“You’ve been down there for hours! Dinner’s ready!”

Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?

“You’ve been down there for hours! Dinner’s ready!”

My hands are two feet deep in an enclosure. I respond, “One second!” but that second lasts another half-hour. Dinner’s aroma wafts into the basement and gives my stomach’s hunger an advantage over my intellectual hunger, but I know who always wins regardless.

Taking care of animals has been an experience that has provided me with endless wonder and fervor to learn. The hobby started for me with a fire-bellied toad for my eighth birthday. I soon started to dabble into reptiles, fish, invertebrates… the “weird” stuff. Now, I boast a laboratory of six enclosures housing various exotic fauna.

It takes a great deal of intellectual investment to maintain these delicate animals, and researching care needs for them inspires me to learn what school and teachers might consider too specific or even useless. Blasphemous! I take pride in learning to recognize the glee expressed behind a gecko’s slow, alternating wink as a plump waxworm fulfills its sacrificial purpose. Rather than using animals as an intellectual hobby to help me in school, I see school as an opportunity to use basic knowledge for my animals. “Chemistry says don’t add any more minerals to the aquarium or they’ll...

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