Below is my original personal statement from when I applied to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Although this is unorthodox, I think it offers important insight into myself as a person, as well as my individual and unedited writing style.
Senior year of high school I was what most would consider a “golden girl”. There was never a part of my day that wasn’t filled with a résumé building activity. I was captain of my cheerleading and track & field teams, worked two jobs, volunteered, was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, performed in musicals, was part of two honor societies, and graduated at the top of my class. My jam-packed schedule forced me to budget my time and excel in all aspects of my life. I wanted to live up to everyone’s extreme expectations for me, which is why I was shocked when I dropped from a 3.95 high school GPA to a 2.65 in my first collegiate semester. I came to college because that’s what you are supposed to do, not because I was ready. My freshman year tried and tested all aspects of my character, and by the end, I didn’t recognize myself. I struggled in classes, wasn’t motivated or inspired, and everything I used to love became a relentless burden. When I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder before my sophomore year, all of the eternal struggles from the year before finally made sense. ADHD transformed everything I thought I knew about school, life and, most importantly, myself. After my diagnosis, what most people would consider a setback, I saw something new about myself that was, and is, utterly and whole-heartedly me. After being diagnosed I wiped the slate clean. I needed to feel like myself while coping with my ADHD. I needed to play to my strengths and desires instead of conceding to others expectations. I needed the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and luckily, I found it.
ADHD manifests itself with impulsivity that sidetracks me from what I am trying to say. My brain works so fast with so many different ideas that my network of connections bursts through different areas of my subconscious. I see connections others normally wouldn’t, as my onslaught of ideas moves so fast that I forget where I was originally going. I’m a person who is ecstatic, always bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm. I want to learn and understand, but my exterior façade occasionally clouds my ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints to the extent that I get lost within myself. Writing is calm. It has a certain fluidity to it that my everyday persona doesn’t express, a serious and tame demeanor that not many people get to see. By writing, I can express what I want to express and how to express it. I can persuade whom I want to persuade with only my ideas, my insight, my voice. Writing allows me to edit my impulsivity. Writing allows me to have a voice in the way I want it to be heard.
I have always been known as an outgoing and friendly person, which was unknowingly bettered by my ADHD. I love to identify with others, get inside their heads, and understand whom they are in an effort to truly connect with them. I love people, regardless of the context or situation, whether I have known them forever or just encountered them. There is something about talking to a stranger that is so much more intimate than speaking with someone you have known your whole life. When talking with a stranger, there are no boundaries, no preconceived notions, nothing to obscure honesty and truth. There is only true and utter humanity. ADHD gives me the confidence to be an open book, which enables me to forge deeper and more meaningful connections with everyone I am lucky enough to encounter.
What others saw as a problem, I embraced as something that is crucial to being exactly who I am and necessary for where I am going. The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is not only what I want, but what I need. I have an unadulterated passion for writing, communicating, and the spoken word, which makes this program the perfect fit. SJMC is creative, not static. In a day and age when everyone can be their own reporter, coming out of school with a journalism degree gives me an advantage that few have. This program will perfect and hone my skills while permitting me to thrive as I play to my strengths, and my true passion. Strategic communicators have the power to frame messages that relate to people, evoke emotion, and make someone really think. My goal is to induce change. I want to relate to people, bring them together, make them think, and to positively impact the world. Although the School of Journalism and Mass Communication isn’t what was everyone expected from this “golden girl”, it is what I expect my future to be built upon.