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In an odd twist of fate, the health preoccupations of my elementary school years – oddball hypochondriac tendencies included – proved to be the unlikely catalyst to my deep interest in microbiology and contagious disease. Perhaps it was simply a case of morbid curiosity; nevertheless, I found myself more fascinated with Streptococcus and Tuberculosis in biology class than the tireless immune system that wars against them. Since then, my time in the lab and in the classroom has made me view the study of pathogens one of the most important ones in existence, and though I may not yet have a clear vision of my future, I can say with confidence that it will somehow involve our millions of miniscule neighbors.
However, since many colleges do not offer this specialized of an undergraduate major, I was about to resign myself to the much broader study of biology until I discovered that the University of Chicago offers a specialization in Microbiology along with its Biological Sciences major. A path that I had long since abandoned suddenly opened itself to me again. Could I really gain a broad background in biology as well as dive deeper into a topic I was so passionate about?
Of course, though microbiology does mark a prominent point of my interests, I recognize the great importance of a broad liberal arts education. This is the reason why the Core Curriculum so appeals to me: it will strengthen my skills and allow me to explore my interests in the arts and humanities, whether I choose to dabble in Russian literature, pick up a new language, or even sign up for a theater class or two. However, the full range of reasons why I feel the University of Chicago fits my passions is much broader. I want to reap the benefits of both the excitement of a bustling city and the camaraderie of a traditional college campus. I want to fulfill my Civilizations requirement in Beijing, studying ancient Chinese culture as I practice my spoken Mandarin. I want to discuss powerful texts in a Feminist Philosophy class in the morning and marvel at the skeletal structure of prehistoric reptiles in an afternoon lecture on Dinosaur Science. I want to spend one evening working with cell culture in the Department of Microbiology before taking the following night to enjoy the brisk Chicago winds as I traverse the campus to catch a University Theater production of Romeo and Juliet (yes, I am one of those rare breed who delight in sleet and subzero temperatures). I want to discuss racing techniques with the Velo Club as we roll down the winding asphalt. I want to find a home within a home with my House, meeting new people and forming lasting friendships as we spin grand plans of Scav road trips. Perhaps above all, I want to spend my days at an institution whose studious-yet-spirited vibe mirrors my own personality.
At the end of my four years, I want to simultaneously be the girl who has learned everything and yet still has everything left to learn. In short, I want to be a member of the University of Chicago Class of 2021.
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