"Sharp ambition recedes to a dull afterthought unde..."

UNC at Chapel Hill

What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want for us to know?

200 - 250 words

(UNC at Chapel Hill)

Sharp ambition recedes to a dull afterthought under the vast blue sky. There is nothing to prove, only a trail to be hiked. Human worries have no place here, are as alien as concrete and WiFi. Thoughts of chemistry competitions, English essays, and college loans fade into nonexistence. A stream gurgles nearby, white noise in the greenest of places. Surrounded by unassuming simplicity, I am home.

I started hiking before I could read the trail signs. I’ve been skiing for 12 years. Nature presents an opportunity not just for individual tranquility, but for being with family free from modern distractions. A tradition as ingrained as making cozonac at Christmas, the commitment to spending time outdoors is a rare source of common ground for my family. After eight hours on the trail, we eat at the same cafe, our legs streaked with dried mud. My mom predictably orders the Reuben while my dad orders salad and steals our fries. There is something warmly comforting in our routine; no matter the arguments that inevitably arise after four of us are stuffed in a car together, everything else recedes away once we step outside, slowly disappearing with the fading whoosh of cars on the highway.

I’ve trekked hundreds of miles in the mountains of upstate New York, fished in the cold, salty waters of Talkeetna, marvelled at the sun setting over Arches National Park. No matter the landscape, be it red rocks or blue ocean, I am continually humbled by the natural world and its capacity for fostering human connection.

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      Word Count: 257/250
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