George Washington University

I have an affinity for magnificent endings. The final words of a novel, the last bite of a salted caramel chocolate bar, or the teetering crescendos of a timpani at the end of a grand symphony by Beethoven are just a few examples. When life...

Bucknell University

I have no idea why freshman me signed up for debate. However, I marked a check next to “DEBATE1” on my tentative schedule because it seemed like the thing nerdy kids do and I most definitely am a nerdy kid. My first time competing at a debate...

Northeastern University

“No—No! Wrong place!” a European man shouted from his Hyundai window, pointing up the steep incline. We knew we hadn’t seen any other bikers for miles, but we were determined and ignored his admonition. The 35 pounds of equipment strapped to the...

California Institute of Technology

Book 1: Jurassic Park

This was the first book I read that combined math with action and portrayed the mathematician as a hero, which made me hopeful about my professional future—but did give me unusual, dinosaur-infested nightmares.

Book 2: Der...

Boston University

Eggs, flour, milk, sugar (vanilla optional) - these are the ingredients for happiness. On average, I make Pfannkuchen about once a week. These are German pancakes; traditionally they’re thicker than a crepe, but thinner than the ideal fluffy...

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

The clickety-clack of shoes hitting marble floor is a wonderfully chaotic symphony. I can imagine offering up the squeak on my Converse shoes to the cacophony of high heels, polished business oxfords, and fashionable flats inside Grand Central...

University of Virginia

“Hey now, hey noowwwowww.” A Hilary Duff Song set to the tone of a grieving walrus. That is basically what I sound like. All the time. Why all the time? Because I sing all the time. Why a grieving walrus? Well you probably haven’t heard me sing....

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

She runs so gracefully, her arms swinging back and forth, her legs flying, barely even touching the ground as she laps the girl in front of her. I am that girl—not the graceful one but the slow one who runs like a beanbag chair, hunched over and...

University of California - Los Angeles

When I'm using scissors, I cut with my right hand. But when I'm using a knife, I cut with my left, unless I'm eating with a fork and knife, in which case the fork goes in my left hand and the knife goes in my right. I am a righty thrower but a...

University of Pennsylvania

Terminalia bentzoe, known as ‘benjoin’ in my local vernacular, is a plant endemic to Mauritius. In the past, local people would use its leaves to make decoctions against the common cold but unfortunately, this subspecies is today vulnerable in its...

Bowdoin College

The clock reads 11:09 PM as I sit alone, eyes barely open, surrounded only by the photo-covered walls of my dorm room, completely overcome by exhaustion. 11:10 PM, only a minute more until I can fall asleep. After what seems like an eternity,...

University of Oregon

As the website designer, photographer, and social media manager for four small businesses I’ve had to be very detail-oriented and creative regarding new ways to advertise. In order to meet all my deadlines, I set a calendar, breaking up my...

University of Oregon

“Hey!” I say cheerfully as I lace my basketball shoes. Three girls look at me and snicker. As I leave my teammate Milica says, “Don’t let them get to you. They’re Albanian, so they’re rude to all Serbians.” My eyes widen in shock. Of course there...

University of Oregon

Growing up being raised by a single mom enabled me and my mom to have a very special relationship. I cherish this close bond; however, it has also led to many challenges. I have had to step up and take much more responsibility than most kids my...

University of California - Berkeley

When my Spanish teacher introduced conjugation, most of my peers could not comprehend the concept. For me, however, having been raised bilingual in Russian and having studied its verbs, conjugation made perfect sense. While explaining to baffled...

University of Washington

In fourth grade, I learned how to fold “fortune tellers”-- square, pointy origami creations. My class crowded together as one of our peers patiently explained the process, and we followed attentively, eagerly grasping our pieces of hastily torn...

University of Pittsburgh

The van was parked on the third floor of the parking garage, meaning the team had to walk almost 15 minutes together in near silence. Mark was raving, twirling his fingers and vitriolically murmuring something to himself. Devon and Tristan moved...

Carnegie Mellon University

Before I had even entered kindergarten, I would sit on the floor of my father's study room every Saturday morning, both of us bent over a large artist’s sketch pad that was covered in numbers and equations instead of paint or charcoal. From a...

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Routine is the enemy of relationships, spontaneous workers, and thrillseekers, gradually lessening excitement and draining the life out of the things we enjoy. However, through my own experiences, I have come to realize that routines, commonly...

Temple University

"I think I'm ready to go home now," I inform my roommate Patrick, yet again, as we mix cement and shovel rocks for hours upon hours under the beating Mexican sun. It is Tuesday of our week-long mission trip to Nuevo Durango, and I already feel...

Georgetown University

1,2,3,2…1,1,2,5…1,6,5,3…at first you have to remember each combination, which move is next, but after a while it becomes instinctive: in a bout you don’t have time to think. Despite boxing’s bad rap for being barbaric, it’s long been known as the...

Vassar College

I learned about Vassar the way I grew up - independently. I stumbled upon the school online one lonely night while my single mother traveled for business. Upon visiting Vassar, I remember having goosebumps. The college was Phoebe incarnate, from...