Psychology, Linguistics & Japanese Personal Statement Example

Why people do what they do and the nature of the human condition is something that has long-since challenged and intrigued me. This existential exploration has led to my deep interest in psychology, which has allowed me to discover a multitude of ideas that endeavour to explain our most illogical behaviours. In the same vein, the very words we use when interacting with and making meaning of the world are fascinating, adding another layer to the enigma of being human. The different ways in which languages describe the same phenomena, how sentences may take on entirely new meanings with a change of punctuation or intonation - all of this combines to influence the way we view everything within our world. While living in the US, I witnessed the barriers that can exist between two variants of the same language and took great interest in understanding how the same concepts could be expressed in such different manners. Combining the explanations offered by psychology and linguistics is something that will enable me to begin to address these challenges.

For my extended project, I investigated the ways in which people discuss their experiences with depersonalisation-derealisation disorder and linked psychology with linguistic techniques to create a spoken word piece. It led me to consider the importance of nomothetic and idiographic approaches beyond what I was first introduced to in my A-Level psychology course. Michal et al.'s study into the experiences of people with DPDR in comparison to those with depression illustrated how important the language we use to describe ourselves is, and the way that language is necessary to provide meaning to our experiences and act as an educational tool. Sierra et al.'s investigation into skin conductance responses utilised my A-Level biology knowledge of the autonomic nervous system, and the significant difference found in DPDR patients made it evident to me that an interactionist approach combining both cognitive and biological factors is required to fully understand and subsequently be able to treat disorders.

My interest in linguistics was furthered through self-studying Japanese. I learned about grammar and syntax rules in English, as well as the importance of context to the comprehension of any sentence. I discovered that a long sentence in English could be expressed in a fraction of that in Japanese, with the versatility afforded by particles and levels of politeness. Exploring the structures and expressions within Japanese music gave me a much deeper affinity for the language, as well as exemplifying parts of the Japanese psyche and attitudes to a variety of different life experiences. I realised just how closely interwoven language and culture are, and how the former can greatly influence the development of the latter.

Alongside my studies, I have taken part in scouting for the past 6 years, both as a scout and as a young leader. I travelled to Serbia for a jamboree, and assisted in the logistics of cavalcade events attended by upwards of 10,000 people, and I learned the importance and reward of community participation. Working with others can multiply your own strengths tenfold. The planning and organising of such events has given me valuable practise in not only creating and sticking to a schedule, but being able to independently and resiliently deal with setbacks and surprises quickly and effectively.

Undertaking A-levels has enabled me to develop my knowledge of topics that previously existed outside of my purview; the chance to greatly multiply my knowledge of psychology and linguistics drives me to take advantage of every opportunity I have and every resource at my disposal. University offers the unique chance to not only mature as a person, but to develop a greater understanding of these disciplines that enrapture me in a supportive environment, something I believe will allow me to start to reach my full potential and even exceed that of which I consider myself capable.

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Author's Comments

This is very broad because I had no idea what I wanted to do and so I applied for courses dealing with Linguistics, Japanese and Psychology. It seems really weak reading it back now but I guess the universities didn't think so :)

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