As a Chinese person in Panama, he never felt that he fit in. But in the US, he felt just as out of place. His family was very poor and lived in a cramped, one-room apartment. They shared a bathroom and kitchen with other tenants.
Ye Luo became withdrawn and discouraged, and he was failing in school. His parents helped him turn things around. His family is Hakka, a Chinese ethnic group that has always faced discrimination. That is our history. Ye Luo says that their words gave him a sense of pride and determination to succeed. I tried to adapt socially and academically. After Ye Luo rewrote his essay with a narrower, deeper focus, he was accepted by a number of colleges, including Wesleyan University, where he is now a freshman.
At ScholarMatch, Watson uses freewriting exercises to help students start their essays. Students come to ScholarMatch workshops feeling nervous about the process. Freewriting helps kids relax and simply write; it also usually helps elicit an essay topic. For the exercises, Watson asks students to write whatever comes into their minds. From the freewriting, he and other writing coaches help students identify points they can develop into an essay.
At LA, Urrutia Gedney and volunteer coaches help students identify essay topics by asking questions like the following:. Many kids get overwhelmed by the format of the college essay. Instead, think about what you would say if the person was standing right in front of you. What do you make? Do you help them with their homework or go to their parent-teacher conferences? These kinds of details will take your essay from the general to the personal.
Watson often has to work with kids from immigrant backgrounds to tell their own stories. The only thing is they often want to tell the story from the perspective of their parents. They see that their parents have had to work so hard to get where they are.
They have such reverence for what their parents have been through that it is hard for them to think about themselves. He recalls a high school senior who was homeless and lived for several months with his mother in their car. He was just so grateful for the opportunity to learn. For Urrutia Gedney, the college essay has value beyond helping a student get into college.
Choosing the wrong college can be bad for mental health. How students can benefit from randomly assigned college roommates. A parent's guide to saving for college at every stage. Please enter a valid email address. Finally, I am a strong proponent of hands-on experience for learning what good food looks and tastes like, so cooking is one of my favorite ways to teach the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
Our society has taught us that delicious food has to make us feel guilty, when that is simply not the case. The best feeling in the world is falling in love with a dish and then learning all the health benefits that it provides the body. While my classmates complain about being tired, I have more energy because my body is finally getting the right macros, vitamins, and minerals it needs. But the foods I am particular about have changed. Rather than a carboholic, I choose to call myself a vegeholic.
Its instructions are simple: Open the Google Sheet, enter a number between 1 and 20 that best represents my level of happiness, and write a short comment describing the day. But the practical aspect of the spreadsheet is only a piece of what it has represented in my life. What had started as a farcical proposition of mine transformed into a playground where high school classmates and I convene every two weeks to prepare a savory afternoon snack for ourselves.
Hard-fought days of mixing cement and transporting supplies had paid off for the affectionate community we had immediately come to love. If happiness paves the roads of my life, my family is the city intertwined by those roads — each member a distinct neighborhood, a distinct story. In times of stress, whether it be studying for an upcoming derivatives test or presenting my research at an international conference, I dash to my father for help. Coming from the dusty, people-packed backstreets of Thiruvananthapuram, India, he guides me in looking past the chaos and noticing the hidden accomplishments that lie in the corners.
When in need of confidence, I find my mother, who taps her experiences living in her tranquil and sturdy tatami-covered home in Hiroshima, Japan, helping me prepare for my first high school dance or my final match in a tennis tournament. The Happiness Spreadsheet is also a battery monitor for enthusiasm. Other times, the battery is depleted, and I am frustrated by writer's block, when not a single melody, chord, or musical construct crosses my mind.
The Happiness Spreadsheet can be a hall of fame, but it can likewise be a catalog of mistakes, burdens, and grueling challenges. The idea was born spontaneously at lunch, and I asked two of my friends if they were interested in pursuing this exercise with me. To this day, I ponder its full importance in my life. With every new number I enter, I recognize that each entry is not what defines me; rather, it is the ever-growing line connecting all the data points that reflects who I am today.
Where will the Happiness Spreadsheet take me next? I was a left-handed kid who wrote from right to left, which made my writing comprehensible only to myself. Only after years of practice did I become an ambidextrous writer who could translate my incomprehensible writing. As I look back on my life, I realized that this was my first act of translation. As I deciphered complex codes into comprehensible languages like rate of change and speed of an object, I gained the ability to solve even more complicated and fascinating problems.
Now, I volunteer to tutor others: as a Korean tutor for friends who love Korean culture and a golf tutor for new team members. Tutoring is how I integrate and strengthen new concepts for myself. I often put myself into their situation and ask, "What emotional support would I want or need if I was in this situation? However, my translation can't accurately account for the experiences I have yet to go through. After realizing the limitations of my experience, I created a bucket list full of activities out of my comfort zone, which includes traveling abroad by myself, publishing my own book, and giving a lecture in front of a crowd.
Although it is a mere list written on the front page of my diary, I found myself vividly planning and picturing myself accomplishing those moments. My knack for translating has led me to become a real-life Korean language translator.
As an English to Korean letter translator in a non-profit organization, Compassion , I serve as a communication bridge between benefactors and children in developing countries, who communicate through monthly letters. This experience has motivated me to learn languages like Spanish and Mandarin. As I get to know more about myself through different languages, I grew more confident to meet new people and build new friendships.
While translating has been a huge part of my life, a professional translator is not my dream job. I want to be an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist who manages the medication of patients with chronic diseases. In fact, translating is a huge part of the job of a clinical pharmacist.
In one form or another, I've always been and will be a translator. I sit, cradled by the two largest branches of the Newton Pippin Tree, watching the ether. The Green Mountains of Vermont stretch out indefinitely, and from my elevated vantage point, I feel as though we are peers, motionless in solidarity. But a few months ago, I would have considered this an utter waste of time.
Prior to attending Mountain School, my paradigm was substantially limited; opinions, prejudices, and ideas shaped by the testosterone-rich environment of Landon School. I was herded by result-oriented, fast-paced, technologically-reliant parameters towards psychology and neuroscience the NIH, a mere 2. Subconsciously I knew this was not who I wanted to be and seized the chance to apply to the Mountain School.
Upon my arrival, though, I immediately felt I did not belong. I found the general atmosphere of hunky-dory acceptance foreign and incredibly unnerving. So, rather than engage, I retreated to what was most comfortable: sports and work. In the second week, the perfect aggregate of the two, a Broomball tournament, was set to occur. Though I had never played before, I had a distinct vision for it, so decided to organize it. That night, the glow-in-the-dark ball skittered across the ice.
My opponent and I, brooms in hand, charged forward. We collided and I banana-peeled, my head taking the brunt of the impact. Stubborn as I was, even with a concussion, I wanted to remain in class and do everything my peers did, but my healing brain protested. I began wandering around campus with no company except my thoughts.
Throughout those days, I created a new-found sense of home in my head. I am most enamored by ideas that cultivate ingenious and practical enrichments for humanity. I enjoy picking some conundrum, large or small, and puzzling out a solution. Returning from a cross country meet recently, my friend and I, serendipitously, designed a socially responsible disposable water bottle completely on accident.
Now we hope to create it. I am still interested in psychology and neuroscience, but also desire to incorporate contemplative thought into this work, analyzing enigmas from many different perspectives. My internships at the NIH and the National Hospital for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery in London have offered me valuable exposure to research and medicine.
But I have come to realize that neither of my previous intended professions allow me to expand consciousness in the way I would prefer. After much soul-searching, I have landed on behavioral economics as the perfect synergy of the fields I love. All it took was a knock on the head. Suddenly, a miniature gathering of the European Commission glares straight at me. I feel the pressure of picking one option over the other. What do I choose? Like the various nations of the European Union, the individual proponents of these culinary varieties are lobbying their interests to me, a miniature Jean-Claude Junker.
Now, you may be asking yourselves: why would I be so pensive over a meal choice? Every year, that same family gathers together in New York City to celebrate Christmas. These exact conversations drove me to learn more about what my parents, grandparents, and other relatives were debating with a polite and considerate passion. In turn, participating in debate has expanded my knowledge regarding matters ranging from civil rights reparations to American redeployment in Iraq, while enriching my capacities to thoughtfully express my views on those and other issues, both during P.
This awareness incited a passion for statecraft within me — the very art of balancing different perspectives - and therefore a desire to actively engage in government. With my experiences in mind, I felt there was no better place to start than my own neighborhood of Bay Ridge. Most importantly, my family has taught me an integral life lesson. As our Christmas Dinner squabbles suggest, seemingly insurmountable impasses can be resolved through respect and dialogue, even producing delicious results!
On a grander scale, it has elucidated that truly inclusive discourse and toleration of diverse perspectives render tribalism, sectarianism, and the divisive aspects of identity politics powerless over our cohesion. I fundamentally value cultural, political, and theological variety; my own microcosm reflecting our global society at large has inspired me to strive to solve the many conflicts of bitterness and sectionalism in our world today.
This vocation may come in the form of political leadership that truly respects all perspectives and philosophies, or perhaps as diplomacy facilitating unity between the various nations of the world. Before I came to America, I drank Puer Tea with my father every morning in my bedroom, sitting cross-legged on Suzhou-silk mats beside a view of the Lakeside reservoir. Beside a dark end table, we picked up teacups as the mild aroma greeted our noses.
As we faced the French window, my father would share the news he read in China Daily : the Syrian civil war, climate change, and gender equality in Hollywood. Most of the time, I only listened. With each piece of news, my curiosity piqued. Secretly, I made a decision that I wanted to be the one to discuss the news with him from my perspective.
So, I decided to study in America to learn more about the world. But, my new room lacked stories and cups of tea. Fortunately, I found Blue House Cafe on my walk home from church, and started studying there. With white walls, comfortable sofas, and high stools, Blue House is spacious and bright. Similarly, as president of the International Students Club, I invited my teammates to have meetings with me at the cafe.
Coordinating the schedule with other members in Blue House has become a frequent event. Consuming several cups of coffee, my team and I have planned Lunar New Year events, field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinese lunch in school to help international students feel more at home. Straightening my back and bracing my shoulders, I stood up behind the conference table and expressed my creative ideas passionately.
After each meeting, we shared buttermilk coffee-cake. In my spot next to the window, I also witnessed different kinds of people. I viewed visitors dragging their luggage, women carrying shopping bags, and people wandering in tattered clothes --the diversity of San Francisco. Two years ago I saw volunteers wearing City Impact shirts offering sandwiches and hot chocolate to homeless people outside of the cafe. I investigated more about City Impact and eventually signed up to volunteer. No longer was I a bystander.
At holiday outreach events, I prepared and delivered food to homeless people. While sharing my coffee, I listened to a story from an older Chinese man who told me, in Mandarin, how he had been abandoned by his children and felt lonely.
Last summer, I returned to Xiamen, China, and taught my father how to drink coffee. Now, a Chemex and teapot are both on the end table. Instead of simply listening, I shared my experiences as a club president, a community leader, and a volunteer.
I showed him my business plan and prototypes. I am so proud of you. Together, we emptied our cups while the smell of coffee lingered. I add the critically measured sugary tea mixture to the gallon jar containing the slimy, white, disc-shaped layers of the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. I place it on my kitchen counter, periodically checking it to relieve the built-up CO2. Finally, after an additional seventy-two hours, the time comes to try it. I crack the seal on the bottle, leaning over to smell what I assume will be a tangy, fruity, delicious pomegranate solution.
The insufferable stench fills my nostrils and crushes my confidence. I'm momentarily taken aback, unable to understand how I went wrong when I followed the recipe perfectly. My issue wasn't misreading the recipe or failing to follow a rule, it was bypassing my creative instincts and forgetting the unpredictable nature of fermentation. I needed to trust the creative side of kombucha— the side that takes people's perfectionist energy and explodes it into a puddle of rotten egg smelling 'booch my preferred name for the drink- not "fermented, effervescent liquid from a symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast".
I was too caught up in the side that requires extreme preciseness to notice when the balance between perfectionism and imperfectionism was being thrown off. The key, I have learned, is knowing when to prioritize following the recipe and when to let myself be creative.
Sure, there are scientific variables such as proximity to heat sources and how many grams of sugar to add. But, there's also person-dependent variables like how long I decide to ferment it, what fruits I decide will be a fun combination, and which friend I got my first SCOBY from taking "symbiotic" to a new level.
I often find myself feeling pressured to choose one side or the other, one extreme over the alternative. I've been told that I can either be a meticulous scientist or a messy artist, but to be both is an unacceptable contradiction. However, I choose a grey area; a place where I can channel my creativity into the sciences, as well as channel my precision into my photography.
I still have the first photo I ever took on the first camera I ever had. Or rather, the first camera I ever made. Making that pinhole camera was truly a painstaking process: take a cardboard box, tap it shut, and poke a hole in it. Okay, maybe it wasn't that hard.
But learning the exact process of taking and developing a photo in its simplest form, the science of it, is what drove me to pursue photography. I remember being so unhappy with the photo I took; it was faded, underexposed, and imperfect. For years, I felt incredibly pressured to try and perfect my photography.
It wasn't until I was defeated, staring at a puddle of kombucha, that I realized that there doesn't always have to be a standard of perfection in my art, and that excited me. So, am I a perfectionist? Or do I crave pure spontaneity and creativity? Can I be both? Perfectionism leaves little to be missed. With a keen eye, I can quickly identify my mistakes and transform them into something with purpose and definitude.
On the other hand, imperfection is the basis for change and for growth. My resistance against perfectionism is what has allowed me to learn to move forward by seeing the big picture; it has opened me to new experiences, like bacteria cross-culturing to create something new, something different, something better. I am not afraid of change or adversity, though perhaps I am afraid of conformity. To fit the mold of perfection would compromise my creativity, and I am not willing to make that sacrifice.
I hold onto my time as dearly as my Scottish granny holds onto her money. Precious minutes can show someone I care and can mean the difference between accomplishing a goal or being too late to even start and my life depends on carefully budgeting my time for studying, practicing with my show choir, and hanging out with my friends. However, there are moments where the seconds stand still.
It is already dark when I park in my driveway after a long day at school and rehearsals. Not paying attention to the clock, I allow myself to relax for a brief moment in my busy life. Laughter fills the show choir room as my teammates and I pass the time by telling bad jokes and breaking out in random bursts of movement. This same sense of camaraderie follows us onstage, where we become so invested in the story we are portraying we lose track of time. My show choir is my second family.
I realize I choreograph not for recognition, but to help sixty of my best friends find their footing. At the same time, they help me find my voice. The heavy scuba gear jerks me under the icy water, and exhilaration washes over me. Lost in the meditative rolling effect of the tide and the hum of the vast ocean, I feel present.
I dive deeper to inspect a vibrant community of creatures, and we float together, carefree and synchronized. My fascination with marine life led me to volunteer as an exhibit interpreter for the Aquarium of the Pacific, where I share my love for the ocean. Most of my time is spent rescuing animals from small children and, in turn, keeping small children from drowning in the tanks. Finding this mutual connection over the love of marine life and the desire to conserve the ocean environment keeps me returning each summer.
She had just fallen while performing, and I could relate to the pain and fear in her eyes. The chaos of the show becomes distant, and I devote my time to bringing her relief, no matter how long it may take. I find what I need to treat her injury in the sports medicine training room.
Saturday morning bagels with my family. Singing backup for Barry Manilow with my choir. Swimming with sea turtles in the Pacific. These are the moments I hold onto, the ones that define who I am, and who I want to be. My whole life has been others invading my gender with their questions, tears signed by my body, and a war against my closet. Soon after this, I came out to my mom. My mom cried and said she loved me.
She scheduled me an appointment with a gender therapist, let me donate my female clothes, and helped build a masculine wardrobe. With her help, I went on hormones five months after coming out and got surgery a year later. I finally found myself, and my mom fought for me, her love was endless. Even though I had friends, writing, and therapy, my strongest support was my mother.
On August 30th, my mom passed away unexpectedly. My favorite person, the one who helped me become the man I am today, ripped away from me, leaving a giant hole in my heart and in my life. Life got dull. Learning how to wake up without my mom every morning became routine. Nothing felt right, a constant numbness to everything, and fog brain was my kryptonite. I paid attention in class, I did the work, but nothing stuck. It took over a year to get out of my slump.
I shared my writing at open mics, with friends, and I cried every time. I embraced the pain, the hurt, and eventually, it became the norm. I grew used to not having my mom around. My mom always wanted to change the world, to fix the broken parts of society. Not just for her, but for me, and all the people who need a support branch as strong as the one my mom gave me. I am determined to make sure no one feels as alone as I did. I want to be able to reach people, and use motivational speaking as the platform.
Are you tired of seeing an iPhone everywhere? Samsung glitchy? I present to you, the iTaylor. I am the iTaylor. On the outside, I look like any smart phone, but when you open my settings and explore my abilities, you will find I have many unique features. Thanks to my positivity, I was chosen to give the morning announcements freshman year. Next up, language settings. Inspired, I began creating family events and even making efforts to grow closer to my second cousins.
At eight years old, I was diagnosed with what some might call a glitch: epilepsy. Fortunately, a new IOS software update cured my condition by the age of 15, but through epilepsy, I gained a love of exploration. Overcoming epilepsy taught me to take risks and explore new places. This brings us to the iTaylor location settings. I brought this desire home to a volunteer position at a local program for immigrant children. I helped the kids make presentations about their places of origin, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Sulu campaign, a regional pageant in the Philippines. It became clear that the English language, one I took for granted, is the central feature that brings groups together. This past summer, I brought my talents to Scotland, playing the dual role of Artistic Director and leading character for Geek the Musical.
I worked to promote the show in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival against 53, shows, reinventing ways to motivate the cast and connect with strangers from all over the world. We learned the more we connected, the more our audience grew. I applied these skills to my leadership positions at home, including my High School Theater Group, Players. The rollout plan for the iTaylor is to introduce it to the theater market.
My goal is to use performance and storytelling to expose audiences to different cultures, religions, and points of view. Perhaps if we all learned more about each other's lifestyles, the world would be more empathetic and integrated. So what do you think? Would you like an iTaylor of your own?
The iTaylor College Edition is now available for pre-order. It delivers next fall. Upon graduation, I will be able to analyze medieval Spanish poems using literary terms and cultural context, describe the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative problem. Despite knowing how to execute these very particular tasks, I currently fail to understand how to change a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a good insurance policy.
A factory-model school system that has been left essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development. I have been conditioned to complete tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding.
I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, thinking my scores were the only aspect that defined me; and they were. I was getting everything right. Then, I ran for Student Government and failed. How could that be? I was statistically a smart kid with a good head on my shoulders, right? Surely someone had to have made a mistake.
Little did I know, this was my first exposure to meaning beyond numbers. I had the epiphany that oh wait, maybe it was my fault that I had never prioritized communication skills, or open-mindedness qualities my fellow candidates possessed. Maybe it was me. That must be why I always had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help--no one ever asked me for it.
I resolved to alter my mindset, taking a new approach to the way I lived. From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills. I had never been more uncomfortable. I forced myself to learn to be vulnerable by asking questions even if I was terrified of being wrong. My proficiency in using data evidence could not teach me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores show me how to be more open to criticism.
The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, happened to be learning from those around me. The process of achieving this new mindset came through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the new perspectives each person in my life could offer if I really took the time to connect. Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I began to consider the big-picture consequences my engagements could have.
People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to learn to pay more attention to detail to understand every point of view. I took on the state of what I like to call collaborative independence, and to my delight, I was elected to StuGo after my third year of trying. Not long ago, I would have fallen apart at the presence of any uncertainty.
As I further accept and advance new life skills, the more I realize how much remains uncertain in the world. Hopefully, my wings continue enabling me to fly, but it is going to take more than just me and my wings; I have to continue putting my faith in the air around me. I was ecstatic. We would become the first Mother-Son Indian duo on Food Network peeling potatoes, skinning chicken, and grinding spices, sharing our Bengali recipes with the world.
Always watching YouTube and never talking! The worst time came when my parents tried to fix their relationship. Repeated date nights induced more arguments. Enduring the stress of her restaurant, my father, and her mistakes, my mom attempted to end her life. Fortunately, I found her just in time. Over the next two years, things were at times still hard, but gradually improved. My parents decided to start anew, took some time apart, then got back together.
My mom started to pick me up from activities on time and my dad and I bonded more, watching Warriors and 49ers games. I wanted back the family I had before the restaurant--the one that ate Luchi Mongsho together every Sunday night. So I looked for comfort in creation. I began spending more time in our garage , carefully constructing planes from sheets of foam. I found purpose balancing the fuselage or leveling the ailerons to precisely 90 degrees. I loved cutting new parts and assembling them perfectly.
Here , I could fix all the mistakes. In high school, I slowly began to forge a community of creators with my peers. Sophomore year, I started an engineering club and found that I had a talent for managing people and encouraging them to create an idea even if it failed. I also learned how to take feedback and become more resilient. Here, I could nerd-out about warp drives and the possibility of anti-matter without being ignored.
I would give a weekly report on new technology and we would have hour-long conversations about the various uses a blacker material could have. While building a community at school rebuilt my confidence, I still found I enjoyed being alone at times. Looking back and perhaps inadvertently , the conflicts from the restaurant days have taught me valuable lessons. Helping my mom through her relationship taught me to watch out for those in emotional distress. Spending nights alone made me more independent--after all, it was then that I signed up for advanced math and programming courses and decided to apply for software internships.
Most of all, seeing my mom start her restaurant from no food-industry experience inspired me to found two clubs and a Hydrogen Car Team. Even though we eat Luchi Monsho on a monthly basis now, I know my family will never be the way it was. But I can use them to improve the present.
I stayed up all night reading through documents related to Army support contracts in Iraq and Kuwait in I asked my dad about it the next day and he said, "It was a mistake I made that has been resolved. I was always scared of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Violence has always surrounded me and haunted me.
After 14 years of living in a region destroyed by violence, I was sent away to boarding school in a region known for peace, Switzerland. That year my father was found guilty and imprisoned for the charges related to his Army support contract. My parents got divorced and my childhood home was bulldozed to the ground by the Saudi government after my father was sent to prison. My mom had always been a hub of stability, but she was too overwhelmed to support me. I started eating to cope with my anxiety and gained pounds in a year and a half.
As I gained weight, my health started to deteriorate, and my grades started to drop. Things began to change at the beginning of my sophomore year, however, when I met my new roommate, Nico. He had grown up with someone whose father was also in prison, and was able to help me better understand the issues I was facing. Through my friendship with Nico, I learned how to open up and get support from my friends. Because we faced similar issues, we were able to support one and other, share tactics, and give advice.
My friends gave me a family and a home, when my own family was overwhelmed and my home was gone. Slowly, I put my life back on track. I started playing basketball, began working on a CubeSAT, learned to program, changed my diet, and lost all the weight I had gained. Now my friends in Switzerland come to me asking me for advice and help, and I feel as if I am a vital member of our community.
My close friend Akshay recently started stressing about whether his parents were going to get divorced. Leaving home in the beginning of my adolescence, I was sent out on a path of my own. While for some, high school is the best time of their lives, for me, high school has represented some of the best and, hopefully, worst times. It has brought me to a place that I only thought was fictional.
In this new place I feel like a real person, with real emotions. This place is somewhere where I can express myself freely and be who I want to be. I am a much stronger, healthier, and more resilient person than I was two years ago. This essay was written for the U of Chicago "Create your own prompt" essay. The author included the following explanatory note:. I plan to double major in biochemistry and English and my main essay explains my passion for the former; here is a writing sample that illustrates my enthusiasm for the latter.
In my AP Literature class, my teacher posed a question to which students had to write a creative response. A: A manicured green field of grass blades cut to perfectly matched lengths; a blue expanse ornamented with puffy cotton clouds; an immaculately painted red barn centered exactly at the top of a hill--the chicken gazes contentedly at his picturesque world. Within an area surrounded by a shiny silver fence, he looks around at his friends: roosters pecking at a feast of grains and hens lounging on luxurious cushions of hay.
On a day as pristine as all the others, the chicken is happily eating his lunchtime meal as the nice man carefully gathers the smooth white eggs when it notices that the man has left one behind. Strangely located at the empty end of the metal enclosure, highlighted by the bright yellow sun, the white egg appears to the chicken different from the rest. The chicken moves towards the light to tacitly inform the man of his mistake.
But then the chicken notices a jagged gray line on the otherwise flawless egg. Hypnotized and appalled, the chicken watches as the line turns into a crack and a small beak attached to a fuzzy yellow head pokes out.
Suddenly a shadow descends over the chicken and the nice man snatches the egg--the baby chick--and stomps off. The chicken--confused, betrayed, disturbed--slowly lifts its eyes from the now empty ground. For the first time, it looks past the silver fence of the cage and notices an unkempt sweep of colossal brown and green grasses opposite its impeccably crafted surroundings.
Cautiously, it inches closer to the barrier, farther from the unbelievable perfection of the farm, and discovers a wide sea of black gravel. Stained with gray stones and marked with yellow lines, it separates the chicken from the opposite field. The curious chicken quickly shuffles to Mother Hen, who has just settled on to her throne of hay and is closing her eyes. I-I just saw one of those eggs, cracking, and there was a small yellow bird inside.
It was a baby. Are those eggs that the nice man takes away babies? And that black ground! What is it? Her eyes flick open. Frozen in disbelief, the chicken tries to make sense of her harsh words. It replays the incident in its head. Maybe Mother Hen is right. She just wants to protect me from losing it all. What if it was hers? The chicken knows it must escape; it has to get to the other side.
Then the man reaches into the wooden coop, his back to the entrance. With a backwards glance at his friends, the chicken feels a profound sadness and pity for their ignorance. It wants to urge them to open their eyes, to see what they are sacrificing for materialistic pleasures, but he knows they will not surrender the false reality.
Alone, the chicken dashes away. The chicken stands at the line between green grass and black gravel. As it prepares to take its first step into the unknown, a monstrous vehicle with 18 wheels made of metal whizzes by, leaving behind a trail of gray exhaust.
Once it regains its breath, it moves a few inches onto the asphalt. Three more speeding trucks stop its chicken heart. He gives us food, and a home. But the chicken dismisses the cowardly voice in its head, reminding itself of the injustice back in the deceptively charming prison. Over the next several hours, it learns to strategically position itself so that it is in line with the empty space between the tires of passing trucks.
It reaches the yellow dashes. A black blanket gradually pushes away the glowing sun and replaces it with diamond stars and a glowing crescent. It reaches the untouched field. With a deep breath, the chicken steps into the swathe, a world of tall beige grass made brown by the darkness. Unsure of what it may discover, it determines to simply walk straight through the brush, out on to the other side.
For what seems like forever, it continues forward, as the black sky turns to purple, then blue, then pink. Just as the chicken begins to regret its journey, the grass gives way to a vast landscape of trees, bushes, flowers--heterogeneous and variable, but nonetheless perfect.
In a nearby tree, the chicken spots two adult birds tending to a nest of babies--a natural dynamic of individuals unaltered by corrupt influence. And then it dawns on him. It has escaped from a contrived and perverted domain as well as its own unawareness; it has arrived in a place where the pure order of the world reigns.
Back home, I need to try to foster awareness among my friends, share this understanding with them. Otherwise, I am as cruel as the man in the plaid shirt, taking away the opportunity to overcome ignorance. Essay written for the University of Chicago prompt. To resolve the matter, please choose one of the following:. Rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, and paper beats rock. Since when has a sheet of loose leaf paper ever defeated a solid block of granite?
Do we assume that the paper wraps around the rock, smothering the rock into submission? When exposed to paper, is rock somehow immobilized, unable to fulfill its primary function of smashing scissors? What constitutes defeat between two inanimate objects? Perhaps paper is rooted in the symbolism of diplomacy while rock suggests coercion.
But does compromise necessarily trump brute force? And where do scissors lie in this chain of symbolism? I guess the reasoning behind this game has a lot to do with context. If we are to rationalize the logic behind this game, we have to assume some kind of narrative, an instance in which paper might beat rock. As with rock-paper-scissors, we often cut our narratives short to make the games we play easier, ignoring the intricate assumptions that keep the game running smoothly.
We accept incomplete narratives when they serve us well, overlooking their logical gaps. But who actually wants to play a game of rock-paper-scissors? Studies have shown that there are winning strategies to rock-paper-scissors by making critical assumptions about those we play against before the round has even started.
In this sense, the seemingly innocuous game of rock-paper-scissors has revealed something quite discomforting about gender-related dispositions in our society. Why did so many males think that brute strength was the best option?
If social standards have subliminally influenced the way males and females play rock-paper-scissors, than what is to prevent such biases from skewing more important decisions? Should your decision to go to war or to feed the hungry depend on your gender, race, creed, etc?
We all tell slightly different narratives when we independently consider notions ranging from rocks to war to existence. It is ultimately the unconscious gaps in these narratives that are responsible for many of the man-made problems this world faces. I guess it all comes down to who actually made this silly game in the first place
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