“Why Columbia” Transfer Essay

Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source.

When I first chose UCLA, I had defaulted to the linear pre-med track, silently resigning my passions for writing and Latin-American dancing to mere hobbies. Two quarters into UCLA, I realized that, while I did well in my STEM classes, my heart laid as far from science as LA is from New York City. I am drawn to human emotion and spirit, with my transformative therapist serving as a beacon of what I aspire to become– a soul-healer. Medicine, something I had always envisioned myself doing, was not for me. Many a sleepless night followed my renunciation of pre-med, but eventually, I learned to stop seeking comfort in a path of certainty, familiarity and societal approval, and start living one of authenticity, risk and faith. Freed from the illusion of needing to follow my father’s footsteps into physician-hood to attain career “success”, I opened my mind to the exploration of other fields beyond medicine, living with my heart as my compass. During my third quarter at UCLA, I took classes in theater, explored improv-comedy, continued writing for the Daily Bruin, picked up competitive dancing once more and offered free private dance lessons to UCLA students. Through exploration and experimentation, I affirmed my suspicion that I was indeed an artistic soul, drawn to all modes of creative expression– dance, writing, music, and theater. What better place than New York to pursue my penchant for performance? At the close of my freshman year, I knew this much: pre-med was out of the picture. Psychology sounded promising, as the field aligned with my interest in human emotion and motivation. Whether or not I pursued a degree in English, I was certain writing would forever remain an unshakeable life pillar, grounding me during turbulent times. The same went for Latin-American dancing– my primary mode of performance.

English has been my strongest school subject since the second grade, but my writing did not blossom until the start of college. I started my personal blog during junior year of high school as a cathartic means of grieving, after a career-ending knee injury uprooted me from my ten-year gymnastics career. For the past two-and-a-half years, I’ve been documenting my life journey on this public platform and found the experience both rewarding and empowering. To write is to inspire, comfort and humanize the universal life struggles we all face. Every time someone tells me, “Belicia, you literally conveyed the story of my life through your writing,” I am at once humbled and fascinated by the positive impact I can wield on others through my words. Having only recently discovered my voice through writing, I hope to find greater opportunities as a writer in New York, as therein are where the necessary connections and valuable internship opportunities lay for aspiring writers like myself.

My second passion after writing is competitive Latin-American dancing, which I started during junior year of high school. Going into UCLA, I expected Los Angeles, one of the world’s greatest entertainment capitals, to be a hub of Latin and Ballroom dance. Dishearteningly, I was unable to find a good-fit dance instructor within 10 miles of campus. The difficulties of commuting on and off campus without an efficient means of transportation also negatively impacted my dancing, as I was unable to take regular lessons. Dancing in LA, then, became costly, time-consuming and a large source of stress.  The greatest opportunities for ballroom dancers in the U.S. undoubtedly lie in New York. The Empire State is home to the best dancers in the world. Former world champion Latin-American dancers can be found in the heart of Manhattan, there to build up the next generation of artists.

My dream would be to move to New York to continue my undergraduate education at a reputable school, whilst pursuing my creative passions under the mentorship of the world’s greatest academics, writers and dance instructors.


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