masterofmusic (masterofmusic) wrote in gradschool_hell,


Hey everyone- I am working on my personal statement for my doctoral application. I would love any commentary on it. I placed the topic at the beginning (obviously I will remove it when sending it in)

Please elaborate on your study interests listed above and their relation to your previous studies, employment experiences, and professional goals, as well as any other information that would be helpful in evaluating your application.

I sit in my corner office, staring out the window at the white puffy clouds floating by. I remind myself that an office with a view is a desirable one. Almost instantaneously I try to determine who it is so desirable to. I look across to my desk and see a picture of my old management team, all smiling because we just scored a perfect on our loss prevention audit. I was constantly running around, laughing, teaching, and inspiring those around me. I was skinnier; I had a group of people who worked really hard for me; and that same group of people trusted me to teach them anything they needed to get the job done. I had the best track record of training people, and inspiring the people around me to strive for excellence. I remember overhearing a couple employees talking about their general education course in music theory. “Let me know if you need any help with that class,” I would shout across our busy store. Puzzled and bewildered they would beg for more information. They find out my passion lies elsewhere than retail management.
I sit with them and fill in the gaps in their notes to make sense of this new language called music. They ask me about all the things I do musically. I tell them about Jubilate Chorale. The conductor is my former sight singing and ear training teacher from my undergraduate degree. She’s an inspiration for me. Her and my relation flourished when we traveled to ACDA in Miami. My “student” smiles as I move onto the next choir, Briarwood Chorale. The conductor is my former theory, forms and analysis, and choir director from my undergraduate degree. “I get to be the assistant conductor of this choir,” I say beaming with excitement. Finally, there is my church choir which I am in charge of. I talk about how I work with just about every age and talent group. Briarwood Chorale is filled with all music majors, Jubilate is a middle of the road mix of professional musicians and non musicians, and the church choir has one person who can read music. What a great life I have to interact with all these different levels of talent and skill.
I come back to reality to someone knocking at my door. “Wow, it’s really bright in here,” is the most often used phrase to anyone coming in. They collect the information they sought and left. I review my hand made calendar. Starting in November, I will have rehearsal four nights a week. My weekends will be filled with lessons and more rehearsal first thing every Sunday morning. Pretty soon, those weekends will be filled with dress rehearsals, supposedly restful holiday weekends and a long desire to have a real break. I take a deep breath and confirm to my weary thoughts that it is all for a goal.
This is a goal I have had since I was a little girl. I thought it would be really awesome to be called “DJ” for Doctor Jenn. I didn’t know then how I was going to get there, but I knew I wanted it. As I got older, I applied for colleges and universities as a computer science major. My parents tried to convince me that my skills lay elsewhere and that people in such a degree made excellent money. So, I made sure all the schools I looked at had music in addition to computer science because I knew I wanted to stay involved. I spent one semester as a computer science major and changed because I couldn’t pass the entry level class. It was most likely because I was in marching band, chorale and chamber singers. I learned how to sing without a piano, how to sight read, how to write a chorale, and most importantly I had met several people who had a doctorate in music. I took all my electives in music, allowing me to have almost double the required credits to graduate. I tutored all the theory classes, leading to be highly encouraged to apply for graduate school.
I chose choral conducting in my master’s degree. I moved to East Texas not knowing a single person but holding tight to that dream. I knew if I believed enough, I would be ok. My lesson teacher pushed me hard because he knew I could do it. I had a full time job, I was a full time graduate student, and I had a full time assistantship. Mastering my time management skills was essential to my future as a successful conductor and I knew it. Every semester, I had my syllabi, concert schedule and work schedule completely figured out by the first weekend of school starting. I graduated with the highest GPA I had ever achieved.
Now I move to the pursuit of my doctoral degree. I got a job on campus early enough to enroll in the tuition remission benefit. Of all the things I thought about to achieve my goal of having a doctorate, I never thought about paying for it. Finally, I am thinking about it proactively. I have my eyes set on the last step of my dream. My strong desire to daydream about scores and performance technique severely outweighs my current daydreams of appropriate office etiquette and having the corner office with a view.
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