Personal History Essay
My decision to pursue a graduate degree in the field of psychology strongly hinges on the experiences that I have gained in this field both from an academic context and a practical point of view. I have a strong desire to improve my critical thinking and researching skills in the field of psychology in order to promote my professional and personal goals. The experience that I have thus far gained both as a student and in placement at the various settings in the field of psychology puts me in good stead to pursue this program.
I worked as an undergraduate research assistant at West Virginia University’s mental health and aging lab where I was actively involved in planning of research projects, evaluating empirical articles on geriatrics and suicide tendencies among older patients. While suicide ideation among the elderly is relatively higher than the rest of the population, they are often a forgotten lot. This revelation has convinced me that there is need to examine the trends in suicide ideation among this vulnerable group with the goal of developing practical solutions to the problem. I believe that undertaking a graduate program in psychology shall give me a much-needed platform to explore this issue further.
I was also attached to the attitudes and social cognition lab at West Virginia University where I played a role a key role of compiling and analysing data of a research on prejudice reduction via intergroup contact and another one on the relationship between extremity of political ideology and susceptibility to priming. Participating in these projects has equipped me with researching and analytical skills that I believe will prove valuable while pursuing the graduate program at the University of California Berkeley.
As an undergraduate student, I was also involved on a research project on emotion regulation, aggression and experiential avoidance. This has further enhanced my skills in dealing with clients facing different psychological problems.
Besides, I have gained clinical experience during my practicum placement at the Metamorphosis Institute in Gwynn Oak, Maryland where I participated in group and individual psychotherapy sessions. In addition, I had a short stint as a teaching assistance at the Department of Psychology at the University of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where I took part in classroom instructions and in grading of assignments. Moreover, I have taken part in various volunteer experiences as a camp counsellor in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at soup kitchens in Baltimore, Maryland, and at the Family Grief Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. The experiences drawn from these varied activities are crucial in adding richness to my participation in the graduate program coursework.
The University of California Berkeley’s school of psychology imparts in a student statistical, critical thinking and research methods skills for use in the various areas of psychology. I believe that my exposure to the diverse areas of psychology shall enable me to cope well with the rigorous and elaborate curriculum offered at the school. The school of psychology at Berkeley is also renowned for its high faculty-student ratio compared to other psychology graduate schools. This, along with the reputation of the university as a leading academic institution across the globe in the field of psychology will undoubtedly give me a competitive edge in the psychology profession in terms of skills and competencies gained.
Though hard work and dedication, I rose against all odds to graduate for my undergraduate degree Summa Cum Laude. I made the President’s list in 2011-2012, as well as the Dean’s list in the Fall of 2010 and Spring of 2014. I believe this is a clear indication of my dedication and commitment to realise academic excellence in a reputable institution such as the University of California, Berkeley.