GPA: 4.5 out of 4.0
SAT: Reading 800, Math 800, Writing 800
SAT Subject Tests Taken: Mathematics Level 2, Biology E/M, Physics, U.S. History
Extracurriculars: Science Bowl team captain, intern at U.S. Congressman’s District Office, varsity tennis, Interact Club President, senior class president
Awards: Ron Brown Goldman Sachs Scholar; CA Science Olympiad State gold medalist
Major: Environmental Science and Public Policy
For the longest time there were two people waking up in my bed each morning, and neither of them knew who I was. One boy dedicated his time to observe the remains of an assassin bug, a hugely impactful predator with a name fit for its voracious nature. The other boy spent his early mornings reading the newspaper. A devastating cyclone had just hit the people of Burma, a thuggish ruling junta was causing havoc in their lives, and the young boy had to know about it. Although the two boys didn’t fully understand the implications of a loss of a particular species in a food web or restrictive trade policies on poor countries without much arable land, they still yearned for more knowledge.
Who was I? A future lab scientist, or the next president to come out of the state of California?
Who was I? A future lab scientist, or the next president to come out of the state of California? Early on, my mother could see this dichotomy developing within my own personality. I got many puzzled looks when I asked for a subscription to TIME magazine along with a microscope kit for my tenth birthday. My career ambitions would seesaw between an astronaut and world traveler. The two Marshalls would battle for a supermajority of the hours in each day until I decided to be the critical vote to swing toward one Marshall or the other. These two halves behaved like two brothers; a modern day Cain and Abel with my punishment seemingly being sternal self-damnation.
Approaching adolescence, the two Marshalls would fight for relevance in my mind. One, an active soccer defender, would yell war cries in the middle of his match in a not-so-well-thought-out attempt at intimidation. The other knew his way around a World Book encyclopedia set, even at the expense of social crucifixion. Stevie Wonder was blasting from speakers as I studied the origins of Greek democracy. Hardly anyone my age paid attention to news that didn’t make headlines. I’d be their CNN, a young Wolf Blitzer, analyzing a multifaceted humanitarian crisis although with little knowledge of historical context. I struggled immensely with the thought of my future. The conclusion drawn from these explanations was simple: the two Marshalls had no place together.
After several years of intense self-reflection, I realized college would be the platform where I could passionately grow and find out who I want to be in this world. I could go to an amazing school that has some of the world’s best professors and push me to consider every side of a complex issue. I can picture myself starting the day studying the decay patterns of radioactive elements and finishing the day by debating the success of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. Whether I end up working for a private energy corporation or the U.S. State Department, I know at this very moment that this is what I needed all along. I needed an avenue to continue to grow in both of my fields of interest. I would not be limited to one half of my heart. My two Marshalls, it turns out, were not mutually exclusive, but rather dependent on one another.
Marshall begins this essay with an engaging paragraph describing two unknown people who shared a bed with him for many years. While grabbing the attention of the reader with an intriguing description of his morning awakenings, Marshall begins to describe the two halves of his intellectual curiosities that shape his ambitions for the future and provide a framework for the remainder of his essay. The meaning of the two mysterious figures becomes clear as Marshall describes the tension between his various passions and how each one has shaped his aspirations.
Marshall plays with the dichotomy between the two characters in his bed to reveal a level of personal depth which otherwise falls unnoticed in his application.
The strength of Marshall’s essay lies in its ability to communicate personal details about his past in an engaging and concise manner. Marshall plays with the dichotomy between the two characters in his bed to reveal a level of personal depth which otherwise falls unnoticed in his application. As he outlines his aspirations for the future we learn more about how he spends his time today.This essay shows us the open mind of an ambitious applicant whose future is still an open book.