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Essay: Write about three objects that would give the admissions selection committee insight into who you are.

A split second ago, a pack of photons appeared in space and madly rushed in all directions. A few hit my retina; most were absorbed by nearby objects and by air. Some escaped into space and now continue to fly towards distant stars, only to be absorbed eons later. Tiny and powerless as they are, they will impart a miniscule amount of energy to some atoms and thus leave their mark upon the universe.

A thin film of water and soap - a bubble just blown out, glitters and turns slowly in the sun. Many of its kind only survive for half a minute (the record-holder was preserved for a month). The diffraction pattern on its surface is ever-changing, displaying the whole spectrum of colors. Transient beauty sends ripples through life as a stone that plunges into a calm pond. The bubble bursts, forever finishing its complex dance of patterns. The stone, now on the bottom, left behind a trail of bubbles rising through the pond water - bubbles that will create ripples in calm ponds of other lives.

It has uniform, sharp teeth. It is cold, orange and shiny. It is made of copper. It is an alligator clip. It clings resolutely; even brute force will not rip it off easily. It clings steadfastly, even when bent. It persists in its function regardless of weather, politics or economic conditions. Yet, it is only an alligator clip, and regardless of its obstinacy, it does not think.

To be a flash of light, a soap bubble or an alligator clip alone would not suffice. A flash of light is too short-lived and too simplistic; soap film is not long remembered; tenacity without thought is the persistence worthy of a mule. The three together, nonetheless, are aspirations of the ideal life: to leave a lasting contribution, to appreciate and create beauty, and to persevere in work towards this ambition.

This essay is Copyright (C) 2000 Alexey Spiridonov. All rights reserved

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