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'the way I have been raised' - Personal statement for UC admissions

joyciiyang 1 / 4 1  
Nov 3, 2012   #1
Hsuan-Yi Yang

I have come a long way in finalizing with psychology as my major after numerous visits with my counselor. I was going through hardships with personal struggles as well as financial troubles within the family. A part of me wanted to make my parents proud since they never attended college nor did their first child. However, the other part of me had no faith in believing that I actually had a chance in attending a University that I desire with the thought of being unable to afford it. I felt helpless and almost gave up, thus led to a lousy semester. During Spring 2012, I was enrolled in three honor classes along with Anatomy. Although I thought I could overcome the hardships, I came to find out that I only felt unmotivated and distressed due to no clear directions ahead of me. The awful semester really led me down since I have high expectations in myself. However, after the failure, I learned to better cope with obstacles in life and not to give up so quickly. Although my mistake cannot be undone, I now have more room of improvement and a reminder to always inspire me to keep working hard regardless of life's circumstances.

Now, with the assistance from the counselor, I developed interest in becoming a counselor to guide students who are lost in directions in life as I was. After enrolling in the Abnormal Psychology class, I feel more assuring of my decision. I am absolutely fascinated with the astonishing personalities people develop due to different causes. Also, I am doing much better this semester with all my concentration and focus in school; I am fully on track in all my classes and I hope to prove to others and myself that I can achieve my goal in getting straight A's with all my dedication.

One other source in guiding me into the psychology field was after volunteering at Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, a free clinic promoted by Buddhists to help low income families and individuals that cannot afford health insurance to receive free or low-cost medical services. During the volunteer experience, I learned about some qualities about myself that I did not acknowledge before. Although I worked at the registry desk, I would only acquire paper work and information from patients, I saw many people who struggled from either health conditions or financial hardships. Also, I saw how appreciative and thankful they were after receiving medical and other services from doctors, staffs and volunteers who were very friendly and helpful. Since I was only a volunteer and I worked at the registry, I could not do much to help people. However, I was very patient with anxious and sometimes furious patients whether on the phone or in person. The head nurse was even surprised when patients asked to speak with me without knowing I was only a volunteer not a staff member. Each "thank you" I would receive warmed my heart. I then realized helping others not only make their days, my days were made as well. I decided that I want to study psychology and eventually become a counselor or a clinical therapist to help those who struggle with their lives by assisting them in solving their problems or assisting them through their struggles.

Although I have no particular talents such as playing instruments or anything in particular, I do have great personal qualities that I feel proud of. I am grateful for the way I have been raised. My parents taught me good morals and manners; they basically shaped the person I am today. However, my proudest accomplishment would be helping my aunt take care of my younger cousin with mental illness and other medical conditions.

My younger cousin was born with heart problems and later on diagnosed with anoxic brain damage due to lack of oxygen during his second heart surgery at the age of ten months. On top of the brain damage, he experienced a stroke thus leading to both speech and physical impairments. In 2005, my mom took over full care for him with my assistance in translating at doctor's appointments as well as feeding, bathing, transferring, and other living essentials. I remember before I started taking care of him, I kept a distance every time I saw him because he would always slobber and his abnormal behaviors would frighten me. At that time, I did not realize that he would later play a significant role in my life throughout high school and college. He basically was my inspiration in wanting to help out others and in establishing that as a goal and a career. I built up so much patience after providing care for him. Also, I became more empathetic due to having an abnormal child in my family. I am able to feel for others more than before and feel the desire to assist others to make a difference and make their lives better in any way possible.

Every compliment I receive saying what a great cousin I am makes me proud and feel even more motivated to help out those who in need and are not as fortunate as my cousin with such love and care. I wish to contribute to the community more in the future within my ability and to make a difference in one's life is my ultimate goal.

I do not have the time to participate in extracurricular activities. However, providing the best care for my younger cousin is my extracurricular activity in which I reward the most from and learn the most from. One day, I want to make a difference. One day, I will make my parents proud and finish the dream they never had before.
dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Nov 3, 2012   #2
Hi joyciiyang,

It's a pleasure helping you with giving my comments. Here are my suggestions for the proceeding para:

Now, with the assistance from the counselor, IMy own personal issues and the support I received from my counselor to overcome them convinced me the value of counselling that led me to develop akeen interest in becomingstrong passion to become a counselor to guide students who arehave lost in directions in life as I wasonce had been. After enrolling in the Abnormal Psychology class, I feelfeltmore assuring of mythat I made the right decision. I ambecame absolutely fascinated with the astonishing personalities that people develop due to different causes(this is a bit confusing to the reader. What do you mean? better re-phrase ).Also, I am doing much better this semester with all my concentration and focus in school; I am fully on track in all my classes and I hope to prove to others and myself that I can achieve my goal in getting straight A's with all my dedication.That semester put me back on track with my fullest enthusiasm and commitment and I was able to secure very good scores for the subjects I took up.

From the reader's point, I have a problem in understanding whether you talk about events happened earlier or you are still in college and talking about the present. It happens because you sometimes write in present tense. If you tell me the purpose of this essay and what you intend to write here, I think I can help you better if you need my help.

dumi : )
OP joyciiyang 1 / 4 1  
Nov 3, 2012   #3

Once again, thank you so much for your help.
For the volunteer experience, that has happened already. And for the abnormal psychology class, that is happening right now.
However, I feel that your revision works well and I will revise my paper using your advice.

Thank you.
OP joyciiyang 1 / 4 1  
Nov 4, 2012   #4

You're such a great writer and a huge helper to me. Thank you so much!
Heina 5 / 14 4  
Nov 4, 2012   #5
Hi Dumi, Nice to meet you, I really appreciate your careful revision. Can you help me with my 2 recent essay? Thanks you so much ;)
OP joyciiyang 1 / 4 1  
Nov 4, 2012   #6
Hello Dumi,

Thanks for your advice. However, the second part of essay turns out to be shorter than expected. Do you have any suggestion as to what I should add?

Thank you!
dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Nov 5, 2012   #7

Is there any particular word count for your SOP? Generally they dont have.

If you dont have such a requirement, don't try to lengthen it by repeating ideas. The only issue I see in your essay is that you do not talk much about your credentials. You talk a series of events and experiences that nurtured a love for studying psychology. It's important but you need to have other dimensions also displayed in the SOP. Remember, your personal statement is the one that makes the first impression about you.

Also I feel that it is better to avoid highlighting your weaknesses or the things you dont have. Why dont you take the extra curricular part out?
OP joyciiyang 1 / 4 1  
Nov 5, 2012   #8

I think just within the 1000 words limit I should be fine. Also, at least 250 words for each part. There is two parts of the personal statement. One is to talk about my intended major and how I developed the interest; the second part is to write about personal qualities or talents. I guess I could talk about being in the honors program and that's really all I've got. And I will take the extracurricular activity part out because you are right.

Thank you.
dumi 1 / 6,927 1592  
Nov 5, 2012   #9
Okkkkk... ....
Why repost your final version... then I can have a look at it having the infor you provided with me. Also, if wish to be in touch with me via personal mails for this application, give me your e-mail address and I will write to you.

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