If you’re currently struggling to compose a personal statement, college application essay, cover letter, resume, or any other piece of writing you might be submitting to sell yourself as the perfect candidate, you’re not alone. Writing assignments of this nature shake us to the core of our insecurities. When asked for our accomplishments and talents, we’re confronted with our averageness and inadequacies. Finding the right words means finding a balance between narcissism and modesty, exaggeration and outright lies. It’s a slow and painful form of mental torture, which I’m currently watching a close friend of mine endure at this very moment. Desperate to comfort her in any way I can, I composed this personal statement for her, inspired by Hugh Gallagher’s famous application essay to New York University from way back in the 90’s:
At the age of eleven, I was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but opted for muggle school instead, to share my magic with my non-magical peers. I travel alone. I am the mother of three strays. I drink black coffee. When out of ground coffee, I have been known to use any available means, including my bare hands, to grind whole coffee beans. Everywhere I go, the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings can be heard in the background. I don’t wear a bra. I have passed lethal amounts of Tapatio and Hot Cheetos through my digestive tract, repeatedly, and survived to tell the tale. I have peacefully lived with at least two wild possums. I speak to animals, and animals speak to me. I secretly run comprehensive studies on the preschoolers I teach, and relay detailed reports of their behavior to my roommate. I make my own deodorant. I do yoga. With my dog. We call it doga. I pee anywhere, whether a restroom is available or not. Native Hawaiians think I’m from the island. I’ve managed to maintain an outwardly functional life despite the year-long secondhand high I have yet to come down from. I can pour distinct male genitalia into lattes with uncanny accuracy. I once slept in a misty parking lot. I cut my own hair. I wear mismatching socks. I once carried a fifty pound box five or six blocks, just to see if I could. I’m too cool for a lot of things, but Grad School isn’t one of them.