Hello, this is my first post on this forum and I hope I am doing it in the correct area. I am knee deep in the graduate school application process and would love some feedback on my rough draft for my statement of purpose. Thank you in advance for any help.
I have never felt as much pride throughout my life as I have in completing my Bachelorís of Science degree in Sociology. As a young high school graduate with no direction or family history of higher academic achievement, I would have never believed that one day I would see my name on a degree certificate. Lacking the self confidence to even give college a shot, I did what a select few women and men do to find a purpose; I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
In four years in the USMC, I discovered parts of my character that had remained dormant. I immediately thrived in the stressful environment that is the USMC provided; I was determined to set myself apart from the rest. I molded myself into someone who can take a problem, often with considerable risks, and complete it with the utmost self-confidence. I began to see the fruits of my labor when I was twice selected for early meritorious promotion.
The USMC afforded the opportunity to travel abroad, visiting nine countries in different developmental stages. This experience gave me a realistic view of the differences of developmental advances in various parts of the world. It also gave me multiple opportunities to participate in volunteer missions aiding post disaster and impoverished areas of Bangladesh and Djibouti, for which I was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal. My immersion in diverse cultures ignited the drive to educate myself about global human society and urbanization. With my target in sight and the complete confidence that I will succeed, I separated from the Marine Corps in order to fulfill my educational goals.
Upon enrolling at my local community college, the world opened up to me in a way I have never experienced. In an environment with endless academic paths and opportunities, I immediately knew I made the right choice in separating from the military. Broadening my knowledge on every subject became a necessity to me; I was completely devoted to my academics driven to excel in nearly every class. I was quickly able to earn my Associates of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree with a GPA of 3.87.
My strong passion for human society drove my decision to choose Sociology as a major at the University of Oregon. Sociology courses enlightened me about various oppressive factors that have molded U.S. society into the way it is now. I developed a holistic sociological attitude toward everything which forced me to think from a different point of view and realize that social outcomes are shaped by various social context and actors. My passionate devotion towards academics was not diminished during my time at the University.
I also found opportunities to better myself in other aspects than school while not lowering my personal standards of excellence in my classes. For example, during my senior year I helped develop and became a mentor in the Dog Tags to Ducks program, a group dedicated to the success of veterans at the University of Oregon. I was also able to successfully complete a rigorous training program and run my first marathon while completing my last two terms. I am finishing my degree quite well with an overall GPA of 3.6 and will be graduating. This, I feel is a testament to the devotion and high standards that I possess and apply to each project I attempt.
My enduring interest in urbanization and society has finally steered me into a field where I can combine my sociological imagination with an opportunity to change the physical world around me. Specifically, I strive to become a transportation planner for a metropolitan area. In such a position I will use my broad education and my dedication to the mission at hand to strive for sustainability without the sacrifice of efficiency and equality. With a goal in sight, my leadership, problem solving, and communication skills will reward my community with my services.
There are multiple reasons why the Masters of City Planning program at the University of California Berkeley is where I would want to develop the skills and knowledge that will become my whole life. First, It would provide me excellent skill sets and knowledge that would allow me to better succeed on my chosen path. Second, The San Francisco Bay Areaís research and public policy opportunities for someone, like me, interested in sustainable and economical transportation are abundant and will provide me with hands-on knowledge in the scale that I desire. I feel that the metropolitan area that combines such large and diverse cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose would provide me with the greatest experiences in planning that one could aspire to have. I know the boundaries of my research opportunities could extend beyond as well. Third, I am very interested in the work to which the faculty and previous graduate students contributed. For example, the project on decentralization and travel behavior in Shanghai inspire my ambitions for more experiences abroad. Work such as this is evidence to me that my sociodemographics knowledge and skills would thrive in similar studies and projects.
I hope my commitment and complete confidence in my aspirations will ultimately bring honor to UC Berkeley. My accomplishments throughout my career would reflect the exceptional preparation I would receive. The person I have become along my path towards success is someone I wouldnít have previously recognized. Though my transformation has brought a level of pride and confidence that has been previously unmatched, I am determined to continue my academic advancement. I am mentally, physically, and financially prepared to prove my quality and it is my most sincere desire to do so.