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Supplement: UPenn


Leo Choi

“Ben Franklin once said, ‘All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.’ Which are you?”

…I’m ten years old. In my hands there are a botanical case with a dozen cicadas all crawling, and a bucket with grass, dirt, and a black mole wigging inside. I dream of figuring out how cicadas can sing so loud, and how moles can dig so deep. In front of me lies a red model Mars probe, which I created with a tool box and a set of nuts, bolts, steel, and wheels. Placing second in the city robotics competition with this probe, I dream of building spaceships and exploring the universe. In the television screen the 2004 World Cup players are running to the center of the field, holding hands and crying together for the happiness of victory, of representing a nation. I dream of running with them, in rain and mud, scoring goals in every game. I am moving, following the dreams that change every day, every minute.

…I’m eighteen years old. After college counseling session with my parents and my homeroom teacher, I sit in front of computer and check the boxes: Biology, Foreign Languages and Cultures. I still dream of animals and insects, of otoplasty, an artificial heart, and Flav Savr; these topics keep my eyes frantic and inexhaustible, prompting me to memorize everything in the biology section of the World Scholar’s Cup. And I dream of going back to South America, meet people from all countries and with different dialects, and observe all the cultural differences that I’ve missed, which I’ll present to the Spanish Honor Society. But my dreams don’t move; some impossible dreams have escaped me, and I have become aware of a limit called reality. Nevertheless, I know that my dreams and I are movable, even in the most unexpected directions, as my life goes on in a university.

I envy the immovable. Immovable people can focus all their energy into one dream, unhampered by reality. It’s not time yet for me to become immovable, but someday I’ll be one. Now is my time to look for that one passion I can spend the rest my life dreaming about. I’m grateful for the opportunity to try to find my immovable dream, in my dream university UPenn.

Why Essay

I haven’t made any groundbreaking scientific discovery. I haven’t studied in depth any topic related to my intended major. The only experiences I had with biology were the school farming club, Bio-Mania experiment group, and the World Scholar’s Cup, all of which were focused not on depth of knowledge but on activities and passion. So I see myself engaged academically at Penn, not studying the most difficult concepts of biology, but constantly moving to find activities and passion, volunteering and working part-time at the merest opportunity of research. I see myself not at a library with a thick book but at a laboratory or field, doing Independent Study like BIOL 399 or investigating on my own. I’ll be the most active student at the College of Arts and Science, both literarily and physically. That does not mean I will neglect on the basics; it’ll be my first task to develop a solid background in biology.

Of course, I will engage not only in my intended major but also in variety of subjects, to fulfill the purpose of liberal arts education: critical thinking and flexibility of mind. I do enjoy humanities subject, especially Latin culture, and it was only recent that I decided on pursuing biology. I will make the most of liberal arts education, always thinking that I could decide to pursue different subjects.

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