When I reached the summit and looked out over thousands of miles of the Red Rock Desert of Arizona, the wind blowing in my face, blood pumping as though it was about to burst through my skin, that was a time when I was truly happy and at peace with myself and with the world. It was like all other material problems eroded away and all that was left was the feeling of accomplishment and the beauty of the landscape all around me, like reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.
Ever since I was a little kid, I was never comfortable following a routine that I didn’t make myself. If I am not passionate about the task set out in front of me, I am hard-pressed to follow a path that I know wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t say I’m an adrenaline junkie but when I get a chance to exploit that emotion that sends my heart into frenzy, I’m on it. I love the outdoors: hiking, running, skiing, adventuring, it’s what makes me feel alive.
This love of nature and adventure comes from all the vacations my family goes on, starting with our trip to Sedona, Arizona in 2003. I was nine years old and up until then, the extent of our vacations had been to a beach house where we would go to the beach, come home, eat, play video games with my cousins, and go to sleep. When we went to Sedona, I knew I had found something special because it was like nothing I had done before. We hiked everyday, up incredible cliffs and mountains that touched the sky, and I felt something that is very hard to explain. I would describe it as a bird experiencing its first flight. As soon as I started climbing, I knew that until I reached the top, I wasn’t stopping, and I didn’t. This is why I could never see myself living an ordinary life, rotting in an air-conditioned cubicle, working the 9-to-5, and taking the morning commute.
Even at home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, thousands of miles from the Red Rock Canyon, I’ll find ways to exploit this craze of mine. For example, when I go for a run, the likely route to take would be the Capitol Crescent Trail, which runs very close to my house. However, I will run down a path to Rock Creek, find an opening in the trees, and make my own path. I think this is but one of the qualities that separates me from the other thousands of applicants applying to your prestigious school. I won’t tell you I was the valedictorian of my class, president of six clubs, and a 4.0 all four years of high school. What I want you to know about me is that I won’t settle for ordinary, not on my daily run, my job, or my education.