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I eat ten apples a day, cores and all. My love for apples is an integral part of my identity, just like my passion for living, learning, and laughing. My teachers and peers have always recognized my drive; one math teacher even remarked in his Caribbean-tinged accent, “You have a fire in your eyes now,” on the day I decided I would win the chapter Mathcounts competition. Ever since elementary school those who don’t know me have stereotyped me as the traditional overachiever positioned at the top of her class, playing the violin and winning math competitions. However, my friends know that in truth, I’m the kid who laughs so hard she falls out of her chair, cries over cheesy romance movies, and stays up until 3AM reading “Calvin and Hobbes” on school nights.
Although I’ve been fortunate to win various academic awards, the time I’ve spent on service and leadership has meant more to me than the time I’ve spent studying. The Saturdays I spend running the concession stands at University of Georgia football games are a whirlwind: I spend hours selling overpriced food and drinks to zealous (and sometimes drunk) fans in order to raise money for service activities. I love going to the homeless shelter every week to cook dinner, whether it consists of tortellini and chocolate chip cookies or tacos and salad. Each year I lead Service Day projects, painting the halls of a nursery home or packing up hundreds of boxes at the Food Bank. However, true to my dorky roots, I also serve as captain of the Quiz Bowl Team, which means I spend two afternoons a week trying to convince my teammates that they actually should try to memorize the capital of Madagascar.
Outside of school, I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon activities for which I have a real passion. In ninth grade I read The Cobra Event, a book about a fictional virus that made me imagine that there were millions of deadly virus particles swirling around me. After I recovered from my paranoia, I delved into researching viruses. The summer after tenth grade I was invited to work in a cellular biology lab at the University of Georgia that specialized on the t. cruzi virus. For six weeks I worked full time doing undergraduate-level work and occasionally assisting graduate students and post-doctorates with their research. I ran PCRs daily, made countless gels, and tried to understand everything around me. Last summer my love of science and independent learning earned me a place at the annual Governor’s Honors Program, where I was a chemistry major and a social studies minor. While my major reaffirmed my dedication to science, my minor unfortunately informed me that epidemiology involved too much death and illness for my heart and stomach to take. I refocused my plans onto pharmacology, and began planning a future in teaching and research.
The dedication I’ve shown in my activities only speaks to what will follow in the years to come. I have no desire to slack off and take it easy after high school; the same passion that keeps me going back to the farmer’s market for apples also drives my plans for my future.
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