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Showing results for tags 'personal history'.



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Found 5 results

  1. Hi, I graduated from my bachelors (BA in Social Sciences) in 2013. When I graduated I was very confused about what I wanted to do, so I decided to move home and work for a before applying for Masters. I took a job in market (qualitative) research about a month after graduating - mostly because of a general interest in culture and human psychology. I stuck around for 2 years because I was told it wouldn't look good if I left earlier, but by the end of it I was sure I did not want to make it a career. I then went into brand consulting, but left after 8 months because the place I worked at was not well managed at all - there were frequent (very) late nights, having to do work that I did not have the skills for and lack of proper training and poor management meant that I was absolutely burnt out by the end of those 8 months. So I quit without another job in hand or a back up plan, which they say you should never do, and took 2 months to just recuperate. I then (on a whim, really) applied for an internship at a think tank in my city where I worked on the website and editorial team - collecting and creating content. I enjoyed this much more than my previous 2 jobs (I think I just liked the people I was working with much more). At this point, aware that I had already worked at 3 different places, I began to feel the pressure to commit to a field of study for my Masters, so I "chose" public policy, even though I haven't actually worked in a policy research think tank and am still not 100% sure I'm passionate about the subject. I am now looking to apply for Masters in Public Policy for fall 2018. To fill my time until then, as I realize most places will not hire someone just for a year, nor do I want to get into the rigmarole of settling into a full time job, I am looking to apply for policy research internships. However, this will mean that I have worked at 4 different places in as many years. How bad will this look on my application? Will universities be wary and think my application looks scattered and confused based on all the different places I have worked? Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thank you!
  2. Hi everyone! I'll try to make this as succinct as possible. I am applying for PhD programs, and one (very, very competitive school) requires both a Statement of Purpose and a Personal History. The Statement of Purpose mainly details your relevant experience, career goals, etc. The Personal History is more, well...personal. Here's how the school describes it: "Anything that can give reviewers a sense of you as a person belongs here; you can repeat information about your experiences in your research statement, but any experiences that show your promise, initiative, and ability to persevere despite obstacles belongs here. This is also a good place to display your communication skills and discuss your ability to maximize effective collaboration with a diverse cross-section of the academic community. If you have faced any obstacles or barriers in your education, sharing those experiences serves both for the selection process, and for your nomination for fellowships. If one part of your academic record is not ideal, due to challenges you faced in that particular area, this is where you can explain that, and direct reviewers’ attention to the evidence of your promise for higher education." "The personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the committee an image of you as a person. This is also where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diverse population in higher education." To put in plainly, I have faced numerous obstacles/barriers to my education. They are very personal, I value every experience I have had for who they have made me, but I'm just a bit hesitant to talk about them, even know it is encouraged. I guess I'm just looking for advice and opinions on what makes sense to include and what is best left out. Let me start by saying: there is nothing in my background that suggests I should have ended up where I am currently, a modestly successful budding researcher at Harvard Medical School. Here we commence a description of my somewhat colorful past. Working class family. I.e., poor growing up. First-gen college student (although my mother did end up achieving an associate's of nursing degree) ADHD, undiagnosed until about age 20--the result is that my childhood was marked by a struggle to perform well in school and a history of being punished for ADHD-related behaviors (speaking out of turn, acting impulsively, etc.) Mother with bipolar depression. I'd love to not go into details about this, but the idea is that this made my years 1-18 incredibly unstable. Both parents are alcoholics and abusive. Again, incredibly unstable and negative upbringing. I myself am an alcoholic. I am sober now, but this has had a huge influence of my life. I am a lesbian. Came out young and the harassment and isolation that followed was swift and relentless. Finally, after graduating college (at which point I developed coping mechanisms for my ADHD, learned to excel in school, had a very positive relationship with my own sexuality, friends, etc.) my family system collapsed when my mother and stepfather (basically my dad since I was 8 years old) got divorced and my mother filed for bankruptcy. After graduation (while I had great grades, research experience, and awards), I was completely broke and went back to my hometown to live with my parents. There are no opportunities in this town, and I had no financial support--I worked for 1 year, saving up enough money to move to Boston and eventually get a job as a research assistant, where I found my current position at Harvard Medical School and where I been ever since. Whew. If you've read this far, thanks for sticking with me. As you can see, a lot of those tidbits are highly personal and perhaps a bit to "real" and dark for an admissions essay. Nonetheless, each and every one represents a hugely significant barrier to education and achievement, each required an enormous amount of creativity and resilience to overcome, and each had overarching effects on who I am today. On to my actual question: what do I say, guys? What makes the most sense to focus on? I know I wouldn't necessarily be doing myself any favors to detail, say, my history as an alcoholic and subsequent attainment of sobriety (although I consider that to be the most impressive thing I have ever done, but I digress...) What version of my history makes the best story? How would you approach an essay with my life's history? I realize this is highly subjective and there is no right answer. I would just greatly appreciate any opinions and thoughts others would be willing to share. Thanks!
  3. So I've been pretty active with my local Occupy for a few months now, and it's become a pretty big part of my life. I've helped plan some big actions and am on a couple committees. My question is whether or not to mention this in personal statements, on my resume, and so on. It's a contentious issue, and I'm afraid admissions boards won't be happy about it. On the other hand, I'm applying to Environmental Economics programs, and environmentalists tend to be activism-minded people. On the same hand, anecdotally it seems to me that most outside support for Occupy comes from those with higher education. I have no citation for this, just my experience talking to people in bars and stuff. A little more about my involvment: I work on logistics stuff. My activity is mostly focused on promoting the flow and dissemination of information (e.g., creating info sheets for new-comers). I do not advocate violence in any way, I advocate for fundamental change in the relationship between business and government. I occasionally march in the street, which I suppose is against the law as written, but I believe my right to march in the street is protected by the First Amendment regardless of a permit. I have never been arrested for my actions, thought I have had a brush with a riot shield or two. Thanks for you help!
  4. I am writing my SOP and have the strong urge to organize my SOP this way: 1. my specific research interest (food of the Middle East) 2. how it fits with the discipline (situated food in context blah blah geography) 3. why I am qualified to study it (world systems theory seminar, food studies, place in my life, academic interest, hebrew language skills) 4. why I chose this school in particular (strong Middle East dept., profs with background in cultural geography theory, food, gender studies) Both official and unofficial suggestions of outlines are usually: 1. intro hook/interest in discipline (place is important/geography but saving research topic for #3?) 2. academic background/qualifications (history major, hard worker, this is still going to sound odd without them knowing my specific interests yet) 3. specific area of interest (food of the Middle East) 4. why this school in particular (see above) Is there a problem with reorganizing my outline how it seems to flow best? Is there some reason adcoms prefer to see it the "usual" way? Do I have to have a charming hook? Shouldn't my research interests be enough, with my personality coming out slowly in my writing? Won't my personal statement be the place for me to write about growing up in a rural setting, immigrant grandparents, my personal interest in the topic, anecdotes, etc.? Thanks! -I Miss Coffee (and wish I was drinking it but I can't, at least not until the anxiety of this application process is over)
  5. I wish to apply for a PhD program in Computer Science next Fall. For personal reasons, I want to stay at a specific geographic region, so there are a small number of Universities that I can apply for. I was thinking about writing to some of the professors of those Universities whose work I find interesting. My academic record is good, but not extraordinary, and I have a few papers published in local journals. My GRE is scheduled in October. What should I write to the professors? Will it be something like an SOP? What things should I highlight? Or should I wait for my GRE score and then write? Your help and advice would be very much appreciated.