Curiosity of Inquiry
"I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday." This quote comes from Abraham Lincoln, a man who not only shares my birthday, but also my philosophy on education. Lincoln's words reflect the importance of learning, and emphasize it as a continual process. Because of the boundless nature of this process one can learn not only in the prescribed classroom setting, but also through interactions in and out of the classroom with people who come from unfamiliar backgrounds and cultures. These experiences are critical to a holistic and unified student body that appreciates the depth of a liberal arts education. It is this philosophy that I would bring to Bates, and by inspiring a pervasive tone of discourse, I am sure I would add immensely to the vitality of the campus. While I have had multiple experiences in my lifetime that display this intellectual curiosity, there are two in particular that truly express all that I plan on bringing to Bates College in the fall.
At the age of fifteen, I was able to travel to the Algarve region of Portugal to visit a family friend. The instant I arrived in Lisbon I was enthralled by Portuguese culture. The friendly and relaxed citizens were quite a contrast to the fast-paced, stressful environment that I had grown so accustomed to in America. Once we arrived in the Algarve, we settled into the modest home of our host, a long time friend and co-worker of my mother's who vacationed in Portugal every summer. After the jet lag wore off, I was introduced to her family and learned that none of them spoke a bit of English, and I did not speak any Portuguese. My immersion into this culture was a true learning experience; through observance of their culture and interactions, I was able to see firsthand how the Portuguese people truly live. I learned that the commercialism that we have become so accustomed to in the United States is virtually nonexistent in Portugal. The importance of family values exceeds that of materialistic ones, and the intimacy of the nation was an oasis from the more formal United States, as I was almost always guaranteed a hug and kiss from anyone I met. The knowledge that a country, just across the ocean, is so vastly different
from the United States is powerful in itself, but to experience it first hand is a true gift, and an experience worth sharing. Conveying the magnitude of this experience to others sparked an intellectual curiosity that led me to research and question other topics discussed in the classroom. While participating in class discussions, I am not looking for an experience that will partially satisfy the topic discussed, but one that encourages discourse and ignites a passion for it. While this result is rarely achieved because of time constraints in the classroom, I am able to quench my thirst for knowledge with further research done elsewhere. During my junior year English class, however, I inadvertently embarked on a learning experience that would carry through into my senior year. I became so fascinated with the authors being studied, that I proposed, and received approval for, an independent study to commence during my senior year. I am currently studying American authors and their impact on society, a topic so deep and fascinating that even a semester's worth of research will only skim the surface. Through this exploration, I have discovered how meaningless a grade is without knowledge attached to it, and how bereft of perspective students can be who focus solely on the number generated by a Scantron sheet. I know that I want to be part of a community of students who learn for learning's sake. I am sure that creating my own academic path within my high school's curriculum only enhances my readiness for Bates and the challenges that it will present.
After quite a long college process, I have come to the conclusion that I want to be part of a community that shares my philosophy and values for an education. It was through this set of demands that I found liberal arts colleges, more specifically Bates. The environment at Bates is one that I know fits me as a student. I know that as a student at Bates College, I would influence students to intellectually challenge themselves. Any college campus with inquisitive and cerebral students is sure to obtain the highest level of vitality.
...but also my philosophy of
education. Lincoln's words reflect the importance of learning and emphasize the fact that
it is a continual process.
sure I would add immensely to the vitality of the campus.
This right here is too general. Replace general statements with specific ones, when you can... I feel the same way about your conclusion paragraph. I think you could do better by writing about some specific resources/programs/faculty members at the school, instead of just saying the environment "fits" you. I wish I knew a better way to explain what I mean... this is good, but cut out all meaningless generalities and replace them with specifics. That's my challenge for you. :-)