I'm absolutely stuck on my personal statement. I'm a senior undergraduate, but all I have to offer in terms of experience are the 5 years I worked in retail (I'm now unemployed!) and some offshoot leadership roles that really weren't that big or extravagant in any way.
So, my question is simply if it is okay to use experiences working in retail as part of the personal statement?
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Were you in school when you were working those five years? You could write about how you had to learn how to juggle work and school. If you had to work to support yourself, you could write about the financial hardship that you faced.
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kl10qm wrote:Were you in school when you were working those five years? You could write about how you had to learn how to juggle work and school. If you had to work to support yourself, you could write about the financial hardship that you faced.
While I did work during school for 3 of those semesters, I didn't have to work to support myself. I come from an upper-middle class family whose parents have saved up enough during their adult lives to support my state school tuition.
I'm going to spitball a couple of things here, please if you don't feel the need to read it, it's all good.
Also, even though I was taking upper level classes, they were easy for the most part. I didn't really have any struggles. What I got out of my job (Pushing shopping carts at an upscale grocery store) was that while it was a simple retail job, I've had many experiences that potentially changed me. For instance, I once spent 1 hour looking for an elderly man's vehicle (the man was showing early signs of senility) when the wind chill was around 10 degrees Fahrenheit right before Christmas (On this day, the grocery store pulled in over $1 million in gross revenue). I got yelled at, threatened to get written up, and face consequences as I wasn't "doing my job" - I found his car and he was very overjoyed to the point where he started crying. I still replay it in my head every week or so and hope he's doing fine.
I also worked with a group of people at this low-level retail job who I'll never forget. Especially during the summer or semester breaks, the vast majority of us were college students at either really good public schools and well-known private schools (such as NYU) - but one coworker really struck a chord with me, his name was Ralph. He was in his 80s and worked his ass off. In the end, he took the job because he wanted to stay active but not feel the need to drive very far. So, for 24 hours per week, he would push carts or just lay on the carts while walking around the parking lot, staying active. Myself and the rest of the coworkers would talk to him, as he kept his mind and just brightened everyone's day - be it us cart pushers, any customer, and any other employee. Sadly, this past Wednesday, Ralph passed away. As he was of the Jewish faith, his body needed to be buried within 48 hours. As many of his friends and family (aside from his immediate family and a couple others...about a total of 8 people) didn't live close, it was to be a small ceremony on Friday morning (as in 2 days ago). However, over 20 former cart pushers (including myself) came to the burial. It was the most bonding experience I've ever had, and I realized that the smallest, and even aggravating moments in day-to-day life - even if I was just earning a paycheck for drinking money in college and.....high school, could change my life.
Sorry, I'm spitballing a couple of things. But as dumb as it is, despite being a founder of a fraternity, spending 4 years in student and university-wide governments, interning for political people, working in offices, and interning for a lawyer, pushing shopping carts at a very large, busy, and upscale grocery store molded my life more than anything else in my undergraduate career.
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