This is my essay for my personal statement of my scholarship application for Fulbright.
The indications are:COMEXUS supports diversity and our grantees come from all different backgrounds. Your personal statement should describe who you are and past personal experiences that illustrate your unique ability to succeed in the proposed program. Describe any significant factors or situations that have affected your development. Please do not mention any specific U.S. universities at which you would like to study. Do not repeat information from your Study Objectives.
(also, my essay is 20 words beyond the limit, i would appreciate what I can cut from it)
Another thing, I didn't want to repeat anything about engineering as i mention it in other essays, my purpose is to express my passion for math and how it shaped me, hope I achieved it.
"Don´t bite off more than you can chew". This old saying may seem obvious and easy to follow, but there was a time where I wanted to bite the life of a mathematician and an engineer. My journey through math competitions began when I was 13. I still remember the first problem I solved at that age: calculate the sum of the numbers from 1 to 100. The trick? Do it in less than ten seconds. This problem really pushes the mind to think out of the box, it made me see mathematics in a whole different way, an art that requires creativity and resourcefulness to solve problems, very different to the methods taught at my school. For this problem in particular, I came up with a solution that I later found out was called the Gauss's Formula.
Ever since I have engaged in mathematical competitions, starting from the local Olympiads in my state and getting to my first international Olympiad two years later. At that moment, even three years before college, I mistakenly thought that my interest for a career was clear as crystal. I focused on studying mathematics and prepare for achieving better results at the international competitions. Many people, even some tutors from my competitions, told me that I had the talent to excel in other science Olympiads, like physics or chemistry, but following the saying, I knew I had to keep my mind just in math if I wanted to be one of the bests.
In my next three years I managed to visit seven countries thanks to the math contests. Sitting on those contests' rooms for 4 hours and only 3 questions was a thrilling experience for me. The hours of absolute silence were a blaring and doodling series of thoughts inside my mind trying to crack 3 very hard problems. These competitions have shaped what I am today. Traveling alone to other countries and spending months far from home I've had to learn how to be independent at a short age. It pushed me also to improve my English, so I could communicate with foreign people. Along these trips I've discovered not only the effects of mathematics on societies but also the impact of other sciences. Either by conferences for the contestants, guided tours or talks with people from other cultures, in every different country and city I visited I found a constant: many problems of the world are solved using engineering.
Although I developed a profound love for mathematics, I wanted the problems I solve to be solutions that can be applied in real life. Starting a degree in mechatronics engineering was a complex decision to take for many reasons. I had to renounce the pureness of reaching an elaborate solution for a math problem, I had to say goodbye to the friends I made that were pursuing a degree in mathematics. Nevertheless, as I advanced in my undergraduate education, I realized that my experience in the Olympiads was crucial in my development as an engineer, the problem-solving ability for math provided me with the naturality to solve other kind of problems, whether a complex code algorithm or physics issue, I found use in the logic thinking that I thought only served for the Olympiads.
Even though I didn't follow mathematics for my university studies, it was what finally made me decide for study engineering, it made me who I am. The Olympiads equipped me with the hard-working attitude and inventiveness necessary to thrive as an engineer. Today, I am blissful with what engineering gives me, but, once in a while, I chew a bit of mathematics solving a problem alone, enjoying the silence in my room and the noise inside my mind.