Personal Statements (Blerrrrrg….)

This post should really be entitled “Persaonl Statements (Blerrrrg….), Noodles, Spanish, and Psychotherapy.  But that would make for a very long title that would probably scare everyone away.  After that mouthful in the header, we would ALL need psychotherapy.

I blame Spanish for the fact that I didn’t write yesterday.  Summer semester officially started, and because it’s very rush rush, there were flashcards to be made.  103 of them, to be precise.  I also started my Theories of Psychotherapy course, which I think I will love.  We get to learn all the different “fix-it” theories for the human brain AND he’s giving us the option to write a five to six page paper over giving a fifteen minute presentation to the class.  What’s not to love, right?  But eight hours of two classes a day is a definite (sleepy) thumbs down.  However, Psychotherapy was cancelled today, and Spanish is cancelled tomorrow.  A birthday present?  Perhaps.  I ordered Noodles and Co. for myself (Truffle Mac with parmesan chicken) and came home to write.  And maybe get further ahead in my homework.  But probably just write.

I’m working on writing my personal statement for grad school applications, or at least the shell of it.  I’ve had something pretty basic written for a while, but I reopened the file recently and decided I hated it.  Now I’m starting over.  I need it to be perfect.

I have no hook.  My introduction is uninteresting.  Does this mean that I’m uninteresting?  Not necessarily…though sometimes it’s debatable.  I think it simply means that I don’t know how to make myself interesting on the page.  However, this is also a lie.  I DO know how to make myself sound interesting; I’ve done it before.  From that perspective, I guess I don’t know what my issue is with this.  Why do I want to study writing; what motivates/d me?  Do I have accomplishments?  (Not particularly, so I better make myself sound REALLY good.) And academically?  What will I say.  “Got (mostly) all As.”  That’s super exciting.  (Though I suppose this is where writing tutoring would come into play.)

How do I write a statement that is somewhat personal, specific, detailed, and formal, and keep that to 500 words…?  (Some can be 1000, but still.)

I want to study writing because I love it.  I want to study writing because it gives me a voice.  I’m not really sure what else to say.  In my undergrad personal statement, I used my son as a hook.  But that was completely different.  Yes, I want him to be proud of me.  Sure.  But it isn’t all about him anymore.  My life is not all about him.  There are other things, other paths.  And I can remember him, but I can go on and be okay with that.  It’s a part of my life, what happened, (ALL the things that have happened), but it’s not my life.

Cheryl Strayed says it well (And yes, I’m going to quote her in ridiculous amounts, because she’s my current writing hero.):  “It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike.  Everything except the fact that i didn’t have to know.  That is was enough to trust that what I’d done was true.  To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was … To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore.  To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough.  That it was everything.  It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred.  So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.  How wild it was, to let it be.”

Life is a series of unfortunate events.  We choose which ones we let affect us.  Writing is one life event that has particularly touched me, and it has given me a way to communicate when there was no other way.  Writing is more than just putting words on a page to me.  It’s a method of speaking; it’s a method of connecting; it’s a method of being.  I’m not sure I can sum up the way I feel.

All this to say.  I’m stuck on this personal statement thing.


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