Personal Statement Example 2

Here is an example of a UCAN mentor’s answer to the personal statement prompt:

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Here is a link to the UC’s page on Personal Statements.


Personal Statement Example 2

Growing up, I had no real challenges to overcome. Being a white middle class male, I never experienced discrimination. Having all the advantages in life do a funny thing to a young man; sometimes they are the things that keep you down. I had nothing holding me back but conversely I had nothing pushing me forward. When nothing is cold or hot, a lukewarm life comes easy. And so I simmered. For years after high school I coasted, working for tips as a server so that I could live two towns away from home. Junior College served merely as way to spend five hundred dollars a semester to trick myself into believing I had direction. I never experienced a dramatic turning point (my life has never been about drama), but rather I simply changed by way of affirmation. I examined myself and came the realization that I was afraid to try. Or rather I was afraid of the possibility that I may try and fail. I always assumed that being a perfectionist was a good thing, but I found that it was the way I insulated myself from failure. Attempting something difficult carries the risk of not succeeding, and with it the implication that I’m not as smart as I think. From the spring of 2008 on, I have not let my fear of failure stop me from doing what I need to. The old Thomas would sit paralyzed in front of the computer; unable to so much as write down a thesis for fear that it wouldn’t earn me a stellar grade. Everyone I consult told me the personal statement is THE determining factor in admissions. In writing it, I again felt that voice telling me nothing I write would be adequate, and I should just give up. In reading this, you are witnessing my daily battle against myself.

Socrates once said something about an unexamined life. I took it to heart. As I grow older and more mature I realize that the most important quality an adult can have, is the ability to examine oneself and extend what is learned to the world at large. It’s important to remember that, as humans, we may act a certain way and explain our behavior with, “That’s just who I am.” I now ask the question “Why?” I asked why I had the tools to succeed but left them to rust. What I found made me a stronger, more driven individual. Growth as an individual relies on self- exploration.

I acknowledge that forces operate within me, indeed within everyone, below the surface. Others have inner lives as rich as mine, so I always, always suspend judgment. I barely know my self, so pretending that I have others figured out would be foolish. I proudly consider this perspective a signal of my arrival as an adult.