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Tatiana Diaz de Leon

AP Lit, Period 6
19 September 2016
UC Personal Insight Questions
Question 2 - Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem
solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically to name a few. Describe how you
express your creative side.
Some people say that they prefer comfort and simplicity over something more stylish, but
I think something more intricate is what makes me comfortable. Fashion is what helps me
express myself because expressing myself to others is difficult through words. While sometimes
I am not sure what I'm trying to express, I can still make my presence known. Considering I am a
generally quiet person, the complexity of my outfit does the talking for me. Its not the most
effective form of communication, but it is what I love.
It's the way a piece of clothing looks that matters to me. Not the way it's made, who it's
made by, or how expensive it was. I hope that one aspect of my outfit - a loud necktie, a reptile
skin patterned jacket, or the worn out look of my t-shirt - leaves an impression in someone's
mind, the same way an odd painting in a museum would cause one's head to tilt in curiosity.
Every morning in front of the closet my sister and I share, I ponder over what I should wear that
day and think about how every outfit is a new piece of art ready to make an impression on at
least one person. That thought frequently reminds me of what my ceramics teacher always says
about people's projects: if youre tempted to question a piece, then it's good art because it made
you step back and think. Fashion is the art you can find within each outfit.
I know that the dependence I have on fashion may make it seem like I think too much
about how others view me, but I also know that impressions are pretty significant in light of what
I'm attempting right now. I like the clothes I wear regardless of someone else's preferences. In
that sense, my confidence is more prominent within this outlet compared to the amount of
confidence I lack in other areas of my life. It's not that I'm putting on a disguise and being
another person; its that I'm putting on the pieces of my real self.
Word Count: 350

Question 5 Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have
taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

My (former) best friend for the past five years has shut me out. As our lives shifted, I
began to feel like any time I spent with her was used trying and failing to satisfy her, make her
laugh and excite her about potential plans. Months of rough patches have led to this - lists of
expectations no longer met on both sides. She seemed done trying, and I realized this wasnt how
friendships should be.
Its interesting that a long time of constant worry and devotion to keep just one person in
my life has not affected my academic performance, but it makes me wonder whether things I
could have used toward this relationship - extra effort, thinking time, and energy - were used
making sure my school work was done; it didnt feel like I lacked effort. It seemed, however,
that she noticed before I did how different we had both become; our priorities and goals werent
aligned anymore.
Its easy to believe that, inevitably, people grow apart, but it was always one of those far-off
ideas that only ever happened to others. During such a transitional time in my life, with the end
of my childhood closer than it has ever been, I didnt think I had to worry about something as
trivial as someone to hang out with during my senior year of high school. I expected to turn a
new leaf but not so soon, not without her experiencing it beside me, and not without her support
while I make momentous decisions for my future.
Surprisingly, though bearing a fresh wound, I no longer feel the weight of obligation. I never
realized how toxic of a task it is to try pleasing one person until I stopped trying so hard. Im not
stuck thinking that one friendship validates my worth. The loss of a dear friend is definitely not
as petty as it may sound; relationships are the foundation of our sanity as humans. I continue to
tell myself that Ive been given the opportunity to befriend acquaintances and strangers like I
never have before.

Its easier to think that people grow apart but it was always one of those far off ideas that
you only ever think happens to other people but never to yourself. Much worse than romantic
relationships. Starting over is daunting in and of itself, but now socially, its a whole other field
of play. The end of a friendships is much more confusing and terrifying to explain properly. The
person who I thought would help me get through such an emotional shock of an experience
without making me feel like Im being overdramatic about inevitably growing apart from people
cannot affirm and comfort me because theyre the person Ive lost.
Word Count: 392

Question 6 Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.

When I think back to the exhausting and life-changing 14 hour hike to the top of Half
Dome at Yosemite National Park, I can't help but think about how much anaerobic respiration
some of my cells were being forced to perform because of the continual struggle to catch my
breath. I remember how incredibly sore my entire body was the next morning and imagine the
large amount of lactic acid built up in my muscles that my cells created through that anaerobic
I can thank my AP Biology teacher, Mrs. Neimeyer, for these bizarre thoughts. Despite
only having been in her class for more than a month, I realize how genuinely excited I am to
listen to her talk about science the way she does every class period. "The study of life" definition
of biology makes a school subject seem extraordinarily more appealing than other sciences and
classes because its literally the explanation for living - but without all the math. Not only does
every topic address and explain how living things are able to function and the significance of
their roles on this earth, but with each topic comes a lesson in how to live your everyday life
better. A lesson on glucose and cellular respiration can turn into tips about what not to cut from
your diet. A discussion on photosynthesis in different kinds of plants can somehow lead to an
important lesson on the effects of excessive carbon in our atmosphere and how to individually
prevent global warming.
Sure, when I think of biology I conjure up an image of walking through the woods such
as during my hike at Half Dome - witnessing all of the cycles of life occurring before me in
every living organism. However, biology also makes me think of how greatly my every-day
decisions can influence the rest of my life, how connected everyone and everything is, and how
we can affect not only ourselves but each other. We are the kind of people we make ourselves to
be. Biology reminds of how much power I actually have in my life.
Word Count: 350

Question 8 What is one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to
the University of California?
By many, I would be labeled an introvert. Introversion, however, does not equate
to shyness, nor is every introvert the same kind of person. I just know that I tend be a
meticulous person, which is reflected in the fact that I think a lot before I speak. I enjoy listening
and observing; I crave exploring unseen sights, trying new food, and reading pieces about as
many perspectives as possible. I prefer to listen to peoples conversations and soak in the variety
of opinions and newfound knowledge that each person brings forward.
I like to think that my persona reflects my maturity. Not every moment in life
requires a comment. I compare this idea in my mind to moments when my siblings talk back to
my mom or when someone taunts someone else for the sake of being right. Its better to keep the
peace than to be right; I can endure discomfort for the sake of others if it is necessary for
everything to run smoothly. At times, I welcome the opportunity to adapt to changes when
necessary even if it is difficult at first. My quiet disposition allows me to empathize with others;
in this way, I am a good-listener. Im not the kind of listener that is ready to provide advice for
anyone that needs it; Im patient enough to be someone that lets people rant to get rid of their
emotions and provides a pillow to punch or a shoulder to cry on. I take pride in any moment I
can provide this. People tell me that I dont seem very confident if I dont speak up, but I dont
feel the need to announce my level of awareness or intelligence, unless it is asked of me; I prefer
to keep safe any quiet inner confidence I possess. When I was younger I used to only see the
negatives that society perceived in introverted people, but gradually Im continuing to
understand how traits like mine are - besides those of extroverts necessary for any community
to reach a sense of togetherness and function well at all.
Word Count: 350