by Iain Ishbel

A high school girl stuck on a lonely Mars colony puts her utmost into an admissions essay to Ceres State University. Her casual assumptions about the worlds in which she lives reveal more than we'd like to know about our future. Go Dragonflies!

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R E T U R N  T O  S T  O N L I N E



Dear Ceres State Admissions Office:

Thank you for sending me the application package with my name on it. I am excited you are considering me and here is my application letter.

Why do I want to attend Ceres State University? Luckily, I can answer this question with three points: Company, Computation, and Cultural Heritage.

I grew up on a Mars colony. I know you can tell this already because of my name, so I am saying it right out anyhow and to show that I am not ashamed of it. Without us farmers, like my Aunt Abie says, everybody in the System would starve. However, there are many misconceptions about farmers. One of those misconceptions is very indecent, and so I will not repeat it except that it is untrue. It is important to maintain genetic diversity in small communities, is the reason for that.

Another misconception is about why farmers are happy to visit with people all the time. It is not because we have big homes with lots of space and get lonely. There is space on the surface, but only for the plants and the chickens. Humans cannot survive up there for very long. So just like everybody else on the planet we live underground, and just like everybody else we have to dig our own tunnels in the rock for shielding. A farmer's home is just as small as anybody else's. There is nothing to be jealous about, I promise, it is just that everybody has to be responsible for a large area, so our homes are a long way apart and we do not visit much because of how you cannot survive in the dome for long.

So I would love very much to live in low gravity and share a hab bubble with other people. I am not concerned about overcrowding because it is actually something I would like! I shared a one-person with my cousin Ceid for four years until they could find her a new aunt, and it was so nice to have somebody there, even though we had to take turns sleeping.

I would be happy living in a bubble that had other people in it. I bet that it would be warmer too, and in case of power fluctuations maybe only the people along the outside of the hab bubble would get frostbitten or die. How great! I would also be willing to be along the outside of the bubble if necessary.

Obviously I would like to experience having more people around. But also my second point is the availability of computational power.

I believe one hundred percent in the importance of good government and am not a terrorist or problem-maker. However, I think the Government of Mars has a too-nervous policy about nanotechnology. In my opinion nanotechnology is not as dangerous as it used to be and there is no way nowadays that any other planet could get destroyed.

So like the Ceres Board says, we could use nanoconversion to make processor power. Then we could completely analyse the Ecology of All of Us and make projections for improvements.

Like I said though I am a good cautious junior citizen and do not want any gray goo on my home planet of Mars. Or also on Luna or Ganymede, where there are so many people. I wouldn't complain though if Europa got eaten up, because I am a big fan of the Deimos Lions and they would have won the cup for sure last year if they didn't have to defend against FC Europa and their totally illegal formation and tactics. Only joking, of course, about their planet being eaten up, because nobody deserves to die just because of a football game (except that Gonçalinho, ha ha).

My sense of humour probably suggests to you that I am a lighthearted person and a good contributor to group dynamics, and that is true. But I am also good at editing data analysis programs and would not waste processing power. I reduced my farm's Resource Analysis program by eight lines of code, and all of the other farms in our crater use the reduced code now. If you do the analysis you will find this reduced our energy consumption by four basis points which is not much but is still valuable for the Ecology of Survival. It is old fashioned but on farms we still have values of that.

Smart dust computation is the future of humanity, and I am so excited about the amount of processing that would be available. This is the second reason I would like to be a student at Ceres State University, to write programs that have the Computational Power of running on smart dust.

My third reason is tradition, from Our Cultural Heritage like they say.

Many traditions were unfortunately destroyed on Earth. That is very sad and I agree with "Never Forget".

But people my age were born after the Conversion and most of us don't feel all that strongly about olden times. Of course myself I have very good grades in History, and even made a senior project about the Celtics that won the school prize (it had working bagpipes, and a poster of Riverdance that I restored myself from archives).

However, not everybody does as well in History, because of the reason that I said above. Nowadays our societies even have new traditions that make more sense for all our lives without Earth. Although I would like to reiterate that a lot of beliefs about farm traditions are indecent and unfair, because of genetic diversity.

Ceres State has some especially exciting traditions, which I would like to be part of. First of all I am interested in making unique clothes for myself. My hair grows really fast and I am good at spinning, but as you know on Mars everybody has black hair. I would like to join a trading co-op with people of different genetic colours and make a top for myself in different yarns. I have already designed one which is special that the Celtics used to wear. It says Celtics on it and has a number. I can show you a picture from the archives of it.

This is making a blend of new traditions (making custom clothes) with historical traditions (a cultural top) that represents my unique ability to bridge from the old generations into the new ones.

Second and mostly, I am amazed to hear that Ceres is adding male babies to the population. That is an incredible change. I did not know why your planet would do that, until I researched the biology which says that males can get a person pregnant without going to a clinic. So you could have as many babies as necessary, and use less doctors? That's a very clever new idea for the Proxima ship, which I know is an important thing.

But I have thought of something else that is just as important as a colony ship.

When those male babies are a little older the smart ones will be going to university, and obviously most of them will just go to CSU. Everyone knows that males used to be bigger-sized, but probably nobody has thought about what that will mean for athletics. The Ceres State Dragonflies will have a strength advantage and will dominate the athletic conference for years! I totally want to be a part of that, because I know that a tradition of victory is way more important for the human spirit.

So for the reasons of Company, Computation, and Cultural Heritage I would like to become a student at Ceres State. If necessary I would give up citizenship of Mars and join Ceres. I could contribute a lot as a citizen, I already had three babies for the farm I grew up on so for my age I am ahead of my population quota. All three are healthy and learn really quickly.

I would not ask for a student exemption and would still have babies for Ceres if I was at Ceres State. They would be good babies too. I have a total of six approved genetic sequences and one mutation that might improve the gall bladder. That is not for sure but the geneticist says it is "highly likely".

I am also very good at convincing outside visitors from other places to contribute their genetic code to me. You can see that is true because all three of my babies had different contributors. It is indecent to discuss about how I convince people, but remember that it is important for genetic diversity.

So you can see I would really bring a lot to Ceres as a citizen as well as a student, and I would like it a lot if you would let me. I could write programs in orbital ballistics to help the colony ship, I would be even willing to make pregnancies with a male if necessary, and I would always work very hard.

It is sure an exciting time to be human, with our population just about stabilized, and getting nanotechnology back under control and even sending off a ship to a new star! In all of historical times nobody has ever been as lucky as us, plus there is an opportunity to sweep the athletic conference. I want to be a part of all those things.

Please accept my application for Ceres State. I am not applying to any other university, so really please.

Go Dragonflies!



Copyright © 2014 Iain Ishbel

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R:

Iain Ishbel is a recovering high-school teacher who now prefers the quiet life of a professional writer on Canada's Pacific coast. He lives in a very small house with one rather small wife and two extremely small daughters. He loves them all very much, except the house.

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