I wrote the following essay for the personal essay section of the commonapp. Please guide me on areas I can improve. The essay exceeds the word limit by around 60 words, so could you also advise me on sections that are not necessary?
The ultimate question.
Why is the universe the way it is? What is the purpose of life?
These questions have teased men for centuries. I am no exception. Indeed, the question has found a comfortable position deep inside my brain where it ignites neurons into thinking. Sometimes, for days.
When science was still a distant topic in school and preconception a word I didn't know, the universe was a whole lot different. Experimentation preceded theory. But the universe still worked. Only my understanding was different from others. I still remember the goose bumps that arose when I witnessed my first sunrise. There was something about the colors and the play of light that forced the question, "Why?". That child-like wonder never faded, no matter what explanations were thrown at my curiosity.
Even today, I spend weeks just thinking about the way our universe works. Once in a while, the voice of Carl Sagan, or Stephen Hawking, booms aloud catalyzing this thinking process. The curiosity reaches a peak when I understand a science concept that tries to give a better picture of the universe. Yet, there is no better way to understand the universe than by creating your own. Electronics, programming and robotics are three tools that have allowed me to build my own universes.
One summer, when I arranged my first radio electronic circuit, with the help of my father, I knew I had created my own world where electrons followed paths I created. I knew the feeling that the "creator" of the universe must have felt. Multiply that joy by a child's curiosity and you begin to understand the meaning of life.
While electronics are limited by the rules of physics, programming has given me complete freedom to create my own rules. But most of all it has given me a new way of perceiving the workings of the world. For starters, it has allowed me to make the real world simpler. Everything around me appears nothing more than algorithms. When I was asked to solve a Sudoku puzzle and plot graphs by hand, I created a computer being that would do such tasks for me. Creating the computer being was itself a rigorous but fun task. The graphing calculator project involved teamwork that enhanced the being's "personality". Yet, I do not see computers as tools to simplify life, rather to understand it.
With robotics, the two worlds-the real and the virtual become one. We create robotic beings that are no less than "life" itself. That's exactly what we tried doing in the Botball Regional tournament and the National Robot Olympiad. We created "living" beings that would follow our instructions, thus, putting us in the shoes of God. I wondered, "Could I give this creation a brain?"A few moments later, I was discussing artificial intelligence with friends. A few months later, I had read all about it online and by the end of the year, I can have my computer "learning" all by itself. I find a mistake, I correct it. The same applies to the computer-an endless learning process.
Such a view on the universe is far from giving an explanation for everything in the real world. But to me, self-exploration provides the best answers. Explanations for the universe can be read out from books but exploring them for yourself best pacifies curiosity.
Good job, nice writing! A few suggestions:
These questions have teased men for centuries. I am no exception. Indeed, the question has found a comfortable position deep inside my brain where it ignites neurons into thinking. Sometimes, for days. You could shorten the first sentence and then add the 2nd sentence so they become 1 sentence.
no matter what explanations were thrown at my curiosity. You could omit this.
You are overusing the word "universe"
Even today, I spend weeks just thinking about the way our universe works. This sounds a little cheesy, maybe you could say that everyday events cause you to contemplate why things are the way they are.
Everything around me appears nothing more than algorithms. You may want to remove this, although it is apparent you are adding tech terms into your essay to show personality and that's ok.
Remember to state how these lessons you have learned connect to your short-term and long-term goals, you want the university to see that you know what you want.