How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.
To understand why I want to attend the University of Chicago, take a look inside my mind. Hundreds of years ago, you would identify me by my scarlet-and-gold family crest, proudly painted on a battered yet unbroken shield. I would dismount from my midnight black stallion, long hair spilling out from under my helmet, and confront you with a respectful bow. Today, I wear jeans instead of armor, but if you look in my eyes today, you’ll see the person I really am: a warrior princess.
I have traveled alone to many lands, not on horseback but on airplanes, meeting strangers and spending hours reading stories of other warrior princesses like me. The most valuable career advice I ever received was from a brilliant Ukrainian engineer with a rags-to-riches story, whom I met on a flight from Detroit to Baltimore. Once I was old enough to declare myself an atheist, I still attentively listened to hours upon hours of lectures on morality and religion from Chinese ladies on late-night plane rides and Uber drivers with wide, soulful eyes. Each time I meet another fellow traveler by the side of the road, I find myself telling a different story of who I am and where I am from - and that, I suppose, is how warrior princesses grow up.
When I was young, I engaged in traditional warrior princess activities. I carved my own bows out of tree branches and shot chopstick arrows across the driveway in furious pursuit of perfect aim. I wrote love songs, memorized Morse Code, and engaged my father, the king, in many long nights of chess games. I became the best tree-climber on my suburban California street and even gave private lessons to my siblings (the other heirs, I called them). Every weekend, I gathered the neighborhood children together, divided up the Nerf weapons evenly, and set the boundaries of a street-wide Capture the Flag with elaborate rules. In these battles, I learned many things - how to give instructions to packs of unruly children, how to develop innovative strategies to confuse the enemy. How to lead. How to lose everything and lose gracefully. These qualities would become much more useful to me in high school.
When I became a teenager, I moved on to paths less common to traditional warrior princesses, but all the more engaging and stimulating. I served as an apprentice to my government, learning and teaching the fine art of hacking while writing code with other team members. At seventeen, I fought an epic duel on live television, debating with defensive shields of impact analysis and freshly sharpened statistics and facts to prove my case. Warrior princesses must be apt in their studies, but I believe this means more than excelling at school subjects; it means pushing my academic skill to my absolute limits. For example, after reading the book Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, I applied fresh mnemonic techniques to memorizing an entire AP course in psychology, a class I never took, on the day before the AP test. I spent one summer speaking practically no English and exploring castles in the faraway kingdom of Spain, volunteering to lock myself in a castle morgue to test an ancient myth. Back at home, I studied how to design a rare art form called the ambigram, and I dropped my atheism after deciding that modern science better supports the theory of intelligent design.
As I prepare to leave my home for a university, I dream of joining the University of Chicago community. In all honesty, UChicago is probably the only university that will accept and even encourage my eclectic thinking and passion for finding adventure in everyday life. Although I hope to major in Computer Science, I also want to study political science and the Italian language to the extent that I can confidently debate Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and copy Dante’s style of terza rima poetry. I want to learn about game theory and astrophysics not just in surface-level introductory classes, but through in-depth discussion and analysis. At UChicago, the Core curriculum will feed my hunger for a broad undergraduate education by guaranteeing that one-third of my studies will be dedicated to the exploration of the humanities, sciences, and arts. I yearn to engage in vibrant discussion with UChicago musicians who study neuroscience, business majors who star in theater productions, and psychology students who are learning Mandarin. At any other school, I would be an untraditional student, but at UChicago, I will fit right in. Traditional warrior princesses feel at home in castles; it is no surprise that UChicago's campus is full of them. At UChicago, surrounded by diverse thinkers and unique personalities of every kind, I know that I will feel at home, too.
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