Personal Insight Question
Please describe how you have prepared for your intended major, including your readiness to succeed in your upper-division courses once you enroll at the university.
Selecting psychology as my major is one of the best choices I have ever made. This is because it has allowed me to get closer to my future goal to be a therapist and to help children and their families at the hospital.
To better prepare myself for my intended major, I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone by being active in clubs and working on campus. This has not only helped me better understand the field of work I would like to pursue, but also has built up my skills and character. Jumping into what seemed like a new world was scary at first; however, my time in college has since changed my perspective. The people I met here have ignited my interest in the field of social science and have deepened my
understanding of it. This has led me to actively challenge myself with new things. For instance, I joined the Japanese Student Association and the Japanese-English language exchange club. In both clubs, meeting a lot of students who have various backgrounds and discussing cultural differences between countries with them made me realize differences distinguish people’s behaviors. Considering the correlation between
people’s backgrounds, speech and conduct, allowed me to apply what I learned in my social science classes. Aside from club activities, working on campus has improved my interpersonal skills. I work at the Global Engagement Center where I help international students work through the diverse issues they have in getting an education in a foreign country. Communicating with them every day has given me the open-mindedness and confidence to work with people from other cultures. Being an outgoing person will be substantial to my major, as I will be required to interact with people to conduct experiments and research.
Challenging myself to be active was difficult; however, after discovering what I am capable of, I have been given a new perspective. I have found that my potential to expand my knowledge is to surround myself with people who are as passionate as I am about the field of social science.
Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
At my high school, we had a major sports festival every year. I always admired the leaders there, so when I was elected a leadership position in this event, I was grateful to apply myself. As the date for the sports festival approached, I realized that many students were losing focus during practices because they lost motivation. I realized that I needed to change the atmosphere of the team to revive their excitement. Even though public speaking has never been my strongest attribute, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t take leadership, so I decided to give a speech to my peers. Before my
speech, I considered what the present problems were and how we can improve. I made it my intention to speak from the perspective of students who were not in leadership positions because they could see issues that some of the leaders could not. My intention was to build morale and bring attention to areas that needed improvement. After my speech, many students and leaders told me how grateful they were that I took action and appreciated my enthusiasm for the events. Giving the speech helped me
better myself as it was my first time conveying my passion as a leader.
This experience subsequently stimulated my interest in being a leader at college. At Orange Coast College, I became the president of Japanese Student Association (JSA) where I led a similar sports festival which turned out to be successful. I improved my leadership ability while serving as the president of JSA. Since the club members had various backgrounds, I made the club meetings benefit everyone in the club. For example, I kept in mind to talk to all the club members and know about their interest in
Japan. Then, I decided what to do every week based on everyone’s stories. That resulted in making the meetings enjoyable and useful for club members. I would like to be involved in a variety of fields as a leader and keep having a positive influence on others in the University of California.
Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
Losing my mother when I was 11 years old was the most challenging hurdle in my life. It was the same as losing a part of myself. I vividly remember being crushed with anxiety and fear when my mother’s breast cancer was found nine years ago. What made this even worse was my inability to talk to anyone about these feelings. I knew that everyone around her felt overwhelmed like I was. Because of this, I did not want to
make anyone worry about me. After one and a half years of battling, my mother passed away. To be honest, I am still not able to accept and overcome my mother’s death. In fact, I’m not sure if I’m capable of overcoming this even in the future. However, through this loss, I was able to find passion and interest in the career that I have decided to pursue. In high school, I joined as a volunteer at a hospital and came across a position
called Child Life Specialists. These specialists are therapists who take care of children’s mental health. They see not only hospitalized children, but also those that have family or friends battling sickness. When I encountered this job, I thought to myself, “this is my dream job.” I realized that Child Life Specialists were what I needed when my mother passed and how they could have helped me in sharing my feelings that I had held inside. I experienced deep melancholy due to my mother’s illness and death, but at the same time, it brought me a new dream to help children who are suffering from diseases and the death of someone they love. The dream has motivated me to keep excellent grades which the psychology department acknowledged by awarding me a scholarship. Despite it being challenging, it is worth it to pursue my dreams.
What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
One of the things I have valued the most, regardless of where I have been in my life, is working to better the community around me. Over the years, I have been a part of various volunteer groups to better my community. For example, I picked up trash at the beach by my house in Japan every morning during summer breaks and joined a medical volunteer group in high school.
Out of all these experiences, one specific opportunity to volunteer left the
strongest impact on my life. This specific opportunity at my college involved helping students with disabilities by leading their exercises in the pool. Even though I have had plenty of experience interacting with people with disabilities, I was not able to apply what I have learned from those experiences at college. I had seen people who are disabled on campus and wanted to help them, so I joined the adapted kinesiology volunteer program. My primary objective with volunteering was to support people with disabilities and to make their lives more comfortable. Physical conditions of the students that I helped varied from blindness to paraplegia. One of the students I helped the most during the semester could neither walk nor convey her feelings in complete sentences by herself. Since it was hard for her to communicate using words, I needed to detect slight changes in her facial expressions and body movement to decide what to do for her exercises. Even though I did not have the skills at first, I kept trying and eventually started to notice subtle details in her face and understand her body language after spending more time with her. When other volunteers told me that she was smiling a lot more than before due to my dedication to working with her, I realized that my commitment was worth it. I was delighted that I could make someone’s life better, even
if it was just one person. This made me further realize that I genuinely like helping people. Therefore, I would like to participate in similar programs at University of California as well.