Application essay for the University of Pennsylvania, the subject and directions for which were something akin to “Write page 217 of your autobiography.”

December 1988

like how I always get sidetracked, for instance. Which reminds me — a funny thing happened the other day. Doing a little spring cleaning with my daughter, I unearthed some old college papers of mine, buried beneath the debris on my closet floor. I found my old journals, too, the annals of my spirited youth. Oh, those were the days of “carpe diem” and “gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” It seemed, then, that every new interest I developed only exposed me to even more stimulating activities — endlessly. As I uncovered more things I liked, I found even more ways to enjoy life. Life became an adventure, teeming with opportunity to explore, experiment, and to understand new ideas and concepts. I saw it as a long line, whose end we cannot see, not a circle that brings us back to our beginning. Since the end is unknown, I thought, our present action shall determine our future. They called me an idealist, a hopeless romantic even.Funny part is, I guess things haven’t changed. Indeed, as I’ve gone through life, every door of knowledge through which I’ve walked has brought into view a dozen other doors, yet to be opened. Each new study I’ve encountered has exposed me to other areas of study, each one more complex and demanding than the last. In fact, it occurred to me, that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I haven’t learned. Somehow, as I get older, it seems that the more I understand, the less I understand, and the more mysterious life becomes.

Yet, amidst its profundity, life’s simpler pleasures still appease me. After all these years, I still find delight in seeing others laugh, and music still uplifts me. Communicating in foreign languages still enthralls me, as does experiencing exotic cultures. Though I am twice as old now, I am no less enchanted by the works of M.C. Escher, or astounded by the strength, grace, and dexterity of world class gymnasts. My love of the outdoors has not subsided. Good company still beats fine food, and a good book by the fire still tops just about everything.

With the years, though, has come an increased awareness of the world around me. The world is not all roses, I learned. With all of its simple joys, it is important that one not lose track of serious global issues, such as the pollution destroying our planet, epidemic hunger, and impending overpopulation. At the same time, amidst such difficult issues, it is essential that we maintain perspective, and not become overwhelmed with difficult decisions and questions that have no immediate answers. Today’s youth must do the same, and recognize life’s abundant opportunities, avoiding the single-minded pursuit of success at the expense of creativity and appreciation for life’s many pleasures.

As I continue to grow and to learn more about life, and how much do not know, I hope and expect to continue expanding my interests, and take advantage of each new opportunity. I want every new door that I open to lead to more doors and limitless possibilities. Which reminds me — UPENN was such an opportunity…

Written by Glenn Yeck | Comments Off on ALL I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW I LEARNED AT PENN