The Journey from Valley to Peak | University of Puget Sound Undergraduate Application Essay

Life presents many mountains for us to face. From the very beginning, we are encouraged to persevere, to keep walking, to conquer each mountainous challenge we are faced with and put each behind us as just another life experience. However, as Muir states, “…apart from the acquisition of knowledge…more pleasure is to be found at the foot of the mountains than at their tops.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, another 19th century nature writer, said “life is a journey, not a destination”. In essence, this is what John Muir is saying, too. If, throughout life, we are blind to everything around us, focused solely on a single goal or motivation, a single “mountain” we must conquer, life becomes meaningless. To live is to observe, to understand that every step taken is as important as the next, and to learn and grow from each and every one.

I am a very goal oriented person, always looking ahead and formatting current goals and plans in accordance with what I want to happen in the future. Because of this mindset, I often find it hard to follow the advice of Muir and Emerson. The destination, the need to reach the mountaintop and conquer my challenges, consumes me and leaves me unwilling to look at the people, places, and experiences that surround…

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