Application: Common Application (Main). Pseudonyms used.
  1. Common Application (Main), John Smith, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science/English Literature, MIT
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Stanford, Harvard, Duke
  2. Common Application (Main), Rodrigo Martinez, Engineering, UC Berkeley
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): UPenn (Engineering), Duke (Engineering), Cornell (Engineering)
    2. Waitlisted with these essays(s): Johns Hopkins, Stanford
  3. Common Application (Main), Kay Cue, Chemistry, Yale
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, Northwestern (dual degree: BS chemical engineering and BM clarinet performance)
  4. Common Application (Main), Nathan Nesbith, Neuroscience, UCSD
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): UChicago, Washington U in St. Louis, Cornell, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, top UCs (variant)
  5. Common Application (Main), Mark Angle, Undecided, Harvard
    Acceptances with these essay(s): Harvard
  6. Common Application (Main), Curufinwe, Undecided, Stanford
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Stanford, Princeton, Caltech
  7. Common Application (Main), Dory Fish, Biology, Yale 2015
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Yale, Stanford, Princeton
  8. Common Application (Main), Will Theondi, Computer Science, Harvard 2015
    1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Harvard (wait list Stanford)

Application: Common Application Main

Pseudonym: John Smith

Acceptances with these essay(s): Stanford, Harvard, Duke

Short Answer

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below or on an attached sheet (150 words or fewer).

Every weekend after my karate class, I volunteer for an hour and a half teaching kids ages 3-12. The first class is the "Little Ninjas," who are just 3-5 years old. These are among my favorites to teach because they have no preconceptions or attitude. They look at you unjudgmentally and listen to what you have to say, and they will try out whatever you suggest. Sometimes they're timid at the beginning, but mostly they're just enthusiastic. Even though they are not usually all that skilled at doing the moves the first time around, I am always amazed to see what they can do after just a couple of weeks: they slide into shoulder rolls and throw spinning kicks more naturally than I do! It's refreshing to teach these little guys; their unbridled innocence makes it impossible for me to become frustrated or lose my smile.

Personal Essay

Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below, and attach it to your application before submission. Please indicate your topic by checking the appropriate box. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself.

  1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

  1. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

  1. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

  1. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

  1. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

  1. Topic of your choice.

"Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you."

I never intended to hire anybody. In fact, I never sought to obtain employment myself. I was too busy having fun with computers to be bothered with any of that. But as soon as you know how to hit "ctrl-alt-delete," it seems everyone wants tech support, and one thing leads to another.

All I'd done was befriend the shy, thick-spectacled, computer wizard in my seventh grade multimedia class. He spent most of his time furiously typing cryptic symbols (like "preg_grep('/^[\.a-z0-9]+@/i',$r)") into his dinosaur workstation, bewitching it to run with blazing speed, perform complex calculations, and produce slick graphics. Boggled but intrigued, I asked him to teach me how to do this. He pointed me to a few tutorials on the programming language PHP and showed me how to host files on a server, and I was on my way.

It turned out to be a lot like magic: you typed commands in an arcane language and shazam! The computer would produce seemingly supernatural effects, like finding all the answers to your wordsearch homework. Amazing. Sure, it took more effort to write the programs than to just do the work by hand, but then again, exploring the frontiers of this miraculous world didn't seem anything like work to me. In the process of implementing new ideas, I would happily plunge into whatever labyrinths of logic I stumbled upon. By the time I'd worked my way out, I would know significantly more not only about the specifics of the programming principles I'd encountered but about the general process of independently guiding myself through mazes. Elated by every success and educated by every difficulty, I was launched into a loop of positive feedback and my knowledge grew exponentially.

Every time I grasped an interesting new concept, I would build something from it – a design, a tool, a tutorial that I could use and share. Soon, people began to ask me questions and I could answer them, or at least direct them to a solution. I felt honored that they valued my opinion. Apparently through this process word got around that I could design fairly complicated websites. Towards the end of seventh grade, a friend's father offered me a job developing the site for his biotech startup, Biomatrica; I was surprised, but I knew the material so I accepted. The site got investors interested, and since then, they've done pretty well for themselves (this year they made finals for the ABBY Award in Bio-Technology and their products are being used by major universities). Without intending to, I had entered the world of business.

One client led to another; my freelance work grew. With it, slowly came experience, slowly understanding; slowly heavy reality set in. The jobs were still fun, but in an intense and more serious way. As I worked, I learned that in business, there are no excuses for lacking backups; in business, deadlines are truly dead; in business, anything you don't do properly you will have to do over. I learned all this about business because I had to learn it, because I knew that if I did not, I would soon be out of business. Thus my thinking was optimized – streamlined – by the unyielding razor of reality.

Meanwhile, I continued learning more about programming, mostly by playing with it, and as a result, I was able to take the AP Computer Science AB test as a freshman in high school. This was great, but sadly, it meant that there were no more CS classes left for me, and hence no venue in which to fool around with computers. Fortunately, there were others who wanted more of the subject than our school had to offer. Often these young computer scientists were masters in certain specialized areas but lacked the complete technical and business skill-set necessary to enter the professional world. This gave me an idea. They wanted to learn what I had learned and I implicitly possessed a curriculum to teach it: I simply had to retrace the steps of my own self-education, minus the stumbling blocks. Moreover, I wanted to absorb their rich and diverse knowledge. So, sophomore year, a friend and I co-founded the Torrey Pines Programming Club, a venue in which we could both teach this material and learn from others, in an atmosphere that appeared suspiciously like a bunch of nerds (and non-nerds) having a blast fiddling with technology. By mid-second semester, we had achieved success in numerous computer science competitions, and our members were fluent in JavaScript, PHP, AJAX, XHTML, and CSS – some of the most important Web languages.

All that edu-tainment turned out to be a godsend when, later that year, my schedule began to overload because I had too many clients, an alphabet soup of competitions (ACSL, USNCO, AIME, UCSD Math, SAIC, Botball, etc…), my black belt test in Karate, and 4 AP classes. The programming club offered a natural solution. I sent out an e-mail to several select members, offering to hire them. They responded with a resounding: "I'm in!"

Things progressed quickly. I matched programmers to projects, touched up their training, and developed a scalable, modular, server-side framework that would allow everybody's code to cleanly interface. Over the following months, we delivered several high-end websites and applications for excellent prices. As a result of one project, I even became Chief Technical Officer of a client's company, It's a Beauty! Inc. At the same time, my workload again became reasonable, and my friends gained employment that they found more fulfilling and lucrative than their former grocery-bagging jobs. We do business together to this day, now as InSource Digital Development.

But this material success is not what matters most. It's that the people I work with are now creating astounding projects of their own, on their own. It's that the clients we work for are better off for having hired us. It's that I get to share the joy of my work – which still doesn't feel like work – with the freshman coders who walk into room 114 each week. As I retrace the exhilarating steps of my own learning in order to bring them forward, I realize how much I miss the awe and enchantment of being a beginner, and how ready I am to become a freshman again myself.

Comments: Though it could have been written more masterfully, especially towards the middle, this essay successfully conveyed several important facets of my personality, character, skill set, and life story. Perhaps more importantly, it harmonized with the rest of my application to create a fairly complete picture of me as an applicant. Specifically, it effectively used humor to explain achievements without sacrificing humility, but when appropriate, it naturally transitioned to more stylistic diction when it was appropriate and effective to do so. On the whole, while not particularly concise, it was an efficient use of words because it revealed who I was both through its content and structure/style.

Application: Common Application Main
Pseudonym: Rodrigo Martinez
Acceptances with these essay(s): UPenn (Engineering), Cornell (Engineering), Duke
Waitlisted with these essays(s): Stanford, Johns Hopkins (Engineering)

Application: Common Application Main
Pseudonym: Kay Cue
Acceptances with these essay(s): Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, Northwestern (dual degree: BS chemical engineering and BM clarinet performance)
Rejections with these essay(s): Harvard, Princeton

Application: Common Application Main
Pseudonym: Nathan Nesbith
Acceptances with these essay(s): UChicago, Washington U in St. Louis, Cornell, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, top UCs (variant)

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

You’ll be dead in a month.

I walked out of the doctor’s office. Disoriented. Disbelieving. Distraught. I was going to die.

I was 14 years old, and I lived in hell. I have been blighted with eczema my whole life, but it was different when I was younger. At the age of 14, I did not have eczema. It had me. It had me in a crushing vice-grip, its clawed fingers choking away. It tore me from school for 18 months. My friends abandoned me. I could only sleep an hour at a time. I lay in bed at night, writhing in unimaginable pain. Ironically, I could not even hydrate my parched body. Water seared my raw skin, and I would pass out from pain every time I stepped into a bath tub.

I tried everything. I traveled to three continents. I saw dermatologists, hepatologists, allergists, psychologists, homeopaths, acupuncturists, Chinese herbalists, spiritual healers, hypnotists. I listened to their diagnoses, I took their medicines, I followed their advice. And I returned to their offices with a loss of bone mass, tremors, and sun-scorched skin—but no improvement. It was in one of those offices that a doctor told me something.

“You’ll be dead in a month,” she said.

I refused to accept the reality of my fate; I wanted so desperately to say that she was wrong. But I was too tired. Too tired of nothing working, too tired of having nothing to look forward to each day. Too tired of climbing uphill but going nowhere. Yet whether I chose to accept it or not, destiny had thrown me into the ring with my greatest adversary—my own body. Quite literally, I had to fight for my life.

And so the fight began. I fought my disease, I fought my own biology. And, in the beginning, I lost. Every single day. I would cry and scream, claw at my flesh, and hope that somehow, in some way, my body would respond to my fervent plea for respite. Days melted into months, months melted into years, and years melted into an eternity. Nothing changed.

Yet I still fought. And it was almost impossible. I didn’t eat out for 18 months. I didn’t even leave the house for 18 months. Cloistered away, I forgot what my neighborhood looked like, what my school looked like. I forgot what other teenagers looked like. For 18 months, I saw no one but my mother, my father, and my brother. I sacrificed my entire life to beat my disease.

Finally, I won. My stamina returned to normal. I once again had energy. The pain faded. I was back.

I had been thrust into a furnace of disease, smothered by flames of agony and pain. My being had been crushed, its fragments scattered like dust into a void of solitude. My life had crumbled around my ears. Yet I had not been defeated. In the fires of my suffering, within the abyss of my loneliness, amidst the wreckage of my existence, I was forged, sintered, and rebuilt stronger than I had ever been before.

I returned to the life I had left an eternity ago. It was the same. Same places, same people, same problems. Yet I was different. I did not buckle. I did not bend. I had mastered my own body; I could easily take on anything life threw at me. I could do anything.

I could do anything. But would I?

Today, I am a dietary consultant at a gastrointestinal clinic, and offer advice to many patients. I am the Chief Information Officer for a 501(c)3-registered non-profit organization, Project AP, dedicated to providing healthcare services to underserved and financially disadvantaged populations in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. I am a member of an eczema support group based out of Rady Children’s Hospital, and regularly speak at their meetings. I volunteer in the nursing ward at a local assisted living center.

I was fortunate enough to triumph over my illness and come out the other side. There are those who are not so fortunate, and to them I offer myself — my words, my capabilities, and my experiences — in the hope that they too, can one day taste of wellness as I have tasted.


Narrative style lends itself to easy reading; not overly syntactically complex
Intensely subjective retelling

Overly disjointed; might throw off the reader

Application: Common Application Main
Pseudonym: Mark Angle, Undecided, Harvard
Acceptances with these essay(s): Harvard

One bead of sweat splashes across the newspaper headline. Still dressed in full football pads, I sit alone in the journalism computer lab, editing copy a few minutes before 9 p.m. Three hours after football practice, my cleats, untied, remain stuck on my feet and I have barely even made a dent in the stack of pages I have to edit.

When I was chosen to be Editor-in-Chief, my staff and the graduating seniors widely assumed I would quit football. The EIC rarely plays a sport, let alone one so demanding. There was no way I could pull off both, my staff said. It's too much; they're too different.

But these polar differences keen my interest. Not only does the mixture add a variety to my routine, but it also stretches me in opposite directions, forcing me to reach goals I would never have otherwise.

And while the distinctions between the two entice me, the unlikely similarities undoubtedly shape me. Journalism and football require so much of me, and although one entails intellectual adeptness while the other necessitates primal instincts, both subject me to me to a pressure that leaves little leeway for mistakes--forcing me to operate this balancing act to near flawlessness.

This focused demand for perfection helps to consistently rank our paper at the top of the nation. My staff members and I spend hours evenly spacing designs, correcting grammar mistakes and making hundreds of other alterations that most will consider trivial. And when I toe the line against an opponent who greatly outweighs me on a Friday night, it is this same focused demand for perfection that separates me from the average football player. While perfection may not be attainable in my future, I know this pursuit will always keep me in the lab later, on the field longer or reaching further toward my goals.

Sitting in the solitary darkness of the lab gives me plenty of opportunity to wade through such thoughts. I stay in my home away from home for a few more minutes until a school custodian walking down to his car sees, from the corner of his eye, a glimpse of the last light on campus. He opens the door and it is clear from his expression that I have overstayed my welcome.

Practice is long over. My work in the lab is done for the time being. Now, it's time to start my homework.

Application: Common Application Main
Curufinwe, Undecided, Stanford
1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Stanford, Princeton, Caltech

I wended my way through the first through fourth grades mostly without speaking. My presentations during that time went in two parts: a stilted “My name is ---,” then some sort of pantomime. So I was surprised when I got a part in the class play, notwithstanding that everybody got a part. I played the part of Ernest Hemingway without uttering a word. Perhaps my fifth grade teacher wished to show Hemingway’s taciturn spirit. Perhaps it was that playing the Hemingway part consisted of two appearances: walking through the stage like an old man, holding an aquamarine paper C, and giving a tearful farewell to some bare arms.

Seven years later, I was to convince two hundred and twenty members of the Torrey Pines NHS that I should be their secretary. Mr. Chess, the club advisor, had warned the members not to clap, since there were five other applicants for the post of secretary alone. We did not have the time — only twenty-five minutes in the lunch hour — needed to get this over with.

I compressed my planned speech, compressed my motions until I could drown out that throng’s roar. Mr. Chess ended up standing up and clapping, too, in the end.

More important than results, though, is the process of how I learned to speak and enunciate:

Stick a pen in your mouth. Hold it like a dog holds a bone, with the ends sticking out.

Preferably a pen which you own.

Dijyoo duwit? Chan’t enunsiate, khan yoo?

Read a speech without taking it out. Breathe through your gaping mouth and enunciate, even though you cannot. If you can do this impossible thing, you can enunciate while making a normal, unencumbered speech. Your mouth opens wide, enough to fit your hand into. That’s the basic point of classical technique, the kind that preachers and other unamplified orators practice. It can deafen the back row.

There is a second part, though, in this technique. The Pen Drill cannot truly be done alone. It needs to be done in front of people who laugh at the ridiculousness of the drill, because then the second realization comes— those people are not laughing at you. They laugh at the spectacle, the absurdity of the stretched mouth, and if you laugh at it too, you laugh together. Laugh together. If you can do this impossibility, you can look at any audience and stay composed.

It took more than The Pen Drill™ to turn myself into a presenter. One time practicing is not enough. One technique, one drill is not enough. I inserted “banana” in words, declaimed upside-down holding up weights, and excised the word “um” from my vocabulary permanently. Then the practicalities: I had to write speeches and make speeches. I practiced making an entrance, making an exit, marking a beginning and curtly finishing. I saw the music in the words, realized the limited but infinite range of pitch and tone that a speaker can command.

Most of all, however, I laughed.

Application: Common Application Main
Common Application (Main), Dory Fish, Biology, Yale 2015
  1. Acceptances with these essay(s): Yale, Stanford, Princeton

I never knew I’d find a second home. I guess it waltzed itself into my life the moment I timidly walked into the advanced journalism “pub,” sitting down next to the only other freshmen who had been accepted onto staff that year, a tall, ungainly-looking boy with a brilliant grin and a girl who looked almost as innocent as I.

There are many such moments in life, those singular epiphanies that force one’s acknowledgment that something is at play of a far greater magnitude than what can be distinguished at first glance. But as climactic as it may seem now, there really was no defining moment when each new wave of Falconer staffers became a part of my family. Maybe it was the thrill of a 2:30 a.m. layout night, or perhaps it was the staffwide panic-induced bonding at the beginning of each month when we frantically solicit business advertising to support our newspaper, but somewhere and somehow, the three rooms of the Torrey Pines journalism staff— the computer lab, the classroom, and most of all the publications lounge, fondly dubbed the “pub”—morphed into a home away from home for me.

Falconerds love to joke that our pub is a magic portal. Usually it leads to the fantasy world of Narnia—or whatever my mind happens to dwell on when questioned by inquisitive outsiders. Yet as I’ve ventured deeper into its depths for the past three years, I have begun to realize that indeed our pub is a portal, and on the other side lies not a figment of C.S. Lewis’s imagination but an infinite dimension of the printed word, one that is as inspiring and as passionate and as real as the human experience—and the wondrous nuances of staff life that I have come to cherish.

It is to the pub that an embodiment of all the athletes, the thespians, the nerds, and the rebels is somehow attracted, like butterflies to a field of wildflowers, united by our mutual passion for writing, our eye for design, and most of all, our devotion to our monthly publication.

With its one wall of reflecting windows facing the exterior, the pub is a near-perfect mirror on the outside world. Sitting within this curtain of invisibility, I can see the figures of other students and teachers gliding across the silver screen as though in a silent film sequence. A girl stops, glances at her reflection in the mirror, and checks her hair and makeup; her eyes look straight into mine, yet she cannot see me. It was this mesmerizing sense of omniscience that first seized my fantasies—the moments in so many others’ lives which I can witness as a journalist, whether spoken and written in words or captured and expressed through images.

It is in this familiar yet enchanted place that I have conducted many of my most enlightening interviews over the years. True, there is glamour in the notion that journalists serve as the “gatekeepers to the news,” and the opportunities I have been endowed with on a daily basis, from phone conversations with officials in the governor’s office to conferences with teen movie stars, are tantalizingly unlike any of the experiences offered to the typical high school student. Whether it is with a hot air ballooning agency struggling with increasingly strict restrictions each year or a homeless man searching for a purpose in life, interviews have led me to witness firsthand the beauty and pain of each individual’s story. It is incredibly humbling, and incredibly ironic that the resounding majority of the people I have spoken with I will never meet again, yet even as a stranger I was given the chance time and time again to share in their lives, to believe, to empathize. At first, I drank in this newfound perception and sought to shine the spotlight on the individual through my writing, struggling to freeze these transcendental moments I witnessed into the monochromatic ink of newsprint.

But it was not until, in the comfort of the pub’s couches before a quaint tea-table and accompanied by a seemingly undepletable jar of Twizzler licorice candies, I was swept from the once pain-free bubble in which I dwelled into a whirlpool of emotions, that I began to realize that the quintessence of the human existence could never be captured in mere syllables. Reaching out to the parents of a student who was killed by a tragic prescription drug overdose, it was in the pub that I first learned to be sincere, to trust, to live, as the old couple’s optimism shamed the petty squabbles that had governed so much of my life until then, optimism that, though marred by regret, anger, and despair, effulged an irrepressible hope. Until that moment, I had naively believed my existence, and the existence of those immediately around me, to be that of an ethereal bliss. Never before having personally experienced sorrow so close to home, I was struck deeply by the family’s story—not only by their son’s passing, but even more by the unselfish willingness of his parents to share with me their most profound pain and most insightful reflections. Now I reach out to every soul in the sky, cry until my tears can fill an ocean, laugh until I doubt I’ll ever breathe again.

Even when I walk out the mirrored doors of the pub for the last time next year in June, I know I will look back upon the portal, and, if it is 2:30 a.m. on a starlit Wednesday morning, the green glow of the LED sign at the door will blink fondly once more in the distance: PUB OPEN.

It will always be open.

Application: Common Application Main

Pseudonym: Will Theondi

Acceptances with these essay(s): Harvard, wait list Stanford

Short Answer

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below or on an attached sheet (150 words or fewer).

In 2007 my school collected 30,000 pounds of food for local families in its 9th annual drive. Then it started floundering. As the drive had grown, extra processes were continuously piled on and, like Microsoft’s old operating system, overall organization and relative value were not reexamined. Nobody looked beyond small duties at the big picture.

I’ve personally raised over 50 cans for every word in this essay. I’ve also worked to fix the drive.

My sophomore year I improved ads and increased involvement, but it only helped nominally. So junior year I compiled five pages of changes I wanted to implement and gained clearance to restructure the drive. I’ve since streamlined our solicitation and collection procedures and facilitated communication among coordinators. This year improved tracking will be possible, the drop-off method clear, recruitment coordinated, and advertising unified. I found that the actual planning wasn’t difficult once I built the consensus and motivation to change.

Personal Essay

Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below:

  1. Topic of your choice.

Last night I was thinking about ink. When rain falls on a handwritten page, the ink spreads out a bit, loses its crispness. It’s rarely pleasant. But every now and then, hidden colors emerge. Suddenly you discover that simple black ink is green and shades of blue and a fragile pink edge. If some being creates us or writes the stories of our lives, this ink crafts it all, and in just the right rainfall all the colors resurface.

That was my passing thought as I lay waiting for sleep.

So I wrote it down. Too many good ideas occur and get forgotten and disappear without a chance to bloom; I choose to capture mine, and pursue them.

The notebook next to my bed has no theme beyond that – the ideas set down in it range from business strategies to quickly sketched designs for artwork, tech products to personal goals, quotations to… just about anything. Schematics for a “digital highlighter” succeed a note regarding stocks, while other sheets host sculptural designs inspired by lines in the palm of my hand. Satires of various family members flood nine pages. One idea asserts the optimum way for a restaurant to serve ice cream sundaes. Now it may be I never build the fountain I’ve imagined – one with spoons oriented to catch streams of water and fan them out like umbrellas. (I’d certainly like to, but who can say for sure?) But here’s the thing: I don’t wait around when creative thoughts seize me. I leap at them impulsively, intuitively, and as I bore into them my senses hum vibrant-alive. The moment after an idea for an essay or book pierces me is the moment I open Microsoft Word; I scramble for pen and paper the instant I see a ripple or twist of light for artistic depiction.

And once entangled in a complex problem I attack it, Hercules wrestling serpents, marbled Laocoön in defiance. I rage against the physics or calculus problem that stumps my classmates (they who go gentle into the night), and more often than not I emerge victorious. I assail the New York Times’ 7x7 KenKen every Sunday. In AP Language last year, I elected to write my final project (a persuasive speech) satirically. Though I had never written a satirical argument before, I undertook to entertain my audience while presenting a rock-solid argument in favor of tenure. I drafted, cut, and reworked text for twenty-eight hours to forge my fifteen-minute speech. I ultimately asserted that tenure countered the American tradition of grossly underpaying teachers; that the tenure-sheltered free will of teachers was preventing states from homogenizing and force-feeding patriotism to citizens (actions that Huxley and Orwell demonstrated are the keys to any ideal civilization); that only under the academic freedom of tenure may teachers spread “lies” such as evolution and the Holocaust. The class loved my speech. I loved working for it, feeling the thrill of a true challenge.

If I am composed of ink, the black conglomerate shows that I’ve been an outgoing leader and academically successful. A hundred hundred inks look no different. Yet diffract me: the shades of blue are my ever-branching interests, the rippling surging rivers of my curiosity, kneaded by the rushing winds of the world. The emerald green glow is my pulsing energy, like bright coals and strong bellows, at once flames and inflammatory: my vigorous passion to create and my ceaseless drive to achieve. And my pink edge – that’s the secret key, the most hidden yet most integral, the uniting, driving force behind it all. It’s my enjoyment. I love finding possibilities that no one else sees, improving something as no one else did, solving problems that no one else knew existed. I won’t tell you when I’ve done so, nor explain why I was up until two in the morning when to you nothing seems changed – but I’ll know. I would have gotten an A on that paper anyway, sure; but I knew it wasn’t right, and moreover, I knew how to make it right. To me, pursuing the solution to a complex problem is the most fulfilling thing. That’s when I’m happiest. And that is my edge.

Perhaps I seem at first a nondescript black – but wait until my hues shine through.

Nathan Nesbith