College Essay Example Eight from an accepted Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, University of Chicago Student

What do you want to do in life? Everyone has been asked this question at some point or another. When I am asked this question, I think of particle physics. 

One of the goals of particle physics is to coalesce the four fundamental forces (gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and strong nuclear) into one cohesive model that will explain the universe – a Grand Unified Theory. That is why there is a lab 26 miles wide in Switzerland dedicated to colliding particles at near light speed. That is why particle physics laboratories receive million dollar grants even though the funding may not even lead to tangible results. And that is one of the reasons why the television show, "The Big Bang Theory" is so darn funny. Some might argue that the search for such a model is meaningless. "What's the point of finding a 'Grand Unified Theory'? Life will go on the same with or without it!”

Maybe they are right. However, the goal of a particle physicist is, if not a necessary one, at least a noble one. Unifying so many different, seemingly incompatible concepts to find harmony among the apparent chaos that is our universe is a pretty daunting task after all. Now, I am no particle physicist, but I can sympathize with their plight.

When I am asked “What do you want to do in life?” my honest answer is “I do not know yet.” I am the universe, and so asking me to answer that question is like asking a particle physicist to find a Grand Unified Theory on the spot. I need a Swiss lab and a million dollar research grant first.

I used to think my passions were incompatible and separate, much like the way most people view the four fundamental forces. Gravity is different from electricity, and magnetism is different from the forces that hold together atoms, molecules, and cells, right? Well, for me, all of my passions are different. Like the four fundamental forces, I experience something unique from each activity, something necessary for defining who I am. For example, improvisational comedy has made me spontaneous and adaptive in all aspects of my life. Debate is the mental adrenaline shot that puts my mind into overdrive for intense forty-five minute rounds. Student government motivates me to use my influence for the greater good by helping every student that I can. Immunology research gives me a humbling glimpse of the beauty and unfathomable complexity that is the human body. I would not trade the experiences I get from these activities for the world, so choosing which passion I want to pursue in life is difficult. I have, nonetheless, given the question a lot of thought.

Maybe I can unite two disciplines into one. Hey, physicists did it with the electro-magnetic force! So, perhaps I will be the first President with a PhD in biology. Or maybe I will be a lawyer by day, an actor by night. A mathematician, perchance, who writes mystery novels that incorporates solid foundations in calculus, immunology, politics and…improv? Who knows… I sure do not - at least not yet. However, I do know that I do not want to take an incompatible and discordant view of my future. I will not sacrifice one passion because I cannot make it fit in my comprehensive model. Scientists did not disregard gravity from the model because it is so much weaker in comparison to the other three forces, so why should I abandon any one of my interests? 

So, when people ask me what I want to do in life, I now tell them that I have my foot in a lot of different doors, but in reality, I am just trying to find my Grand Unified Theory.

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