Ascending

Personal statement.

I walk into the darkened nave of the church, ascend the steep incline between the pews, and stop at the vacant and quiet sanctuary. At the top of my climb is an illuminated room full of lively preschool children chattering with one another and busy with crayons. As I sit trying to make sense of the paper, scissors, and glue placed before me, my teacher attempts to quiet the classroom while talking with a pen in her mouth, causing her words to emerge in a loud, incoherent hum. None of the children seem to understand what she is saying but I intuit the sounds and shape them into words for her as I announce to the class that the teacher wants us to be quiet. Right away, my teacher identifies my talent for listening. She knows that she had not been talking in a clear and articulate voice and yet I was able to decode her mumbling. Even at the young age of four, I had an affinity for sound. This aptitude has stayed with me my entire life and helped me negotiate difficulties and grow as a person.Throughout my life, I have tried out several different musical instruments. Whether I was plucking on strings, tapping on keyboards, or banging on drums, I was seeking to channel my emotions, speak a language, and create a space in which I could find peace-of-mind through music. My childhood was defined by a frenetic mobility—between the ages of seven and 24, I moved between Chicago and Seattle no less than six times—and, as a result, I did not feel rooted in the world. Music, however, traveled with and grounded me. It served as a counterpoint to the instability, depression, and confusion that permeated my life. My problems were serious and, much as music could distract me from them, I needed to introduce some structure into my life. When I was 19 years old, this came in the form of work. My first job after high school was at a small health food store on Chicago’s trendy Halstead Street. Although I had only a vague concept of what “health food” comprised, my experience of working in a holistic environment ultimately changed my perspective on life dramatically. In particular, I was stunned by the direct but often overlooked connection between diet and emotions. Initially, I spent a great amount of time investigating this connection in my own body and, once convinced of its validity, went on to discuss the subject with other people. Similar to my affinity for sound, I started to notice my affinity for nutrition. Amazed by the personal empowerment I had discovered, I strove to describe, as precisely as possible, how different foods affected my moods, which is a practice I continue to this day.It was also during this time that I read Deepak Chopra’s Quantum Healing and became fascinated by his perspective on the mind-body connection. His conception of health as a state of balance was nothing new; however, his identification of the deep level at which this equilibrium could be reached was. As he says in the book, “[Q]uantum healing makes peace. When consciousness is fragmented, it starts a war in the mind-body system. This war lies behind many diseases, giving rise to what modern medicine calls their psychosomatic component.” For a person such as myself whose life was generally turbulent, discovering an accessible means to achieve peace was mind-blowing. Essentially, Chopra’s views convinced me that my own experience with nutrition and emotional healing was concrete, not just academic, evidence of the power to take control of my life.Now I want to harness that power and channel it toward a degree. My academic experience to date is an interrupted and fragmented tale. Ten years ago, I enrolled at Seattle Central Community College in order to satisfy the prerequisites for applying to Bastyr University’s naturopathic program. In the intervening years, I found myself needing to put this plan on hold in order to attend to my financial needs and work responsibilities. Nevertheless, I never lost sight of my desire to graduate and, although it has taken me ten years to do it, I am on the threshold of achieving my initial goal and will earn my A.A. this year. In retrospect, this protracted route has been worthwhile, as it has allowed me to reflect on what I truly want from my education, namely, as bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business administration. Although these may seem like disparate pursuits, I believe that these particular disciplines will complement one another as I pursue my current goal to become a school administrator with a background in developmental psychology. Ever since I was that little girl in that schoolroom in the back of a church, I have known that I had talents that I am only now able to clearly envision as a career. Given the spectrum of my experience from my nomadic childhood to holistic adulthood, I know I have a lot to offer in the field of education. The first step, however, is getting an education of my own. 

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