Undergraduate Degree at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
Admitted to: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
For Undergraduate Degree
A Significant Personal Experience
Sometimes I shudder as I look back at my childhood diet, which was carnivorous to a large extent. I was too young to understand then that if I loved animals I should also care about how they felt about being killed for the table. For the last three years, I have put my money where my mouth is and demonstrated my love for animals in the most genuine way I know. Becoming a vegetarian as my first independent decision and one that I am very glad I made.
I recognized my passion for animals in an unlikely and anticlimactic way. One day, when I was little, I had to write an essay on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Having nibbled my pencil, (an age-old trick for inspiration, it appears) For a long time, I couldnt think of anything, so I went to my sister, who is a good ten years older than me. What should I be when I grow up? I asked her, fairly certain that she would know. She didnt bat an eyelid (as a result of having been confronted with worse questions before), and told me, simply, that I should be a vet. And I know she was right.
I spend a while thinking about this profession, and then followed it up with some action. I proceeded to our bookshelf at the age of ten, and began a search that brought me close to writers like Gerald Durrell and James Herriot. This introduction to the world of strange animals and people who loved them was the best thing that ever happened to me. One of the results was that I began to think that it wasnt entirely right (at least from my point of view) to spend a night treating a sick goat and then come home to a dinner of lamb chops.
By the time I had this figured out I was fifteen. I plotted for a long time about how I should break the news of my intended vegetarianism to my distinctly carnivorous family. Finally I announced my decision one day over dinner. There was silence at the table for a whole minute. That was the only time anybody was quiet about the matter for the next month! My family tried every method of changing my opinion from calling me crazy to inviting gourmet cooks talk to me about what I was missing. Then they resorted to telling me that my health would definitely suffer, that I would never grow and many other equally terrifying things. I stood my ground, and am happy to report that at almost eighteen I am neither short nor particularly sickly!
An, though it wasnt easy at first, I have come to love my cabbages and carrots more than my spare ribs. I have also learned that being true to myself makes me happier than anything else.
Admitted to: University of Virginia, Virginia, as a Transfer student from the University of Rochester
For: Remainder of Undergraduate degree
What is the most surprising thing you learned during your time at college?
It starts to snow as I sit bundled up in the cold, waiting for the bus that would return me to the safe refuge of my residence hall. The wait seems too endless, the cold is unforgiving. For miles around one can only see the white that has blanketed the city of Rochester for what seems like ages now. Not many venture out into the cold at this time; I am alone.
It is in the quiet of the snowy evening that I begin to ponder this questions-what is, in fact, the most surprising thing I have learned in my short time at college. To pick one is a difficult task indeed. Having graduated from high school in India, my entire college experience has taken place in an environment relatively alien to me. Each class I attend, each stranger I meet, every sign I read and every activity I involve myself in brings with it something new. Gazing wistfully into the horizon, I am even intrigued by the striking beauty of snowflake, which aided by the gentle breeze, dances in front of me before it falls softly to the ground.
The bus finally arrives to my relief. As I walk in I take notice of the fact that the bus is almost empty, with just a couple of people seated at the rear. I take a seat near the front, and as I sit down I notice a collection of signs and posters advertising events on campus. Most of them following consistent theme, reading something like this:
Discuss President Bushs Economic Policy- FREE FOOD!
Join the Campus Times. Meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm- FREE FOOD!
Help the Homeless-FREE FOOD!
This FREE FOOD phenomenon is obtrusive in a host of activities. The apparent generosity of student organizations is wide-spread. However, I had never before contemplated the significance of such behavior. It is in my ennui that I begin to read into what had earlier warranted nothing more than a cursory glance.
High School activities had always been mandatory, rendering the philanthropy I have described unnecessary. It is only in my months at college that I have noticed this characteristic that plagues a majority of advertisements. It is unfortunate that even the most meaningful activity is forced to cater to students stomachs. Are we as human beings unable to participate in beneficial activity, without being lured by the smell of Krispy Kreme Donuts? Can we engage in intellectual debate, attend lectures aimed to help us, or serve society only when we are rewarded with the satisfaction of selfish desire? Or is this feature of the signs I see before me redundant? Are the big, bold letters announcing the free food uncalled for?
Simple observations suggest that my claims are not unfounded. Out of a student body close to five thousand, an average of fifty students participate in the news magazines weekly polls that questions burning issues on the campus and in our world. Ten percent to the population struggles to make it to vote at the annual Student Association Senate elections. Discussion groups are often greeted with empty rooms and sports teams play in front of deserted bleachers.
The fact that lethargy creeps into our systems when called to perform activity that doesnt directly satisfy an immediate need is surprising to say the least. It startles me to learn that motivation other than that of the greater good of ourselves and the community in which we live is needed. What adds to my astonishment is that we, as people, are sensitive to the issues that concern the world around us. Selfishness is not a characteristic that I would use to describe humanity. And yet we find the need to have signs shouting vociferously at us to come for the pizza and soda, if nothing else.
The bus pulls up to my stop and I alight, feeling somewhat enlightened. I trudge gingerly through the snow, back to my hall. I stop at the notice board before I call for the elevator and scan through the various events taking place in the evening. The debate union is meeting at the second floor lounge. Perfect. Its almost time for dinner
2. Discuss why you would like to transfer to the University of Virginia.
Having applied to admission to the University of Virginia as a freshman, I was first placed on the waiting list before being denied admission. My interest in spending my college years at Virginia has continued nevertheless, and I am still confident of contributing positively towards campus life there.
The University attracted me at the very outset of my college search. Besides being widely regarded as one of the premier public schools in the nation, I have heard a myriad of positive minutiae of the place from acquaintances that graduated from Virginia a few years ago. While my brief time here at Rochester has been eventful, I realize that I havent really found my niche here.
The challenging academic climate here is offset by certain features that leave me a tad disappointed with the quality of student life. While I have tried to immerse myself in activities on campus that interest me, I find that the level of involvement of the student body in University events is minimal. Sporting events are often greeted with empty stands, the newspaper is left largely unread and the prolonged, severe winters leave little room for outdoor activity on a regular basis.
When two schools are juxtaposed, the pulse that evidently seems to run through the University of Virginia is attractive indeed. The enviable academic climate is bolstered with a proud school-spirit and an apparent bustle of student activity. The larger, more diverse population of Virginia seems to be better served by the abundance of opportunities available to each student.
To conclude, I have a keen interest in experiencing life at Virginia. I would like nothing better than to seize the opportunity to contribute positively towards campus life in ways that I am capable of, and take advantage of the wealth that a University of Virginia education has to offer.