Figure It Out

Common Application: General topic of your choice.

“Click. Click. Click. Click.” sounded the metal balls as they ricocheted off one another. I had just begun to play with my “Newton’s Cradle”, a gift that my father had given to me moments prior. A bug-eyed, eight-year-old version of myself thought, “This is amazing. I need to figure out how this works.” This is the first clear memory I have of wanting to learn the science behind something. From that point onwards, I was constantly asking questions, dissecting small electronics, and exploring the fundamentals of modern technology. Radio Shack cash registers took the place of my piggy bank. I mobilized model cars using miniature motors, 9-volt batteries, wires, and fan blades. Once, I even made a system that turned on and off my lights from across the room using only string, pencils, and paper clips. From all my tinkering I learned one very important thing: the satisfaction in figuring ‘it’ out, whatever ‘it’ may be, is extremely gratifying. (I also learned that magnets and computer screens don’t mix…).My passion for solving problems continued into middle and early high school – that is, until my adolescent curiosity blended with my teenage rebelliousness and I stopped trying in school, simply because it was easier to do nothing than it was to work. I started spending more time on what I though others would think was “cool” and less time on figuring things out on my own. This laziness came and went, and I eventually got back on track with my studies, but not before I (temporarily, thank God) lost my best friend Tobin due to my new, selfish behaviors. After I got sent away to boarding school, everything changed. It took something that big for me to realize what a ‘true friend’ really was. The new people I was hanging out with weren’t helping me; they were just providing an outlet for me to escape from my parents’ control. Tobin – my oldest and dearest friend – sacrificed our friendship in an effort to help me renew my passion towards a productive life. He was what I needed in my life, not ‘friends’ who care more about next weekend’s party than my wellbeing. It took boarding school to help me figure this out, but I am thankful that I now know what it means to make positive mistakes.Since arriving at Hyde, I’ve learned more about myself in the course of a year than I have in the other 17 years of my life combined. As opposed to my previous, external ways of “figuring things out”, Hyde helped me focus on introspective learning and helped me figure myself out. Separation from family, friends, my own bedroom, the short walk to the kitchen fridge for a readily available midnight snack, and other luxuries taught me to not take things for granted. I learned that the rebellion in my early high school years was likely a result of my desire to escape from my controlling parents, and in my mind taking control meant rebelling and not studying. It wasn’t the taking control issue that my parents had a problem with; it was the destructive ways of doing so that worried them. I now realize that I can take control of my life in a productive way, and without the introspection I was forced to do at Hyde, I would never have realized my unique potential. As a senior this year, I am getting daily opportunities to lead and to develop my character, be it as a captain of my cross country team, the creator of my AP Physics C course, or as an R.A. in my dorm. I have several ‘dots’ – college (obviously), business school, my own company, a family, etc. – that I’d like to connect, but I’m uncertain on how I’m going to fill in the space between them. I’ll just have to figure it out.

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