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Comments on MIT short essays? (cultural identity, which department)

Ryxion 2 / 8 1  
Dec 25, 2013   #1
Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below (100 word limit)

I'm Chinese, one of the three main races in Malaysia, the other two being Malay and Indian. Already living together before Malaysia's independence in 1957, we have assimilated each other's cultures. We celebrate our different religious festivals together. Most notable of all is the language we use in conversations, which we call the "rojak" language: a mix of Malay, Tamil, Chinese, even Hokkien and Cantonese dialect. And while people have speech crutches such as "ahs" and "umms", Malaysians have "lah". "Come and join us for lunch 'lah'!" To "umm" is to be human, but to "lah" is to be Malaysian. (100 words)

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)

If you get too near to it you will get hurt, but too far and you lose its benefit.

It is fire.

As a child, I have always been fascinated by nature. Fire, in particular, is my favorite. I read, research, and watch anything about it. I join outdoor camps to learn how to build a fire, from the ignition to the tinder and fuel. At the same time I appreciate what fire has done for us. My strange obsession with fire continues, and I hope some day my knowledge on fire will be useful for something. (97 words)

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)

The Department of Chemical Engineering appeals to me. This is a boring statement but I just like physics and chemistry. Many chemical reactions are beautiful and intriguing, such as the weird decomposition of mercury(II) thiocyanate and the Briggs-Rauscher Reaction. Furthermore, chemical engineering, with all its linkage to other engineering disciplines, offers opportunities to do great things. Chemical engineering itself covers so many aspects, and to be honest I do not know which area to specialize in because I like many of them. But I do know that my interest is in chemical engineering, which I hope to pursue in college. (100 words)

//I am worried because I think some part of them sounds weird but at the same time I'm just trying to be myself. Please bear with me and many thanks!
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Dec 25, 2013   #2

Your first two responses are great. No changes needed there. However, your response to the "what interests you" question is lack-luster. Essentially all you say is that you like chemical reactions....ok. You need to talk about something, some general plan that will make the adcom say...ok, let's take a chance on this kid. -Admissions Advice Online
OP Ryxion 2 / 8 1  
Dec 25, 2013   #3
Yes it really is, have to find a way to put myself in there. Thanks for helping!
OP Ryxion 2 / 8 1  
Dec 27, 2013   #4
Alright here's the edited one and another response.

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

My country's education taught me to study everyday and take everything passively. Honestly, I was affected. There was no "do what you love", just good grades. Now I have realized that it is time to break free from the shackles. Fortunately, I know my interests: Mathematics and Science, especially Physics and Chemistry. Finding the UROP has made me really eager to be part of MIT to further explore and develop my interests. With flexibility and opportunities as parts of my consideration, the Department of Chemical Engineering appeals to me because of the research breadth and the opportunities chemical engineering offers.

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)

Not for the first time, Mrs. Leong, my Chinese language teacher did something bizarre. "If you don't want me to teach, just say 'Thank you teacher.' I will leave immediately."

Then I had to do the more bizarre thing. I spearheaded the three words, and to our amazement she walked out of the class.

And next I was standing at her office table and given a penalty mark of eight for disrespect and improper behavior. The worse thing was that I was not the sole leader of this "operation", and two other people who spearheaded the words were spared.

Maybe because I was part of the prefects, a group she hated for personal reasons, that I received this treatment. The only thought in my mind was injustice and unfairness.

Upon reflection, I realized that she gave me a glimpse of the people in society: good and bad, rational and preposterous. Mrs. Leong happened to be a special person I met, maybe not in the best way, but as a young student at that time, she opened my eyes.

In the end, I am content. I give her my respect even though she did not seem to give me hers because she taught me the patience to handle difficult situations and to look on the bright side. I thank every good person who has changed me for the better, but I thank the less desirable people even more because they have taught me something new in different ways.
Kristoria 3 / 51 1  
Dec 28, 2013   #5
Your essay gives insight on what you learned from the experience but I don't think you answered the question. Are you sure this is the most significant challenge you have faced? I think your 2nd attempt at the 100 word essay was a better attempt at answering the question.
OP Ryxion 2 / 8 1  
Dec 28, 2013   #6
Hi Kristoria. Thanks for the feedback. I have an alternative solution to that :)

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