Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below or on an attached sheet (150 words or fewer).
When my Academic Decathlon coach distributes materials in June—hundreds of pages of history, poems, research topics, and more—it is with the tacit understanding that students have just seven months to synthesize, analyze, and otherwise own this knowledge. Through Academic Decathlon, I have had the chance to dive into the legacy of Chinese empires, unearth the political deceit of the Borgias and their rival families from the Italian Renaissance, and examine the intricacies of our planet’s climate. The competition is invigorating unlike any other academic experience, because it is a pure contest of whether or not a team can learn and understand a topic. Teammates must use each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses in order to successfully compete, creating the ultimate test of individual as well as team strength; however, the learning process does not end with the competition. I have discovered that Academic Decathlon opens a door beyond its curriculum. For example, my next-to-nothing understanding of Chinese history has permanently been exchanged with a new passion and curiosity. I continue to visit museums to examine historic jade and bronze pieces like the ones we studied, and I dream of traveling to China. Academic Decathlon exposes avid learners to ideas beyond a typical high school curriculum, creates a co-dependent team and—most importantly—inspires curiosity and a need for further exploration.