Me, in a sentence. One sentence. That’s 15 to 20 words on average, according to “Readability Monitor,” a blog “keeping track of readable language.” Boiling yourself down to 25 to 33 syllables or 75 to 100 characters is no easy task, even for trained writers. Though journalists are trained to distill an entire story into a one-sentence lede, journalists are less often asked to write about their own lives, let alone condense their years into one sentence.
As a journalism student, I approached writing the life-encompassing sentence like I would approach writing a lede in a news story. I thought of my five Ws – who, what, when, where and why. And I hit a brick wall. The five W’s are great for writing a hard news lede, but a personal statement is a whole other beast. The “when” and the “where” are no help when the sentence applies to my whole life. Of course, the “who” was easy, but the “what” was just confusing.
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The only one of the five Ws that shed any light on my personal sentence was “why.” I thought of the “why” in my life as the “why” in a greater question: why am I the person I am? Luckily for me, I had spent time considering this question in drafting my personal statement for medical school. In that personal statement, I talked about how the health issues I overcame as an adolescent inspire me to help other hurtle their own obstacles in life. I explained how my service trips, travel abroad to Tanzania and volunteering at Omaha’s Children’s hospital are all aimed at motivating others to take charge of their health.
In a sentence: I motivate myself and others to realize our true potentials.
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