The entirety of my MIT supplemental.

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Resume for MIT Interview

Mini MIT essays

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it. (*)(100 words or fewer)

To escape from the mindless work that’s often required of me, I do something that requires my full attention: I think. This thinking is most commonly about math. Most recently, I’ve been interested in cellular automata and their relation to game theory. I’ve also been very interested in Taylor Series polynomials and their capacity to describe functions. 

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (*) (100 words or fewer) 

I am drawn to MIT's Mathematics department due to my keen interest in math and the exceptional quality of your department. Its faculty is deeply involved in cutting-edge theoretical research, as shown by the numerous recipients each year of prestigious international awards. The fact that similar recognition is also awarded to undergraduates shows me that the department is focused on producing scholars who will advance our understanding of math. I am pleased that many of your faculty work on topics at the intersection of math and physics (my second passion). 

What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you'd like to tell us about. (*) (200-250 words)

My curiosity and desire for profound understanding matters greatly to me. This curiosity is what drives me to learn and to really understand. I act on this curiosity whenever it reveals itself. When an instructor or peer says something that’s taken to be true, I test it in my head. I try to find an exception and try to uncover faulty logic. If I don’t do this, then I’m bored. I can’t help but ask these questions to stay interested. I'm not living life just to get through it; just to have work run over me. I'm living to embrace it. I'm living to understand it. 

As we see from the scientific method, true understanding starts with questioning. It takes curiosity to uncover a new world or way of thinking and it takes creativity to explain that new world using personally developed tools. It is thus my curiosity that has developed my creativity. This is also why I choose not to follow in a great person’s footsteps but to take an untraveled path. Rather than ask the questions that led someone to accomplishment, I ask the questions that haven’t been asked before. The path isn’t what makes the traveler successful, it’s the kind of mind that chose the path. Curiosity is at the heart of my mind.

Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?(*) (200-250 words) 
The most critical component of my upbringing was my first ten years of education at a Montessori community school. Having the freedom to manage my own time in the classroom from an early age cultivated my interest in independent studies and catered to my love of Science and even made my love of the independent pursuit of knowledge part of what it is to be me. My interest in the Sciences, especially Astronomy and Physics, was sparked in the 6th grade when one of my teachers introduced us to a new book, Universe, which I immediately began to read and soon after, convinced my parents to buy. This exposure to cosmology began my interest in understanding the complexity and immensity of the universe, and in learning the means by which we understand the universe: science. The most important lesson this environment taught me, however, was that one can only be intellectually satisfied when they follow their interests and stick with them despite discouragement from peers or even teachers.  

At Montessori, I also learned the value and importance of a strongly bound community and the role of trust in the learning process. Montessori’s inclusion of students from three grades in every classroom taught me that the intellectual playground is an even platform and that any subject can be understood at any age. This reinforced my interest in independently driven study of Physics during my elementary school years. 

Tell us about the most significant challenge you've faced or something important that didn't go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?(*) (200-250 words)

In 10th grade, I applied to an instate boarding school renowned for advancing bright minds in the study of science and math. When I wasn’t accepted, I was crushed and stricken with worry as I had planned to be in the hands of some of the most skilled high school teachers. I decided it had become solely my responsibility to accelerate my intellectual and academic progression. I began to watch online MIT OpenCourseWare and Stanford course lectures on physics, mathematics, and computer science to broaden my exposure and prepare myself for further exploring any field I found interesting. I took a special interest in Walter Lewin’s wonderfully interactive physics lectures. In order to produce something more concrete and personal, I pursued numerous independent projects on topics I felt had not been sufficiently detailed in my high school courses. Many of these projects were oriented around answering my own questions about the material I was being taught. I believe that this experience greatly developed my intrinsic motivation and gave me self-reliance, neither of which would have been very much reinforced had I been accepted to the school. 

Today, I know the importance of original work and independent thinking, and I try to ensure that mostly any work I do is intrinsically motivated.