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I spent more time lost and driving in circles than any person who had ever driven a car; Belief/Idea


yosh503037 12 / 22 2  
Sep 13, 2013   #1
Please give any feedback you may have, negative or positive, about the essay! If you want for me to read over your essays, please, just let me know, and I will be on it. Thanks!

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

When I first got my driver's license, my parents and little sister all swore that I spent more time lost and driving in circles than any person who had ever driven a car. Yet, I assured them that I wasn't lost. And that, I might be wasting some time in the short term, but someday, my interest in looking for an alternate route would pay off. This is the same approach when researching this past year also led me in a bit of a circle at first, but proved-I believe-to have changed the direction of my life.

My parents tend to disagree with my view of opportunity and exploring options. It is not that they are closed-minded or bent on me pursuing a path not of my choosing. Rather, they have simply lived decidedly different lives than the one I have and necessarily will live. And, for that, I am both as appreciative as a child can be and amazed in a way that I am not sure I can explain.

My parents are superheroes to me: a dynamic duo who together transformed our simple home into my "base-of-operations," the launch pad for my meteoric aspirations. In tenth grade, Mom pulled an allnighter with me turning a clock into a car, then crawled off to her nursing shift. In eleventh grade, Dad tirelessly drove me to whatever lab would take me, stealing his only sleep on his hour bus ride to work the next day.

My parents did this; they built me together, acting as the personification of unity, imbued with happiness, humility and appreciation. Two people could not have chosen better partners. The funny thing is: my parents didn't choose. Their marriage was arranged. When asked about their marriage, both say, almost matter of factly, "You can't know what will happen, but you can find joy and satisfaction in almost anything that does happen. We find that joy every day." My aspiration was, and continues to be, to find the same joy and satisfaction every, single day, which I have found through exploration and research.

In 2007, UCSF's Dr. Merzenich presented a study to the National Academy of Science that strongly linked rising rates of autism to the transferal of environmental toxins from older mothers to their children through breastfeeding. Yet, the study was not distributed widely. Research did not advance beyond non-human subjects. As Merzenich explained, the medical and cultural implications of the study made its furtherance, at best, "presumptuous." The work I did related to early autism detection met similar cultural pressures, applied by certain sectors of the electorate who feared potential prenatal family choices.

I was stunned. In my eyes, children and families were suffering, some prevention or mitigation was possible, but nothing could be done because the issues were "complicated." I may have actually felt lost...Then, I thought of the fortunate place from which I come, and I realized that the answer was obvious. I had a responsibility, presumptuous as it may be, to respect something more than myself.

I, and all those aspiring to pursue research, have been given the gift, the responsibility, and the awesome power of choice. With that gift came the responsibility to do more, to set higher goals, to work to cure, prevent, innovate, and change the way 8 billion people live, which led to my research to do just that: discover the underlying causes and innovate a potential solution. For, to me, that is a life filled every day with joy; that is a life that could not be more satisfying; that is a life honoring what I have been given...more than anyone could possibly deserve and one I would definitely repeat.

Yet, countless others of such issues exist in the world, just waiting to be explored. A willingness to be at a loss, but a refusal to remain lost as a result of shortsightedness: this is the trait that has come, and will continue, to define me and all my endeavors.
OP yosh503037 12 / 22 2  
Sep 14, 2013   #2
Please give any feedback you may have, negative or positive, about the essay! If you want for me to read over your essays, please, just let me know, and I will be on it. Thanks!

Address through specific and concrete examples what characteristics you have that best demonstrate your affinity and aptitude for being a good scientist. What have you done that illustrates scientific attitude, curiosity, inventiveness, initiative? How does your experience suggest future success as a scientist, mathematician or engineer?

Address through specific and concrete examples what characteristics you have that best demonstrate your affinity and aptitude for being a good scientist. What have you done that illustrates scientific attitude, curiosity, inventiveness, initiative? How does your experience suggest future success as a scientist, mathematician or engineer?*

In 2007, UCSF's Dr. Merzenich presented a study to the National Academy of Science that strongly linked rising rates of autism to the transferal of environmental toxins from older mothers to their children through breastfeeding. The study was not distributed widely. Research did not advance beyond non-human subjects. As Merzenich explained, the medical and cultural implications of the study made its furtherance, at best, "presumptuous." The work I did related to early autism detection met similar cultural pressures, applied by certain sectors of the electorate who feared potential prenatal family choices.

I was stunned. In my eyes, children and families were suffering, some prevention or mitigation was possible, but nothing could be done because the issues were "complicated." I may have actually felt lost...Then, I thought of the fortunate place from which I come, and I realized that the answer was obvious. I had a responsibility, presumptuous as it may be, to respect something more than myself.

I, and all those aspiring to conduct research, have been given the gift, the responsibility, and the awesome power of choice. With that gift came the responsibility to do more, to set higher goals, to work to cure, prevent, innovate, and change the way 8 billion people live. In turn, I sought, and eventually did, to determine the fundamental cause for the manifestation of autism and developed a detection method of autism relying on more quantitative measures: a way that had never been tried prior. Such delineates both my initiative and inventiveness in approaching such research investigations.

Last summer, however, I moved onto another problem that caught my interest and has grown to be an imminent concern for many: energy. I, thus, chose to work on plasma fusion. My job was to mathematically describe plasma irregularities caused by quantum fluctuation. It was detailed work and tough to grasp at first, but when I wrapped my head around the math and finished the work my mentor needed for publication, I began asking myself some meandering questions.

After working in fusion, and then reading about Germany's new renewable energy economy, I had to wonder if there wasn't a better way. Built on the fly in the 18 months since the Fukushima disaster, Germany's shift to alternative energy has already shown economic and production advantages over traditional energy production. This started me searching.

Dispersed solar utilities. Graphene energy dense storage cells. Grid improvement. Hydro. Wind and more. There were so many alternative energy paths to investigate that I beamed with excitement. For, while I may have been at a loss if asked which option best, I was no longer lost in my approach to the problem. A willingness to be at a loss, but a refusal to remain lost as a result of shortsightedness: this is the trait which most defines me and which makes me apt to pursuing research. Furthermore, such initial searching was one instance of my curiosity getting ahead of me, yet it was what eventually led to my developments.

Yet, all my work thus far has not quelled my interests: they continue to rage on and, I'm afraid, there is no amount of time that will douse that fire. Moving forward, my curiosity will still get the better of me, leading to pursuing research further, though I will be aided in my efforts with my inventive behavior and initiative.
yumandragore 3 / 12 4  
Sep 15, 2013   #3
Great analogy, structure, and writing style. I absolutely love it!

I detected one single misplaced comma, I think: "every, single day" No comma there.

Sorry if this is not good enough feedback!

I'm also working on my common app essay, please take a look at my thread.

Good luck!
Vin 1 / 7 2  
Sep 15, 2013   #4
To be honest, I'm a bit confused by your essay. Maybe I am just to stupid to see the point, but you start with an analogie about living in a circle, then you talk about your awesome parents, about somebody who has done some research which less effect than you thought and that showed you how awesome research is, am I getting this right? I don't really see the connection to the topic. What is the part of the parents all about? You don't really write much about the belife and the challenge itself. At this state, the essay consists of some really different and unconnected parts which makes it really hard to see where you are going. Also, you have many paragraphs all consisting of just a few sentences. That again makes it harder to follow your point. But again, maybe thats just me.
OP yosh503037 12 / 22 2  
Sep 15, 2013   #5
Hey Karl,

What I was essentially trying to get at in the essay was that, in the introduction, I was showing that I always tried to explore different routes to approach a problem and that, as the last line kind of sums up, was able to accept being at a loss but not accepting that I was truly lost in this world. The "parents" part was, at least I was hoping, supposed to essentially show how I got into research and got that idea of getting lost in this world engrained within me. The final section, about my actual research, was where I had the actual challenge, regarding going about tackling this issue of autism despite the presumptuous/tumultuous nature of others in the scientific and public communities.

I will try to fix up the paragraph (physical structure) of the essay. Thanks for pointing that out! Tell me if there is anything that you think might help make the essay a bit clearer or if there is some parts you want me to further clarify. Thanks for the feedback!
Vin 1 / 7 2  
Sep 15, 2013   #6
"The final section, about my actual research, was where I had the actual challenge, regarding going about tackling this issue of autism despite the presumptuous/tumultuous nature of others in the scientific and public communities."

Don't you think that the "actual challenge" shoud play a bigger part in an essay about a challenge? All this stuff about "how you got into research" or "getting lost" is nice, but does it fit the promp? You are supposed to write about a belief which was challenged, how you acted and wheather you would do it again or not. You just wrote a little bit about the challenge and how you reacted. Focus more on the actual topic of the essay, more about how it affeced you. How did you came to your decision? What are the consequences of that decision?
Th25cc 2 / 90 26  
Sep 15, 2013   #7
Your introductory story isn't very good and I have no idea what idea or belief you challenged. Doing research is great although that doesn't really qualify as you challenging an idea. They want to hear about a time where you disagreed with something and decided to take action.
Purple /  
Sep 21, 2013   #8
Hi,
This is very well written and clearly shows your enthusiasm. Here are just a couple things you may want to look at:

1.

The work I did related

The beginning of this sentence seems a little bit vague. Maybe you could start it with something more precise e.g. My experience working with...related to early autism detection etc.

2. actually felt lost... I don't think the ellipsis is need here. A short sentence would be fine.

3.awesome

power of choice

I think that the word awesome is too informal. Try looking for a word that means a similar thing but doesn't sound as informal.


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