1. Why have you decided to apply to the Arts & Science Program at McMaster? What specifically about the Program resonates with your hopes for your undergraduate education?
Here's my dilemma. I am currently working on an album, poetry collection, comic series, short story, theater production, and more! The one thing that I have never gotten tired of is expressing myself through art. At the same time, I have always found the world we live in to be magical (Scientifically, that is). The idea that unfathomable creatures once walked this land or that there are planets where it rains diamonds is something that amazes me constantly. A lot of inspirations for art are pulled from the scientific essence of the world and plenty of scientific advancements have only spurred into existence because of an artistic mind. These two subjects are directly connected in my eyes and the opportunity to work with both of them is ideal for my future career. But beyond the name, "Arts & Science", the other objectives listed for the course heavily appeal to me as well. For instance, I appreciate that "foster[ing] the art of scholarly inquiry into issues of public concern" is an objective of the program. A program that will allow our society to thoughtfully act upon modern issues is something that can pave the way for youth leaders to inspire positive change. My goal is to become one of those leaders through passion, resolve, and a good university program. One day, this world will be a better place. But it's going to take leadership from all walks of life to achieve this. It's going to take contemplation and craftiness. In other words—It's going to take "Arts & Science"!
2. Think of a well-known figure—fictional, historical, or contemporary—you imagine you would like to have as a classmate in the Arts & Science Program and describe why this is so.
The current figure I have in mind is Elon Musk. I would love to learn alongside somebody who has demonstrated their entrepreneurial leadership in the world of business, science, and entertainment. Musk has made huge strides to help our planet, something I believe is a great deal of importance to humanity. Somebody who has paid to plant a million trees, and created electrical cars would have an environemental perspective that I could not miss out on listening to. Musk is also an icon of the internet, beloved by communities on huge social platforms such as Reddit and Youtube. He demonstrates that a nonchalant way of tackling some of the hardest-hitting topics can sometimes lead to the best solutions, or at least better spread the concern. He changed his Twitter username to "Treelon Musk" to get people to donate to environmental causes. The fact that a huge figure in science would use a silly pun shows me a sense of relatability, making me feel as though I could reach the same level of influence one day. As much as I would love to meet so many other figures (Harry Potter, The Rock, Malala Yousafzai, etc.), I only look up to them as representations of values or interests that I share. They are symbols that I resonate with, but I have no idea how they would appear in everyday life. The only figure I can guarantee that I could look up to, while seeing eye to eye as a classmate with is the Tesla owner himself: Elon Musk. He also seems like a good study buddy!
3. What book, read in the last year or two, has had a significant impact on you? Please provide the author and title, tell us why you chose to read the book, and explain why you have found it meaningful.
A few months ago I picked up a copy of the esteemed poetry book, "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur. As an avid fan, creator, and performer of poetry, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about this book. When I finally got a hold of it, I read it quickly and my reaction was: "Meh". The insignificant feeling I got from such a highly renowned book was almost shocking. And I love poetry! Fast forward three months, and I had just gotten broken up with from a long-term relationship. As I was sitting sadly on my bed, my eyes were drawn to the book. The cover gave me a feeling of relation, almost as if the book held similar experiences to me. I decided to give it another chance and I was shocked again—this time for the opposite reason. It was almost as if the book changed in quality! The ideas that once seemed like flaws in structure now seemed like stylistic choices. What once felt like scattered fragments of the author's brain, now linked as a coherent story being told. As an artist, this taught me a valuable lesson: that perspective can morph art. So before I take harsh criticisms to heart, I try to understand the view of my audience now. This works in reverse as well, as knowing the perspective of the beholder can change how I pose different thoughts and motifs in my art to greater effect. Though I once took "Milk and Honey" as a dull, overrated book of mediocre poetry, I now take it to be a meaningful book that changed how I view art, perspective, and expression.
4. Outside of school, how do you like to spend your time and why?
I enjoy getting lost in my thoughts often. You know how people talk about how their brain is turned on the most at 3:00 AM? Or how they have the best thoughts in the shower? I feel like our brains never turn off, and that we have plenty of amazing thoughts pass through our heads at every moment. Most of my free time is spent in regards to these thoughts, whether that means pondering about them, or creating art off of them. I seriously believe that every little thought has loads of value in it. Because of this, I try to write down every thought that stands out to me, so that I can access it in the future. Some of my thoughts turn into the concept of a superhero, others have developed into a slam poem. It all culminates to the act of creation in performing and visual arts. I have made hobbies of drawing, playing guitar, and writing, which all help me to express thoughts that I feel would not be listened to otherwise. Art has always been my go-to way to escape from reality. But I do sometimes stay in reality! I try to surround myself with friends that will have thought-provoking conversation with me. Listening to another person's perspective about abstract ideas can keep me entertained for hours. I love discussing life, love, and aspirations, as it all inspires me to come up with ideas to better the world and push myself to be the best I can be. I also always try to manage my free time well, so that I can have a healthy sleep schedule and energy to spend time to its fullest.
5. Tell us more about yourself and, in particular, please tell us something you learned about yourself this year.
Okay, time for the origin story. As a child, I began as a timid little boy, who was too afraid to ask the lady at the McDonald's counter for a different Happy Meal Toy. I vividly remember looking around during fourth grade recess thinking: "Huh. I have no friends", and living life as the quiet kid. A few years ago, I was able to overcome my social anxiety and finally submerge myself into society. Now, I find socializing to be a blast and have met friends in all corners of my life. My efforts allowed me to break out of my shell—and I REALLY broke out of that shell. I have begun taking initiatives that I previously thought to be absolutely frightening. I managed to become the highest scoring contestant in my school board's slam poetry competition; I have spoken at Quest, an international conference designed for student success and improvement; and I performed in front of EVERY superintendent and principal in my school board, as I was invited to perform a poem for them earlier this year. This is not me gloating about my achievements, this is me reminiscing about how far I have come. But I learned this year that I have not finished evolving. Recently, something possessed me to want to express myself to the world around me, to show shy kids hiding in corners (like me) that their thoughts have value too. I used to just want to better myself, but recent developments caused me to wish to better the world around me. I want to spread my messages, and I have the power to do it.