1. Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below (1000 character maximum).
One of the most influential days of my life was when I decided to join the Environmental Club at my school. I had been reluctant to join "garbage collectors with fancy names". However, I soon stood corrected. Firstly, the Environmental Club recycles almost 28 tons of paper and plastic a year! We try to promote environmental awareness with posters around school and "Go Green!" Months where the student body is rewarded with a day where they can wear green accessories etc. if the school is kept clean for a month. Furthermore, we help in cleaning up after school events such as Sports Day and Charity Bazaar. Last year, I was put in charge of the "Litter Patrol" on Sports Day, which involved organizing a group of 18 students to clean up a stadium filled with around 300! Thankfully, we managed to win the award for cleanest Sports Day ever and I was commended for it. After re-enrolling for my second year in a row, I am now one of the club's Group Leaders, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
2. If you were given funding for a small engineering project, what would you do? (250 words)
If I was given funding for a small engineering project, I would either build or upgrade an existing library so that it is fully or semi-mechanized. What I mean by a mechanized library is this.
When you deposit your returned book, instead of the librarian returning it physically, the book's ISBN code is scanned. Once the book is identified, its status will be changed to available, and conveyor belts will move it to its proper shelf. When someone wishes to see the book or borrow it, s/he simply chooses it using a computer in the library. The book is then moved by conveyor belts to the computer and is deposited into a pocket next to that specific computer. If the patron wishes to borrow the book, they scan its ISBN code, and the book's status is changed to unavailable.
After a book is borrowed, the number of days left until it is due back is added to a database, and when the number comes close to zero, an automatic email is sent to that person reminding them that their book(s) are due soon.
All in all, my idea is targeted at librarians so that they can use the time saved by this process in helping people out more often and being able to organize events. It may not be the most innovative of ideas, but it could help bring libraries into focus in communities where they do not receive much attention, which in turn helps educate people of all ages even further.
3. Discuss your favorite place to get lost. 250 words
My favorite place to get lost is not a specific location. It is actually any large library in the world. I have had a passion for reading ever since I was in first grade and my friend gave me his battered copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. My hunger for books quickly ignited, and I started searching for ways of accessing even more. That is when I discovered the local public library, which from then on was my home away from home.
Nine years down the road, my love for books has grown exponentially, and you will often find me in the school library, helping people choose a book or even curled up with my own book. What do I love about libraries? Where do I start? The joy of getting lost between the many shelves of books that hold a wealth of knowledge. The smell of ink on paper. The mix of heady emotions that you go through while reading a particularly good book as you fall in love with the characters. The camaraderie you feel with fellow readers as you discuss favorite books and authors. These are all things that you could only experience in a library. My only wish is that more people of my generation enjoyed them as I do.