College: Personal Statement for UW

This is the Personal Statement I submitted with my University of Washington college application. It seems so long ago, but I’m glad I kept it around as a reminder of how far I have gone. 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2005

It’s the PERSONAL STATEMENT, y’all! (FINALLY!)

In the two years of studying in Shoreline Community College, I have come to appreciate things that really matter.At the start of my educational career, my parents have instilled upon me that I should do my best to get high grades. They expected a lot from me; if somehow a not-so high grade prints out on my report card, they get all antsy and tell me that I should do better next time. At first, I wasn’t too keen on them putting a lot of pressure on me, but I started to grow into it. I vied for the highest grade that I could possibly get in every subject. I wanted to be in the 90-100 percent range of the grade system, any number below 90 was just not good enough for me.

When I became a senior in high school, I started applying for colleges. As I look through the requirements and the expectations that each college application have written out, I was a bit surprise or rather shocked to find out that “good” grades was not enough for an admission to a reputable/respectable college. I stressed on and on about why universities need to see community work and extracurricular activities, when I have a CGPA of 3.6. I angrily ask every person I talked to then, “isn’t good grades not enough of an evidence that I’m a good student who deserves a spot in the admitted students list?”

When I started studying at Shoreline Community College (SCC), I began to experience the trauma of getting low grades. I became hard on myself and I got stuck in a black hole known as “self-pitying”. Then one day I had an epiphany, one that I had when I, along with a group of friends, performed for a group of elders at a nearby nursing home. I realized then that grades that I get from every courses that I take are not that important but what is more important is applying what I have learned in each subject into real life experiences. It was more of sharing what I know and what I’ve learned to the community that is around me. After that time, I made one of the most liberating and intelligent decision, I decided to not pay too much importance on the number that I receive, but rather appreciate and apply the vast information that I have learned in a four cornered room to the immeasureable world out there.

After I’ve realized that real world experience was more important, I started to volunteer more openly and without the notion of “I have to volunteer, in order for my college applications to look nice”. I’m currently a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Club at SCC and whenever an opportunity to get myself involved in the community arises during our meetings, I sign my name up to join in. I, along with the other club members, have participated in the Christmas food drive of St. Mark’s Church, located here in Shoreline, for the St. Vincent de Paul charity. We also participated in the toy drive that was held at the Child Haven Center, located in Downtown Seattle. We also performed Christmas carols for a group of elders at the FOSS home located in Greenwood, Seattle. Such volunteer opportunities that I participated in has given me a sense of what I really love to do, which is helping people.

We all started to think about what we want to be when we grow up when we were only five years old. But during that time, we were naive and innocent little kids. We didn’t know what the “real world” was really about. But as we grew older, the world started awakening us more, consequently making us think more seriously about what we really want to be. I chose Biochemistry as my major because I know I can do so much with such broad major. It can be a stepping stone to medical school or a background for a job application to a biotechnology firm, both of which can be a good way to help people out. However, I haven’t formally decided on what I’m going to do once I earn my degree I still don’t know how to choose between going to medical school or just apply to local biotechnology firms to do research work.

I choose to apply for transfer to University of Washington because I feel certain that I can choose my path in life once I start exploring the curriculum in Biochemistry. The program gives its students the opportunity to explore ways to apply the knowledge that they have gained from their courses through research studies in the university’s own research facilities or the biotechnology companies that surround the school. As for the students who are taking Biochemistry as a stepping stone to medical school, they have an easy access to the Children’s Hospital that is near to the university, where they can volunteer or work to gain clinical experience.

I may not have a decision on what I’m going to do my life in the next ten year or so. But I know that my admission to University of Washington will help me decide on what my path will be.

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