Most children acquire the same eye color or a similar shaped nose from their parents, but I’ve inherited much more: a passion for learning and an insatiable curiosity which has served me well throughout my academic career. My father, an electrical engineer, taught me to explore the world with inquisitive eyes, constantly seeking to learn more, to understand more. I watched him for hours as he worked on elevator schematics at home, wondering what all the various symbols and lines meant. I was fascinated by technology and wanted to know how and why things worked the way they did.
“How does this toaster work?” “What’s inside this VCR?” I was never satisfied with the simplified answers that my parents gave to these questions. So I discovered many answers for myself by exploring and experimenting.
My playground was a jumble of old circuit boards, spare electric wire, and an assortment of broken appliances. I spent hours disassembling and tinkering with the amazing treasures I found lying around our garage. My mother, a first grade teacher, noticed my intellectual curiosity and encouraged my childhood explorations. She gave me piles of mind-opening children’s books, which I willingly read. Books like “What Makes Popcorn Pop, and Other Questions about the World around Us” allowed me to discover the irresistible appeal of imaginative questions and their fascinating answers.
I was given a remarkable amount of freedom at a young age. When I was 8, my parents bought an old computer for $25 from a local yard sale with the intention of letting me loose on it. I was thrilled. Motivated by curiosity, I delved into it at once and learned how to use each and every feature of the computer’s antiquated MS-DOS operating system. With my father’s help and an old programming book by my side, I even created simple videogames for my younger brother to play.
My parents taught me to be independent and self-motivated by providing me opportunities to learn by trial and error. I recall an episode where my parents bought a new microwave when I was just 10 years old. As they unpacked the microwave, I caught sight of the owner’s manual and asked to see it. After reading the 40-page text front-to-back, I learned one very important thing: how to use a feature called “child lock,” or as I saw it, “parent lock.” By pressing a special sequence of buttons on the microwave, I disabled it, thus protecting my parents from the dangers of using the appliance without my supervision. Until this day, the first thing I do after buying a new gadget is read the entire manual, in search of nifty features.
My intellectual curiosity is the result of a unique combination of early influences and childhood experiences which have fueled my passion for learning inside and outside of the classroom -- learning from everything I do. I hope to continue applying this curiosity to all aspects of my life, exploring the world through the eyes of my childhood persona. By refusing to accept the obvious explanation, refusing to settle for a superficial understanding, and refusing to endure the status quo, great American innovators like my role model Benjamin Franklin created new knowledge, new technologies, and new innovations. I strive to do the same. It’s part of who I am, and what drives me to become successful and happy.
Anonymous Student. "Describe the world you come from" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 07 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/uc-berkeley/describe-the-world-you-come-from/>.
It is incredible how social environment plays such a great role in a person’s holistic development. It is like the butterfly effect on an individual, yet grand scale. Each decision is like a ripple that spreads out uniformly, increases many fold, and eventually changes the person’s future. While one can never be sure, I am confident that the people around me – my family, my teachers, and my friends – have all influenced my life in a positive manner.
Of all the factors mentioned before, my parents have undoubtedly been the most prominent source of love and encouragement.
My father owned an engineering equipment manufacturing unit. As a kid who accompanied his father to work once a week after school, I was always mesmerized to see big machines come together and seemingly move on their own. Eventually, I started tinkering with whatever I could find lying around. That’s when he decided it would be unwise to leave me unsupervised, and my weekly trips came to an end. But my mother, recognizing my interest and willing to let it develop into something constructive, got me the best possible gift. It was a set of ‘Mechanix – an engineering system for creative kids’.
Mechanix had everything I needed and a manual that helped me to build fully mechanical models. After some explanation and trial and error sessions with my father, I could build them myself, and eventually, I started building models that weren’t there in the manual – my own models. This was my first and early step into the world of engineering.
As I grew older, I got especially interested in STEM. Luckily, I found some classmates who were just as passionate about these subjects; classmates who are now some of my closest friends. Becoming a part of their group was my ‘red pill, blue pill’ moment, and I made the right choice. It showed me where I stood against the best students in the school, and it was just a matter of time before I caught up and became one of them.
In grade eleven, I was elected to the students’ council. This gave me access to the school’s resources, and something that has been yet another factor in deciding the progression of my academic career; the support of other council members. Also, since we had shared interests and were in the good books of our teachers, we seldom hesitated in talking to them (and sometimes, directly to our principal) about something we wanted to do. In hindsight, this was a huge privilege, and was only possible in a relatively small school like mine.
By mid-2012, I became rather good at programming, and felt I wasn’t being challenged enough by the school curriculum. My friends had similar opinions, so we decided to form an IT club in school, which would train members for inter-school programming events. The ‘Endofline Computer Club’ was officially recognized by the school in July 2012. Subsequently, we started participating in many inter-school programming events. But for me, it wasn’t always about the trophy or cash prize – it was about interacting with fellow programmers and learning from them. Getting to meet interesting people was a great incentive for participation, and the prospect of winning was always pushing me to give my best.
There are small schools - small communities, which foster better understanding and interaction between their members, give each member the chance to express their ideas and make it easier to be at the top, or even good enough to be a representative – and there are huge schools – large, rigid communities that have established institutions which admit members based on merit. These institutions are full of highly able individuals that have gone through rigorous selection procedures, and perform consistently well in their respective field. I wonder if I’d have ever found a new club at a huge school. Thankfully, my school lies right at the cusp. It is small enough for a student to receive ample attention, and has a wide-spread network of alumni as well.
Throughout high-school, I’ve had opportunities to network with some of the brightest students of the country and from abroad, along with the support of family and friends, who’ve always encouraged me to follow my dreams and achieve excellence. And that’s precisely what I want to do; become an excellent aerospace engineer.
Rakheja, Tushar. "The World I Come From" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/ucla/the-world-i-come-from/>.