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"For you, I've devoted and risked my chromatids!" - Chicago - FIND X! essay prompt

austintaceous 4 / 7  
Dec 31, 2010   #1
I avoided the overdone mathematical approach to the prompt and gave it a twist of my own. I initially thought it'd be too obscene to write about (after all, the narrative takes place in the testicles... I KNOW, I KNOW, just keep reading), but I feel like UChicago's quirky and unconventional attitude would warrant something like this. Please tell me what you think.

I'm aware that the essay isn't really reflective of my ambitions, goals, or personality, but I feel like my Common App main essay in addition to my Why Chicago? essay already accomplishes that.

Please address any glaring grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, awkward wording, or anything you see fit! Thank you! :)

"Why?" he asked himself.

Y was retracing a path back to his dorm in the rain, umbrella poised and coffee in hand. Y had just finished a mandatory weight training class to strengthen his chromatids. Attending "St. Y's Chromosomal Academy," a prestigious all-Y boarding school situated in the city of Spermatocytopia, Y had been rigorously taught to search for X, in the name of his livelihood and the honor of his family. Portraits depicting the infamous symbol hugged the walls of the school corridors. Chants of "Pledge of Allegiance to X" served as the patriotic backdrop to each of his mornings. His schoolmates were bound to the same pursuit: "You must find X." Yet, he never really understood why, for no one cared to tell him what would actually ensue upon discovering X. Hidden treasure? Immortality? Love? The schoolmaster, his instructors, and his own spermatogonia mother had been unnervingly vague, urging that finding X will "bring good things." But what good things? He and his classmates had been indoctrinated with a singular, unyielding purpose and yet no one dared to leak the potent question of "Why?" The irony of attending an academy for the education of Ys and yet never being pressed to ask the question of "Why?", he bitterly thought. Y had been entrusted with a mission without being trusted with its purpose.

He trudged on anyway.

Y excelled in his studies, outperformed his classmates at Science Bowl, and outpaced all of his rivals on the track. He devoted his Saturdays to feeding the homeless at the soup kitchen in the poorer sector of Chromosome 21 territory. He tutored the younger Y chromosomes at St. Y's lower division on Twenty-Third Street. He continued to pour his energies into achieving more, winning more, and volunteering more. Despite all these activities, the resounding query of "Why?" continued to rattle in his nucleus, echoing louder as graduation inched closer. After so much time devoted to understanding the intricacies of X, its monopoly on which genes it controlled, its beautifully interwoven anatomy, its delicately intersecting structure, he still did not understand its purpose in his life. Y had more commitments and achievements under his belt but scraped no closer to answering that monosyllabic, lethally critical question.

"WHY AM I SEARCHING FOR X!" he outwardly pleaded.

As though in response to the gravity of the question, the ground beneath his feet shook. Suburban streets cracked in jagged lines and mounds of concrete dislodged from sidewalks, shooting into the air. Wind swirling around him, Y was lifted off his chromatids and emerged into a vortex that shrouded him in darkness. His whole being was being propelled through a series of winding tunnels and tubes, leaving him in a cloud of vertigo and nausea. This might be it, he thought. Y closed his eyes, bracing himself for the oblivion of death. At that very moment, when all he wished for was complete solitude in nothingness, an excuse to wallow in his failure, the all-too-familiar symbol -"X"- flashed in his nucleus, as though mocking his unfinished quest. Only appropriate, Y thought.

However, the symbol was far from his imagination. Upon landing in a dim, humid chamber, his eyes jolted open to reveal, just beyond the scope of his vision, the very symbol illuminated under his eyelids seconds ago during his death wish. Only, it wasn't a mere caricature on flimsy paper nor was it a lifeless textbook rendition depicting the dissection of its parts. It was truly X, in the flesh, too elegantly constructed for even the most skilled of artists to capture. In the process of shrugging off the shock of finally finding his life's purpose, Y realized he was in a sea of fellow Y chromosomes wriggling toward his life's mission, all eager to claim the X chromosome as theirs. Y would not allow this to happen. Beyond the familiar sense of entitlement from having worked so tirelessly at St. Y's, Y pulsed with a powerful, instinctive desire to lay stake in what he felt was so righteously his. With cheetah-like prowess, Y lunged forward and, with the help of chromatids strengthened by years of varsity track, soon outdistanced himself from the competition. Speed serving him well, he saw his Y comrades as a perpetual blur. Every now and then, one of his classmates would try to violently thwart him, threatening his earlier desire of death. No one could be trusted in this barbaric battle for X. Swiftly dodging these hurdles, he jetted onwards, to his centromere's singular and true desire: the X chromosome.

Arriving near his destination, Y was halted by another obstacle: a robust, viscous orb of protein that encased X. Y was not the first of his kind to reach X; many were already digging fiercely at the waxy barrier. Following suit, Y thrusted his sharp chromatids at the blockade with the might of a savage. Y was determined, held spellbound by the prospect of uncovering the mysteries behind X. After much frustration and fallen tears, Y wore down the barrier enough to hear X's rilling voice. This only further fueled his resolve and, with a final, forceful jab forward, Y broke the film. X lay before him, as radiant as ever.

"For you, I've devoted and risked my chromatids! What could possibly be so important in uncovering you?"
"The exquisite possibility of life," shrewdly replied X.
But before Y could begin to retort, all things faded to black and the orb in which they were encased began to duplicate.


The union of X and Y, nine months later, yielded a flawless baby boy. His first coherent utterance turned out to sound, almost unmistakably, like the inquiry of "Why?"

And so the question lives on.

lollipops4all 2 / 3  
Dec 31, 2010   #2
I really like your idea and originality. Though it is different from most college essays, the story mode of this essay is fitting for the liberal Uchicago who enourages creativity.

But there is one thing, I think you focus too much on the actual process of the chromosome.
I'm sure most of the reader doesn't really care the physciological process of fertilization. You should focus on mental struggle and confusion of finding the goal of your life.
spader181 1 / 3  
Dec 31, 2010   #3
Incredibly original. I'm glad I ran into this essay; the puns were amazing.

First thing I noticed was there was a moment of confusion at the beginning when you said you pledge allegance to the y each morning. I figured you were referring to gender but this made a little unclear.

Second, its too long. I think you could get rid of a lot of the middle section, particularly where you brag about your accomplishments. They already know this from the rest of the application, no need to tell them again.

Lastly, im not sure if you had a kid or if this is just allegory. You should make it clear one way or the other even though it will detract slightly from your style, otherwise you may have a very confused reader
Adventuress 4 / 7  
Dec 31, 2010   #4
This is AMAZING! I love it! Yeah, it's a little inappropriate at parts ("His whole being was being propelled through a series of winding tunnels and tubes," for instance, is a line I wish I'd contemplated less), but it's definitely well-written and interesting enough to cover it up. (if I'd take out anything for fear of freaking out the admissions officers, it would be that, along with the adjective "humid" in the paragraph after that - but maybe I was the only one grossed out by that) Anyway, I thought your grammar was very good; there were only a few corrections I could see.
iwantcollege 4 / 11  
Jan 2, 2011   #5
echoing louder as graduation inched closer.---i think you should change inched to something smaller, and inch seams like such a large measurement for this....

haha this is hilarious, and i think exactly what uchicago is looking for...i think if you added more subtle hummer , it would really make it a home run (even though it already is).

in my opinion , you will have no problem getting in. The best "X" essay i have seen yet....=)

i guess the only thing i can think of (besides grammar which i didnt look at two closely because the story was so good) is the length, its long, but def not repetitive...

oh also i think for the story being so great, the ending is a little ehhh
specifically this part

The union of X and Y, nine months later, yielded a flawless baby boy. His first coherent utterance turned out to sound, almost unmistakably, like the inquiry of "Why?"

And so the question lives on.

(Definitely still great) but maybe try to tie something in about u of c, or something. --totally opinion though. great job!!
draconlord 6 / 24  
Jan 2, 2011   #6
Wow...this is amazing...you used the same underlying concept as me...(Chromosomes) but it's a bazillion times different, and much more fantastical...

There's one small technical flaw that there are X's in the male body too...

"But before Y could begin to retort, all things faded to black and the orb in which they were encased began to duplicate. "

I feel like this would be even more awesome if you could figure out a way to say "they became one"
MirayPhilips 5 / 37  
Jan 2, 2011   #7
Love the idea!
You should make the first paragraph shorter though... and I agree with May yang's comment.
Nonetheless, absolutely baffling.

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