Thursday, July 5, 2012

4000 Words…Anyone?

I had the painful pleasure of writing a personal statement for a university application. I say painful cause it was a daunting undertaking. The last time I did something of this sort was during university for my final year. And since then, aside from job application letters, I never thought I would write a statement that requires you to get the old wheel turning academically. I definitely had to make research which in itself was a task.
When you make research and come across information like…a good personal statement is made up of 4000 words and six paragraphshas to be relevant to what course you are applying forlook at prospectuses and sample personal statements…the language you use and the way it is laid out will be judged…
Do you not feel daunted and very deflated? The start to writing one was scary and at a certain point, I thought I could not do it. The information on the internet is so vast- the decision on what to use is solely yours. If you are not a sure person-doubtful of yourself, you’ll fail to put one together. And it is hard to read information on the internet while typing out what you find relevant in lieu of making notes.
What I know about myself is; give me a few hours to think and ruminate on it, make research and I’ll find a course of action. After gathering the relevant information: how to write a personal statement, structure and examples/samples, I knew how to proceed.
Typing notes out before making a skeleton was not the way to go. I got back to pen and paper and wrote all the salient points necessary for a skeleton. I don’t know if it is just me cause I find it better to make notes with pen and paper (despite the fact that I am slowly losing my handwriting since we type or tap nowadays)! With pen and paper; your thoughts are transferred to paper in a cohesive flow.

My awesomely poor handwriting
 Armed with all the information that will go into giving the six paragraphs body, I begun writing out a skeleton. I first typed out the notes I’d written on paper as bullet points for easy reference and of course, to have a soft copy in case I lost the sheet of paper. My first draft was so irrelevant I didn’t need to be told.
Going by my notes and samples, I put my thinking cap on, inspiration and genius struck whilst I got into the zone and let my fingers fly over my notebook’s keys (keyboard). Keeping in the zone was not easy! I wondered how I was going to come up with 4000 words and the questions, ‘how can a sane person talk about themselves in so many words? Who came up with these things anyway?’ kept popping up in my head with each sentence I typed. And some of my friends decided to interrupt my ‘in the zone’ moment!
Peter wanted to use my laptop not once, twice but four times yet he could blatantly see that I was busy. He wanted to check his email, chat on facebook, scan his memory stick then finally watch two music videos. Another friend of mine was feeling down and doubting his life’s choices. I had to get myself out of the zone, talk to said friend and let Peter use my laptop too.
When helping my friends out was done, I dragged myself to the zone long enough to finish the personal statement. Out of the 4000 words, I had less than 1000 in the six paragraphs. I think it is easier to add into when you have something to go on, plus, I remembered how all the how-to guides I read said, ‘…it is better to write a personal statement that is short and sweet rather than one which is long and irrelevant.’
Those are the words giving me comfort and the fact that I am damn proud of myself for what I came up with. YES!

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