I was a Division I student athlete. I missed being able to read as much as I used to. I missed leading a quieter, more contemplative life. I felt out of place. But more than anything, I would like to live my life thoughtfully. When I think back, my favorite memories and my moments of greatest esteem are not those when I was victorious, but when I was thoughtful. However, while the works I will discuss I did not blaze through the same way as the three I just named, they impacted my life in a significant way.
I could not disclude him, for it was his philosophies that allowed me to truly appreciate the meaning that I took from reading The Last Battle. The end of the book, and thus the Narnia series, is death. Just death, of everyone and everything, as Aslan, the Jesus-like lion and creator of Narnia, leads the dead spirits of all Narnians, including most of the main characters, to…Narnia. True Narnia, to be exact. Where, as the characters describe, the world was exactly the same as Narnia…but Truer.
Every color seemed brighter, every shadow realer, the hidden meaning in everything seemingly clear and implied in every object, the unknown becoming known, the invisible web of connection between all in the universe materializing. It was a simple interpretation of heaven, but it struck me. It was as if the world finally came to terms with your mind.
Like waking up from a dream to realize a truer, better world, the Narnians were led to the truest and most awoken state. There is a truth that I seek, and which all other artists, knowingly or unknowingly seek. It is the Platonic idea of the form, the truest representation of something.
Just like the shadow, or the reflection of a tree hints at the existence of a tree, Plato argues that the existence of a mysterious and not fully satisfying world hints at a greater, understandable, and infinitely more meaningful world.
I, all artists, and those seeking some sort of universal truth, must try to achieve that purest, most visceral understanding. It gave me hope and comfort. Even though it is a fundamentally Christian book, that ideal of a truer existence, couched in Platonic logic, was transcendent.
If the world seems incomprehensible, that is because you are not fully awake. Depression, like a dream, is only a facsimile of a better existence.
Lewis himself was a big fan of Plato; his works were the key that allowed me to decipher the meaning encoded in the Plato that I had read.
Ultimately, this is all about Plato. He is what ties all of this together. And what makes him great? His ability to so perfectly enunciate why we must never lose hope, and always struggle towards the ideal.
It has been hard, I will be upfront. Depression had and has torn much from me. But hope, the true hope that these works have given me, has allowed me dignity and strength and purpose that I would have otherwise not had. They have persuaded me that the battle for a better existence is never a futile one, and that placidity is never the answer when the world is so full of more to see, and greater meaning to comprehend.
There are no other works that best exemplify that power of words and ideas have had on my life and my outlook on it. Sexy, right? Maybe not, but I loved the rules, the structure, and the big questions that surrounded organizing a government. I thought about these things constantly—while brushing my teeth, doing chores, and driving to school.
Unable to take this beloved course a second time, I chose my senior classes with more than a touch of melancholy. I was skeptical that even the most appealing humanities class, AP Literature, would be anything but anticlimactic by comparison. I fanned the pages with my thumb, checked the time p. Wait—this was a literature class, and yet here was Sophocles articulating the same concerns of the Framers of the Constitution hundreds of years before any of them were born.
Antigone has become my favorite book because it wraps political and legal theory around complex characters and a compelling narrative. But I was so mistaken. Antigone proved this assumption wrong because Antigone itself was a case study in the actual consequences of ideas discussed by political philosophers.
My experience with Antigone reminds me why I get excited each time I use calculus in physics or art in cooking, and I look forward to a lifetime of making these connections. Even those that appear to enjoy it and find it easier than others end up lacking in appreciation for how what we call mathematics came into being—the history and thinking behind the rote, memorized formulae.
Students today have unknowingly inherited many concepts that are taken for granted such as: the order of operations, algebraic symbols such as x, and all of the many mechanisms in place for us to perform nearly any mathematical operation on demand.
While I also know that in many ways I too am a neophyte because the topics and scope of mathematics are vast, I have recently read a book, Surreal Numbers by Donald Knuth that gave me a new perspective on my own knowledge.
Humans throughout history have proven mathematically ingenious, even when lacking our modern tools, often even centuries ahead of the language required to express the thoughts they had. Pythagoras derived the his famous theorem between — B. E and the Babylonians had a tablet in about B. E that listed Pythagorean triples and even earlier proofs of this theorem can be found in Indian mathematics as well.
The student intuited that one would simply double the side lengths of the square but in reality that would quadruple the area of the square. Socrates then leads the student though a series of understandable steps proving that in order to double the area of a square, one must construct a square with the side length of the diagonal of the original square.
We use these building blocks of math and numbers all of the time and yet we do not truly stop to think about what they are or why they work the way they do. I was one of those very people and I would be lying if I said that I fully appreciate math for what it is. Only through my own curiosity and self-motivated research have I learned to appreciate more than I had before.
Surreal Numbers by Knuth helped me put what numbers are into more perspective. It is a rather slim book, yet because of its density it takes awhile to read in order to understand what it says. Surreal Numbers follows a couple on vacation on an island. They find a rock with inscriptions written in Hebrew.
After some rough translation and a lot of thought, they realize the slab talks about the logic process of classifying numbers. Neither of the two are mathematicians but they take upon the task and try to glean everything they can from the inscriptions. Somehow, I found the way this scenario was presented to be engaging and allowed me to be drawn into the story.
Their first simple conclusion was that any number is the pair of sets to the left and right of that number. The inscription stated that any element of the left set is not greater than or equal to an element of the right set—a very simple idea upon which to build a number system.
It proceeds logically, then showing the recursive nature of numbers and how they build upon previous numbers. The beauty of this notion of sets is this idea that 0 is the origin of numbers.
Then the statement above about left elements and right elements would still be true as long as one of the sets has nothing. So you would start off with 0, and then you could get -1 and 1 by using 0 in the left or right set, and then it builds that way forever in both directions. The way in which Knuth uses this couple on the island to lead the reader through a series of digestible thoughts and gradually build a consensus on ever more complex ideas reminded me of how Socrates led the student in the Meno.
Eventually the couple is able to guide themselves and the reader into ever more elaborate notations as they attempt to build proofs to solidify these connected ideas about numbers. The book goes surprisingly far into defining numbers, including advanced concepts such as infinitesimals and the different levels of infinity.
This helped me to better understand what numbers are and that I had not appreciated all of the work that had gone into defining them for our use today. In this way they were Socrates-- and I was the student who ended up understanding more than I anticipated, or was expected to, because of the way I was carefully led by the author and his characters.
As a result of reading this book and the Meno, I have a much different perspective on how knowledge comes into being and how it is communicated, or in the case of my public education, not communicated. I find it very intriguing that with the right story and progression, anyone can be led to not only a deeper understanding of a subject but also a greater appreciation for one. Fictional, non-fictional, biographical, instructional, even amateurish as in fanfiction. My favorites, however, have been magical.
When the seventh and final book of J. My family bought three copies so my mom, my dad and I could all read it immediately. Like other fantasy writers who go by initials, J. Tolkien and C. Lewis, Rowling summons foreign phrases, literary devices, and language jokes, and transfigures them into clever names for her characters, objects, and places.
Both were the same. But couldn't I do something? Hold the bird longer, de-claw the cat? I wanted to go to my bedroom, confine myself to tears, replay my memories, never come out. The bird's warmth faded away. Its heartbeat slowed along with its breath. For a long time, I stared thoughtlessly at it, so still in my hands. Slowly, I dug a small hole in the black earth. As it disappeared under handfuls of dirt, my own heart grew stronger, my own breath more steady.
Kari has passed. But you are alive. I am alive. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will kill me. Luckily, it was a BB gun. But to this day, my older brother Jonathan does not know who shot him. And I have finally promised myself to confess this eleven year old secret to him after I write this essay. The truth is, I was always jealous of my brother. Our grandparents, with whom we lived as children in Daegu, a rural city in South Korea, showered my brother with endless accolades: he was bright, athletic, and charismatic.
To me, Jon was just cocky. Deep down I knew I had to get the chip off my shoulder. That is, until March 11th, Once we situated ourselves, our captain blew the pinkie whistle and the war began. My friend Min-young and I hid behind a willow tree, eagerly awaiting our orders. To tip the tide of the war, I had to kill their captain. We infiltrated the enemy lines, narrowly dodging each attack.
I quickly pulled my clueless friend back into the bush. Hearing us, the alarmed captain turned around: It was my brother. Startled, the Captain and his generals abandoned their post. Vengeance replaced my wish for heroism and I took off after the fleeing perpetrator.
My eyes just gazed at the fleeing object; what should I do? I looked on as my shivering hand reached for the canister of BBs. The next second, I heard two shots followed by a cry. I opened my eyes just enough to see two village men carrying my brother away from the warning sign. My brother and I did not talk about the incident.
That night when my brother was gone I went to a local store and bought a piece of chocolate taffy, his favorite. Then, other things began to change. I even ate fishcakes, which he loved but I hated. Today, my brother is one of my closest friends.
Every week I accompany him to Carlson Hospital where he receives treatment for his obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. And Grace, my fears relieved Twenty minutes have passed when the door abruptly opens. I look up and I smile too. Bowing down to the porcelain god, I emptied the contents of my stomach. Foaming at the mouth, I was ready to pass out. Ten minutes prior, I had been eating dinner with my family at a Chinese restaurant, drinking chicken-feet soup.
My mom had specifically asked the waitress if there were peanuts in it, because when I was two we found out that I am deathly allergic to them. Did I want to just be the teenager with a camera phone? The interview with Feinstein was humiliating, but the experience forced me to decide if I wanted to be that director with his own camera crew. I dove head-first into editing, determined to not let my inexperience stop me.
I took action. I had a vision of what I wanted, but I also had no idea how to use these programs to get there—I was just an amateur with no film experience beyond the occasional school project with iMovie.
The process was brutal—I spent countless hours reading online manuals to solve frequent problems. But every frustration fueled determination.
Over the course of 80 working hours, the video progressed from a barebones slideshow of images to a multi-faceted film with customized titles and transition animations. Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well.
Prompt 7: Topic of your choice. You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1. Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. More College Essay Topics Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them: Describe a person you admire.
Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you.
Why do you want to attend this school? Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you.
Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you.
Do not be alarmed, I will explain. Then the statement above about left elements and right elements would still be true as long as one of the sets has nothing. The bird's warmth faded away. Unable to take this beloved course a second time, I chose my senior classes with more than a touch of melancholy.
I quickly pulled my clueless friend back into the bush. Whether it is a Republican or a Democrat, a talking head is a talking head, and a blind decision is a blind decision, no matter what choice you make. And, finally, Sun Tzu was right all along. It was through exploring cultures around the world that I first became interested in language.
While some others groaned that it was time to do our Archimedes reading for the next day, I excitedly isolated myself in the back of the library. At thirteen, I saw the ancient, megalithic structure of Stonehenge and walked along the Great Wall of China, amazed that the thousand-year-old stones were still in place. I know too many people who are content with limited knowledge and are discontent with limited possessions.