Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Purpose-Driven Statement

Been winding up my statement of purpose for grad school, and I guess it's an indication of how much of the process I was unaware of, that I had no clue about this part of it. Even websites devoted strictly to that goal, didn't know they existed.

Why does anyone fork over another twenty grand and two years of their lives? I mean, duh. To learn more, to add more value to their skill sets, to bring that to the table where they work and make more money, blah blah blah. I felt like being a smartass and calling it a "Statement of Porpoise": I am not a dolphin. Oh, the grad-school comedy that can be mined there.

Am I telling them anything they don't know? Of course not; it's about the process itself, and how you can bring your personal experiential style into it. But it's also a huge industry unto itself -- the applications process; the test-taking companies; the $120 textbooks; etc. As with health care, education seems to be something that the Euros got right, and Americans tend to get soaked for.

But all in good cause, I suppose, as this should give me the leg up to be upwardly mobile at a job that I am enjoying immensely and seem to be pretty good at, thus providing more opportunities. This state may be going to hell in a handbasket, but it's got some distance to fall before it approaches about forty-four other states that immediately come to mind. There may be a better, more productive, more equitable, and ultimately more fruitful way for American citizens to get a post-secondary education -- and then turn around and utilize that for their own and the common weal -- without going into hock for the following decade. I'm just sayin'.

But for now, I'm really chomping at the bit to get this party started come August. The statement is polished, the app is done, next week is the GRE and onward to the financial aid funhouse. Good times. It's going to be an interesting summer.

1 comment:

Marius said...

Lotsa luck with that one, Heywood. This application process is a bitch, besides being a rip-off. Since I'm basically the equivalent of a smuggled Mexican at Hopkins (advanced grad students don't make shit once their stipend has run out) I had to take up a small job at the Writing Center. All summer we do nothing but advise students on how to craft their personal statements for med school. I've looked at over 100 now. It's become nauseating.

Of course, nobody's allowed to say that they wanna be a doctor for the money (and the chance to bang their nurses, I guess) -- so, in the spirit of generalized, self-deluded hypocrisy that they instill in you at American schools, you have to make up some shit that explains why you want to go for the doctor thing. I've never seen that many self-confessed idealists in my entire life. Lying motherfuckers. I wonder what personal statements for law schools look like. I'm sure they all say they love the law and want to help mete out justice. I'd get sick to my stomach if I had to read those applications.

I take it you're pondering an MBA? My own statement of purpose was an incoherent ramble, generously sprinkled with banalities and vague promises. But I sort of knew they don't really matter. Anyone crazy enough to go for a graduate degree in philosophy can't possibly know what they really want from life.

Good luck, then. Lemme know if you'd like a second pair of eyes on your draft statements.