Growing up in China then attending high school in the U.S., I have the chance to explore differences between Eastern and Western ideals and systems. The collision between and combination of two utterly opposite sets of cultures have shaped my values. Having benefited from Chinese and American educations, I hope to broaden my horizon with more diversity of thoughts. The intellectual prestige and richness in traditions and values distinct from those of China and the US make the UK the perfect destination for my pursuit in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
In the U.S., immersed in omnipresent political activism, I am accustomed to following politics closely. Having read John Stuart Mil’s “On Freedom,” I am an advent advocate for social liberty. Knowing that Chinese media often distort facts to propagandize, I have become adept in navigating CCTV, BBC, and The New York Times to identify different sides of the same story and discern the truth within. At school, I show my enthusiasm for politics by involving in student government. Elected class rep twice in freshman and sophomore year and now on the board of student government, I have grown as a leader. I coordinate all-school events with concepts of rule utilitarianism in mind, spending wisely to budget for the long run. In world history class, a simulation of the historical Congress of Vienna in world history class planted my interest in diplomacy.
Representing Prussia, I skillfully negotiated with delegates of Russia and Britain to gain Anglo-sax for my fullest advantage. Outside school, I seize the chance to learn more about politics by participating in MUN and doing research. Having attended nine Model United Nations conferences, including a national conference in the UN capital building, and delegated countries of five continents, I am familiar with various economic and political systems. With ardor I researched topics ranging from nonproliferation of nuclear weapons to stateless persons’ protection, gaining Best Research and Outstanding Delegate from Stanford Model United Nations Conference. Aside from MUN, one research paper I wrote that I especially enjoyed examined political implications behind popular Grimm’s fairy tales. I was fascinated to see the veiled connection between German nationalism and the Grimms’ version of Hansel and Gretel.
The fascinating world of philosophy opened up to me when I read Jostein Gaarder’s “Sophie’s World” and Thomas Nagel’s “What Does It All Mean?” two years ago. Philosophy enraptures me, not because it teaches me the right way of looking at things, but because it teaches me other ways. Aristotle’s Four Causes and idea of “final cause” broke the ground of my thinking by letting me perceive existence for their ends. This understanding assisted me later when I read Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” and was exposed to absurdism.
After reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” I narrowed my focus onto political philosophy. I have then closely read primary sources of Enlightenment thinkers such as Montesquieu, Locke, and Hobbes, analyzing how their ideas precipitated American revolution and influenced James Madison’s view in “Federalist No. 51” that “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” Though not a supporter for Machiavelli’s fear-based leadership or absolutism, I am amazed by Hobbes’s view that self-interested, rather than other-interested, people contract morality. I draw connection between Hobbes’s “law precedes morality” idea and the second horn of Socrates’s Euthyphro’s Dilemma from millennium ago, both positing that the standard of morality is arbitrary upon either laws or God.
Politics cannot be understood without a grasp of philosophy, but policies cannot be carried out without a grasp of economics. Having excelled in AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, I have basic understandings of how the economy works. This knowledge with my experience in MUN let me believe that global economy is interconnected rather than a “zero-sum” game. I see the complicated correlation that cultures lead to political systems which decide economic policies. knowledge about economics and history, I see that economic policies go hand-in-hand with political beliefs. For example, the American federalism shrank in the precedence of the War of 1912, and expanded during the Great Depression.
My study of Calculus and Discrete Math also lay foundation for my university economics study. The logical thinking skill I gained from discrete math by analyzing paradoxes such as the Grand Hotel and Lady or the Tiger will contribute to my university study in philosophy and economics. In my junior year summer, I partook the famous Leadership in the Business World program at The Wharton School of Business. Though not intending to major in Business, the program deepened my understanding in economics and finances by educating me more on accounting and finance.
In the future, I hope to expand the context of my knowledge to Europe. Equipped with comprehensive knowledge about Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, I look forward to dedicate myself to global non-profit work, bettering lives in less developed countries. I believe my academic achievement and skills derived from extracurricular activities will assist my excellence in pursuing studies in PPE in university.