One of the biggest challenges that students have at the beginning of their journey is simply beginning their personal statement. I can recall over a period of many months as the CASPA season began, having almost no idea what to write about. This was particularly distressing and caused me to become even more anxious about the application process!
I went for runs to try to stimulate some creativity and it seemed as though there would be a pattern in my thinking. I would have a few moments of great clarity, begin to jot down my ideas and the process of self-doubt then began over again. Somehow, from being out on the trails to grabbing a pen and paper, I no longer liked any of my ideas and felt sillier for having thought they were good options in the first place.
This cycle continued for a number of agonizing and stressful months until one day I gave myself a deadline. I sat down at my computer desk and did not allow myself to do anything else until I could come up with a framework of 3-4 different ideas/themes to base my personal statement around.
It was a massive success. Something changed in that moment, I no longer seemed to feel stressed or flawed with every thought. My ability to become intentional and set goals immediately reaped results! I had a short list of topics that were meaningful to me and this was one of the key moments in progressing my application forward. The key was ignoring the intimidation of starting that was holding me back so heavily.
So what is the advice from this post today? If you are in the process of starting your personal statement, or really anything in life, deciding to sit down and simply begin is the best thing you can do today toward success. Write something. Write anything. Put a pen to paper. Let your fingers navigate your keyboard. You may be surprised at how quickly your momentum and drive improve!