First and second years don't matter nearly as much as what you do in your last two years of undergrad. Just keep your GPA as high as you can and try and get into some research early on.
But they literally are not the same. Gender is the social construct. It's the cultural identity we associate with being male or female. As well as the psychological traits. Gender is the actual identity, sex is biology.
One's biology doesn't always match their gender.
Also, this isn't a "PC thing." These are the literal, accepted definitions. And it has been proven time and time again that when your gender doesn't match your biological sex, it is extremely detrimental to one's mental health to conform to the gender of their biological sex. It has been proven that it is psychologically essential for transgender people to be able to transition.
Moreover, some people are born intersex. The very existence of those people that are intersex disrupts this whole outdated notion of defining what a female or male is based off of one's anatomy.
The crazy thing is that there are currently two people out there who have not met yet, that will one day put a sperm with an egg and slowly develop an entire other person who will then have their own independent thoughts and experiences.
Like it all starts with 1 sperm and 1 egg. A small bundle of molecules in a certain arrangement that is then continually built upon until a human being is produced. So plants are sort of the same, but then humans end up having this thing called consciousness. Is that just a result of tons of molecules working together with some electricity? Isn't that what a robot is? Just how developed are our brains? How do we have the ability to imagine things that have never existed before using only a bunch of molecules and some electricity?
You might be interested in a position like panpsychism, which argues that because of the absurdity of getting subjective experience from a bunch of molecules and some electricity - as you mention - consciousness must be a fundamental property of our universe. It's garnering popularity among some fields. So, consciousness might be as basic to our worlds as space and time are. In this view, plants might be conscious, insects, animals of all kinds - even atoms to varying degrees.
It indeed is a terrible analogy and a bad argument in general. Programs like AlphaGo or DeepBlue have excellent prioritization systems when they must find out which moves in a game such as chess or go are good, but we don't call them conscious because there is no evidence of those programs having a subjective experience.
Have you considered emailing the department quite simply saying that you realized your writing sample had some formatting issues when uploading, and attaching your sample in the email. I'm sure they'd take it. Otherwise, I'm sure most everyone has some form of error in their writing sample, don't sweat it.
I always left it blank. I assumed two things: 1) it doesn't matter so leaving it blank won't matter or 2) they might think they're the only school I'm applying to. Either option sounds fine to me.
I currently have interviews scheduled with 1 dream, 1 reach, 3 match, and 1 safety (and have yet to hear back from all others).
Haha I like your categorization of dream, good luck
That's an odd question, but you can frame it in a positive way. Say I have weakness X, but I have been employing strategies Y and Z to improve myself.
For example, you can say I have trouble procrastinating at times so I've been implementing a schedule or whatever. They're just trying to gauge out if you're mature enough to introspect and recognize you have areas to work on (like we all do).
Don't sweat it. Colleges typically don't care if recommenders send in their letters anywhere from 1-2 weeks after the deadline. They know academics can be busy and a bit absent-minded. They won't even begin reviewing applications till a couple of weeks after the deadline. Just make sure you've sent out the request.
Totally. It’s such a bizarrely slow and opaque process, and I find writing about myself incredibly exhausting (and also not very exciting in comparison to any of the actual work I have on my hands). But it has to be done! Good luck.
Agreed, the opacity really sucks. And much of the advice I've been giving on the SOP is to tread a fine line between "seeming to settled on my views" but "not seeming like I'm too open" or "enlisting and appealing certain faculty members" but "being open enough to attract others". It's bizzare.
Good luck to you too!