Pick an experience from your own life and explain how it influenced your development.
I had an orientation leader at Butte College who was one of those eccentric folk you couldn’t possibly forget. Most would characterize his appearance as “hippie” – long beard, old loose fitting clothes, and he was all about peace and love. Even if it was just orientation I wouldn’t have forgotten him, but it just so happened that he was in my first college class too. We spoke often and even had study groups with up to four other classmates. The inspiring part was how he talked to people and how he attacked a subject.
This guy would not give up on something if he couldn’t understand it. In dialogues, he’s like Socrates but less antagonistic. With subjects/books, he was relentless; sparking dialogues with others who have dealt with the subject and methodically reading every word of every page in a book. My favorite part, though, was our discussions. It was never a mere “what do you believe” and just agreeing or nodding his head to confirm he heard me; rather, he asked questions and drew comparisons. “Why do you believe that?” “Your belief is similar to this.” And it was incredible.
He was and is my mentor. It was because of him that my interest in education (obtaining knowledge) has skyrocketed, that I don’t just acknowledge I hear people but that I care about what they have to say and wish to fully understand them. He influenced me to love more than I ever had and to share it with everyone. It isn’t any particular experience but the experience of being around him that influenced me.
Describe your most meaningful achievements (drawing from recent work, leadership and volunteer experiences) and how they relate to your field of study and future goals.
I’ve always wanted to build things with my hands; from scratch with no instructions or pre-made materials. My dad, who was in construction for twentyseven years, had this influence on me. He often took me to the work sight and I loved watching how a lot of land went from dirt to a completed building – the flattening of the ground, the laying of the foundation, the putting up of the outline, then the walls and the roof, and finally finishing touches.
This last summer, for the first time I was able to really build something of my own; a cabinet. It has four drawers on the lower half, and three shelves for books on the upper half. I used the wood from another over-sized cabinet we had, and cut it to the size I wanted. Most of what I did to build it were things I have never done before, and so it was a completely new experience for me. I learned how important exact measurements are, knowing how much material you have, and the time, focus, and dedication it takes to finish it nicely.
I am also a track and field coach for a high school. It’s one of the most meaningful if not the most meaningful things I have done in my life thus far. I come out every day trying to influence the student-athletes to better themselves. For the most part, they think we, the coaches, are only concerned with their times or marks or winning meets and championships. Personally, I’m there for them and them only – to see them grow, to achieve, to be the best that they can be, and to transfer the right mentality over into the “real” life as well. Ultimately, it’s about their happiness and making their dreams become reality.