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Personal Statement- Why having Asperger's has inspired me to join Peace Corps


SHABAIL 1 / 17  
Feb 9, 2010   #1
If someone would be willing to critique and check my essays for grammatical mistakes the advice would be greatly helpful and appreciated. If there are any former or current Peace Corps volunteers who have pointers as to what a recruiter might be looking for in this essay or my second, your words would be priceless. Thank you for taking the time to review this in advance!

Acting like a Diplomat



My reasons for wanting to serve as Peace Corps volunteer stem from a life history of struggle and self discovery. Until being formally diagnosed in college, I have grown-up untreated with a neurological condition known as Asperger's syndrome (AS). AS is an autism spectrum disorder that is exemplified by difficulty in social interactions and eccentrical mannerisms. Having AS as a childhood made it very challenging to meet new people (let alone to keeping lasting relationships), make friends, or speak in front of groups. When forced into such situations anxiety overwhelmed me, and I often retreated within myself. Without treatment or counseling to help me overcome my barriers to forming real relationships with people I was incredibly lonely and became detached from my peers, my teachers, and my family.

To help me with my condition my mother did something that forever changed me; she made me volunteer. Being a reluctant 9 year old, I did at first feel obligated to give up my afterschool play time just to spend it handing out donated pastries at a local soup kitchen. However, I soon came to understand that my time was not being wasted, but rather I was spending it helping people and forming human connections. For the first time I felt like I was apart of a community and it was that feeling that fueled a calling in me.

I continued to serve my community by joining Key Club in high school. Key Club was yet another eye-opening experience to a new and much larger picture. By joining Key Club I was able to not only serve local, but nationally, and internationally. In order to make a larger impact I took on community service projects such as the "Trick-or-Treat" fundraiser for UNICEF. To be successful in these pursuits I had to learn to speak to crowds in order to express the importance of what I was doing. Although I was only one person my contribution was making global differences.

When volunteering, communication transcends words and the relationships that are made take on a profound meaning. Learning to communicate with people through my actions and intentions has made me realize it does not matter that I am shy or awkward, because in the end it boils down to the fact that I am making a difference in lives of others; a feeling words can not describe. Coming to this realization has given me purpose and allowed me to surpass the textbook limitations of AS.

I want to continue my journey into the next stage of my life by joining Peace Corps after college. With the confidence I have gained from volunteering, I know I can exemplify the mission of the Peace Corps by doing whatever is needed of me for the betterment of others. To do so successfully I know I will perform the Peace Corps 10 Core Expectations to the best of my abilities. The Expectations that will present themselves as personal challenges are:

9. Recognize that you will be perceived, in your host country and community, as a representative of the people, cultures, values and traditions of the United States of America;

10. Represent responsibly the people, cultures, values and traditions of your host country and community to people in the United States both during and following your service.

Both of these expectations would require me to act as diplomat; the test being for two cultures simultaneously. In order to fulfill both of these expectations I would have to learn to be completely flexible, and open-minded to the ideas and opinions of the people within the community of my host country in addition to embracing their culture wholeheartedly. Having overcome many difficult social situations, facing these unique obstacles will be one of many life lessons I would aspire to accomplish in order to serve effectively in the communities of other countries.
nicol018nie 2 / 6  
Feb 9, 2010   #2
hi, sharla, I found your essay so I came in, and I am moved by your story, I wanna say "Good for you!"

I wish you luck on it ! ^^
OP SHABAIL 1 / 17  
Feb 10, 2010   #3
Thanks
amruta 1 / 1  
Feb 10, 2010   #4
Dear Sharla,
Amazing Story and a really good essay.. I am hoping to join grad school this fall and have just completed one application, thinking that its so much work...

But ur story has really inspired me!

All the best for your future..

-Amruta
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 10, 2010   #5
AS is an autism spectrum disorder that is exemplified by difficulty in social interactions and eccentric mannerisms.

This is a place to use a colon:
To help me with my condition my mother did something that forever changed me: she made me...

With the confidence I have gained from volunteering, I know I can exemplify the mission of the Peace Corps by doing whatever is needed of me for the betterment of others.---- wow, you are a good writer!

How about like this? ----> Both of these expectations would require me to act as diplomat; the challenge will be to harmonize cultural differences and solve interpersonal problems.
OP SHABAIL 1 / 17  
Feb 12, 2010   #6
Thank you


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