An Adventure to Remember | University of California – Davis Undergraduate Application Essay

As I stood at the end of the ledge watching my older brother prepare to attach to the zip line deep underground in New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves, I couldn’t help but think about the seemingly endless darkness that filled the cave ahead of us. The look on my brother’s face made it clear that he couldn’t wait to leap off the ledge and fly through the cave. Just a few seconds later, he took one last look at me, leaped off the ledge, and faded into the darkness. “Your turn”, the guide said. My hands were shaking. “3… 2… 1…”… I leapt. I leaned back and opened my eyes.

It felt like a dream. All my anxiety vanished. I looked up and saw what I can only describe as true beauty. Never have I been so awe struck. Thousands of small, blue lights covered the ceiling.

After what felt like an eternity, I reached the end of the zip line. The guide waiting for us explained that the blue lights on the top of the cave were glowworms. My brother and I looked up with disbelief. How could a bunch of worms create such an incredible scene?

Following another hour of wading through underground streams and wriggling through narrow muddy passages we saw the final climb up a waterfall to the end of the cave. I used all the strength I had to fight the…

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