Essay Questions

What is your most memorable childhood experience?When I was eight years old I visited China for nearly a month with my aunt, who was adopting a baby girl. I am going to classify that entire trip as one childhood experience because I remember so much of it so vividly. Whenever I tell people about the trip they ask me if I remember anything about it and I say yes, I remember almost everything notable that occurred. I woke up every day simply shocked and awed by everything I saw, whether it was the swarms of cyclists operating without rules on the streets of Beijing, the plethora of fauna being sold in the street markets of Guangzhou, or the gleaming skyscrapers under construction in Shanghai. I hope to return in the not-too-distant future and relive some of that wonder.
What immediate family member do you closely identify with and why?I most closely identify with my mother because, more than any other family member, our discussions have the widest range of content and we share many of the same intellectual interests. Even though she can be temperamental and stubborn at times there is no one else with whom I can talk for hours about everything from financial investments and car repair to epidemiology and world politics. I talk with her more than anyone else in my immediate family.
What character traits do you admire in an individual?I admire those who possess strong self-discipline without sacrificing compassion and humility. They who hold themselves to incredibly high standards but do not let that cause them to denigrate those with less lofty ambitions and a lower willingness to forgo immediate gratification in the name of long-term benefit. Being in the company of such an individual lets people feel at once accepted for who one is and also encouraged to aim for personal goals that would not otherwise have been set. I have met only a handful of people in my life who fit this bill.
What is the funniest thing ever to happen to you?I'd tell a story but it wouldn't be the funniest for long- they just keep getting better. My best is yet to come.
If time and money were not an issue, where would you travel and why?I would visit distant relatives in southern Italy to bring closure to the American immigrant experience undergone by my grandfather. I would trek through the heart of Borneo, which remains to me the most wild, exotic, and primeval place in the world. I would visit the edge of space to experience weightlessness and a powerfully different perspective of our planet.
When and if you ever have children, what would you like to pass on to them?I will leave this one to the third President of the United States, who passed on a very succinct and useful "Decalogue of canons for observation in practical life" to his grandchildren and the children of his friends. For whatever reason it will not fit in the space provided to me to write this response, so I encourage you to look it up on your own.