Being a break dancer and being multilingual/multicultural would both add to the college community, so we would like to combine information from the following two existing essays to address the subject from above.
I entered the sweltering room where sweaty faces glowed with determination and intensity. The music from the speakers was pleasantly deafening and the bass seemed to disturb everything in the room except our concentration. As I strapped on my worn-out elbow pad, I realized that it represented the discipline, passion, and self-motivation that I had come to possess during my middle school and high school years. As strange as it might seem, it was the world of break dance that helped ignite my interest in the sciences, whether it is understanding of the science of human
movement or human
Prior to my experiences in the world of dance, meeting new people for the first time was scarier than wrestling with pre-calculus or creating eloquent complex sentences. I was in need of something that could propel me into the world of smoother human
interaction. A school friend’s brother unknowingly exposed several of us to breakdancing, and it was at breakdance “battles” where the early stages of my social transformation began. Dance battles are gatherings where the upper class as well as the beginners of the break dance world gather to compete. The celebrities of this world roam freely, open to meeting and shaking anyone’s hand. I wanted to talk to them and learn from the dance world’s elite, and this allowed be to become much better at engaging in conversation with people I had never met in unfamiliar settings.
From my first exposure to break dancing, I committed myself to train diligently and to remain focused, which enhanced my self-confidence as I improved. I was able to apply my newfound feeling of self-motivation to school and other academic activities as well. For dance, there were late nights spent practicing with my crew, learning new moves from others while teaching them some of my own. For school work, there were the late nights working with classmates on projects, reading and dissecting novels, solving calculus equations. I learned that the mental effort exerted to study for the SAT is very similar to the physical effort I used to perform complex tricks and moves. Both efforts were unquestionably strenuous but rewarding all the same. I began to perform better in school and raised my grades because I became more disciplined and I possessed more drive to succeed in everything I did. Success, whether it is an A or a new gravity-defying, crowd-pleasing move, is achieved through sacrifice of time and self-motivation.
I now know that both of my worlds coincide and overlap, with the world of break dance teaching me the skills necessary to succeed as a diligent and committed student. My academic pursuits have also been shaped by the dance world, especially with regard to the biological sciences. Ever since I witnessed dancers performing tricks that seem counterintuitive to the functioning of the human
body, I have been captivated by human anatomy
and physiology and how the body is able to go from walking or breathing to contorting different limbs. Whether grappling with the complex study of behavior or gaining a better understanding of the human
body, in balancing both worlds of break dance and academics I have become a more motivated, enthusiastic, and passionate individual.
Classical music played in the background, while the smell of two-hundred-dollar plates of dinner wafted through the air. On my right sat Dr. Kary Mullis, a Nobel Laureate and developer of the polymerase chain reaction. To my left was Nobel Laureate Robert Woodrow Wilson, discoverer of cosmic microwave background radiation. “Getty Center Event Honors California Nobel Laureates and State’s Next Generation of Promising Scientists,” the program proclaimed. I could hardly wrap my mind around the idea that I was part of this “next generation,” much less that I was chosen to show my group’s work on “Geophysics and Structural Engineering of Earthquakes.” to Noble Laureates and other distinguished guests.
When I was admitted to the University of California San Diego’s California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), a summer mathematics and science program, never did I imagine I would be representing our program results to Nobel Laureates. I also never expected to learn project budgeting, and compromising with and leading excited team mates. There were one hundred forty kids from different backgrounds, very much like the student body at each UC campus. Since I am fluent in English, Chinese, and Spanish, I was able to smoothly integrate myself and fit well into the ethnically and culturally diverse setting. No matter how my award dinner presentation went, I already had many experiences to be proud of and to draw on well into college.
Budgeting at COSMOS taught me fiscal responsibility but I also learned accountability. Due to lack of sleep and too much coffee, I accidentally printed fifty copies of the same document, so I had to admit my mistake and volunteered to redraft our now-tighter budget. After a great deal of brainstorming and research, I came up with the idea to substitute Plaster of Paris for a more expensive substance to build our model. At the beginning, my group members and I could not work together. We argued, insulted, and finally actually listened to each other, and I finally combined several ideas to make our model crack correctly during the earthquake test. Our first-place finish was proof enough that collaboration had been the best route. I learned that as a leader, an open mind not only was essential to success, but also was useful for preventing migraines.
Everyone in the COSMOS program was hardworking and intelligent, so to rise above this, I had to draw on every ounce of my creativity. I made a lot of friends by teaching others coveted, gravity-defying break dance moves, and my friendships eventually made it easier to coalesce the other students. For our group’s presentation, I wrote and staged a humorous production that engaged the audience rather than pointing endlessly at a series of slides. My creativity and leadership not only swayed the judges, but also made me one of the most recognized students in COSMOS that year.
While I gave my presentation at the awards dinner on the effects of flexural and sheer failure, I realized that probably every Nobel Laureate in the audience had once been in my position. They too, had to learn to budget grant money, lead difficult scientists and team members, and maybe even suppress their craving for a candy bar in order to buy another glass beaker for their lab. I was both proud of my accomplishment and realized how far I have yet to go. I believe the person I have become will someday earn a Nobel Prize for, say, the creation of a new ecosystem that is impervious to smog. (Hey, you never know.) Nobel Prize or not, though, I am excited simply to rank among the “next generation of promising scientists” …for now.
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