A/N: This is an SOP letter written by my sister. I have changed the names of the universities and professors with random letters, but otherwise this is the draft that she is planning to submit. Any and all feedback is appreciated!
(Quick note: She is applying for an institution of Psychology. This is more of a motivational letter to state the reason for her application.)
The workings of the human mind fascinate me and my primary motivation is to understand emotions and how past experiences can form our identity and influence our behaviour, cognition and memory.
If anybody asked me what I wanted to become when I grew older, I would have said I see myself as a doctor, helping people and gaining knowledge in the process. My entire life I had been preparing to apply to medical school but somehow always failed to reach my full potential. But all of these aspirations changed when I fell into depression and alienated myself from friends and family and was in a constant state of anxiety. Unable to put my finger on the reason, I decided to seek counselling and took a two years gap from pursuing academia to figure myself out. Almost after almost 1.5 years into counselling, I started being aware of my thoughts and understood the power of our minds.
In an effort to control my anxiety and get out of my comfort zone, I joined an NGO called Panacea, where I taught and mentored underprivileged kids. While working there I noticed that the kids who received the proper support of a caregiver had more self-confidence and could regulate their emotions better than kids who had an emotionally or physically absent caregiver. Most of these emotionally unregulated kids depended on their mentors and tried to form a parent-child bond with them. They would seek their mentor's acceptance, validation and support. Moreover, many of these kids were abused by their guardians and had reticent behavior or severe temper issues. I along with my team tried to support them by equipping them with proper tools to deal with such situations. In doing this, I realized how crucial the relationship between a caregiver and child is and how much the environment can have a long-lasting effect on a child’s behavior.
I majored in business as I was still unsure about my career and felt I could help my father with his business. During this time I worked as a Marketing Intern with Quikr and as an HR intern with Paytm. At Quikr, I got to understand consumer psychology and the power of brand value on a market level and gained a deeper insight into consumer biases and how to tackle those tactfully. At Paytm, I was the point of contact between the new joiners and employees and management. I had the responsibility of onboarding new joiners and conducting screenings, interviews and salary negotiations of potential candidates. I took up ownership of organizing various on-campus and off-campus placements, interviews and effectively communicating the grievances of employees to the management.
The experience I had at Paytm was my inspiration for my final year paper on ‘Effects of Work Stress and Social Support’ as I realized the primary contributor to these grievances or resignations was work stress. In my work with Dr. X and Mr. Y at STW College of Management and Technology, we proposed that high levels of work stress (role ambiguity, role conflict, work overload, work-life balance, growth and opportunities, control and involvement) would have a detrimental impact on job satisfaction and psychological well‐being and investigated the degree to which social supports elevate the dissatisfaction. I conducted a literature review, formulated and took surveys, formed hypotheses, analyzed the obtained data, and in the process learned about correlation, regression, p-values and statistical significance.
The seed of pursuing psychology was by now firmly planted in my mind, but I felt I needed a bit of financial independence before making the switch. I took a job at Amazon where I had the task of data accumulation, storing and training the machine learning model. For the quality of my work, I was featured various times in the team newsletter and received the Rockstar Award. I also host psychological wellness sessions, an open forum where people discuss their highs and lows by forming a support group, resolving work conflicts together and forming a team-building spirit through various games and activities.
To learn more about psychology, I have been following the Human Behavioral Biology Series by Prof. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University on YouTube and have been reading the book Loneliness- Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick.
The major scientific areas in which my research interests lie are developmental psychology, emotions and individual differences. The aptly-curated course at the Department of Psychology: Theory and Research will give me the holistic knowledge required to pursue research in these areas and refine my academic direction. I’m particularly interested in the works of Prof. X, Prof. Y and Prof. Z and I find their work, especially in the fields of Emotions and Individual Differences, both fascinating and relevant to my research interest. With my background and interests, I think ABC University would be an excellent fit for me and I would be able to learn from the environment and contribute to it, while also realizing my career goals.