Personal Statement essay
Growing up in a poor family, people thought that I will just be a failure with no dreams and a burden to society. However, their thoughts only made me to dream bigger.
My family belongs to the 17.6 % indigent families in the Philippines. My parents were earning just enough for me and my seven other siblings to survive for a month. Even though we are poor, they always supported us financially and provided the parent-child relationship that molded us to be better. However, with those belittling words that they throw to my family I want to prove them wrong, I want to help save them from poverty. Because of that, I started to fix my way of living to achieve the goals that I envisioned.
Since primary school, I have been competing in various science and mathematics competitions especially quiz bee. From a very young age, I learned to be more independent and work diligently. While other kids were playing outside, I was inside the house spending every minute studying my lessons. I did my homework independently, and I took every available work from our neighborhood once my task from home is done, from fetching the water to removing weeds in their backyard to support my studies. I also occasionally save time to go to a nearby library named Feed Hungry Minds, to have some advanced reading to make sure my grades will be as high as possible. A delightful moment came when my tree of labor bears fruit. I finished my studies as Second Honorable Mention along with best in science and publication contributor award at Binogsacan Elementary School.
The next chapter of my life studying started at Ligao National High School. There I experienced tremendous pressure because of the competitive students and curriculum the school had. I was forced to break myself from my comfort zone to adapt and compete with other students. Those were also the times my groupmates and I competed in a research festival in our school with the pilot study about protease inhabitance of jackfruit leaves. Our research found out that the protease inhabitance present in the jackfruit leaves effectively tenderizes the meat as the data obtained proved it when the t-stat, which is 2.68 is greater than the t-crit having a value of 2.13. Despite not winning first place, one of the panels, a food technologist, commended us for doing a pilot study and suggested improving it a little more, and our research will be able to compete internationally.
The research festival and my various experience in competing at science and math quizzes made me dig deeper into the realm of science. I was captivated by the nature of subatomic particles and the different chemical reactions observed in nature. However, what made me decide to take studying science to a whole new level was when I visited the lake my friends and I used to bathe. The lake was once nature's masterpiece, but it experienced eutrophication by the time I went there, which is the condition where the environment becomes enriched with nutrients which causes the growth of phytoplankton resulting in algal blooms. The blooms of algae use up all the oxygen in the water, leaving none for other marine life and results in the death of many aquatic organisms, such as fish, which need the oxygen in the water to live. I was dismayed since it holds lots of my childhood memories, and it is a source of livelihood from the people residing near it. That is why I decided to pursue Environmental Engineering with hopes that I can do something to treat those pollutants.
Moving on, I got admitted to Bicol University and pursued Chemistry since Environmental Engineering in not offered in our school. I excelled in my chosen major. And to broaden my horizons beyond the scope of Chemistry, I decided to go beyond my textbooks and indulge in several extracurricular activities. I joined the student council and the Chemical Science Society (CheSS). It was an excellent opportunity to serve the student body since it honed my selflessness, time management, and leadership skills, and in return, it resulted in my development. I was also a part of a national organization called the Philippine Association for Chemistry Students Incorporated under the finance committee while being the Vice-President for external affairs of my home organization which is CheSS. Those organizations taught me how to extensively and effectively build connections with sponsors and other organizations to carry out a particular project. I was also a delegate of the 3rd International Philippine Association of Campus Student Leaders (PACSL) conference held in Baguio City. Lastly, I was also one of the 60 delegates of the Philippines at the 1st Philippine-Korean Youth Forum. The conference and forum strengthened my confidence to speak in public, improved my way of thinking on how to address global issues, and helped me connect and collaborate with Filipino and Korean youths to better understand social, cultural, and global issues. These experiences helped me improve my well-being and taught me skills that I would be needing in pursuing my Bachelor's degree.
My stars seem to be aligning to light my path towards my goals until an unexpected turn of events happened. My father got sick, and my mother got removed from her job, making them unable to support us anymore. My life suddenly went wearisome. My dreams began to fade away. I was worried about how to continue my studies because attending university is expensive in my country. My mother even told me that I should stop for a while. However, in great desperation, I still continued my study. I did every possible part-time job like tutoring, but it still was not enough. Suddenly, I realized I am failing and it feels like I am really a burden to this society. My life was clouded by so much negativity at that moment. However, I did not let it consume my sanity, took it as a challenge, recalibrated my mind-that failure is an asset to greater success, and started moving forward.
Despite the many unfavorable happenings that I was facing, I never gave up. I strived to find other ways. Every day, I searched online for scholarships, grants, and sponsorships. Before I found Global Korea Scholarship, which gave me hope that I can continue my study and materialize my goals, I made sure that I can be of help to the environment and people like us suffering from poverty. I continued my oath as a Green Thumb member in high school and became a volunteer at Team Albay Youth Organization incorporated. We provide relief operations to typhoons, fires, or any natural disaster-stricken communities in Albay. We also conduct clean-up drives, tree planting, and mangrove planting in coastal areas of Albay to help decrease the effects of storm surges and maintain a clean coastal community. These activities made me pursue more my goal of addressing pollutants to salvage the environment.
Like every scientist who lived before me, the main goal is to provide creative and innovative solutions to the world's problems while still living. With this in mind, I plan to undergo an internship and hopefully work at Yucheon Enviro corporation located in Seoul since they specialize in research and development and manufacture of high-quality equipment for water treatment. The company will serve as an avenue for me to learn Korea's way of water sector management and also to contribute ideas for research like usage of bacteria promoting dechlorination fused with high-quality equipment. This will help Korea's problem with the traces of 2-Methylisoborneol (2-MIB) and geosmin on their water supply and can be adopted by my home country for treating water. Furthermore, this program will help me materialize those goals. I was inspired to apply to this program because it provides an excellent opportunity for people like me who have financial difficulties. South Korea is also famous for its unique education system, advanced technologies, and rich culture and traditions. The unique educational system will push me out of my comfort zone and will help me face the unforgiving working environment. The advancement of technology will equip me with the 21st-century skills needed to bring out the best version of myself. The rich culture and traditions will also help me expand my horizon by interacting with people from different walks of life. These aspects strengthened my decision to apply and get this scholarship to the best of my abilities. Even though I will be far from home, I am more than willing to take this opportunity and help bridge cultural gaps between the Philippines and South Korea. With this in mind, I also want to share our country's diverse culture and tradition, strengthening the connection and understanding between the two countries to promote a bond that will last for generations.
Considering my accomplishments, enthusiasm, and experiences that made me sturdy, I am ready to write this new chapter of life-changing opportunity studying Environmental Engineering in a foreign country. And finally, getting admitted to this program will help me prove that growing in a poor family, does not always result in a child who is a failure and a burden to society.