Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

On the 23rd floor, in the midst of darkness and a sea of repetitive buildings, I breathed freely through the footage I was editing. I was inhaling fear and exhaling joy as I trimmed through the videos in symphony with the emotions of the scene. As I edited, I was acting in a room in my mind; I was performing on a stage designed by my aesthetic memory and emotions.

I remembered everything about this room.

I was seeing the world through my mom’s camera in a tourist site filled with temples and crowds that made this place seem insignificant to a seven years old. I turned my lens towards things that spoke to me: the cracks on the red walls; the ants marching on the grass. The joy of collecting these items with my camera felt like getting new toys. Pleased with my mementos, I imagined a room where I would store my growing collection. Later, my parents found the photos interesting enough to give me my own camera.

As if allowing my eyes to be guided by the spirit of the room, I developed a habit of photographing mundane objects to make sense of an abstract world. Occasionally, I felt embarrassed when I aimed my lens at plastic bags floating in the breeze instead of the grandeur tourist sites. This situation made me question whether we are supposed to appreciate the commonly valued things or whether the purpose of art is to express our emotions and challenge commonly held beliefs. As a result, I began expressing myself by pushing the walls of my room towards drawing. As I built onto my metaphorical room, it developed an ambiance that paralleled my physical location and absorbed my emotions from the fast-paced city I lived in.

My anxiety developed in line with my academic studies. I scheduled to keep ahead of the anxiety. However, the more I planned, the greater the panic that my anxiety would pounce on me. Soon, the pressure from all the deadlines and activities combined with the panic. I felt pushed to the edge until my psychology teacher wisely told me “Embrace it if you can’t overcome it.” This inspired me to invite my anxiety into my room and use it as an inspiration for art. My feelings gave life to my growing collection, and I developed a hunger for more human emotions. Every daily interaction became a study in the emotions of others. Soon, still images were no longer enough to capture the vibrant emotions that surrounded me. Consequently, I found myself writing stories and bringing them to life through video.

Driven by this new passion for filmmaking, I established a film club at my school. However, anxiety returned as I was asked to record an introduction for my club. I began to doubt myself in every shot that I framed. This struggle, however, led to a breakthrough as my perception of photography and drawing merged with filmmaking. The walls that separated the different areas of my room collapsed and the boundaries between different art forms disappeared. All of my passions merged in an unrestricted symphony of aesthetics, perceptions, and sensitivities, not unlike when my anxieties merged with my creativity.

I also found a better way to access the room — to do creative work late at night after I finish my homework. Since I was entering a dream state, I stopped critiquing my instincts and allowed serotonin to carry my ideas onto the paper. I was driven by imagination and emotion, and I was fearless as they merged all art forms into one. Because of this breakthrough, I felt a responsibility to my art. I was duty bound to depict and scrutinize human existence for the viewers of my works; I finally knew that my mission would be to create stories that capture human emotions and make people reflect on the world around them.

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