I am currently applying to the University of Tennessee Graphic Design program. As part of the application process, I was asked to write a personal statement. This is what I have written:
Life has a way of surprising us, throwing in a few obstacles, working out for the better, and coming full circle. My entire life I have seen and felt art in everything that surrounds me, but I never really knew how to make it a career. Instead, the science of flight called to me. I had every intention to obtain a degree in Professional Aviation until I spoke with an Army recruiter. The day that I spoke with that recruiter, my whole life and my entire future changed.
In 2005, I joined the United States Army as a way to receive hands-on flight instruction, but out of that experience, I gained so much more. During my time in the Army, I flew Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Baquoba, Iraq. It was there that I was trained in more than just flight; I was trained in life. I learned that loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage – the seven basic values of the army – were the seven most important values that would make the difference between my success and my failure in every obstacle that I strive to overcome the rest of my life. The adversity that I faced while living amongst hate, chaos, and war, triggered a strong desire within me to return to my love of art to create pleasure, structure, and, beauty.
My tour in Iraq left some marks on my health, and shortly after returning to the states, I was discharged from the army for medical reasons. My discharge was sudden and slightly unexpected. It left me uncertain of where my life would lead me. No longer was I able to pursue my goals in flight so, out of panic, I settled for other options. Although, the other options left me unfulfilled and disappointed, I gained a new self-awareness and afterward, was able to recognize my fundamental obligation to myself as an artist. It has become quite clear that the creation of art must become a focal point in my life.
This time I do not want to make the mistake of taking a path I am not completely passionate about and devoted to. I have explored both my options and my inner self. Art is a feeling; an emotion; an awareness of all that surrounds us, and for me to study Graphic Design would be to study art in all of its totality. It takes more than just a working knowledge of a two dimensional plane to create the type of visual communication that influences the population. Art of this nature requires an understanding of the fundamentals of art, and a relationship with the complexities of the human psyche. It requires creative thinking, cultural awareness, and an appreciation of technology. To create this kind of art takes drive and commitment, understanding and logic, passion and creativity. It takes someone like me who can see art in everything; feel art in everything.
As a student of the University of Tennessee, I will continue my academic excellence. I will prove loyalty to my inherent artist as well as to the university. I will demonstrate high standards of integrity expected from a school with a rich history in education and tradition. I will continue the selfless-service of my military enlistment as a student of the Volunteer State’s institute of higher learning.