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Reading at a young age, I am told, is the best way to sharpen a developing mind. In the months leading up to the presidential elections in November of 1992, I was a seven-year-old with an undiagnosed case of attention deficit disorder and a generally sensitive, introverted disposition. Naturally, in a world without widespread Internet access and a household without cable television, I spent a great deal of my time with books. It was partially due to these circumstances that I attained a higher reading level than the rest of the students in my kindergarten class, prompting my early promotion to first grade near the beginning of the school year.
It would make for a nice story if I could say that a decade ago I was an avid follower of the Bush and Clinton campaigns, but I won’t lie. Like the majority of first graders, the political process was not a major concern for me, and I have only vague memories of my father’s disappointment when Bill Clinton was elected.
Fortunately, my voter apathy was short-lived, and since the 1996 elections my obsession with politics has grown every year. My mother’s successful campaign for the Wayne County Circuit Court open seat in 1998 was a major factor in introducing me to the world of politics. I was fortunate to meet countless judges and political figures, as well as then-gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger. The excitement of campaigning and the thrill of election night made a lasting impression on me, and I believe this was one of the more important experiences in my lifetime.
Although at my age it’s difficult to become involved in a meaningful way, I have put in every effort to do so. This past November I volunteered to do polling work for the state legislative candidate from my area who I felt was most qualified and best represented my interests. Though my candidate lost, the margin was only a few hundred, and I attribute the defeat to the near-freezing, relentless thunderstorm that seemed to drive away more Democratic voters than Republicans.
Another important experience for me, one that I feel I have learned tremendously from, is actually taking course right now. Feeling the need to inform and engage the minds of my fellow students, I have taken it upon myself to initiate an antiwar movement in my high school. So far, through countless meetings with my school’s principal, I have convinced the initially reluctant school board to allow me to set up a table in the commons area, at which I plan to sell buttons for antiwar charities, encourage students to sign a petition, and most importantly, inform my classmates by handing out flyers and expressing my view on the Iraq issue. I feel that far too many students at my school simply don’t care about an issue that should touch them deeply, and through these methods I hope to introduce views that will encourage them to debate amongst each other, and form their own informed standpoints on the subject. In the near future I hope to establish a school club for political activism, one that will continue after I graduate, and for years in the future raise funds and awareness for important progressive causes. I feel that this way I can truly affect my school’s current and future students in a positive manner, hopefully doing my part to help reverse the trend of voter apathy.
I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to study political science at the University of Michigan, among some of the most brilliant minds in the country. The idea of a liberal arts education, where I have the opportunity to sharpen my intellect in a wide variety of areas, is to me truly thrilling. I am determined to take advantage of this opportunity to the greatest possible extent. I know with absolute certainty that once admitted I will dedicate myself fully to my goal of earning a Ph.D. in political science. The University of Michigan is my first choice from which to achieve this goal, and it would be a great honor for me to be given this chance.
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