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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Comeback Kid

Recently, I've been spending time revising and editing my statement of purpose for this year's upcoming JET program. I felt very good about it last time and it might well have been. Unfortunately for me it also happened to not be what they were looking for. I played into the personal history and why it would've been important to me rather than what I could offer the program. In looking at the stack of revisions now, I can't believe how I managed to exclude so many things that probably [read: definitely] should've been mentioned the first time around. I still have plenty of time though, and there will likely be many revisions in between now and when I send it off. As per the advice of a friend and mentor I'm taking the weekend off from it. By Monday I should have a fresh pair of eyes filled to the brim with all manner of remorseless scrutiny and self-doubt.

It's going to be one hell of a paper airplane contest afterwards

So, that's the deal with those. At the end of the month I'll still be leaving for Japan, so there's that as well. I am a bit troubled about what to do if I manage to dig up a bit of work while I'm staying over there. I've already asked my professors to write letters of recommendation for me and I was hoping to have those in my possession early on because if I were so inclined I could send in my application from Japan without worrying about things coming in the mail back at home. The trouble concerns what I do if and when I acquire some experience, even if it's volunteer work. Do I rewrite the statement to pack that in as well? It's not that I fear cutting more out; it has been torn apart so much that it is not even the same statement as it was in the beginning. So that's fine. The problem is how to work those experiences in there while also demonstrating what abilities they've provided me with. I know there's a spot on the application itself where you can listen volunteer activities or work experience. So perhaps the statement is a place to mention what you can do because of X, Y and Z which are referenced in the application itself. Tricky business. What makes it all trickier is that no one knows how it really works. The people that are accepted can make claim they do, but no one is for sure. One of the most principal lessons that anybody writing will tell you is to know your audience and meet their demands. This, and answering the prompt are perhaps the two most important things. You don't have to write fancy. If you can answer the question, especially in a way that the one reading likes, then proficiency is nullified. Though I do have a prompt, I still like a clear vision of exactly who I'm writing for and what they care to hear. Make no mistake, this is not about pandering to the whims of a panel, but knowing when something is or is not relevant. When you have only two pages to make a point amongst the many one can make, you need to know this stuff.

Anyway, these are just my mindless thoughts on matters. And mindless thoughts, are of no consequence.

I was listening to Sleigh Bells just now, and it seemed rather appropriate:

I know you tried so hard, but you can't even win
     You gotta try a little harder, you're the comeback kid

Duly noted.


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