This is my essay for the first option: Find x. It goes into some pretty deep stuff, tracing my journey trying to write this essay.
I began to find x as the lost function that would guide my rocket to the University of Chicago. After days of research and toiling through calculations, I arrived at two distinct pieces that would guide my projectile (after factoring in aerodynamic air resistance, mass changes, and fuel combustion force): Fy = sin() (vegm/t + pA) - (pv2CdA)/2 - mg, and Fx = cos() (vegm/t + pA) - (pv2CdA)/2 - mg. Then, as if I didn't have enough work, I researched the fuel RP-1 or Lox Kerosene. With a specific impulse of roughly 300s, I calculated that for one as non-aerodynamic as myself, and my given weight, I would stay in the air for 181.73s, or slightly over three minutes, with 1Mkg of fuel. Given air resistance and drag-induced lift, I, theoretically, launched myself about 460km, or one-half the distance from my house to UChicago. I attained only half of my goal.
Originally, the function was my masterpiece. I read it for days, marveling at the result. In my first draft of the essay, I even input a short joke saying, "Who said this wasn't rocket science?" As days passed, I lost interest in my work. I felt that I needed to rewrite it. And then came the solemn bye-bye to my dear calculated air density, my loving aerodynamic surface area, and my most precious force integrations.
I immediately switched to my next idea, myself. There must have been something in myself worth representation of something as enigmatic as x. "X is my desire for knowledge," I thought. It is something unsolvable because knowledge is boundless, as is my appetite for it. I could add to it when I studied, subtract from it when I forgot, and multiply it when I connected ideas. For a while, this too satisfied me. A quick read over my entire draft had me erasing the entire essay. My thought process went something like this, "Well, if I'm satisfied with this explanation for x, then I have just become part of a logical fallacy. Since I hunger for knowledge, I must never be fulfilled with something so rigid an answer." I was back to square one.
Once again, my idea of a wonderful insight gave way to perceived failure. Had I known that these two experiences would lead me closer to x, I might not have been as reluctant to proceed. At that moment, however, I felt that weeks had gone by without any progression. I was again, left without an essay to my dream school.
I still had ideas, no doubt, but they weren't of the same caliber. The turning point of history could have been x, but there were many turning points of history. There so many x's and therefore could not be the answer. X could be why we are able to think, to comprehend, and to express. Still, that would bring me back to the fact that x isn't a creation of humans alone, since animals too have the ability to think, comprehend, and express. Maybe x is the Monad. X in that sense was perfect. It builds everything we know today: the earth, the sky, water, and so much more. However, can something so simple as x define such complexity as a person? As Pythagoras described it, x would be numbers that construct our reality. No, it could not be! Again, I discarded the thought.
I slowly submerged myself in defeat. Not only had I wasted long days in laborious research, running through calculations, and thorough thought processes, I still had no essay! Drowned in misery, I picked up one of my favorite books: The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved by Mario Livio. However, as I read, the book gave me insight that it hadn't before. My first time through the book had taught me about the affinity we as people have towards anything that is symmetrical, whether it is a picture, music, or even life. This time, I understood more through my experiences with finding x.
That's why we use x after all, isn't it? It has four major lines of symmetry, more so than any other letter, except o. At its most basic level, x is simply two lines crossing each other, forming ninety-degree angles, the perfect right angle. If turned at forty-five degrees, it looks like the holy cross. We use it on maps to indicate the destination. X is more than just something we use for the aesthetic value. Almost every dead end I reached before seemed to point to the fact that x itself was infinite and perfect. Why not? Why do we have all of these uses for x, know it so well, but are still not able to find it? Then, it was the moment. I had a revelation, if you will. I realized x is perfect, something is impossible to attain. My journey for x will never end, but every moment I live, learn, and experience the world, I come a tiny bit closer to x. I don't need to find x, I just need to end up closer to x than where I was even a second ago. That's how I'll find x.
I feel that the last paragraph might have been a bit incohesive, but following my quest to find x, I actually came upon an epiphany and everything was just there. If it doesn't make sense, I'll try to edit it until it makes sense. As always, if you edit, I'll try to return the favor :)