Thursday, October 22, 2009

this is my college essay, tell me what you think

I want to be an astronaut, but I have no idea why. I read a book over the summer called Riding Rockets, the autobiography of astronaut Mike Mullane. In his astronaut interview he was asked “Why do you want to be an astronaut?” In the months since, I’ve thought a lot about how I would answer that. This is where the “no idea” part comes in.
When I was six years old, maybe even younger, my family went camping out in Bruneau Sand Dunes. They have a planetarium there and a telescope, the largest one in all of Idaho. I don’t remember much from the trip, but I do remember the planetarium, stars and a woman with a laser pointer connecting the stars. Most vividly I remember walking outside afterward, looking up at the sky, and finding the big dipper for the first time in my life.
Jump ahead seven years to May, 2006. I hadn’t thought about the stars the entire seven years. I came to school that day expecting it to be like any other day. I found myself sitting in eighth grade earth science preparing to watch another of Mr. Hunike’s infamous disaster documentaries. I was in for a surprise.
The screen lit up. “The future of space flight.” I was in heaven, my overactive imagination pulled along with the movie. Plasma jets taking us to Mars, solar sails propelling us almost at the speed of light. I found myself agreeing with everything the documentary said. Yes, yes. We NEED to do this. Yes, yes, spend the money. Nothing could have made me happier. I went home that day thinking nothing in me had changed. The video in Hunike’s class inspired me to write a story, nothing more nothing less. My parents bought me my first telescope the following Christmas.
It was the middle of the winter, but I was determined to use it. I asked my mom to hike up the hill near our house to where the skies were clear of trees. I set up the telescope in the dark and pointed it at the constellation of Orion. I looked and looked, and then…
“I found the Orion nebula, found the Orion nebula,” I sang in a catchy tune of my own inventing. It was a triumphant night in the land of Emily.
I’m not sure when it transformed from a love of astronomy to wanting to be an astronaut. But that goal now dominates my life. If most astronauts know how to fly, I’ll learn how to fly. If there are lots of Russian cosmonauts, I’ll take Russian. You say astronauts would build rockets in their back yard? Then I’ll build rockets in my back yard. If it gets me half an inch closer to space, I’ll do it. I am going to be an astronaut. The only question worth asking is how?


  1. They're only supposed to be 500 words or less. I think it captures what you wanted to say. I'm posting it on facebook to see what others say

  2. I thought it was wonderful. It gives us a clear picture of you and your determination.

    "god it's short" (rolls eyes. that had to be melissa right?)