Sunday, October 30, 2011

MIT Essays

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)

I write stories. Creating new worlds and new beings, then watching them play or putting them in odd situations is fascinating and good mental exercise. Doing so also lets me get an outside perspective on my own life—I accidentally or purposefully put my characters in the same trouble(s) I have, and the answer becomes clear because I have a new angle on it. Writing is communicating and thinking, which are core to being. To myself, I am what I understand of myself, and to others, I am what I can communicate. Writing aids both sides.

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)

What fascinates me most about MIT is how well the departments mingle. Though several of the schools I have researched have diverse majors, many of them have two wholly separate colleges, and never the twain shall meet. Every MIT alumnae I have spoken to has some friends in entirely random majors. Since I am interested in primarily mathematics and music, and secondarily writing and theater, integration of various majors matters to me. I would be bored if I were limited to only one major, or to interacting only with students of one realm.

What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you'd like to tell us about. (200-250 words)

I struggled with this question because I think of myself as a whole, so I researched ‘personality’.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that a personality is “that quality…which makes a person what he is, as distinct from other persons.” I can think of nothing more distinctly personal to my self than my singing.

In third grade, I opened my mouth to sing while walking across the blacktop, then came to a complete stop. I knew it was my voice, but it was so much richer, easier, better than I had ever heard it. As I stood stunned, a person turned to me.

“Was that you?”

I nodded.

“You have a lovely voice.”

I had a talent.

As I grew, I found other things I areas where I excelled, but few gave me the same feeling. I learn things and reflect them, like sunlight hitting the moon. Singing makes me a sun.

My obsessions revolve around that idea: I can create something, then radiate it. I can communicate. Writing, explaining, teaching, music, storytelling, mathematics—everything I do for fun came from the idea that started with singing.

I say singing, and not communication, because singing is my first love, and because singing is mine. I recognized singing as a talent long before I wrote for fun, and I remember being baffled at all these students who did not enjoy the school choir.

Even without any friend, singing would give me a home. If nothing else, I sing.

Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250 words)

My homes encourage sideways thinking. My parents and brother and I all pun and use sarcasm regularly, as well as having in-depth conversations about important issues. The same dinner might include a shoe/issue/eschew pun, a discussion on bisexual rights as they relate to queer rights as they relate to human rights, and an oddly worded sign my mother noticed at her work.

Other than my family, my homes are the gifted community and the arts community. The gifted community means oddly intelligent people, which leads to odd social conventions and conversations that fluctuate and finish randomly. Having fun means looking at how things work and communicating well.

Art is expression through odd media, as all communication is. Spoken language makes no sense to those who do not speak it; written word is a visual expression of that auditory medium. Even in the case of realistic painting or sculpture, one needs to break the subject into simpler shapes to learn to recreate it. And great art means making something new. Looking through standard angles makes that nearly impossible—looking at old paths in the old ways does not create new ideas.

These homes mean I love other perspectives. Each different way of seeing I find is another way to talk to one more person, which allows me to exist outside myself. This is why I want to be both a teacher and an artist—both, if successful, touch many lives, and both communicate.

Tell us about the most significant challenge you've faced or something important that didn't go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)

The first time I came out as bisexual was in the middle of my seventh-grade homeroom. All classmates within hearing chorused, “Ew!” Having never created a plan that allowed for that outcome, I turned around in my seat and put my head into my book. I took nothing from the event at the time, and had that been my only chance to come out, I would have learned nothing I did not know before.

Luckily, coming out is not something one does once. I came out in seventh grade to near-strangers; I came out to most of my family a few years ago; I am coming out by writing this. I had more chances to find accepting groups—including my mother, who is bisexual herself. Though I found others who were in outright denial about the fact that a person could be attracted to masculine and feminine traits, I am confident enough in myself that I can accept these as marks of ignorance and lack of tact.

I continue to be open, even when I am scared, because I see that fear for what it is: ignorance. Every time I make a mark on others’ preconceptions, I make the journey that much easier for the next bisexual. I make communication that much easier. I do not pretend I change the whole world every time I say that I am what I am, but I leave my ripples, and they add up.


  1. These are incredible. MIT will love them. Best of luck to you.


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