron bar curved like a U between
the two columns. It's black even in the light, but then again
I guess it would be black any time. 
Both the bellhouse and bench sit on a circle of red bricks in
the ground that has been riddled 
with fallen twigs and leaves. Sometimes I throw those twigs at
the bell and it makes a faint, bell-like dong. That makes me happy.
Despite popular belief, the bell has not been
here since the world was spawned out of oblivion,not even since
the founding of Coe College.
 The Bell was first rung in 1913, its house dedicated
in 1944 by the Coe Twenty-two, twenty-two soldiers sent to serve
the country in World War II. It was rededicated in 1975 with a
new bell, and then again in 2000 when the second bell, which had
cracked, was replaced by a newer, louder bell. Amidst all this
commotion, the Bell was also moved from near the building that
stood where Marquis Hall stands today, to its current location
outside Eby. 
When it became increasing cold and into the
early morning hours, we decided to call it quits and head for
our respective rooms. We left the Bell that night knowing that
we had both made a new friend. We haven't returned 
since, for our conversations have been inspired elsewhere. 
But it had all began at the Bell. A chilled breeze blew a few
premature fallen leaves across our dull-lit path that headed back
towards Murray. 
From wherever you look at Murray, it's always
huge. It towers above the rest of the campus, going where no residence
hall has gone before. Then it finally stops about one hundred
feet up, but then lets its sleek antennae take over and reach
even closer to the heavens. We look at it now, the sun setting
just to the right of the Trophy, a vibrant orange ball trying
to make  its
way through the clouds, below the interstate and out of the sky
As we stand there, we talk about nothing in
little blip about a paper she has to write somehow leads me to
talk about hot dogs. We stand there only because
 neither of us wants to go back to our rooms and
face what could be waiting for us there. As far as I'm concerned,
 everything else can wait. I'm busy here. 
Murray stands proudly
, the east side of the building growing darker,
but all its features still visible: the red brick, the concrete
stripes going from top to bottom in the corners, the two rows
of glass windows down the center, the four pillars across the
front holding up the top floors. 
A description I once read of Murray described it as 'tall and
lanky.' No, it's more like tall and fat. Those pillars look like
they could give up at any moment. 
But never fear. The usual crowd is gathered
in the front of the building, smoking a pack of cigarettes like
they always do, some sitting in the broken chairs they must have
found in the dumpster, but some leaning up against the concrete
pillars, providing much needed 
support for the weight of eight floors. They never laugh, just
sit or stand there, leaving a thin cloud of gray immediately overhead.
I truly appreciate Murray's gigantic 
stature, accommodating rooms and elevator. It's a nice,
quiet place to live and get things done, when I'm motivated enough.
On the other hand, the Trophy's greatness is overlooked by all
who don't live within its walls; their allegiance is to some lesser,
shorter residence hall.
The time I dreaded then came, 
when she says she really had to go
 to her room (not in Murray) and get something
done. So,  feeling
ambitious, she walks back to her room while I, feeling lazy,
 turn the other way and head towards the quad,
wondering where I am going, and if I would ever finish my homework.
Whenever I leave or am returning to my home
in Murray, I always walk through a small planting of trees I like
to call The Forest. 
The Forest consists of evergreen and deciduous
trees that encompass me for about seven seconds as I walk through
them, so in other words 
there aren't very many of said trees. But I love to
walk through them because for those seven seconds they remind
me of my time spent surrounded by trees just like these in Washington
and Tennessee. 
It also reminds me of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, his account
of hiking the Appalachian Trail, which I aspire to tackle as well.
Every time I read his descriptions of the forests and hills and
rocks and everything, I want nothing more than to revisit nature
and stay there for a long time. 
When I walk through The Forest, I purposely
take the paths less traveled by, brushing past branches and leaves,
trying to imagine myself engulfed in nature, 
away from college and people and civilization and alone amongst
the trees, towering hundreds of feet 
above me, slivers of sunlight dotting the trail. I no longer need
the company of a friend or the coziness of a warm room or a college
education, I am one with nature and nothing else matters. 
But once I emerge, I remember where I really
am and head to class.
I expect in this kind of essay is a series of experiences and
reflections, a sense of the writing exploring a topic-to gain
some insights into a writer's process of discovery.
and "She": I like the pronouns, not rushing to give
too much information
First sentence: good length, effective details
Key issue in good writing is eliminating unnecessary words; in
this paragraph consider cutting such words as all, my, then, all
First sentence: could use more information or description of bell
Need this repetition? "the least used corner of all"
many prepositional phrases right after another.
Consider cutting unnecessary words: "everyday that isn't
the first and last day of school"
Appealing: the haphazardness of possibilities
Effective use of bell at beginning of paragraphs, provides continuity
Confusing: can't work out details in this way
In this passage, too many words for the point that it's at night
Second half of sentence is nicely done
You can cut "It's black even
Eliminate: "that has been"; "riddled" right
Let action speak for itself.
Mixed feelings about effectiveness of joke.
Don't forget limitations of audience: readers may not be familiar
with Coe. Consider making this more informative or revise so it
is familiar to those who don't know.
tension between "new friend" and "haven't returned"
is probably not needed.
Keep focus on what happened that night
More positive feeling
Simplify: "trying to make" can become "making"-another
example of cutting unnecessary words
Effective use of pronouns-right touch of ambiguity
Consider eliminating "somehow", "we stand there
Eliminate: "As far as I'm concerned"
You want to keep the conversational tone, but keep words tight
to make writing more efficient
Anthromorphizing is dangerous.
Good description, works well.
Hard to reconcile these images
Consider eliminating "they must have"
Consider changing "providing much needed" to "which
I like basic paragraph design and the contrast in description
Missing some development, need more on this being a good place
Do you want this cliché?: "The time I dreaded then
Writing gets bogged down: "had to go to"
"so"? Always keep an eye on cutting words you don't
Need "I" after "feeling lazy"?
it help to put first sentence in first paragraph?
Consider eliminating unnecessary words in "so in other words
Trees, these, Tenessee = nice rhyming!
No specific imagery, nothing new learned in last sentence.
Use nature too much, get us on the AT.
Eliminate: "hundreds of feet"
Effective reference to Bill Bryson, blends personal experience
with larger observation
Good use of simple, one sentence paragraph