My son has been applying for scholarships in preparation for college next year. James Patterson offered an essay contest and L. placed second, winning a $2500 scholarship. Congratulations!
How has your favorite book pushed you towards what you’d like to do in life?
Seventh Grade was an eventful year. It was a milieu of hormones, differing classroom environments and a general raising of academic expectations. I could truly be described as a tabula rasa; educated in many fields, but lacking any governing attraction between the fields of mathematics, philosophy, history, and the physical sciences.
Reading was a favored pastime of mine, used to while away spare moments between classes. I devoured Dickens, tackled Tolkien, and humbled myself with Homer. Beyond all these, I fell in love with Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". The fanciful narrative had all that an adolescent boy could hope for: tom-foolery, combat, and a slight bit of romance for flavor.
By the end of the novel, my dream had taken form: I wanted to be the Hank Morgan of the Modern Era (absenting the blow to the head and the messy affairs of time travel). Rather, I wanted to emulate what Twain's protagonist stood for: a beam of scientific intellect among the ignorant masses, called to govern by responsibility to the people rather than by avarice. Fermentation and actualization of this realization would take years.
Every time I entered my science classroom, I would remember how Hank had blown up Merlin's tower through the use of gunpowder (chemistry) or how he defeated the army of the Catholic Church using an electric fence (physics). Each example made it quite clear that he who understands the dictates of the language of Physical Science had great control over the machinations of the world.
Further study would only increase my ability to manipulate the world around me, and considering the general dearth of scientifically minded individuals in my classrooms, it seemed to not only offer a viable career pending college graduation, but also engendered the technocratic style of leadership.
My junior year of high school would highlight a second field where our Modern Man had changed medieval Britain. Economics came quite naturally to me. Whether it be an analytical approach to problems developed over several years of painstaking lab assessments in chemistry or just a natural understanding gleaned by the side notes of the many novels I read, the flow of money not only made logical sense in my mind but also struck me as one of the most important classes I would take that year.
It had been years since I last cracked open the book, and yet I found myself striving, again, to become Mark Twain's Hank Morgan. I had become a technocrat, the only real political assignment that could be given to the North Eastern factory worker. With such a background it is no surprise that I have chosen to double major in Chemical Physics and Economics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. With the education I receive there, I will undoubtedly be able to push our country forward, similar to a certain Connecticut Yankee.