You Can't Sit With Us

We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors helped you to grow?

“Do not touch” signs are probably my biggest temptation. The simple statement of a rule makes the action it advises against almost irresistible to me. There is no better way to ensure that something is done than to tell me I can’t or shouldn’t do it. Among the many reminders I have received throughout my life- don’t sit like that, or eat like that, or act like that, I discovered the defining attribute in my character; I cannot stand being told no.

Since diapers, I have failed to meet almost all of my parents’ expectations. For one, they wanted a sweet daughter. Instead, they got a Barbie doll destroying, sassy little fireball of a child who far preferred overalls to the cute outfits her mother tirelessly prepared and she tirelessly and intentionally spilled something on. No photos of me exist before age ten in which I am not making a face or doing something overly dramatic. I thought I was hilarious, but my mother was constantly chiding me not to run in the house or dress up the dog or use her lipstick to paint my face.

As I grew up, my small acts of rebellion became more ironic and less chaotic. I joined the band as a tuba player because somebody told me I was too small to ever be good at it. I started building robots and...

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