Personal Statement

This is the personal statment for the Common App.

My brain never turns off. Problem solving and efficiency have always been a part of me. I am always asking myself, “Can this be done better?” I’m not sure if it’s related to my effort to eliminate distractions, my ADHD, or the nature of being a swimmer. It’s just something I can’t quite stop. There is a part of my brain always thinking of new plans, new ways to do things, new inventions. It is this constant thought and drive that really helps me find focus with my academics and my career as a swimmer. In ninth grade I noticed that our old, hard classroom desks were so uncomfortable they kept me distracted. I began to think of ways to make the desks bearable. That is when I thought of the “JCush”. It would be a 14 by 10 inch foam cushion to place on each chair. I ordered a three-inch thick foam mattress online, cut out my cushions, and then gave them to students in my class. The JCush caught on quickly and many people started using them. They made learning comfortable, physically at least. I love inventing because inventions make life easier. When I returned home after morning practice one day, once again I heard my mom yell from downstairs, “Joseph, please come and help me turn on the TV!” As I hustled down to her I said to myself, “There has to be a better way to do this.” I quickly fumbled with the remotes and turned on the news. When I had taken more than the usual trips to the garage and had my duct tape in tow, my mom and I exchanged looks. She knew I had gotten myself into something and she was excited to see the result. Soon I had constructed a super-remote-contraption that clearly labeled the duct tape-bound TV remotes. When I explained to her how to use it, I could tell she was happy since she could now help herself. At practice one day, our normal swim team banter that occurs during those few moments we are resting on the walls together, had turned to constructing a battle bot. It had to be fast, shoot airsoft guns, and be able to stream video back to the driver. As we swam laps, my brain started creating. I wanted nothing more than to see this little battle bot come to fruition. For several days, I drew up plan after plan. Then I created the perfect model. I started tearing apart all of my old RC models for the parts needed. Servos, plastic sheets, batteries, wires, speed controls, and a friend’s RC monster truck were just some of the accumulated parts. I borrowed tools from my uncle and got to work. I cut and shaped melted plastic, soldered wires, and measured parts. After several weeks of prototypes and mistakes, I had made the final product. My friends and I drove our robot through obstacle courses, harassed siblings, and bombarded targets. This battle bot was a boy and his friend’s dream come true. When I see problems, or have ideas, I do not push them to the back of my mind and ignore them. Instead, I tackle the challenge until I have created the solution. It does not really matter if it is my school, my family, or my friends. I am a problem solver, a team player, and an internally driven person.

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