I have to admit, I got stuck on the first line itself here.It wasn’t an easy task to restrict myself to only three intellectual experiences,but after quite a lot of thought, I’ve set myself to describe the experiences whichare in my opinion, the most important to me right now. Now what could thosethree experiences be classified as? Essentially, they can be boiled down intothree activities: reading, theorizing and learning.How more cliché could the first one be? Reading seems to bethe “go-to” intellectual outlet for anyone these days and reading itself cancome under any forms be it an encyclopedia or a novel. What I speak of is mycurrent activity of reading books on scientific thinking with special referenceto the book “Farewell to Reality” by Jim Baggott. Getting to know the author’stake on the way modern physicists stray from the pursuit of truth hit me hard,for I felt as if the book was talking to me, and helped me appreciate theprinciples of discovery and seeking reality.
The second experience, theorizing,is something which I’ve gone through only a few weeks ago and involved myattempt at explaining the universe through its division into two layers ofenergies. If I were to be honest, I’d only regard what I did as something alongthe lines of writing a fiction novel, for it would be considered highlyridiculous that a seventeen year old with little to no background in higherphysics could account for reality. True, it wasn’t a formal research experience,for we’ve never been exposed to such opportunities, nor was it a refinedabstract in any sense, but I’d be damned if I didn’t view it with pride. As anintellectual experience, thinking in order to assume that the higher energy layeris what we witness as physical phenomenon and trying to correlate transitionswith the lower energy layers to entropy only gave me unrequited joy. Byexpressing this, I could somehow show my creative side and improve my criticalthinking and abstract thinking ability.
Last but definitely the most importantis the experience of learning. The only thing immortal is humanity’s desire tolearn. Whether it’s talking to upperclassmen about college life, looking atonline articles about the latest discoveries in Physics, or engaging indiscussions with my friends about why Quantum Mechanics is superior toRelativity or vice versa (Quantum mechanics has my vote!), getting to knowsomething new brings me an excitement which can’t be quantifiable.Where does Cornell University come into this, and how willthe College of Arts and Sciences be the right place for me? All theintellectual experiences won’t hold much weight if I can’t manifest them inreality. If it wasn’t obvious from the common point that my previous threeinterests had, Physics is my heart and soul. On reading the UndergraduateBrochure for the Physics program at the College of Arts and Sciences, the sheerflexibility in selections between Honors, Inside, and Outside concentrations coupledwith its emphasis on creating an individual with a diverse skill set made me realizethat this is where I belong. However, the most exciting part was how muchemphasis was placed on research, with a rich collection of UndergraduateResearch opportunities, with special reference to CLASSE and its attention to researchin Particle Physics and Field Theories.
Oh but how could I forget the fact thatI’d also be able to interact with the most knowledgeable, competitive, and creativeindividuals ever as classmates and roommates. In conclusion, rigorouseducation, top tier research facilities, and a diverse and dynamic set of individualsis what makes the College of Arts and Sciences unique, and it is for these veryreasons that I feel the College is the place where I should be in order tofurther my intellectual interests, ambitions and experiences to the next level.