Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
Most students derive their passions for life and their ambitions from their society and surroundings. They live like puppets under direct command of their parents. The experiences that they encounter within society shape their morals and ideas that the individual develops. I cannot deny that I have lived this way seeing that I grew up into an Asian-Indian family. However, unlike most individuals, I have been given much more independence. My set of ambitions has unfolded from my own pursuit of knowledge.
When I think of my grandmother or my deceased mother, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Without education, life is nothing". I was always given lectures and told stories on how America has given my parents the freedom to strive for education that they could not achieve in other countries. Every time I visit my grandparents, they ask about my grades and education. They ask because they do not want to see me suffer in the unlivable conditions that they went through in their miserable days in the hellish country of India.
My grandfather forced me to read and learn college chemistry terms at the age of ten. He would force me to write down terms and memorize their definition. I was taught about science concepts that my immature mind could not yet grasp. Still, I was always interested in reading scientific books as a child, rather than reading simple kids' books. Instead of reading about a red-hooded girl getting eaten by a wolf, I was amazed by the concept of atoms and particles and the construction of the universe.
Though my father was strict about grades, I was given unlimited freedom regarding what I wanted to do in life. I could be anything I want and I could do anything I want. He rarely even moderated my performance. During and after middle school, all my performance was managed almost completely by myself. During middle school, I decided to take a college class in chemistry, even though my father tried to talk me out of it due to the difficulty of the course. I used my freedom to strive towards my own ambitions on science.
From there after, I decided to devote my life towards my passions for math and science. I was attracted to the idea of how the universe functions and how we can use the concepts of mathematics and science to better our own society. I feel that every human must contribute towards finding out why they exist in such a vast, hollow and lonely space, and that my way of contributing is through manipulating the coding of the universe. The universe runs on mathematics just as a computer program runs on C++, and by understanding how the program of the universe works, we can help progress our civilization through applied science.
Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
In reality, it is just a mass of ripples of energy carried by waves in a medium. When harmonized in specific frequencies based on the overtone series, it creates absolute pleasure for the ear. We have named this magic "music". Music provides the relaxation I need to keep me composed. It soothes my nerves after a demanding day and returns my Zen back to me. Music is also very expressive since it has many genres and tastes: classical, baroque, electronic, rock, blues, pop, hardcore, heavy metal. Each expresses a different mood and feeling on which I can reflect. Of the many genres of music, the most fascinating to me is jazz. The complex harmonies, the syncopation, the freedom, the music theory, and the improvisation in jazz astonish me.
Jazz was first introduced to me when a friend advised me to join my high school jazz band. When I went to our school's band director Mr. Miller and told him my instrument of choice was piano, he then invited me to rehearsal. I was instantly hooked on the free and soothing emotions the band evoked in their performance. I decided to join the jazz band just because I loved the idea of improvisation and playing freely. In improvisation, we are given an idea on sheet music and we build off of the idea either by using the heart and ear or the mind and knowledge of music theory. Improvisation allowed me to play more freely and gave me another way to express myself.
Despite my new interest in jazz, playing jazz was difficult because I was still used to reading and practicing from standard sheet music. Still, my ambition quickly gained momentum as I avidly started researching and studying music theory. Studying the music not only deepened my fascination with the genre but also increased my interest in how it works. Other Western music, such as classical, rock, and baroque, uses simple triads with a few sevenths and full-diminished progressions. Jazz uses a range of extensions, complex odd time signatures, off beat rhythms, and even atonal dissonance. The amazing thing is that a lot of jazz is improvised. An ordinary composer would spend hours and days carefully writing a composition, while a jazz performer would make the entire composition up at the spot.
Although jazz is my favorite genre, I find music in general the most beautiful type of art that any one can enjoy. The way the tones in harmonics come together to produce pleasurable sound waves that match each other because of the intervals in the overtone series is a phenomenon that will never seem dull to me. Music has also had a powerful effect in pacifying me. Life can be exciting, but sometimes life can be worse than needles scratching on the surface of one's skull. It is the beauty of music that keeps my life in order.