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Five Words

Updated: Jan 3, 2021


“What are five words that best describe you?”

Qualify the quality, quantify the quest. Does no one bother with progress anymore? A person is no longer a being, a reduction of your entire existence to a mere five words.

Five words can sell and five words can buy. A person can do nothing for an institution that five words can’t do better. What am I if not a brand? What am I if not an impalpable concept to entice an application committee, a panel of judges, a grant fund, a scholarship foundation? Sell yourself, and then sell your soul.

What a waste of breath, to watch the years decay in pursuit of candidacy. Courses, credentials, countenance, capability, competitive competence. A sprinkle of hobbies on top too. After all, no one cares to hire a machine. Perfection and persona—better balance both.

There’s no room between meetings, appointments, scheduling and study sessions, to see where your mind is meandering. The mind is a muscle and the psyche a skill. Personality dulls with paltry pursuit. Watch them all atrophy from neglect as you hound down validation from the anonymous.

It’s not about the journey; it is about the destination. Your fifth grade teacher’s motivational pep is bullshit. No one cares that you overcame your mental disorder (let alone suffered from it in the first place) if there isn’t a big, bold accolade to headline your heavy resume.

Consumerism reigns in a generation that grows exponentially emotionally incapacitated. Write a book about your path to mental stability, aim for New York Times bestseller from the get-go. Won’t that be a hell of an addition to your CV? Garner an audience and give a lofty speech. Your obligation to hypocritical gratification is surely an idea worth spreading.

Five words. A meager budget to convey my emotions and feelings, my troughs and my triumphs, my profoundly lonely thoughts mulled over in dim light. Five words. A harsh limit to communicate my dreams and ambition. Here are five words for you.

Unlimited. Complex. Boundless. Vast. Free.




Finishing up her fourth and final year as a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology major at UCLA, Ishita Dubey can be found concocting lines of poetry in between lectures—and sometimes even during them. Besides biology and creative writing, she enjoys experimenting with new dessert breads on the weekends and cooking up recipes to post to her food blog. She looks forward to devoting more time to her writing (and eating!) in her postgraduate career.


"Having always been outgoing and ambitious in whatever venture I undertook, I found myself really struggling to allocate time to remaining a competitive candidate in the field of healthcare, while simultaneously dedicating time to the very necessary and human task of figuring out who I was on the cusp of my twenties. This poem was borne out of the pinnacle of my frustration with this issue, when I felt I was neither entirely committed to strengthening my professional goals, nor completely familiar with the person I was growing into, falling instead into the category of mediocre in both tasks."




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