My eyes dart across the page, looking for a word or phrase to grasp onto. Unable to find a familiar word, I take a deep breath. The Greek letters jumble into incoherent words and I am left to the mercy of an incomplete translation. I shake my head, unsure of what to do next. My eyes drag from one word to another, heavy with defeat. Upon the sixth word, however, they stop. I turn to the lexicon and search for words that fit into a coherent translation. With the last word, I feel satisfaction and pride.
The whirlwind of emotions repeats: Confusion, passion, satisfaction. Before the bell rings, I finish translating 20 lines of The Apology. I was fifteen when I successfully translated The Apology, and soon after, I fell in love with translation. Through translation, I learned the value of perseverance and hard work; it even helped me convey ideas in different mediums such as figure skating.
On a bright January morning, cold wind slapped against my face, chastising me for falling again. I stood up and brushed thin sheets of ice off of my knees. A shock of pain went through my body as I lightly touched a new bruise. I contemplated defeat. In the midst of choreographing my next program, I speculated the translation of music into skating.
I yearned to convey every pitch and emotion in a visual performance, so I listened to Chopin once again and closed my eyes. Upon hearing the cadenza, I went back on the ice, picked up speed and turned my body. Leaping from the ground, I wrapped my arms around my torso and spun one, two, three times. My body descended and a sharp skid sounded the air. I smiled, waiting in anticipation for the next jump.
That day, I translated every note into a jump until my body understood the music. Translation has become my frame for viewing life and now I am using it to translate passion into activism. In July , part of my activism was conservation focused. The tedious logistical process of scheduling a time, obtaining a permit, and learning the proper removal process made July a strenuous month. Still seeking to translate my plan into action, I persevered with the importance of conservation in mind.
Finally, the day came. Twenty pairs of eyes watched me as I pointed out Mugwort along the shore. The hot sun hit my back as I pushed the shovel deeper in the soil. The ground released its hold on the plant and I picked it up by the stem. I walked throughout the shore and helped each person learn the proper removal technique.
Together we were able to eliminate 4. I was proud of everyone and myself. I learned the benefits of conservation, translated that knowledge into a productive plan to remove an invasive species, and spread that knowledge by leading my eager group of volunteers. Despite translating The Apology by Plato years ago, the lessons I learned from translation continue to thrive in my actions today. Just as I translated texts from Greek to English, I will convert more songs into programs, and I will change more plans into action.
Although there are still many things in the world that are all Greek to me, I strive to learn and translate my knowledge into action that creates change. In his essay, Zerubabel shares with the admissions committee the values he has learned from observing his family members. Zerubabel connects these observations to how he applies his values of ambition and commitment to everyday life.
Through his reflection and analysis, the admissions committee is able to understand how Zerubabel would contribute his personal qualities and skills to our campus community. I could feel my fingers tingling, and the goosebumps rolling up my arms.
I stared at the black italicized letters of the title as I walked home. They seemed to stare back, alluding to the mysteries that lay underneath them. My love for challenges and the tenacity with which I approach them was instilled in me through observing my family and through my own experiences. Ten years ago, my family and I packed our belongings, sold everything we had, and flew across the Atlantic to our new home in America.
During our first year in Minnesota, we were faced with the omnipresent challenge of money. My sister, rather than having the comfort of her crib, was forced to share a bed with my mom and I. My dad was forced to sleep on a makeshift bed my mom made for him every night, using cushions from a torn and scratchy old sofa. My mom was forced to wake up early and stay up late working, at home, and her minimum wage job. My parents never complained. To them, this was just another stage of life, another challenge to overcome.
They worked tirelessly-my mom providing stability by maintaining one job while my dad, the creative one, was always switching between multiple in his pursuit for better pay. With each day, the consequences of their hard work showed; one bed became two, the second bed split into a bunk, and within that little room, each of us had a bed to sleep on.
I now reflect on this, and many other challenges my family and I have faced during our ten years in America. Through my own experiences, I learned I can apply these values and overcome any challenge that comes my way. My year-old self figured this out after a grueling two months of working on the packet, finishing with all the questions answered. Throughout my time in middle and high school, my value of ambition has led me to take the most challenging courses available at my school.
In my community, my value of commitment has allowed me to serve at my church for the past five years. These learned values have molded me into the person I am today and will continue to guide me as I pursue my goals in life. It is because of these values and the way they were instilled in me that I have decided to pursue a career as a surgeon; I know it is through the guidance of these values and the people who first showed them to me that I will be able to achieve this goal.
What we learn about Jess from her essay is a willingness to experiment, to take risks and find failure, and to learn from the past—whether it is from her parents and grandparents or just her own experiences. Her essay is clever and well written, but more importantly it shows us her willingness to try different things, to embrace the different interests and aspects of her own personality, and to approach different things with a positive attitude.
The only true fried rice recipe is no recipe at all. There are no measurements, no exact instructions, no timer for how long something should sizzle in the pan. There are only smells and feelings and memories. We used however much leftover rice we had, however many eggs we found appropriate, and a combination of anything and everything or nothing sitting in the fridge. I enjoy recipes — I enjoy the process of being exact and finding details, tweaking and leveling and weighing.
Other people will have recipes passed down from their great-grandparents; I will have memories, held dear, but no way to pass anything on besides the recreation of childhood moments. From a young age, I found solace in the meticulous baking recipes found in Western cookbooks.
On the flip side, I like measuring the liquid in my graduated cylinder from the exact bottom of the meniscus. If your text message has a typo in it, I feel the nagging urge to annoyingly correct you. If the origami swan I folded has an uneven tail, I will take it apart and start over. But I understand the beauty of spontaneity and organic creation. Creation, without recipe? My signature food is brownies, but I challenged myself to use a different recipe every time.
He shares with the admissions committee traits that he values as well as concrete examples of how those traits have defined the way he handles situations. It was a wet and dreary October evening. I shook off the dirt from my cleats on the concrete with frustration. Click, clack, click. The sound echoed through my head until I finally rested my heavy legs on the wooden bench in front of my locker.
Up until that practice, I had done everything just the way I had the year before in the Netherlands, yet I still did not reap the same successes. At home, I relished being on the national under 15 field hockey team, consistently having high grades, and knowing just about everyone. At Deerfield, however, simply doing my best at practice, finishing my homework and socializing did not yield the same results.
Looking down, I began to wonder why I had ever moved to Deerfield and traded my field hockey gear for muddy soccer cleats. But instead of an answer, Ms. I felt thrown off by the unusual opportunity at first, yet I quickly relished a warm rush of excitement surging through my veins as I imagined putting on field hockey cleats again. When I set foot on the turf the following day, however, my initial anxiety rejoined my exuberance.
I felt more eyes turning towards me with each step I made. As I trailed behind the girls during the warm-up, the thought of quitting seemed more tempting with each second of silence that passed. But when the whistle blew and the ball was finally in play, I was surprised to see how quickly the gender barrier vanished. Where there was silence and separation at first, I could now see the shared fanaticism through our red faces and hear the emotion in our clamor.
I was fighting the one thing that is meant to protect me and keep me alive — my own body. All I knew was that I felt sick, and I was waiting for my mom to give me something to make it better. I thought my parents were superheroes; surely they would be able to make well again. But I became scared when I heard the fear in their voices as they rushed me to the ER.
After that incident, I began to fear. I became scared of death, eating, and even my own body. Ultimately, that fear turned into resentment; I resented my body for making me an outsider. In the years that followed, this experience and my regular visits to my allergy specialist inspired me to become an allergy specialist.
Even though I was probably only ten at the time, I wanted to find a way to help kids like me. I wanted to find a solution so that nobody would have to feel the way I did; nobody deserved to feel that pain, fear, and resentment. This past summer, I took a month-long course on human immunology at Stanford University. I learned about the different mechanisms and cells that our bodies use in order to fight off pathogens.
My desire to major in biology in college has been stimulated by my fascination with the human body, its processes, and the desire to find a way to help people with allergies. To find out if your essay passes the Great College Essay Test like this one did, go here. This essay could work for prompts 1, 2, 5 and 7 for the Common App. Watkins was the coordinator of the foreign exchange student program I was enrolled in. She had a nine year old son named Cody. I would babysit Cody every day after school for at least two to three hours.
He would talk a lot about his friends and school life, and I would listen to him and ask him the meanings of certain words. He was my first friend in the New World. She had recently delivered a baby, so she was still in the hospital when I moved into their house. The Martinez family did almost everything together.
We made pizza together, watched Shrek on their cozy couch together, and went fishing on Sunday together. On rainy days, Michael, Jen and I would sit on the porch and listen to the rain, talking about our dreams and thoughts. Within two months I was calling them mom and dad.
After I finished the exchange student program, I had the option of returning to Korea but I decided to stay in America. I wanted to see new places and meet different people. After a few days of thorough investigation, I found the Struiksma family in California.
They were a unique group. The host mom Shellie was a single mom who had two of her own sons and two Russian daughters that she had adopted. The kids always had something warm to eat, and were always on their best behavior at home and in school. In the living room were six or seven huge amplifiers and a gigantic chandelier hung from the high ceiling.
The kitchen had a bar. At first, the non-stop visits from strangers made me nervous, but soon I got used to them. I remember one night, a couple barged into my room while I was sleeping. It was awkward. In the nicest way possible, I told them I had to leave. They understood. The Ortiz family was my fourth family. Kimberly, the host mom, treated me the same way she treated her own son. She made me do chores: I fixed dinner, fed their two dogs Sassy and Lady, and once a week I cleaned the bathroom.
I also had to follow some rules: No food in my room, no using the family computer, no lights on after midnight, and no ride unless it was an emergency. The first couple of months were really hard to get used to, but eventually I adjusted. I lived with the Ortiz family for seven months like a monk in the deep forest. It was unexpected and I only had a week to find a new host family. I asked my friend Danielle if I could live with her until I found a new home. The Dirksen family had three kids.
They were all different. Danielle liked bitter black coffee, Christian liked energy drinks, and Becca liked sweet lemon tea. After dinner, we would all play Wii Sports together. I was the king of bowling, and Dawn was the queen of tennis. Afterward, we would gather in the living room and Danielle would play the piano while the rest of us sang hymns. Of course, those 28 months were too short to fully understand all five families, but I learned from and was shaped by each of them. By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone; the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family; the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children; Mrs.
In short:. He buries a series of essence images in his first paragraphs one per family. When he reveals each lesson at the end, one after the other, we sense how all these seemingly random events are connected. We realize this writer has been carefully constructing this piece all along; we see the underlying structure. Each of the first five paragraphs works to SHOW.
See how distinct each family is? He does this through specific images and objects. Q: Why did he just show us all these details? A: To demonstrate what each family has taught him. He also goes one step further. Q: So what am I going to do with all these lessons? Identify your single greatest strength in this case, it was his ability to adapt to whatever life gave him.
Ask: how did I learn this? Show 1: "By teaching me English, nine year-old Cody taught me the importance of being able to learn from anyone. Show 2: "the Martinez family showed me the value of spending time together as a family" implication: he doesn't have this with his own family.
Show 3: "the Struiksma family taught me to reserve judgment about divorced women and adopted children. Show 4: "Mrs. Ortiz taught me the value of discipline. For years, processed snack foods ruled the kitchen kingdom of my household and animal products outnumbered plant-based offerings. I fully embraced this new eating philosophy to show my support.
I became entranced by the world of nutritional science and how certain foods could help prevent cancer or boost metabolism. Each new food I discovered gave me an education on the role diet plays on health. I learned that, by eating sweet potatoes and brown rice, you could cure acne and heart disease. I discovered eating leafy greens with citrus fruits could boost iron absorption rates.
I loved pairing my foods to create the perfect macronutrient balance. Did you know beans and rice make a complete protein? Food has also turned me into a sustainability nut. Living plant-based also saves the planet from the impact of animal agriculture. For the same amount of land space, a farmer can produce kilograms of soybeans versus 16 kilograms of beef.
I do my part to have as small of an ecological footprint as I can. I stopped using plastic snack bags and instead turned to reusable beeswax wraps. My favorite reusable appliance is my foldable straw. We are currently working on a restaurant campaign to encourage local eateries to create a plant-based, oil-free menu option and become PlantPure certified.
After discovering how many restaurants use oil in their cooking, I decided I needed to open a plant-based oil free cafe to make up for this gap. This allows me to educate people about nutritional science through the stomach. Finally, I am a strong proponent of hands-on experience for learning what good food looks and tastes like, so cooking is one of my favorite ways to teach the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
Our society has taught us that delicious food has to make us feel guilty, when that is simply not the case. The best feeling in the world is falling in love with a dish and then learning all the health benefits that it provides the body. While my classmates complain about being tired, I have more energy because my body is finally getting the right macros, vitamins, and minerals it needs. But the foods I am particular about have changed. Rather than a carboholic, I choose to call myself a vegeholic.
Its instructions are simple: Open the Google Sheet, enter a number between 1 and 20 that best represents my level of happiness, and write a short comment describing the day. But the practical aspect of the spreadsheet is only a piece of what it has represented in my life.
What had started as a farcical proposition of mine transformed into a playground where high school classmates and I convene every two weeks to prepare a savory afternoon snack for ourselves. Hard-fought days of mixing cement and transporting supplies had paid off for the affectionate community we had immediately come to love.
If happiness paves the roads of my life, my family is the city intertwined by those roads — each member a distinct neighborhood, a distinct story. In times of stress, whether it be studying for an upcoming derivatives test or presenting my research at an international conference, I dash to my father for help.
Coming from the dusty, people-packed backstreets of Thiruvananthapuram, India, he guides me in looking past the chaos and noticing the hidden accomplishments that lie in the corners. When in need of confidence, I find my mother, who taps her experiences living in her tranquil and sturdy tatami-covered home in Hiroshima, Japan, helping me prepare for my first high school dance or my final match in a tennis tournament.
The Happiness Spreadsheet is also a battery monitor for enthusiasm. Other times, the battery is depleted, and I am frustrated by writer's block, when not a single melody, chord, or musical construct crosses my mind. The Happiness Spreadsheet can be a hall of fame, but it can likewise be a catalog of mistakes, burdens, and grueling challenges.
The idea was born spontaneously at lunch, and I asked two of my friends if they were interested in pursuing this exercise with me. To this day, I ponder its full importance in my life. With every new number I enter, I recognize that each entry is not what defines me; rather, it is the ever-growing line connecting all the data points that reflects who I am today.
Where will the Happiness Spreadsheet take me next? I was a left-handed kid who wrote from right to left, which made my writing comprehensible only to myself. Only after years of practice did I become an ambidextrous writer who could translate my incomprehensible writing. As I look back on my life, I realized that this was my first act of translation.
As I deciphered complex codes into comprehensible languages like rate of change and speed of an object, I gained the ability to solve even more complicated and fascinating problems. Now, I volunteer to tutor others: as a Korean tutor for friends who love Korean culture and a golf tutor for new team members. Tutoring is how I integrate and strengthen new concepts for myself. I often put myself into their situation and ask, "What emotional support would I want or need if I was in this situation?
However, my translation can't accurately account for the experiences I have yet to go through. After realizing the limitations of my experience, I created a bucket list full of activities out of my comfort zone, which includes traveling abroad by myself, publishing my own book, and giving a lecture in front of a crowd. Although it is a mere list written on the front page of my diary, I found myself vividly planning and picturing myself accomplishing those moments.
My knack for translating has led me to become a real-life Korean language translator. As an English to Korean letter translator in a non-profit organization, Compassion , I serve as a communication bridge between benefactors and children in developing countries, who communicate through monthly letters.
This experience has motivated me to learn languages like Spanish and Mandarin. As I get to know more about myself through different languages, I grew more confident to meet new people and build new friendships.
While translating has been a huge part of my life, a professional translator is not my dream job. I want to be an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist who manages the medication of patients with chronic diseases. In fact, translating is a huge part of the job of a clinical pharmacist. In one form or another, I've always been and will be a translator.
I sit, cradled by the two largest branches of the Newton Pippin Tree, watching the ether. The Green Mountains of Vermont stretch out indefinitely, and from my elevated vantage point, I feel as though we are peers, motionless in solidarity.
But a few months ago, I would have considered this an utter waste of time. Prior to attending Mountain School, my paradigm was substantially limited; opinions, prejudices, and ideas shaped by the testosterone-rich environment of Landon School. I was herded by result-oriented, fast-paced, technologically-reliant parameters towards psychology and neuroscience the NIH, a mere 2.
Subconsciously I knew this was not who I wanted to be and seized the chance to apply to the Mountain School. Upon my arrival, though, I immediately felt I did not belong. I found the general atmosphere of hunky-dory acceptance foreign and incredibly unnerving. So, rather than engage, I retreated to what was most comfortable: sports and work. In the second week, the perfect aggregate of the two, a Broomball tournament, was set to occur. Though I had never played before, I had a distinct vision for it, so decided to organize it.
That night, the glow-in-the-dark ball skittered across the ice. My opponent and I, brooms in hand, charged forward. We collided and I banana-peeled, my head taking the brunt of the impact. Stubborn as I was, even with a concussion, I wanted to remain in class and do everything my peers did, but my healing brain protested.
I began wandering around campus with no company except my thoughts. Throughout those days, I created a new-found sense of home in my head. I am most enamored by ideas that cultivate ingenious and practical enrichments for humanity.
I enjoy picking some conundrum, large or small, and puzzling out a solution. Returning from a cross country meet recently, my friend and I, serendipitously, designed a socially responsible disposable water bottle completely on accident. Now we hope to create it. I am still interested in psychology and neuroscience, but also desire to incorporate contemplative thought into this work, analyzing enigmas from many different perspectives. My internships at the NIH and the National Hospital for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery in London have offered me valuable exposure to research and medicine.
But I have come to realize that neither of my previous intended professions allow me to expand consciousness in the way I would prefer. After much soul-searching, I have landed on behavioral economics as the perfect synergy of the fields I love. All it took was a knock on the head. Suddenly, a miniature gathering of the European Commission glares straight at me. I feel the pressure of picking one option over the other. What do I choose? Like the various nations of the European Union, the individual proponents of these culinary varieties are lobbying their interests to me, a miniature Jean-Claude Junker.
Now, you may be asking yourselves: why would I be so pensive over a meal choice? Every year, that same family gathers together in New York City to celebrate Christmas. These exact conversations drove me to learn more about what my parents, grandparents, and other relatives were debating with a polite and considerate passion. In turn, participating in debate has expanded my knowledge regarding matters ranging from civil rights reparations to American redeployment in Iraq, while enriching my capacities to thoughtfully express my views on those and other issues, both during P.
This awareness incited a passion for statecraft within me — the very art of balancing different perspectives - and therefore a desire to actively engage in government. With my experiences in mind, I felt there was no better place to start than my own neighborhood of Bay Ridge.
Most importantly, my family has taught me an integral life lesson. As our Christmas Dinner squabbles suggest, seemingly insurmountable impasses can be resolved through respect and dialogue, even producing delicious results! On a grander scale, it has elucidated that truly inclusive discourse and toleration of diverse perspectives render tribalism, sectarianism, and the divisive aspects of identity politics powerless over our cohesion. I fundamentally value cultural, political, and theological variety; my own microcosm reflecting our global society at large has inspired me to strive to solve the many conflicts of bitterness and sectionalism in our world today.
This vocation may come in the form of political leadership that truly respects all perspectives and philosophies, or perhaps as diplomacy facilitating unity between the various nations of the world. Before I came to America, I drank Puer Tea with my father every morning in my bedroom, sitting cross-legged on Suzhou-silk mats beside a view of the Lakeside reservoir. Beside a dark end table, we picked up teacups as the mild aroma greeted our noses.
As we faced the French window, my father would share the news he read in China Daily : the Syrian civil war, climate change, and gender equality in Hollywood. Most of the time, I only listened. With each piece of news, my curiosity piqued.
Secretly, I made a decision that I wanted to be the one to discuss the news with him from my perspective. So, I decided to study in America to learn more about the world. But, my new room lacked stories and cups of tea. Fortunately, I found Blue House Cafe on my walk home from church, and started studying there.
With white walls, comfortable sofas, and high stools, Blue House is spacious and bright. Similarly, as president of the International Students Club, I invited my teammates to have meetings with me at the cafe. Coordinating the schedule with other members in Blue House has become a frequent event.
Consuming several cups of coffee, my team and I have planned Lunar New Year events, field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinese lunch in school to help international students feel more at home. Straightening my back and bracing my shoulders, I stood up behind the conference table and expressed my creative ideas passionately.
After each meeting, we shared buttermilk coffee-cake. In my spot next to the window, I also witnessed different kinds of people. I viewed visitors dragging their luggage, women carrying shopping bags, and people wandering in tattered clothes --the diversity of San Francisco.
Two years ago I saw volunteers wearing City Impact shirts offering sandwiches and hot chocolate to homeless people outside of the cafe. I investigated more about City Impact and eventually signed up to volunteer. No longer was I a bystander. At holiday outreach events, I prepared and delivered food to homeless people.
While sharing my coffee, I listened to a story from an older Chinese man who told me, in Mandarin, how he had been abandoned by his children and felt lonely. Last summer, I returned to Xiamen, China, and taught my father how to drink coffee. Now, a Chemex and teapot are both on the end table. Instead of simply listening, I shared my experiences as a club president, a community leader, and a volunteer. I showed him my business plan and prototypes.
I am so proud of you. Together, we emptied our cups while the smell of coffee lingered. I add the critically measured sugary tea mixture to the gallon jar containing the slimy, white, disc-shaped layers of the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. I place it on my kitchen counter, periodically checking it to relieve the built-up CO2. Finally, after an additional seventy-two hours, the time comes to try it.
I crack the seal on the bottle, leaning over to smell what I assume will be a tangy, fruity, delicious pomegranate solution. The insufferable stench fills my nostrils and crushes my confidence. I'm momentarily taken aback, unable to understand how I went wrong when I followed the recipe perfectly.
My issue wasn't misreading the recipe or failing to follow a rule, it was bypassing my creative instincts and forgetting the unpredictable nature of fermentation. I needed to trust the creative side of kombucha— the side that takes people's perfectionist energy and explodes it into a puddle of rotten egg smelling 'booch my preferred name for the drink- not "fermented, effervescent liquid from a symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast".
I was too caught up in the side that requires extreme preciseness to notice when the balance between perfectionism and imperfectionism was being thrown off. The key, I have learned, is knowing when to prioritize following the recipe and when to let myself be creative. Sure, there are scientific variables such as proximity to heat sources and how many grams of sugar to add. But, there's also person-dependent variables like how long I decide to ferment it, what fruits I decide will be a fun combination, and which friend I got my first SCOBY from taking "symbiotic" to a new level.
I often find myself feeling pressured to choose one side or the other, one extreme over the alternative. I've been told that I can either be a meticulous scientist or a messy artist, but to be both is an unacceptable contradiction. However, I choose a grey area; a place where I can channel my creativity into the sciences, as well as channel my precision into my photography.
I still have the first photo I ever took on the first camera I ever had. Or rather, the first camera I ever made. Making that pinhole camera was truly a painstaking process: take a cardboard box, tap it shut, and poke a hole in it. Okay, maybe it wasn't that hard. But learning the exact process of taking and developing a photo in its simplest form, the science of it, is what drove me to pursue photography.
I remember being so unhappy with the photo I took; it was faded, underexposed, and imperfect. For years, I felt incredibly pressured to try and perfect my photography. It wasn't until I was defeated, staring at a puddle of kombucha, that I realized that there doesn't always have to be a standard of perfection in my art, and that excited me. So, am I a perfectionist? Or do I crave pure spontaneity and creativity? Can I be both? Perfectionism leaves little to be missed. With a keen eye, I can quickly identify my mistakes and transform them into something with purpose and definitude.
On the other hand, imperfection is the basis for change and for growth. My resistance against perfectionism is what has allowed me to learn to move forward by seeing the big picture; it has opened me to new experiences, like bacteria cross-culturing to create something new, something different, something better. I am not afraid of change or adversity, though perhaps I am afraid of conformity. To fit the mold of perfection would compromise my creativity, and I am not willing to make that sacrifice.
I hold onto my time as dearly as my Scottish granny holds onto her money. Precious minutes can show someone I care and can mean the difference between accomplishing a goal or being too late to even start and my life depends on carefully budgeting my time for studying, practicing with my show choir, and hanging out with my friends. However, there are moments where the seconds stand still. It is already dark when I park in my driveway after a long day at school and rehearsals.
Not paying attention to the clock, I allow myself to relax for a brief moment in my busy life. Laughter fills the show choir room as my teammates and I pass the time by telling bad jokes and breaking out in random bursts of movement. This same sense of camaraderie follows us onstage, where we become so invested in the story we are portraying we lose track of time. My show choir is my second family. I realize I choreograph not for recognition, but to help sixty of my best friends find their footing.
At the same time, they help me find my voice. The heavy scuba gear jerks me under the icy water, and exhilaration washes over me. Lost in the meditative rolling effect of the tide and the hum of the vast ocean, I feel present. I dive deeper to inspect a vibrant community of creatures, and we float together, carefree and synchronized. My fascination with marine life led me to volunteer as an exhibit interpreter for the Aquarium of the Pacific, where I share my love for the ocean.
Most of my time is spent rescuing animals from small children and, in turn, keeping small children from drowning in the tanks. Finding this mutual connection over the love of marine life and the desire to conserve the ocean environment keeps me returning each summer. She had just fallen while performing, and I could relate to the pain and fear in her eyes.
The chaos of the show becomes distant, and I devote my time to bringing her relief, no matter how long it may take. I find what I need to treat her injury in the sports medicine training room. Saturday morning bagels with my family. Singing backup for Barry Manilow with my choir. Swimming with sea turtles in the Pacific. These are the moments I hold onto, the ones that define who I am, and who I want to be.
My whole life has been others invading my gender with their questions, tears signed by my body, and a war against my closet. Soon after this, I came out to my mom. My mom cried and said she loved me. She scheduled me an appointment with a gender therapist, let me donate my female clothes, and helped build a masculine wardrobe. With her help, I went on hormones five months after coming out and got surgery a year later. I finally found myself, and my mom fought for me, her love was endless.
Even though I had friends, writing, and therapy, my strongest support was my mother. On August 30th, my mom passed away unexpectedly. My favorite person, the one who helped me become the man I am today, ripped away from me, leaving a giant hole in my heart and in my life. Life got dull. Learning how to wake up without my mom every morning became routine. Nothing felt right, a constant numbness to everything, and fog brain was my kryptonite. I paid attention in class, I did the work, but nothing stuck.
It took over a year to get out of my slump. I shared my writing at open mics, with friends, and I cried every time. I embraced the pain, the hurt, and eventually, it became the norm. I grew used to not having my mom around. My mom always wanted to change the world, to fix the broken parts of society. Not just for her, but for me, and all the people who need a support branch as strong as the one my mom gave me.
I am determined to make sure no one feels as alone as I did. I want to be able to reach people, and use motivational speaking as the platform. Are you tired of seeing an iPhone everywhere? Samsung glitchy? I present to you, the iTaylor. I am the iTaylor. On the outside, I look like any smart phone, but when you open my settings and explore my abilities, you will find I have many unique features.
Thanks to my positivity, I was chosen to give the morning announcements freshman year. Next up, language settings. Inspired, I began creating family events and even making efforts to grow closer to my second cousins.
At eight years old, I was diagnosed with what some might call a glitch: epilepsy. Fortunately, a new IOS software update cured my condition by the age of 15, but through epilepsy, I gained a love of exploration. Overcoming epilepsy taught me to take risks and explore new places.
This brings us to the iTaylor location settings. I brought this desire home to a volunteer position at a local program for immigrant children. I helped the kids make presentations about their places of origin, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Sulu campaign, a regional pageant in the Philippines. It became clear that the English language, one I took for granted, is the central feature that brings groups together. This past summer, I brought my talents to Scotland, playing the dual role of Artistic Director and leading character for Geek the Musical.
I worked to promote the show in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival against 53, shows, reinventing ways to motivate the cast and connect with strangers from all over the world. We learned the more we connected, the more our audience grew. I applied these skills to my leadership positions at home, including my High School Theater Group, Players.
The rollout plan for the iTaylor is to introduce it to the theater market. My goal is to use performance and storytelling to expose audiences to different cultures, religions, and points of view. Perhaps if we all learned more about each other's lifestyles, the world would be more empathetic and integrated. So what do you think?
Would you like an iTaylor of your own? The iTaylor College Edition is now available for pre-order. It delivers next fall. Upon graduation, I will be able to analyze medieval Spanish poems using literary terms and cultural context, describe the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative problem. Despite knowing how to execute these very particular tasks, I currently fail to understand how to change a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a good insurance policy.
A factory-model school system that has been left essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development. I have been conditioned to complete tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding. I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, thinking my scores were the only aspect that defined me; and they were.
I was getting everything right. Then, I ran for Student Government and failed. How could that be? I was statistically a smart kid with a good head on my shoulders, right? Surely someone had to have made a mistake. Little did I know, this was my first exposure to meaning beyond numbers.
I had the epiphany that oh wait, maybe it was my fault that I had never prioritized communication skills, or open-mindedness qualities my fellow candidates possessed. Maybe it was me. That must be why I always had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help--no one ever asked me for it. I resolved to alter my mindset, taking a new approach to the way I lived.
From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills. I had never been more uncomfortable. I forced myself to learn to be vulnerable by asking questions even if I was terrified of being wrong. My proficiency in using data evidence could not teach me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores show me how to be more open to criticism.
The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, happened to be learning from those around me. The process of achieving this new mindset came through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the new perspectives each person in my life could offer if I really took the time to connect.
Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I began to consider the big-picture consequences my engagements could have. People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to learn to pay more attention to detail to understand every point of view.
I took on the state of what I like to call collaborative independence, and to my delight, I was elected to StuGo after my third year of trying. Not long ago, I would have fallen apart at the presence of any uncertainty. As I further accept and advance new life skills, the more I realize how much remains uncertain in the world.
Hopefully, my wings continue enabling me to fly, but it is going to take more than just me and my wings; I have to continue putting my faith in the air around me. I was ecstatic. We would become the first Mother-Son Indian duo on Food Network peeling potatoes, skinning chicken, and grinding spices, sharing our Bengali recipes with the world.
Always watching YouTube and never talking! The worst time came when my parents tried to fix their relationship. Repeated date nights induced more arguments. Enduring the stress of her restaurant, my father, and her mistakes, my mom attempted to end her life. Fortunately, I found her just in time. Over the next two years, things were at times still hard, but gradually improved.
My parents decided to start anew, took some time apart, then got back together. My mom started to pick me up from activities on time and my dad and I bonded more, watching Warriors and 49ers games. I wanted back the family I had before the restaurant--the one that ate Luchi Mongsho together every Sunday night. So I looked for comfort in creation. I began spending more time in our garage , carefully constructing planes from sheets of foam.
I found purpose balancing the fuselage or leveling the ailerons to precisely 90 degrees. I loved cutting new parts and assembling them perfectly. Here , I could fix all the mistakes. In high school, I slowly began to forge a community of creators with my peers. Sophomore year, I started an engineering club and found that I had a talent for managing people and encouraging them to create an idea even if it failed.
I also learned how to take feedback and become more resilient. Here, I could nerd-out about warp drives and the possibility of anti-matter without being ignored. I would give a weekly report on new technology and we would have hour-long conversations about the various uses a blacker material could have. While building a community at school rebuilt my confidence, I still found I enjoyed being alone at times. Looking back and perhaps inadvertently , the conflicts from the restaurant days have taught me valuable lessons.
Helping my mom through her relationship taught me to watch out for those in emotional distress. Spending nights alone made me more independent--after all, it was then that I signed up for advanced math and programming courses and decided to apply for software internships. Most of all, seeing my mom start her restaurant from no food-industry experience inspired me to found two clubs and a Hydrogen Car Team. Even though we eat Luchi Monsho on a monthly basis now, I know my family will never be the way it was.
But I can use them to improve the present. I stayed up all night reading through documents related to Army support contracts in Iraq and Kuwait in I asked my dad about it the next day and he said, "It was a mistake I made that has been resolved. I was always scared of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Violence has always surrounded me and haunted me.
After 14 years of living in a region destroyed by violence, I was sent away to boarding school in a region known for peace, Switzerland. That year my father was found guilty and imprisoned for the charges related to his Army support contract. My parents got divorced and my childhood home was bulldozed to the ground by the Saudi government after my father was sent to prison. My mom had always been a hub of stability, but she was too overwhelmed to support me.
I started eating to cope with my anxiety and gained pounds in a year and a half. As I gained weight, my health started to deteriorate, and my grades started to drop.
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