个人陈述在接受Common App申请的学校中尤其重要，对不接受Common App 申请的学校来说可能会换一种面目出现，譬如MIT申请文书中最后（我认为也是最重要的）一个题目就是个人陈述的变体：
Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)讲述一件你经历过的最具挑战性的事情，或者是非常重要的一件事情却没有按照预期计划发展，你是怎样应对的？（200-250字）
I melted into blankets in my makeshift bed and stared into the night sky. With my mind adrift, I tried to forget where I was - the cargo space of my mom’s SUV parked outside Sentara RMH Emergency Room. I could not forget. My 10-year-old brain understood the situation’s magnitude, which was why I refused to fall asleep. For as long as I could, I stared out the window. I was paralyzed by the thought that I might wake up fatherless if I closed my eyes.
From 2014 to 2015, I spent many nights sleeping in the SUV. My parents did not want me to see the traumatic events of the ER, and they thought there I could rest for school the next day. Despite their efforts, they could not shield me. My childhood went from running around the playground to reading books by my dad’s hospital bed. I watched him write his will, enter hospice, and lose the ability to function. On March 18th, 2015, I faced his dead body and said goodbye. Then I went home, and all I could think was, “why?”.
The phrase “everything happens for a reason” was my coping mechanism. My mother is a scientist, and my father was a lawyer, so I was raised to be a rationalist. However, what logic can justify my dad’s death? I started believing this was all God’s plan to prepare me for a future in medicine. I watched cancer slowly kill my father, and I thought I was supposed to use my pain to create good as a doctor. Looking back, my conclusion was not rational. The grief must have distorted my thinking because, at the time, it seemed the only logical explanation.
With newfound motivation, I planned my future. Quickly, my path to medical school consumed my identity. I drowned myself in STEM classes. I began undergraduate biochemistry research as a freshman. I continued to plan my future as I dreamed of hospital internships. Unfortunately, part of the beauty of plans is they rarely work out perfectly.
In my junior year, I entered a new school and signed up for two computer science classes. Where I experienced the unmatched satisfaction of taking an idea and making it a reality. I relished the thrill of starting new projects and overcoming problems in my code. I realized my true passion was computer science, and it felt like I spent the past 16 years finding my way.
When my father passed away in 2015, I looked at the world, for the first time, with a sense of hopelessness. I wanted to prevent anyone from feeling how I felt that day I lost him, so I believed I had to be a doctor. However, my passion for computer science helped me realize the importance of being my own individual. I have to be who I am, not because of something that happened to me, but because of who I want to be. I know my father would want me to follow my passion. I know he is proud of me for stepping outside the SUV. Proud of me for chasing my true dreams.
I am free.