Share your knowledge at the LQ Wiki.
Go Back > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!


  Search this Thread
Old 12-04-2004, 11:03 AM   #1
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 140

Rep: Reputation: 15
Language essay for the University of Chicago

"People often think of language as a connector, something that brings people together by helping them share experiences, feelings, ideas, etc. We, however, are interested in how language sets people apart."

The was a prompt for an essay to the University of Chicago, to which I am applying. I would appreciate if you'd read my below essay on that prompt, and comment. If you've got suggestions on how I might better phrase something, what works and doesn't work in the essay, or een if you see spelling errors your suggestions will be great.

Meet Mika. Mika is a Junior in High School, in the same way that I am a Senior in High School; both in name only. In reality we are a Freshman and a Sophomore at Northwest Missouri State University thanks to the Missouri Academy of Mathematics Science and Computing.

I met Mika during a van ride to Kansas City International Airport. The Academy has what are called closed weekends every end of the month. Closed weekend is a nice was of phrasing “get out”. Each and every closed weekend some sixty odd Academy kids must go back to where ever it is that they came from, or a close approximation. My approximate home is in Kansas City with my Aunt Diane. That's why I ride a van to KCI, so my Aunt can pick me up at the airport.

The van trip that I met Mika on was particularly crowded. Legally, the van may only hold fifteen humans, and so, on that trip, it did. Unfortunately for us the law says nothing of possessions.

I sat in the middle row, middle seat the van trip I met Mika, making me the luggage hub. Mika sat directly in front of me, making her the luggage recipient, for the most part. That's really how I met her. She said hello to me, as I stuffed a trash bag full of a D&D geek's laundry into her face. Then, after all the luggage shuffling was over, we talked for hour and a half that it took to get to KCI.

This wasn't the first time I'd seen Mika, of course. Our school is still rather small, but that hadn't helped me meet many new people. I'm a bit of a recluse, a big bit actually. I am perfectly content just to sit in my room or the university library and just think and think and think, a contentedness that doesn't lend itself well to socializing though.

After the closed weekend I met her Mika would say hello to me in the stairwell of the Academy at 8 o'clock sign in. It's Academy policy for we students to mark our initials on a piece of paper intermittently, usually at 4 and 8pm.

That's how I'd see Mika. She'd come down before I would, sign in, and on the way back up say “Hi Brian.” My reaction, though, was always less than typical. In my experience greeting usually goes along these lines:

“Hello, Individual 1.”
“Hi, Individual 2.”
“So, how's it going Individual 1.”
“Oh, just fine, and you?”
“Great. Well, hey, I've got to run. It was really nice to see you.”
“You too, Individual 2.”

Except, of course, the names used are generally less contrived and a bit more realistic.

My brief encounters with Mika always went like this:

“Hello Brian,” she'd say very quietly, sort of cutely. I was always walking down, and she up. I come out later to sign in, to avoid the crowd waiting to sign in. I've never really understood why that crowd forms, but it does.

“Oh,” I'd say in sort of a startled way. That's me coming out of my thoughts. I'm generally bouncing around ideas in my head and am only vaguely aware of what's going on around me; I cue into the reality outside my head when someone says my name. I've always done that, as far as I know. I just sort of let my thoughts wash in over everything else until nothing is above them. “Hello,” I'd say and I'd keep walking down the stairs.

Obviously not the most ideal way to respond.

And it's not that I didn't want to respond well, I really did. Each time Mika would say hello there'd be a scramble in my head as all the bits were thrown together to just say “Hello Mika. It's great to see you. I'm so sorry I've been so odd before and hadn't greeted you properly. How have you been?”

But I was always just a few pieces short, and all I could ever weakly spit out was “Oh. Hello.” Never even her name. Always just the same old, generic line.

Eventually Mika stopped saying hello, and I can guess why. We'd pass one another on the stairs, in sort of an awkward silence, sometimes making eye contact briefly.

It's a shame, I should have warned her on the bus that I'm a little odd, that talking is not easy at first. I should have said, when we said goodbye, “Mika, if you ever say hello to me I'm going to act really weird. Don't be slighted.” If only I had had more time.

One day I could have said her name, I think.


At some level, each of us is just floating aimlessly in a sea of strangers. We form bonds, intricate connections, with words, actions, shared interests, friendly smiles, and so on. Around each human being forms an intricate and dynamic directed graph, a social network of friends. Language plays a big part in this, vocally oriented social animals that we are.

But what happens when a person cannot communicate? When someone cannot, for whatever reason, say “Hello.”

Nothing happens, and people just float on by.
Old 03-21-2005, 05:49 AM   #2
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: singapore
Distribution: puppy and Ubuntu and ... erh ... redhat(sort of) :( ... + the venerable bsd and solaris ^_^
Posts: 658
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 31
if someday ,somehow or somewhere we are around each other eyes to eyes,will we say what we had said,will we make the same statments as what we had made,will we f**ked up each other as what we had done before?
Everything seems as absurd as "linux" and "Open Source",nothings changed anyway.

what the #### !
Old 03-21-2005, 05:51 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: May 2004
Location: Hilliard, Ohio, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Kubuntu
Posts: 1,851

Rep: Reputation: 47
Originally posted by alred
if someday ,somehow or somewhere we are around each other eyes to eyes,will we say what we had said,will we make the same statments as what we had made,will we f**ked up each other as what we had done before?
Everything seems as absurd as "linux" and "Open Source",nothings changed anyway.

what the #### !
I don't know about you, but I really don't see this as beneficial to really anything.
Waht exactly are you getting at with this post?


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
mobile phone service around chicago archdev General 0 06-22-2005 01:37 PM
linux geek needed in chicago marytuesday Linux - Newbie 2 05-06-2005 06:30 PM
attn linux groups in chicago. girl needs rescuing marytuesday General 2 05-06-2005 06:22 PM
An essay on linux and a book request sausagejohnson Linux - General 2 05-12-2004 10:10 PM
my linux essay questionasker General 15 03-08-2004 08:31 PM > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:51 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration