Doodling Flowers

Common App Essay: Tell us more about yourself.

Whenever I’m taking notes in English, answering questions on a history test, or listening to a class discussion, I doodle flowers. Yes, flowers. You might imagine that a high school senior in AP classes would be too busy absorbing PowerPoint slides and wringing out essays to doodle. And to an extent, you are correct. Nevertheless, no matter how taxing the class, I always find time to sketch a few blossoms on my papers. Although I’ve done this since middle school, I still don’t understand why. Whatever the reason, the flowers are my personality stamp.

Maybe it’s because the flowers are symmetrical: a circle surrounded by five petals, attached to a two-leafed curvy stem. I’m a fan of symmetry and balance — perhaps it’s the obsessive side of me. Regardless, scattering my signature flowers on schoolwork relaxes me. Likewise, the yin-yang balance in my life enriches everything I do. While I’m the science nerd who spent one summer synthesizing nanoparticles in WashU’s lab, I’m also the art junkie who makes watercolors of her backyard forest on the weekends. While I’m the stereotypical Asian scholar in class, after school, I’m the most non-competitive mini-tennis player on the JV court.

Maybe my flowers represent the exhilaration I feel when I’m coming up with a solution to a problem. I remember doodling on graph paper while trying to design a Science Olympiad project. Every time I scrapped a new idea, I defaulted to doodled flowers. Then finally, Eureka! I had sketched a viable model of the lightest tower that would hold the greatest amount of sand. Even though the tower fell apart after only two scoops of sand, I was thrilled to have figured out how to apply engineering principles to my project.

Maybe my perky little flowers represent my optimism. While I’m not the “Energizer Bunny,” people generally describe me as enthusiastic. Other people’s doubts often inspire and motivate me to solve difficult problems. A few months ago, my friends and I started talking about how great it would be to travel through Europe after graduation. Although we were joking at the time, I latched onto the idea. I knew the trip would cost a ton, but the idea of hanging out on the Riviera spurred me to work hard to earn money. Immediately, I launched into overdrive making bracelets for my online Etsy store: I made new listings, bought supplies, and dedicated weekends to weaving. My friends teased, “You’ll never earn enough for a three-week Europe trip.” Fortunately, my business plan is working well, my profits have doubled, and I’m nearing my goal.

Maybe my ever-present flowers represent my creativity. Not every student garnishes assignments with daisies! No matter what I’m doing, I’m happiest when I’m imaginative: adding ears to a tea kettle painting; wearing plastic foot ornaments and wooden clog boots to school; making up songs on the piano; designing a C++ Go Fish program; and writing a Space Elevator policy debate plan.

Or maybe I doodle just because I like flowers.

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