Essay Questions

What is your most memorable childhood experience?The memories that stick out immediately are the summers that I spent with my grandparents. They owned a large farm, and I spent my days exploring the woods and wading through streams. At night, I would listen to their stories and learn history from my grandfather. I will also never forget the summers I spent in elementary school. My mother would wake us up early, and we would spend the entire day at a nearby lake, swimming, eating ice cream, and daring each other to do the best dive off of a huge platform in the middle of the water. We would spend summer nights at concerts, or watching movies we picked out from the local video store.
What immediate family member do you closely identify with and why?I think the family member I most closely identify with is my mother. She raised me as a single mother, since I was five years old. My mother loved music, history, and poetry. Our personalities were very similar. She loved to laugh, and knew how to find the good in everyone. Up until she died, she was the person I called every day.
What character traits do you admire in an individual?The character traits I most admire in an individual are honesty and empathy. Honesty, I believe, is self-explanatory, and is something we hope to find in everyone, but empathy might be more significant. Empathy helps us be better listeners, and build connections with others. Empathy also helps us look past our differences, to try to genuinely understand each others' concerns and perspectives.
What is the funniest thing ever to happen to you?While this might not be the funniest thing that has ever happened to me, the first time I soloed in an airplane was definitely one of the craziest. When I had just turned 16 years old, I had been taking flying lessons for about a year. I was ready to do my first solo flight on a very windy day in April. My whole family showed up to watch, along with several friends. After a few touch-and-go landings with my instructor, I could tell he felt pressured to let me solo, even though the wind was pretty fierce. We taxied to the end of the runway, and he just hopped out and said, "I guess you've got it from here!" I was absolutely terrified! Once I took off alone, for the first time, I realized he never warned me how much faster the plane would go without another person inside, and how differently the plane would handle. I had three bumpy landings, and felt like I was going to break my wrists holding onto the yoke so hard. I never told anyone, but on my last landing, I nearly stalled the aircraft, and came pretty close to scraping some treetops! Aside from that, I love having fun, and I have certainly embarrassed myself plenty of times, but I will say that finding the humor in almost anything is something I find very important. Getting someone to laugh, maybe even at a time where they are sad, nervous, or depressed, can be cathartic for them, and helping them feel better is something I truly enjoy.
If time and money were not an issue, where would you travel and why?I would love to visit the countries of Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, which contain so much beauty and culture. I have been fortunate to travel across the world, but I have always been most interested in exlopring the less-traveled places on the globe. Isolated islands, such as the Falklands, the Galapagos, and the Faroe Islands have also always been travel goals. Traveling is my absolute favorite thing to do. It can really open us up to enjoy the wider world, and help us find our place within it.
When and if you ever have children, what would you like to pass on to them?I think we all hope to pass on the best of ourselves to our children. I would first like to pass on to them a love of learning. It doesn't really matter what you are interested in, but the desire and drive to keep pushing the boundaries of your own knowledge and understanding of the world is so important to me. Related to learning, I want my children to seek out new experiences and adventures by traveling our world. Breaking outside of our bubble can help promote growth and understanding. Finally, I hope my children will be persistent. Our whole lives, we are often told what we can and can't be. At a very young age, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I hit plenty of setbacks and obstacles along the way, but I was able to persevere and make that goal a reality. It was tough, and so many times I felt like I would never make it, but with encouragement, persistence and resilience, we can overcome almost anything. I also want my children to always be able to find the humor in life. Laughter can help us heal and cope, and it is a great way to bring people together. I hope that my children will never take themselves too seriously, and take time to laugh and enjoy the absurdities that life sometimes presents to us.