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Stanford Intellectual Vitality Essay - Combat Robotics

Jasu 3 / 2  
Dec 30, 2011   #1
Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

Enormous, deadly titanium machines of monstrosity, equipped with buzzsaws, beaters and blades, displayed behind a thin piece of glass. This is what my engineering hallway looks like - a glorious showcase of combat robots.

Being a programming student, I had never held a soldering iron in my life. But just as I passed that hallway, I knew I wanted to get involved and learn how to make my own combat robot. Unfortunately, there were no formal classes - just a project period. Regardless, I decided to check it out.

Self learning robotics was a monumental task - it required an enormous amount of drive and dedication. CAD software drafting, milling pieces, assembling the chassis, and wiring circuitry - learning each of these steps involved a ton of trial and error and experimentation. Although it was a bit embarrassing, I wasn't afraid to ask the engineering students questions - "What's a caliper?".

At last, I had completed my first robot, and I felt confident enough in entering it in a competition. Combat robotics is risky - in seconds your months of work and precious design could be crushed beyond repair. I gripped my remote control and revved my weapon motors, spinning a titanium blade at the opponent. The whistle blew; sparks burst as our menacing vehicles of destruction collided and flipped wildly in the air. The intensity, sleepless nights of careful engineering, adrenaline-invoking danger and endless strategies - I was finally experiencing the thrill of combat robotics first-hand.

Now, engineering is an important part of my life. I learned to take risks - anything can be done as long as you have the time and dedication put into it. Now, as I pass the engineering hallway, I see my robot on that showcase. I'm glad I took the opportunity and initiative to learn combat robotics.

At Stanford, I realize that there are opportunities and things that I have never seen before; fascinating new technologies and fields that would blow my mind. I'm excited to take advantage of such opportunities, reach out and get involved.
daniel44992 13 / 29  
Dec 30, 2011   #2
The whole thing is really really good... until the last paragraph. You were so descriptive throughout that I almost felt like I was there with you but then the last paragraph is all telling. I understand you tried to create a conclusion, but its such a change in voice its jarring. I would take out "I'm glad...combat robotics" sentence and "Now... my life." Overall though, very strong. It makes me worried that I'm trying to get into to Stanford to and I've got people like you to compete with haha.

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