Do you think this answers the prompt? I know the beginning is kind of stretching it, but I was hoping to answer the "what do you hope to contribute" part of the question with it.
Prompt: Considering both the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying and the unique aspects of the University of Pennsylvania, what do you hope to learn from and contribute to the Penn community? (Please answer in one page, approximately 500 words.)
"I don't think I want to keep playing violin anymore. I'm doing too much right now and I just want to focus more on rock climbing."
Immediately after the words flew off my tongue, like freshly-sharpened arrows, I regretted them. I wanted to take them back, reel them in before they would reach my teacher. But I could not. The expression on her face was that of hurt, coupled with anger and disbelief. I felt my own eyes welling up with disgust at what I had done. But then, Ms. Laura said something that had never occurred to me, something that made me understand:
"That's the problem with our society. We are so concerned with excelling at one thing that we forget to look around every once in a while, and open ourselves up to all the possibilities around us. When you get a job and a house, you won't get the opportunity to do these things. Right now, you have the chance to learn something valuable-please don't throw it away like that."
In my preoccupation with becoming a better rock climber, including long nights of pull-ups and dead-hangs and weekends spent at the climbing gym rather than with friends, I had never once stopped to look at the bigger picture. Through art and music, I was able to connect with people on a level much deeper than any friendship I had made at the gym. I was able to bring them joy and brightness, move them to tears, express emotions for which words weren't nearly enough. My parents had given me the opportunity to experience so many aspects of life-art, violin, gymnastics, yoga, climbing-yet it was only 16 years later, in a moment of weakness and vulnerability, that I truly came to understand the value of such an education.
For me, U-Penn is the epitome of a liberal arts college, the epitome of the education my parents have given me. It gives students perspective and the opportunity to put their studies in a greater context, and purpose to countless hours of research and studying. It allows students to explore as many subject areas as possible before committing to a single one. While I am particularly interested in biochemistry, I would like to keep my options open for the time being. The well-roundedness of the U-Penn curriculum will undoubtedly enable me to do that.
If I do commit to majoring in biochemistry, U-Penn offers one of the best programs that I have examined. It would be an honor to study biochemistry at the College of Arts and Sciences, and to work with some of the country's most brilliant professors. I am particularly intrigued by the work of Professor Roland G. Kallen on the regulation of voltage-gated ion channels, and I would love to be able to take one of his classes. There are so many research programs, and the fact that students can start during sophomore year is incredible. I believe that research and experimentation are essential to understanding the sciences, and I am very much looking forward to a future at U-Penn.