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Four years of Latin have taught me several truths: the great Julius Caesar’s writings are unexpectedly boring; almost all novels derive from The Aeneid; and most people see no value in a ‘dead’ language. Despite these apparent drawbacks, Latin has inspired my ravenous appetite for knowledge. Prior to high school, I was academically insecure due to a learning disability. I always worked harder than my peers to master the same topics. However, when I started Latin in 9th grade, I was finally equal to my peers: we were Tabula Rasa. While I enjoyed my first few years of Latin, it was not until I started reading ancient texts that I truly fell in love with the language.
It is a challenge to explain Latin to those who have not taken it, but it is the most mesmerizing language with each word carefully chosen to convey a particular mood. When I tell people that I want to pursue Classics in college, there is usually a blank stare followed by a lecture on why I should choose a more relevant major. There is not a more applicable subject than Classics, especially since I want to attend Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences. The idea of a “College of Arts and Science” was founded by Ancient Romans who believed that education was the key to a successful, happy life. Children from upper class families would learn at least three languages, memorize texts, study scientific phenomena, and master political roles, no matter their desired occupation. Some of the most prominent historical figures were educated in this intellectual environment.
Today, many schools that have based their curriculum on these Roman values have stopped offering Classics as a major. Approximately forty colleges and universities allow a student to double major in Classics and another discipline. Of those, Cornell has one of the oldest and most distinguished Classics departments. As a general rule, subjects with a single answer bore me. I hunger for the cloudy, gray area between what is fact and what is emotion. There is nothing more controversially provocative than the human mind. I salivate like Pavlov’s dogs when I hear the words “neuropsychology”, “Genetic Epistemology”, and “hierarchy of needs”. I want an explanation for how personality develops and how to achieve self-actualization. However, it wasn’t until I took Psychology and Human Development courses at a local junior college that I discovered that the answer is intricately woven inside another seemingly unsolvable riddle. While I did not find a satisfactory answer, I was pacified by the fact that cerebral suffering has been occurring for thousands of years.
Humans have been questioning the world since the dawn of civilization, and that inquiry leads to advancement. Watson and Crick did not settle for a simple, single-stranded explanation of how genetic information is stored and I will not settle for an unanswered thought. Explaining my fascination with Classics is challenging enough, but describing how I plan to combine Classics and Psychology is even harder. However, Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences will allow me to explore my diverse interests and will encourage the growth of my academic curiosity.
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