"Enlightenment is knowing that what was planned was a party." —Victor Baranco
How I Got Into Cal Berkeley
Sugar Goens Baranco
I was re-reading the personal statement portion of my application to UCB and realized how much of it is about Morehouse.
The prompt was something to the extent of this, "Write an essay about an obstacle you've overcome or an advantage you utilized." Well, here goes:
I was born into a commune. I grew up in an intentional community in the hills of Lafayette, California and still live there today. This amazing group of people from various religious, economic, political, and ethnic backgrounds has been living together for over forty years. While this group is quite diverse, one common thread among us is the belief that each of us is perfect. Growing up in this community, with the unique agreement that the universe and everything in it is perfect, has made me the strong, confident, responsible pleasure-seeker that I am today.
To me, perfection is recognizing that by virtue of our abilities to perceive and judge the universe, we are creating the universe of our experience; we are each totally responsible for our lives. And since we are totally responsible, whatever bad we encounter is a willful choice on our part. Perfection means recognizing that a fulfilling life is not one in which we are always content, but one in which we get to have a full range of experiences. I take pride in maintaining this worldview, especially because the mainstream culture so strongly rejects the notion. This view allows me to begin from the assumption that everything is just as it should be, and thus enables me to have surplus to give to others. I want to be responsible for producing good in others' lives because I believe in perfection.
This viewpoint has given me a distinct advantage. It has enabled me to be a victor instead of a victim. I've never let my circumstances deter me from accomplishing my goals. Whenever there is an obstacle in my path I find a way to turn it into an opportunity. For instance, I recently had my backpack, containing several textbooks, an English paper, and all my notes, stolen. This setback made completing all my assignments significantly more challenging. And while I was initially upset by it, I decided that I wouldn't allow this incident to affect my academic performance. Instead, I used it to affirm my commitment to realizing my goals.
Perfection doesn't mean that bad things never happen to me, or that I never make mistakes. It means recognizing the consequences of my actions and making deliberate choices. And while I recognize that perfection is my subjective maxim, not the objective state of the universe, this recognition doesn't make it any less valuable. If one could choose to have a perfect life, or one that is lacking, one would certainly choose the former. Well this is our choice in life and for me, it's no contest.