The Educational Voyage
Captain Cook, Captain Nemo, Captain Bhat. What do all three of these individuals have in common? Two of them are great explorers, one fictional, one real, both immortalized. The third explorer, not found in a history book near you, is me-yes-me. I have always dreamed big, hence the Captain in front of my last name, but more importantly, I have always had a love for exploration. Whether it be building a tent fort and exploring my house at age six or mountain biking with my best friend at age sixteen, exploring has captivated my imagination. But, I want to add a touch of my own to the definition of exploration. I want to explore culture and heritage to discover the universal truths that tie every civilization in the world together. Of course, writing an essay about this is actually easier than setting out on a voyage of discovery, but I believe the University of Pennsylvania is the perfect vessel to set out in.
High school provided me two rudders to guide my ship; a longing to understand my beliefs and the quest for an unconventional answer. As I nurtured my talent in debate and argumentation I learned to reject ad-populum views that failed to express anything other than what is most obvious (no more Cable News!) I searched for answers that were unconventional and more compelling. Similarly, biking to school turned out to be better for communication than transportation. As we biked, my friends, all of whom are budding Newt Gingrichs, argued with me, the staunch liberal, over healthcare and the economy. To my surprise, as they challenged me, I learned to understand my beliefs in the context of others. These rudders are what I believe I can add to Penn, specifically the ethnohisotry curriculum.
I like asking questions-a lot of questions-but the ethnohisotry program encourages this because it connects culture, ethnicity, and heritage to the more academic inquiries of history. To use multiple relevant fields to answer some of the most pressing questions is everything I desire in an unconventional answer. Better yet, I can't wait to join a community of curious individuals who find the ethnohisotry program a cross-cultural network that defies the barriers of race to discover what I have scanned the horizon for; the bonds that tie all of us together. But, of course the explorer can't just seek one destination, so I would like my ship to stop at several ports of call, from mathematics to the humanities. While being a part of the ethnohisotry community will be rewarding, the experience of belonging to multiple communities will only help me draw a map of the new world I am sailing into.
Penn is unique in that it offers the ability to augment what you have learned in class, through social experiences. For that reason, I would like to have accompanying me on my voyage the cultural community on campus, especially the Pen Tango club and the Ki-Aikido club. I want to experience the traditions of the world, not just study them. Tangoing the night way-I really need dance lessons-or learning to discipline my mind and body-martial arts-I know I can enjoy and contribute to my journey as well as the journeys of my peers. These social communities among others provide my voyage personality along with purpose, but may even allow me to add my own experiences as a first-generation American to the cultural scene.
The University of Pennsylvania is a vessel that can take my educational voyage to the ends of the earth. Like the explorers who grace my history books, I wish to understand the world, but I want to do so through my ability to search for unconventional answers to both, the significant and the insignificant questions of history, culture, and ethnicity. The academic and social worlds at Penn provide me an interactive relationship with history that I have been waiting for-that's what my quest is all about.