New York University

On the 23rd floor, in the midst of darkness and a sea of repetitive buildings, I breathed freely through the footage I was editing. I was inhaling fear and exhaling joy as I trimmed through the videos in symphony with the emotions of the scene....

University of Connecticut

Salmon Point beach and campground in Bridgton, Maine on that early summer morning was idyllic, with maroon picnic tables staggered along the lake’s edge and sand bridging the distance. A simplistic playground with a swing set and some monkey bars...

Barnard College

“There is a one percent chance of rain,” my camp counselors told us as we packed for our overnight. We threw in just what we needed, leaving our raincoats behind.

The next day, after a trek through the beautiful Yosemite backcountry, it began to...

St. John's College

Among the rooms in our small old house, the one at the extreme is aroom I find banal. A room lacking luster, with very small woodenwindows that barely lets light rays in; no one placed value on it. OneSaturday, my mum told me to clean the room for...

University of Texas - Austin

In the fifth grade, I touched a human brain. The children in my enrichment program clustered around the sterile table with little regard for the stench of formaldehyde that engulfed us. Granted, much of the interest we showed can be attributed to...

The University of Utah

In 1964, Norman Rockwell produced his famous painting, The Problem We All Live With. This iconic Civil Rights Era piece depicts six-year-old Ruby Bridges, the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school, being escorted by...

Villanova University

When I was younger, lions were my favorite animal (that coveted title, for anyone interested, is now occupied by the raccoon). I dressed up as a lion for four Halloweens in a row, I had perfected a roar which I believed to be intimidating, and my...

Princeton University

“I believe the process of going from confusion to understanding is a precious, even emotional, experience that can be the foundation of self-confidence.” Brian Greene, as quoted in This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and...

Virginia Commonwealth University

As my thoughts drifted through Geometry class, I was startled with a loud “BANG!” My classmate slams to the ground like a sack of potatoes, after crashing her head onto her desk. Her body begins shaking uncontrollably; her legs and arms were like...

George Mason University

Official time of death: 9:03 PM. Cause of death: Age.

Even if you live a healthy life and take plenty of vitamins, age will always be the final killer. However, recent studies have discovered a possible alternative to stretch life spans through an...

Macaulay Honors College at CUNY

Dare to be weird.

It’s a simple philosophy, really. Writing-wise, I’ve never been content with clichés, and I try to avoid sappy at all cost. I yearn to craft unique plots and make people see things in new ways—I dare to be weird. I was never able...

Princeton University

Is it weird to say that an 84-year-old woman keeps me young?

My Grandma Nan may have arthritis, bad eyesight, and a couple of new knees, but she is an unstoppable bundle of geriatric energy. Her age is merely a number that keeps her humming show...

SUNY Binghamton University

One Way Out of Gym, the mystery of a murdered gym teacher, is not a timeless classic. It’s a novel that spent zero weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List. There’s only one copy—I published it myself. Few care about Detective Charley or the...

Princeton University

With six layers on, I waddled out the door, feeling and looking like an oompa loompa. My mother had dressed me in layer after layer, and, begrudgingly, I had allowed myself to be smothered with an array of puffy jackets and scarves. The weather...

Baylor University

“Where the world ends and paradise begins” is what the founder called my little safe haven where I worked the past summer. Working was basically like Cheaper by the Dozen without the promise of financial stability and with the fact that the girls...

New York University

184,000 miles. This is the number glowing green on the dashboard of my 2008 gold Prius. Although most people might interpret this number as a sign my car has been on the road for far too long, I see it as a badge of honor. Despite the strange...

University of Connecticut

His skin detached from its threadlike bindings to unveil a unique color palette. Excess blood flooded the area, only to be extracted by a contraption of assorted tubes. Muscle tissue, each fiber visible, danced around bones and ligaments to the...

Temple University

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008, started out as an ordinary day in Zimbabwe. I was eight-years-old then, and I awoke unaware of the fact that this Tuesday would be the most devastating day of my life. My parents, my little brother and I lived on a large...

University of Pennsylvania

For an airline that describes its seating as “cozy,” Spirit Airlines had remarkably good legroom. After stowing my overhead luggage, I fished out the latest edition of The Economist and buckled up for the (hopefully comfortable) flight to the...

University of California - San Diego

I’m one of the most clumsy people in the world.

This may seem like an exaggeration at first, but it’s spot on. From early childhood, I was called “Ms. Falls a lot” by my parents. I seemed cursed, as every single time I wore a dress to preschool, I...

University of California - San Diego

The incessant, monotone beeping of the heart monitor was Public Enemy #1.

It alone was not the problem. Rather, it meant that I had found myself in a hospital room again. First it was my grandma, then my dad, then my grandma again. Each time was...