Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

To me, a plate of china dropping is not a plate of china dropping. It’s a book – with pages on gravity hauling the plate down, pages on the kinetic energy channelling into the ground, pages on that kinetic energy rebounding back into the plate, and pages on the adhering forces being assailed. In other words, I see – or in most cases, hold the desire to see – the working mechanism behind things. Their story, organized and scientifically substantiated, is like a book.

But, as ironic as it may sound, books never had the answer to my questions:

If memory serves correctly, I was timidly sitting in the last row of my 5th-grade social studies classroom. I had something on my mind, so I perused through the relevant book. I didn’t find anything on it, so I read the barely legible scribbles in my note copy. I still had no idea, so I decided to take the risk. Glancing at the soul-piercing eyes of the teacher, I took a deep breath, and asked, “Miss, but how did the first humans learn how to have sex?”

The last thing I saw was a puzzled expression on the teacher’s face and the last thing I heard was my classmates’ laughter as the teacher sent me outside and locked the door, all because the authors of the books didn’t like me.

Although books may be repositories of knowledge, I found myself resenting the fact that they mentioned nothing that might answer my questions. So I hated them, because they excluded my ideas, just like the teacher excluded me from class. For me, those books never went further than the cover of the real book. In those books, when a plate fell, it was just a plate breaking. Nothing more. Because I was pushed to take that one extra step into exploring the plate breaking, I was ridiculed. It may have upset me, but it failed to demotivate me. My curiosity roared mightier than any laugher; my passion to read that story far outweighed the story’s restrictive constructs.

So I kept on reading the books. 

But, as I grew more mature, my way of reading changed. As my knowledge increased, my questions grew relatively complex and profound: from “How did the humans learn to have sex?” to “How did the evolutionary instinct of mating transcend as the apes developed to become humans?”. As my questions became more and more intricate, I needed better explanations.

Therefore, I searched for the best story, the working mechanism, and the explanation that could narrate the cover in the best way. In this quest, I discovered science. Coincidentally, my journey to read all of the stories that appear to me in life led me to read the actual books that I had so hated. It was then I had realized:  all this time, I was reading the wrong books. Thus, my journey of learning the story behind everything turned into an academic pursuit, and my enthusiasm for knowing matured into a passion for science.

As a result of this transformation, I read a lot of pages in the books of science, theory after theory and research articles upon research articles. But, as I delved into those pages, I was hit by a realization: there’s an end page to the book, there is rock-bottom to the depths of science.

However, that does not signify the end of my journey. As a part of my journey into reading more pages into the book, I’ve decided to become the author myself. My motivation now is not just the cover, but rather the end. That is to say, my naïve curiosity has turned into a passion; I want to push the gloomy, frightening idea of an ending by adding in pages as a scientific researcher, by digging that rock bottom. I want to become the narrator of the story that I always wanted to hear.

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