Cornell Essay

By unlocking the door to (name) past, one
sees his thoughts and actions when they first
took hold of his persona. This essay serves
as a key to that door and to my current

The first beloved books in my life were the
Sesame Street Encyclopedia volumes. At
three, I wasn’t old enough to read them, but I
always wanted to have them read to me. In
fact, I memorized the ten volume set so when
my parents would skip some pages I would
ask them to read what they skipped. After
learning to read on my own, my favorite book
became the anatomy volume in the Charlie
Brown Encyclopedia. Courtesy of a
supermarket book offer, I was the only
kindergartner who knew about fertilized egg
cells. As I grew older, I continued to read
largely because reading taught me so much
outside of what we learned in school.

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Since kindergarten, my extensive reading also
originated my various interests, especially in
science. Living within walking distance of the
library, I went there every day, enabling me to
dabble in a different subject during each visit.

By the fourth grade, I had read all the
chemistry books containing fewer than 200
pages, by the fifth grade I was reading about
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. During that time
period, I became so interested in astronomy
through Odyssey Magazine that I sold holiday
cards door-to-door in order to buy a telescope.

Reading also helped me in school. A little
ingenuity didn’t hurt, either. For example, as
part of my third grade reading grade, I needed
to do some independent reading. Every sixty
pages in a book counted for one star of credit
and in order to get an “A, ” I needed fifteen
stars. I was greedy and saw this as an
opportunity to shine far above the rest of my
classmates. Instead of reading many short
books, I devoured 300-page sagas by Laura
Ingalls Wilder. When everyone else got
eighteen stars, the little banana with my name
on it had 45. This inner drive and competition
still motivates my work today, but
unfortunately, no one gives out stars anymore.

Despite this desire to do my best, I was quite
normal, except for a slight perfectionist’s twist
to everything. I too owned a cabbage patch
doll, but it was taken away because I cared for
it excessively. On one Halloween, I dressed
up as Dracula just like a dozen other kids, but
I wanted my hair to look so realistic that it took
a week to wash out all the gel I used. Finally,
much like any other child, I fantasized about
adventures, but I took fantasizing one step
further. I recorded my make-believe
adventures on tape so they could be critiqued

One of the few things I was not a perfectionist
at was my writing. Due to a lack of
self-confidence, I would plan papers well in
advance but put them off until the very last
minute. This habit continues today, accounting
for the transition-lacking
stream-of-consciousness style found in
almost all my writing. I just hope it appeals to
Cornell admissions officers.