Pg.217 of My 300 Page Autobiography: My UPenn App


Today, I’ve been backing up all the files on my computer in preparation for exams and stumbled upon my high school folder of college applications, so I’ve been reading old essays I wrote. Below is the 1-pager I wrote for UPenn’s prompt:

You have just completed your 300-page autobiography.
Please submit page 217.

Looks like I haven’t changed much, minus the vegetarianism:

 My Upenn Application Essay Submission

that my results for the “Are You Left- or Right- Brained” Test were pretty balanced, 16 to 14, much to the annoyance of my classmate, who was seeking results for a Psychology class project. The results made perfect sense to me though. I love my math class, Calculus BC, because the calculations are reliable. As long as I’ve memorized the equation and understand the concept, I can’t go wrong. I’m always either right or wrong, no middle ground. So my preference for the absolute makes me left-brained, doesn’t it?

But I also love Chinese…and for entirely different reasons. Mandarin, unlike Spanish or French, has no verb conjugation, no past tense. I can invert sentence order and still be understood, regardless of whether I say, “give me the book” or “the book give me.” The spontaneity and lack of order surrounding the Chinese language is thrilling. But wouldn’t my preference for a language without restraints categorize me as a right-brainer?

Is my balanced brain an oddity in a community obsessed with labeling students as either “arsty” or “mathy”?

Do I contradict myself? I puzzle over Sudoku, pencil in hand, the numbers 1 through 9 whirling in my head, then turn on classical music, make a pot of green tea, and write a monologue for my drama class. I fill out the cryptoquotes in the newspaper, cracking code to find the quote of the day, and then grab needle and thread to sew myself a handbag from old t-shirts.

Wouldn’t the fact that I’m in the computer programming class immediately classify me as a nerd? I can recite the correct set-up for any program written in Java. “ {public static void main (String[] args){ System.out.println (“TYPE INFO HERE.”);}” Yet I’m also vegetarian. I eat quinoa, couscous, and tofu, cook with coconut oil and agave nectar, and refuse to eat high-fructose corn syrup. So do I now fall into the class of “Artsy Earth Lover”?

And why am I bothered by a silly Psychology class survey anyways? Maybe I should take the class to

Gotta love creative prompts! To the high school prompt brainstormers out there, yes, I did get in to UPenn/Wharton. Can’t say whether that was due to this essay though!


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