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"there are benefits to failure" - UT Austin SOP Transfer Essay

preposterous 1 / 1  
Feb 16, 2011   #1
I want to attend UT more than anything, but I'm not sure if my statement of purpose essay is what they're looking for. It might be too long or too personal. Please read and review. Thanks!

"It is never too late to be what you could have been." -George Eliot

I sat on the exam table crinkling the paper nervously. My dad told me Dr. Debroeck did these consults weeks ago but I was eager for an answer. It was sophomore year at Texas State University as I finally spoke about my problems focusing. I didn't have an inability to concentrate, but a problem with distributing the concentration properly. School had never been easy; despite my good grades I had to work harder than my friends, but I thought it might be due to perfectionism and a nagging fear of failure. My doc arranged a neuropsychological test for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Primarily Inattentive and then later wrote me a script for a medication. I was shocked and upset; five years ago I had been tested for AD/HD by a psychologist who claimed my grades were too high to have the disorder. But my doctor was sure of it; he said it affects roughly 5% of the population and many girls go undiagnosed because they try hard to cover up the symptoms.

The next day I went to class and the difference was like putting on glasses when you've had blurry vision your entire life. Issues in World Politics was no longer an intimidating lecture, it was fantastic and easy, and my brain logically connected the details of the Prussian government with ease. I no longer had to write notes verbatim: I could pay attention and write notes at the same time. My mind processed a clear structure from start to finish, not just bits and pieces coming in while I got lost in a different daydream. I was living in true reality and the feeling was incredible. I rushed to the dorm to finish reading that class's chapter and read it in half the time it took me the previous week, with the best comprehension I have ever used while reading a textbook. I cried myself to sleep that night.

Last semester at Texas State was one of the best of my life. Having solved the puzzle of my school problems I was happier than ever. I started storing history facts like a sponge, asserting my opinion in class, befriending strangers in line at Chick Fila, rising to treasurer of Phi Sigma Pi, even braving flag football intramurals to be hideously made fun of by traitorous friends; yet I knew something was missing. My puzzle was not yet complete. Texas State provides a solid education and I had good times there, but I was not being challenged to my true potential. Environment in a school is crucial for me because I like to learn through discussion and am affected by other people's moods. The University of Texas at Austin has such fantastic school spirit that every time I walk on the Forty Acres I feel something within me, some kind of power, and some kind of hope. The more pride you feel for your school, the more likely you're willing to express passion for a cause, a belief, a dream. In turn you inspire others to do the same and thus the cycle continues. Great things come from people who inspire and I'd like to surround myself with the people I've met from UT who feel the same way.

The things I learned in International Relations about the relationships between different countries and their governments will forever benefit me, but I know it's not the major I will shine in. I'm more interested and better suited for creative problem solving by transforming my ideas into a reality that will change the world around me. Growing up I loved thinking up games with my friends and figuring out how to implement them. In Computer Science I can learn the theoretical concepts behind computers, setting me on my way to coding apps for smart phones and inventing new technologies as a software engineer. There's no doubt completing my degree in Austin is a huge advantage as I will have access to cutting edge technology, research, and opportunities for hands on projects all within a very strong department. I keep thinking back to junior year of High School when a few friends and I took a college day to see the UT campus. I remember the Main Building's inscription of "Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free" and the shiver that went down my spine: I had found my favorite quote. Truth was the reason I withdrew from Texas State University. I had been holding myself back because I didn't know what I wanted or what I was capable of achieving, but I'm no longer afraid.

In fact, I've learned that there are benefits to failure. After leaving college I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to self-improvement and believing in myself like never before. I learned that I have a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected. The knowledge that I have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks makes me secure in my ability to survive. I think of the Main Building's famous inscription again and smile. I am free.
mr_gourami 1 / 3  
Feb 17, 2011   #2
I am not sure what you are trying to say with the essay. It is very personal which I think is good. I really like the first part about the adhd. however when you started on TxState I thought it took a negative turn. It was fine to say now that you fixed a medical issue you could do better in school. And even that you felt a connection on ut campus vs tx state. But I am lost as to why you left texas state? Did you quit or graduate? Cause it kinda sounds like you dropped out cause you were too good for texas state and only UT is good enough for you. You were free of texas state?

I doubt that is what you were trying to say. I think you were trying to say that you want a better challenge and want the sense of identity that goes along with being a UT student. The part about wanting to be part of the UT team and access to the resources was good. I think it was the transition I found a little negative. also clear up the part about leaving school. if you dropped out of a school you thought was below you why would you be good enough for UT?
OP preposterous 1 / 1  
Feb 17, 2011   #3
I've been thinking about that and I left it out b/c the essay was too long, it didn't flow well and I was going to put it in my personal essay, but this is the statement of "purpose" so I should probably explain my purpose for dropping out haha. Ok... I withdrew in October b/c I had 82 hours and knew I wanted to major in computer science and the IR classes I was taking wouldn't count for comp. sci. Plus to graduate from UT you have to have 60 hours of residency (class you take AT ut) and if you graduate with hours over the degree plan requirement they start charging you out of state tuition. So I didn't want to take any more classes at Texas State or the comm. college to save money, plus I was afraid they'd reject me with too many hours. Instead I withdrew, went back home, and started working full time.

I guess I didn't want the essay to sound like I was apologizing for what I did or just me explaining everything like crazy, but I agree it does seem odd. And yeah, you're totally right about wanting the identity of a UT student and thinking Texas State wasn't very challenging; not mentioning work and the hours situation might have made me sound stuck up and my words too idealistic. AGH, why do these have to be so short! Thanks for the reality check, and I'll try to make my words less flowery!
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Feb 25, 2011   #4
All I know is that you had to withdraw and work for a while. That happens to people who have to work to get their educations. Sometimes, their grades suffer because of working, and that is okay. People who stop school because they need to work are good people who deserve an opportunity.

The next day I went to class and the difference was like putting on glasses when you've had blurry vision your entire life. Issues in World Politics was no longer an intimidating lecture; it was fantastic and easy, and my brain ...---wow, this is very interesting. Well, it was better because they put you on ritalin or something, right? That stuff sure can help a person focus!

There are some great tricks you can use to get yourself interested. The thing is, I have trouble paying attention, too, when I am not interested in something, so I have to really enter a meditative state of mind and enjoy the subject. Only if I am enjoying it can I pay attention... and I am enjoying your essay right now! It is very well-written, very interesting as soon as you get to the part where you compare it to putting on glasses for the first time. Great job!

I like everything about this essay.

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