Uploaded by Rehann Silvanus


Rehann Silvanus
Dr. Teather-Posadas
Development Economics
February 1st, 2023
Intellectual Autobiography
The first memory that I can remember from my early childhood was my father and I
sitting in our living room trying to construct a model rocket. As a 3-year-old, I had no idea what
I was even doing; however, I did know that spending time with my father was awesome.
Although, in hindsight, I do remember my mother being quite upset as I mistakenly ate one of
the launch pad pieces. By age 7, I had become so proficient in making model rockets that my
parents let me build them on my own. Sitting on the floor in my living room, I imagined myself
commanding a rocket as I flew through the cosmos: the world and time dissipated into the ether
as I gazed upon a horizon of possibilities. This was it. This was my eureka. Henceforth, I decided
that I would pursue the design and construction of rockets when I grew up.
To aid my pursuit in this endeavor, I began to study physics from a young age. By age
13, I could solve physics questions of an AP (Advanced Placement) level. The intricacies of the
field had me fascinated as to just how far humanity had come in such a short span of time.
Pursuing innovation and advancing technology in society seemed tangible to me for the first
time. Entering my junior year in high school, I had taken several physics classes. However, I was
genuinely unprepared for the peril to unfold this year. Our school had gained a new physics and
chemistry teacher this year: a distinguished gentleman with 25 years of teaching experience
under his belt. On initial impression, he seemed friendly and willing to help those who needed it.
As the class rolled on, it quickly became evident that his expectations far exceeded what the
students could deliver. No matter how hard I worked in a lab, how many office hours I attended
to fix my work, hundreds of problems I attempted, none seemed to matter. The final nail in the
coffin came during our career orientation week. Students took turns sitting down with a teacher
related to their future fields of interest. As I sat down with my physics teacher, I explained to him
how I had a fervent desire to go into the field of aerospace engineering. I’ll never forget the wry
smile he had on his face that day. Sometimes when those around you don’t believe in you as a
teenager, it’s hard to try to believe in yourself. However, as one chapter burns into flames, a new
one will always present itself.
In the words of Makoto Yukimura, “if you want to be reborn, empty’s the best way to
be.” Going into my senior year of high school, I became quite dejected with my sense of reality
and questioned what I had spent all those years trying to achieve. As the time approached to
select classes, I sat down with my father and deliberated upon how I honestly didn’t know what I
wished to pursue. We both sat there perplexed for a while, discussing my other interests. “How
about giving business or economics a chance?” said my father. As a career banker for over 30
years, my father had extensive knowledge of the field as he pursued economics during his
undergraduate studies. Having no experience in the area, I was hesitant to make such a drastic
switch. After some convincing, I realized I had nothing to lose by trying it out. Thus, I enrolled
in the AP Economics class that year. To my surprise, the course had me hooked by the first
week. This was due to the teacher that changed my life: Mr. Knox. Mr. Knox came to our school
from California to get teaching experience internationally. As fate had it be, we shared the
morning and afternoon bus to and from school. Over the course of my senior year, I was able to
bond with him as he was the most personable and astute person I had known. His AP Human
Geography and AP Economics classes led me to appreciate how complex yet elegant an
economy can indeed be. The sense of disillusion and self-doubt vanished without a trace near the
end of my senior year. Around the same time, I had just received my acceptance into the College
of Wooster. After researching the economics department, I discovered that the department was
highly regarded by many. I had finally found a new purpose: a reason to pour in my dedication
and diligence.
Wooster, Ohio. The land I was destined to come to. Well, that's what I thought when I
was back home. After being here for three years, I realized that Wooster is alright. Due to the
pandemic, it had been over a year since I had last taken an Economics course. Thus, my first
experience with the field began again with the principles of Economics. While the class brushed
over familiar topics, it all seemed too easy for a college course. I often found myself bored and
couldn't wait for the class to finish. The following spring semester, I was filled with an air of
excitement as I was about to take the Intermediate Microeconomics course. The analysis of price
theory from a Walrasian perspective was brilliant. Even though the ideas taught simply construct
a model that doesn't reflect the real-world economy, the discussion of profit maximization and
the various types of competition made me passionate about the subject. As of today, I am proud
to say that I am the teaching assistant for the Microeconomics class. Studying the course with the
new students reinvigorates and reminds me of why I loved the class. It also made me discover a
peculiar truth: I enjoy helping others learn.
Following my experiences in microeconomics, I became increasingly concerned with
how I could construct a theoretical model that could be empirically tested. This led me to take
econometrics. A class that is notoriously known to be the hardest in the economics course.
Having a background in mathematics as a math minor, I was able to see the application of linear
algebra and partial derivatives when testing multivariate regression equations. The data-driven
and analytical nature of the class were aspects I was used to. So naturally, when I was put in a
new and unfamiliar situation, I could usually logic myself out of the problem. My final paper in
econometrics focused on the impacts of remittance earnings and agricultural output on economic
growth in Nepal. Using a time series regression involving dynamic and distributed lag models,
my study determined that remittances negatively impacted economic growth. At the same time,
agricultural output seemed to have a negligible impact. Analyzing a small portion of my
country's economic growth was exciting and pushed me to create models that further illustrate
the actual economic conditions of Nepal.
This brings us to today. Over two years at the College of Wooster, I have met wonderful
friends and mentors who have challenged me to push my academic and intellectual limits. I have
found a family in a community I would have never expected to get along with, and once again, I
have found a future purpose. After completing my undergraduate studies, I intend to pursue a
Ph.D. in economics. I wish to contribute to today's modern literature on the factors conducive to
economic growth in South Asia. Although my life may not have gone how I planned it, the spirit
of curiosity and pursuing advancement have never left the inner child in me. Although I am still
relatively young, I have learned that sometimes believing in yourself takes an arduous amount of
perseverance. Only those who persevere can reap the fruits that they sow.