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UC Prompt #1, Personal Statement Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1082

Personal Statement

What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.

I plan to major in Economics and Sociology. I am from Hong Kong which is one of the freest economies in Asia yet certain signature elements of oriental cultures such as emphasis on family and collectivism are also alive in Hong Kong. Living in Hong Kong and later in the U.S. has provided me with unique perspectives into the dominant economic thoughts in western and eastern economies and I have also come to believe in close relationship between economic policies and social systems.

Economics and Sociology may be considered quite different fields by some but what I find particularly interesting about both fields is the fact that they are intuitive and can be learnt as much through personal experiences as through formal academic education and work experiences. I have always believed in the superiority of capitalism over communism but my historical study of important economic events has also convinced me that capitalism may be the best economic system but it is not entirely perfect. Many academic assumptions do not always materialize in the real world such as logical decision making by market participants. I believe capitalism works best with some government involvement in the economy, especially when it comes to important basic rights such as education and healthcare.

At Diablo Valley College (DVC), I was an active member of Chinese Students Association (CSA) and both participated in as well as helped organize cultural events. The experiences with the student club taught me the importance of achieving objectives with limited resources which is the basic concept in economics. At the same time, I also learnt that clubs or even large scale organizations works best when leaders understand the social environment as well as the individual players within it. Successful leaders are not the ones with the greatest skills or strengths but the ones who can inspire everyone to get behind a common cause. I also enjoy meeting people so my personal experiences have also taught me the importance of learning about the social background of others to better understand them and avoid misunderstandings.

I have ravelled extensively around the world which has helped me learn more about the advantages and shortcomings of different economic and social systems around the world. For example, I have learnt that democracy is the best indicator of economic progress in the long term but democracy is also often slow to respond to immediate challenges due to bureaucracy and the need to obtain common consent. This is why European countries have been unable to effectively deal with economic crisis because many of the painful solutions are not being implemented due to lack of support by the public and government officials often worry about their re-election prospects than what is best for their respective countries in the long term.

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?

As a student in primary school in Hong King, I didn’t do really well as a student, even prompting one of my teachers to claim that I do not have the potential of my brother and will never succeed in life. The comment further discouraged me to take my studies seriously. It was not until I got another teacher after few years that I finally recovered my desire to take studies seriously. The new teacher would often tell me that I have lot of talent and with little hard work, I can show impressive results. He would also encourage me to come to him with any problem or issues I may. The results even surprised me because I ended up doing well in courses I thought I could never do well. It is not that my potential or talent changed overnight; it was just the attitude that made the whole difference. I eventually found out that the teacher had studied in the U.S. I am really proud of the fact that I changed my attitude towards life and regained my desire to excel in life. But at the same time, the experience has also taught me the value of having supporting people in one’s life.

In many eastern cultures including Hong Kong, people are often quick to judge one’s potential on temporary failures or setbacks. They often fail to realize that sometimes the reasons are not related to individuals but the environment. In America, failure is not seen as a source of embarrassment but an opportunity to learn and becoming even more determined to succeed. My teacher had studied in the U.S. which probably changed his attitude towards failure and also taught him the power of encouraging others and enhancing their self-confidence.

The experience has also made me more sensitive to others’ issues and problems and I have become better at listening. When we listen to people, we motivate them to be more honest about their ideas and opinions which results in better understanding. We can only help people when we know their real issues. The experience has also significantly increased my self-confidence and I don’t get intimidate by tough challenges anymore. I have acquired the ‘can-do’ attitude and consider it to be one of my most precious personal traits.

The experience has also made me more realistic and practical in life. When I am faced with a problem, I try to understand the reasons behind the problem and even discuss them with family members and friends to seek their opinion. The problems do not go away until we deal with them and time only makes the matters worse. In other words, I feel like I have greater control over my life and my destiny and the beginning of all of it was merely an encounter with a teacher who believed in me and taught me to never doubt my true potential just because of some skeptics.

Life is not a race but a marathon and few disappointments cannot determine our fate for as long as we don’t give up. At the same time, we cannot overestimate the importance of having supportive relationships which is why I am also determined to make positive difference in other people’s lives by motivating them to be the best they are capable of being.

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