Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.: College Admission Essay

Off the wall.

That’s how I’d describe my family. My sister just took a semester off from studying financial economics in New York to attend the Cordon Bleu, a pastry school in Tokyo. My brother is a reserved, taciturn character with an interest in arctic engineering. My mom, a law school graduate and an avid but non-preachy yogi, founded a jewelry company on the spur of the moment. My dad is a non-conformist dot-com bubble survivor with a penchant for abstract thinking.

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Then there’s me, the youngest of my parents’ three “genetic experiments”. I have an unhealthy obsession with avocados; I speak four languages, but understand six; I’m even rumored to have wrestled and won against a bear…

Unsurprisingly, my upbringing was quite Bohemian; my siblings and I were raised to the tune of three mantras.

Mantra 1: “Read the instructions, read them again, and then once more.”

My mother’s judicial background meant she ceaselessly emphasized the importance of meticulousness, which has resulted in my perfectionist tendencies.

Reading carefully may seem like a simple task, yet many still fail. When my IKEA cupboard arrived, I carefully read the instruction manual several times, then threw it out. I spent the next 2 hours carefully whittling and molding the pieces to a ‘chef-d’oeuvre’ that made my spirits skyrocket. In short, I legitimately built an IKEA cupboard without having to go back to the manual. I’m not trying to brag, but that is no easy feat! I’ve heard tales of people using the instructions during the process, and still doing it wrong… If only they had met my mother!

Mantra 2: “17 is better than blue.”

My father frequently challenged us to answer his strange questions about choice under uncertainty. “When you don’t know the answer to a business-related question, would you rather respond with ’17’, ‘blue’, or not at all, and why?” Such discussions were held over breakfast, car rides, and even over Snapchat (yes, he has an account). He spent hours explaining specific terms to me – I learned about game theory, stock options, IPOs and even about Erlang (a programming language from the 70s). This early introduction to such topics awoke my interest in technology and even led me to take Business and Management as an IB subject.

Mantra 3: “If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the lottery.”

Lastly, I am lucky to have grown up in a household with a solid support system. No matter how wild our imaginations ran, my siblings and I had parents who were always there to cheer us on. Their doting but very much “laissez-faire” attitudes have made me the independent young woman I am as I write this essay. Without them, I would not have had the confidence to aim for the stars.

I am a blend of my father’s free-thinking spirit, my mother’s shrewd scrupulousness, my sister’s eccentric passions, and my brother’s stoic pragmatism. Together, they have given me the courage and poise to aspire to greatness: living a life that can speak for itself.

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