I discovered my capacity for empathy quite by accident. As a young girl, I often found myself the one all of my friends would turn to for consolation or to get a load of their chests. Without mentioning it to each other, my circle of friends knew I was the “designated empathy,” or the person who could understand why they felt the way they felt, and tell them what they needed to feel better. This came without any training, of course, but instead seemed like a natural outgrowth of my personality.
One experience stands out in my mind as exemplary of this talent. In middle school, my best friend’s father died of a heart attack. My friend was devastated and didn’t answer her phone for days. I went over to her house after school and threw pebbles at her window until she invited me inside. She cried on my shoulder, sobbing about how she would never see her father again, or hear his stories, or smell his aftershave. She realized she would miss all the small things that a little girl never notices about her Dad until he’s gone. She thought she’d never be happy again.
I listened to everything she said, hugging her close and wiping away her tears. I told her she’d always have the memories, and that’s all any of us ever have. We talked all evening and by nightfall she was smiling again. I realized for the first time that I could help people out of their darkest places, and a Psychology degree could train me to do just that as a career.
The author of prompt #2 has an extremely touching story about helping her friend after the death of a loved one, and how that experience convinced the author that she could be a psychologist and help people as a career. The experience and stories are very moving and effective. However, the author goes in to too much detail with her anecdote and fails to give enough attention to the final part of the prompt. She wants to study psychology, but simply being good with people is not enough to fully relate her experience to her goals. She should have given multiple examples of why psychology is her true calling.
Melissa, UC Personal Statement
Writer and Coach