This is the application letter that I wrote for applying to Journalism school
Despite the vast beauty and open skies that draw people to Saskatchewan, that same beauty that I love drives me to see the world. I live in student residence at the University of Saskatchewan and as I write this, I’m in my eleventh floor apartment, staring out at the same Saskatchewan sky that has always inspired me to leave and discover new places. Besides leaving behind the only home I have ever known, my love of travel means I’d be leaving behind my family. I cannot properly state the importance my parents have had on my life, especially my dad who is no longer with us. They have helped shape my passion, engagement and curiosity about the world, three things that I believe are the most important facets of the Journalism field.
I grew up on the type of small family farm that is slowly disappearing on the prairies. My dad therefore was a small business owner, even though he was not seen that way, either by governments or large businesses. He worked hard his whole life but in the end, he had only his wife and children to show for it. The land that he had farmed for most of his life went to the bank and the barns that he filled with pure-bred boars was sold. Coming from this farming environment that is slowly being forgotten by society provided little in the way of financial support but I’ve always had the loving support that doesn’t come from money. Because of this life my dad worked so hard to give his children, I inherited his hard working spirit and unfortunately, his bad knees.
Even in a house where both my parents had no post-secondary education, the pursuit of knowledge and education was always encouraged. The day my dad earned his GED at the age of 60 was the proudest day of his life, besides the day he married my mom and the days his children were born, of course. He always said, “no one can take knowledge away from you,” therefore going to University and becoming educated was always encouraged. Learning and having an opinion was always encouraged. Many nights were spent with my family, playing Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit and it is these nights that I attribute my curiosity and love of learning.
Besides this educational importance, I have gained much from growing up in a small town. My family had lived in the same area for 80 years; everyone knew everyone else and always tried to help out. After I left the area, I tried to take the “love thy neighbour” mentality with me, when I was traveling around Canada with Katimavik and when I moved to the city of Saskatoon to go to University. In a society where people are becoming afraid of their neighbours, it is starting to seem like a naive notion. Small town life showed me the importance of community engagement through volunteerism, since any town event depended on volunteers, especially parents to ensure its success. Instead of just ensuring that their children were engaged within the community, my parents led by example by being on church and school boards, coaching hockey and softball and volunteer for fall suppers and bazaars. This involvement showed the importance of the individual, how one person can make a difference in a community, and when combined, the world.
I took this love of volunteerism with me during Katimavik and saw the power of many individuals working together to improve their community. For nine months, I traveled with an amazing group of people, learning to live together, work together, discover together and respect each other. Besides working 35 hour a weeks volunteer with non-profit organizations, we did community projects during the weekends, like painting playground equipment, volunteering with children’s camps and organizing community clean ups. Discovering Canada has also strengthened my resolve to see as much as the world as possible. Now that I am at the University of Saskatchewan, I continue to volunteer with our student run newspaper, The Sheaf, the Debate Society, First-Year Orientation as a Group Leader, the University of Saskatchewan Student Union’s Help Centre, Disability Services for Students as a lecture note-taker and a University of Saskatchewan Student Union Student-At-Large and a Student Senator. Being in University has also showed me how deeply I care about current events, as this is the perfect environment to learn about environmental, political and social issues. This engagement has also made me want to benefit the world, mostly through writing.
For as long as I could remember, my passion for writing has always been with me. University has benefited me greatly on my path to becoming a writer; first through writing essays for varying classes and then writing for The Sheaf. However, I still strive to improve my skills. Taking Biology classes has helped me discover two things, my interest in environmental issues and my lack of skills as a scientist. Without these classes’ effect on my grades, I would have a much higher average but even if I could, I would not take the experience back. These classes helped me develop a study habit and have helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses as a student. I enjoy writing three hour exams compared to any other format and this just shows me that I enjoy discussing issue but would also like to better my skills as a problem solver. I believe I communicate well with people but I would also like to improve on this. Because I feel strongly in my political opinions, I often do not look carefully at both sides of the issue and am quick to dismiss other points of view. Through your Journalism course, I am excited to improve on these skills to become the best possible Journalist that I know I can become. Thank you for this opportunity.