By: a guest on Aug 19th, 2012
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I’m applying, essentially, because I’m a scientist and an experimenter. I've already experimented with many alternate opening sentences, and in a perfect test environment, I'd be able to gauge your reaction in real time and edit my personal statement multiple times over accordingly, to optimise likability. The foremost purpose of this essay is to highlight and double-highlight how ingrained into my personality and everyday thought-processes the scientific method and logic-based reasoning is. I don’t feel any need to make overbearing clichés with regards to how early I started loving physics – after all, in the paraphrased words of physicist and author Neil DeGrasse Tyson, all children are naturally scientists, instinctively grasping for knowledge at any opportunity. I’ve never lost touch with this childlike inquisitional instinct, and there’s still little more inherently satisfying to me than finding a novel solution to a challenging problem. I really, genuinely enjoy watching the pieces of a puzzle start to fit together; when a concept suddenly makes so much sense after it’s explained.
I find Physics enjoyable to learn about, but applying one’s learning in solving problems creatively is, in and of itself, rewarding. It’s rewarding in a way that nothing else really is, for me. I also enjoy a stiff challenge – something I’m frankly not getting from A-levels. Mathematics is fun - abstractness can make for interesting problems - but it isn’t as rewarding as physics in a real-world way. Physics is especially fun to learn and rewarding to apply.
This tends to set me apart from a lot of other candidates; I pursue knowledge not to satisfy my bank account or parents, but because I have a genuine interest in it. I’m also set apart from other candidates by my reliance on a comprehensive understanding of the topic at hand and ad-hoc reasoning, rather than memorisation of a process or volume of information. I’m generally dissatisfied with “it just is” as an explanation, and frequently prod teachers for private further clarifications. I’m a very quick learner, grasping new concepts immediately, and generally a quick and able thinker. I have demonstrated this through consistently high grades throughout my entire education, achieving ten A* grades at GCSE from a plain-average Mancunian local secondary school (at least four A* grades better than the closest competitor). My RE teacher must have seen some potential, as she allowed me to take my RE GCSE in Year 7 (four years early), in which I achieved an A grade. I then took Religious Studies AS level in Year 8, attaining a B. I finished off the qualification with a C at A2 grade in Year 9 of secondary school with zero formal teaching (I taught myself from a textbook), a fact I must draw your attention to. I think this level of motivation and drive to learn, coupled with the ability to self-teach, demonstrate exactly the kind of skills required at university level.