Before you Start
It took me 3 years to share this essay since it’s so personal to me. This essay is dedicated to my brother, Sakeeb Shahid Noor, who inspired this work. The animated version of this essay on YouTube is down below!
Prompt was something like (hardly remember since I wrote this 4 years ago):
How I plan to use the Harvard education
Essay starts here 👇
Love is when my mom berates my dad for his poor taste in clothes and picks the perfect shirt to complement his tie. Arrogance is when she tries to do the same for me but I say, “Unlike dad, I have an amazing sense of style.”
Compassion is when I realize how rude I was the moment before. So, I apologize and let my mom pick the shirt anyway. Connection is when she picks the exact shirt I planned on wearing that day.
It’s surprising how a mere span of 5 minutes can help you love and feel loved at the same time. It’s beautiful how truly understanding the people around us can help us touch souls, leave trails that end in happiness.
Imagine what we could’ve done if we could understand the very impulses that make us humans. Imagine what we would’ve done to calm the agony in people if we could feel it in our hearts as well.
The idea is thrilling but once we dive into it, we are introduced to hormones, chemicals we are helpless to. So technically, all our emotions are chemical reactions, or so we are told. But despite the universality of hormones in human beings, why are individuals unique? Why do we differ, in thoughts, intentions, emotions and finally decisions? The questions don’t end there.
Was it adrenaline that pushed me to take the last drive at the cross-country finish-line or was it willpower? Was it oxytocin that told me to share my secrets with my roommates or was it trust? Was it melatonin that kept me awake all those nights or was it loneliness? Was an amygdala hijack forcing me to speak out to the man who disgraced my friends or was it loyalty?
And most importantly do hormones really pull our strings or is it the other way around? What if the primary spark happens mutually? Wouldn’t you want to know?
To connect with minds, one must develop empathy; learn to unveil the intentions behind an action, read the stories behind the story. And discovering the science behind the emotions that decide our actions is the only way to understand why people do what they do, to hear what isn’t being said.
An education that connects disciplines- neurons with philosophies, facts with logics, instincts with chemicals- is exactly what I need. And Harvard is the perfect answer. Where else would you find a liberal education which can flawlessly fuse neuroscience with psychology, cognitive science with behavioral biology? Where else would you find such generous research facilities to quench your curiosity?
At Harvard, the possibilities are endless: A Neurobiology concentration with MBB electives like Psychology or Philosophy, or a Psychology Major focusing on Cognitive Neuroscience, either way, the education will be the one I have always dreamed of. And opportunities at the accomplished Debate and Speech society or courses like the Expos-40 will only enchant that experience. The anticipation of experiencing the new is thrilling to say the least. And for a student coming from a rigid curriculum, nothing would be more exciting than shopping for courses or attending the first hall-lecture class. But what makes Harvard more appealing is the very thought of reliving the moments I loved, learning the lessons waiting outside the classroom.
I believe I know how memorable a campus life can be, how community work can create fraternities, how amazing it is to truly know your mentors and how rewarding working for a publication is. Thus, the ideas of getting new roommates again, being able to call these passionate people my ‘family’, joining the Dorm Crew, eating a lunch with my favorite professor, working for the Harvard Crimson, or even something simple as enjoying a Study Break are true inspirations for me, because somewhere along this path we will figure out where we want to go, and that’s what the Harvard-education is all about.
My playlist on Top University Admissions