Cambridge Admissions Essay
As a child growing up in Communist China, I woke up every morning to the blasting of People's Central Broadcasting Station from a large radio on the dresser and fell asleep every evening in the surreptitious murmuring of Voices from America from a small radio by Grandpa's pillow. By fourth grade, I figured out that the two stations often reported the same events from opposite standpoints, using different words and tones, and thus projected contradictory interpretations onto the same events. Eager to share this revelation with my grandparents, I pointed out the differences between the two stations by singing their respective theme songs and by imitating the voices of their newscasters. To my disappointment, they were much more alarmed than amused. "Don't you talk nonsense in school," Grandma warned me. "You'll bring us trouble."
With hindsight, I have realized that her reproach was no more than an attempt to protect what little freedom we did have. Back then, I knew only enough to keep my mouth shut, but I could not shut my mind off to questions that sprang up the more I listened, questions that shattered my faith in what I was taught. Like a small window that opened unto another world, the radio by Grandpa's pillow made me re-examine my own world in a new light.
More than the accumulation of knowledge, learning, for me, means to test my own beliefs and prejudices against other points of view and to understand the reasons behind our differences. The classes I have taken at Harvard in the humanities and social sciences have shown me how to observe multiple layers of meaning in a given cultural situation, while campus journalism, internship with a documentary filmmaker, and summertime explorati...
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..., philosophy and theater-as well as make a film composed of ten or twenty video "postcards," or an anthology of poetic fragments. Half will be detailed observations of Cambridge-thoughts on and video clips of spots I would frequent and of individuals I would see on a daily basis. The other half will be snapshots from travels to other parts of Europe-of places I may never see again and of strangers I will meet on the road. The most crucial criterion for inclusion in the anthology will be revelation-the moment captured has to be a window opening unto a different world, be it an idyllic countryside or warring battleground, an international city or a private home, a civilization that perished centuries ago or a community that has just come to be. This will allow me to explore the different possibilities of sharing what I see and experience with those not there with me.
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