In August 2014, I decided I want to pursue my masters in 2015. I found a course I love and I applied. The thing is they want to know what I want from life. To everyone that is curious about what it’s like to write your Statement of Purpose and to those who aren’t, I am going to put it out there anyway – Writing an SOP is like introspecting on a very disturbing level. On a serious note, however, the process of listing down what I want, how I want to attain it and why I deserve it has been a beautiful roller-coaster. For the past couple of months I have been writing, re-writing the draft to my statement of purpose.
Sometimes I find myself forgetting how I got to a certain point in life. Some journeys are not memorable but they are as important as the ones that stay with you. I have a feeling I will forget the process of writing my sop. This being an important memory, I am going to record it.
For as long as I can remember, I have practised introspection on a daily basis…as a hobby. I think about everything I read, everything I do, and why I do it, and how I do it, and what is the meaning of life? Not only do I practice this on myself, I also think about the lives of other people. I try to analyse their actions, the motivations behind them and how I would have reacted if I was in that situation. I learn from other peoples’ experiences as well as my own. As I began to write my personal statement I realised soon enough that this was going to be no joke. This wasn’t a piece of writing for a target audience. It is for me to recognise my desire. When I reflect on my life, I like to be free. I don’t restrict my thoughts or opinions based on norms and expectations. There’s a world I build inside my head. I think in random order and then connect it all. To put it simply, my mind is a messy room with piles of information, aspirations and ideas; and only I know how to get around. Writing the SOP was like cleaning up that room for anyone else to wander through.
It wasn’t the kind of introspection I was comfortable with. This was extreme and organised. I normally think of my personal and professional life in separate strings of thought. Though my professional aspirations are driven by my personal ethics I never consciously analyse it as part of my daily “personal growth” introspection. As I began to pen down my story for someone else to read, I found parts that I never deeply connected to. They were just there – passing obsessions that were never weeded out. I had been holding onto false ambitions – some that have evolved with time, and some that had no real reason to exist in my mind to begin with. I had to take a step back and read the prose from another person’s perspective; I had to be truthful about what I saw. With every word I began to recognise my true aspirations and my ability to fulfill them. I was surprised at how much I had underestimated myself, and on occasions, overestimated too.
Am I who I am today, or am I who I want to be tomorrow, or am I who I was yesterday? This is a question that made me most anxious. Not because I don’t know the answer, but because I don’t know how this answer will manifest itself in my future. The process that began with me trying to be the perfect candidate for a particular course, ended with a discovery of my aspirations today and a motivation to move beyond what I discovered. And hence begins my new year with so much to look forward to.