MIT Admitted Essays #6

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it. (100)

Thankfully, I don’t have the attention span or the tolerance to invest time into an undertaking that I don’t find worthwhile and fun. While I am involved in numerous activities ranging from violin to debate, I never expected to look forward to my four-hour shifts as a waitress at a retirement home. I have a community of grandparents who recognize me as “Smiley Judy” and a family of coworkers who relish the food with me after Sunday brunch. Along with the fast-paced table juggling, the silly and serious interactions I have at my workplace are my ultimate source of pleasure.

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100)

Some of my hardest decisions take place in the booth of a restaurant, so choosing a major has been an absolutely agonizing process for me. I fancied subject areas from English to chemistry, but I finally (hesitantly) decided on double majoring in mathematics and economics and minoring in French. My most concrete interest, mathematics, originates from my introduction to calculus and the realization that the breadth and depth of the mathematical world extend beyond straight numerical calculations. I believe that MIT’s superior mathematics program will add unimaginably new dimensions to this magical realm that I have only just discovered.

What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you’d like to tell us about. (200-250)

My love for people is the best part about myself. There is no better feeling than the happiness I find in meeting new people and creating connections with them. My extroverted personality is the root of much of my success in leadership, presentations, and networking. I naturally reach out to people, and as a result, I am able to accomplish projects like establishing a mentoring program for the French Honor Society and a threefold increase in membership for the Asian American Club. However, my outgoing personality made the most memorable impact at the “Conversation with Michelle Obama,” an event for which I was nominated to attend. Through Google Hangout, several American cities were able to connect to Michelle Obama in South Africa. When the Kansas City group was asked about technology integration in education, the students all froze underneath the limelight. In a burst of courage, I blurted a couple of words and consequently received the microphone to continue. At that moment, it didn’t matter that there were thousands of people around the world including Michelle Obama listening; it was just me and my string of thoughts. I was the only person in Kansas City to speak that day.

I distinguish myself with my enthusiasm, and I easily see myself thriving as a part of the tight-knit community, the risk-taking hacking culture, and the passionately nerdy student population of MIT. After all, I still keep in touch with my lime-green carded tour guide.

Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250)

I am completely Chinese. My parents are Chinese and I was born in China. However, as first generation immigrants, my family and I have been immersed in the French Canadian culture of Montreal and the American culture of Kansas City. I spent a measly five months in China after my birth, a seemingly short eight years in Montreal, and an even shorter nine years in Overland Park. At heart, I am Chinese like my background, but my childhood is colored by French influences and my adolescence is completely painted with the exuberant American character. As a result, a lot of my life has been categorized by my three countries and cultures: the languages I speak, the habits I have, and the aspirations I dream.

My college track, as of right now, is to double major in economics and mathematics while also minoring in French, but my ultimate goal is to make a positive and memorable impact on the world. Every subject field has a direct lineation to my different cultures, and the most obvious is my interest in French. While it may sound silly, I feel beautiful when speaking such a beautiful language, and I aim to further develop my linguistic foundation through a minor and studying abroad. My love for mathematics is most primarily rooted in my Chinese culture, as my father’s enthusiasm about little mathematical tricks is contagious. Finally, the opportunities and the boldness I find in American culture are best epitomized in its economic landmark: Wall Street.

Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250)

Math had always been the easy, simple subject for me until calculus suddenly turned math into a terribly fascinating new world for me to explore. My paradigm regarding the seemingly rigid discipline shifted from indifference to a desire to learn how the puzzle pieces of the world clicked and fitted together. I hoped to spread that sentiment by establishing Mu Alpha Theta at my school, a chartering process that I expected to last at most two months.

That preconceived notion could not have been further from the truth. After an arduous month involving hours of research, several phone calls, and admittedly, some pestering, I gained approval to start the chartering process in the second semester of my junior year. Immediately, I wrote the charter application, bylaws, supplementary materials, and student application for the math department to review. Unfortunately, as each error was traded in with another, I realized that my predicted timeframe was an over-optimistic dream. The lag was attributed to the lack of cohesive communication and initiative; I kept pushing my responsibilities to the next week until there was no more time left. Consequently, I took greater measures to accomplish my goals by setting hard deadlines for myself and approaching the math teachers more frequently for feedback.

After seven months, the math department and I have just finished the application process and are reviewing the candidates. Seeing my passion manifest into a tangible organization excites me, and I hope that it does the same for my school’s community.

—Judy Wang ’19

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