Personal Statement

I attemped to write my personal statement the other day. I just spewed it without preparation and forethought. Unfortunately, it is conversational and unprofessional and unusable. So I figured I’d better post it, otherwise it would be a waste…

>> I never doubted that I would go to graduate school, and for the eight years since receiving my bachelor’s degree, I still did not doubt it. At first, I thought it was just a matter of time. Once I had completed my undergraduate studies in Mass Communications, I had to work to support my fiance through school. After that, my migratory pattern was based upon employment. In my time between undergrad and now, I worked almost exclusively in graphic production, both print and web, with a short period as director of a local cable access station. My academic successes early on seemed dulled by the proverbial ‘grind.’ I sadly admit that rent took precedence over intellectual pursuits, and this persistent cycle was difficult to break.

Upon my resolution to wake up and take action, I applied to Marquette as a non-degree seeking student and enrolled in an all-consuming history crash course. I am currently taking classes that I feel are obligatory to my preparedness for the history graduate program. I find that, with age, the mind, like the body, is less limber. I am steadily relearning much of what I took for granted while attending school for sixteen consecutive years. But I have also found that I am now willing to work much harder, partly because I must in order to gain momentum, but also because I have learned to appreciate my goals of continuing my academic experience into professorship. In high school and as an undergrad, a naiveté sets in that convinces you that you can coast by on talent indefinitely. But a stint in the workforce provides a swift boot to the keester, revealing that hard work and direction are required for true achievement. << ...Ok. That said, I must try again. But the ticker is running down. I doubt I'll even get a response in time for the Spring 2006 semester. But I really need the acceptance just so I can apply for FAFSA loans; as non-degree, you cannot get government loans. How do I say that I was a big smarty pants in the past, but then made stupid decisions and now am a dummy pants that will never live up to my standardardized test scores of yore? I am also unsure how to include the time I was working to support someone else, because I am no longer involved with that person, but I was set back so far because of it. But who wants to say, "I was a self-sacrificing girl with a charity-complex that spent too much time helping and supporting the wrong sort of people, and wasting years of my life doing it, until I barely recognized myself as anything but a springboard for the advancement of the selfishly 'troubled'." Anyway, I am going to try to revamp the statement. My friends suggested that I submit a video as my personal statement, but I don't really see how that would go over as well applying for history as it would for mass comm. They said I could just record myself reading what I wrote since it's "conversational", but maybe I should make a Flash movie of a kitty or Queen Elizabeth or something reading it. Or I could turn it into a catchy song that everyone with email to their co-workers and buddies, and I'll become anonymously famous over the internet. "Fa la la- a non-degree seeking student and enrolled- Fa la." In truth, I would probably have to make it a madrigal, because that's just how I am. Uh, why am I suddenly liking this idea?

1 Comment

  1. SixPence says:

    Actually, I think your first draft is pretty solid in terms of what you’re trying to get across. When Mel was doing her personal statement for her post-doc (I think?) I gave her this piece of advice – do a Samantha Bee version. You’ve seen the Daily Show. Samantha Bee is brutal in her directness, saying things with an honesty that is usually socially unacceptable. I think what you posted is your Samantha Bee version. It’s what you truly want to say. The key now, instead of scrapping it entirely, is to go through sentence-by-sentence and rephrase, shaving the rough edges off of what you’re trying to say. The other thing I’d recommend it to acknowledge your weaknesses, but don’t make them the focus of your statement. Right now you gloss over your achievements and dwell on the difficulties – reverse that. I really do think what you have is workable. It just needs a little polish. Oh, and you might want to rethink using the word “keester.” 😉