Silent but Dopey: Harvard University Undergraduate Application Essay Sample 681 words GradesFixer

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Silent but Dopey: College Admission Essay Sample

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I didn’t have much to say when I was very young.

In fact, according to family legend, I didn’t utter so much as a single word for the first three years of my life.

Naturally, my mom and dad began frantically seeking the expertise of speech pathologists, neurologists, otolaryngologists – all the “gists” they could find – in search of the “Open Sesame” for my speech. Fortunately, my lack of speech passed by me unnoticed as I busied myself with a world of imagination.

Oddly enough, it was seven little men who enhanced that imaginative world and added the gift of words.

One rainy afternoon, l discovered the movies and the Walt Disney classic that was to become my favorite companion – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Suddenly, my eyes fixated on the screen, then my little legs broke into a march, and finally I began boldly singing the refrain of “Heigh-Ho.” I sometimes question if the family rendition of that miracle afternoon is totally accurate, but I do remember that when my parents kissed and hugged me, I felt very warm inside, and I became hooked on Snow White.

Over time, words became sentences, sentences entire monologues, and my fascination with the Snow White saga generated a daily enactment of the tale in which I played all parts, much to the amusement, or perhaps torture, of my family. My older brother still teases me about my uncanny ability to transition seamlessly from character to character: I was both the presenter and the recipient of the deadly apple, the youthful maiden literally falling into a deep sleep, and the handsome prince who awakened her. I am reminded that the pièce de résistance of the entire spectacle was my plunging my face into the couch cushions in a passionate kiss. I assumed the laughter of the audience to be utter praise of my artistic brilliance.

Many years have passed since the final curtain of my “one man” show, and the toddler who spoke nary a word has become quite loquacious. I think the mesmerizing film has helped shape me–in quite subtle ways. It surfaces in my passion for math and science. Just as I took time to decode the mystery of language, I still follow my own drummer in unlocking the secret codes of life, whether it is in the universal genetic code or in the nuances of our biological mechanisms. It is the challenge of discovery rather than the mechanical process that fascinates me.

The toddler who found his voice through the power of music and performance still hearkens to that Pied Piper, and my knack for playing multiple characters has not altogether disappeared. Onstage, when I transform from a fatherly, Shakespearean governor into a devious, plotting minister from ancient Egypt, I am still indulging the ham in my soul. Looking at other activities that have brought me joy – a cappella, concert, and jazz bands – I realize music will always be a force that both soothes and emboldens me. Even the optimistic philosophy of those seven happy workers seems to have won me over. What else explains that adrenaline rush, that surge of dopamine, which I get from lending a hand to others, whether it is helping anxious freshmen adjust to high school or finding ways to make an autistic child smile. Those who know me only by my resume may incorrectly presume that I am a science and math geek; on the contrary, I am still that imaginative toddler, marching around the kitchen table and belting out a happy tune.

I am grateful for that silent period of my life. It gave me a chance to see the world through a different lens and to explore life without the constraints of formal language. When my peers praise the joys of Disney, they usually mean Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. I chuckle silently, thinking back to an animated film that opened a new world for me and shaped who I am today – Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, and perhaps even a little bit Dopey.

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