An Unlikely Candidate

As a recent graduate with a double major in Business Management and Spanish and a minor in International and Global Studies, I have decided to further my education by pursuing at the graduate level linguistics, a field that has long been my passion. Although at the beginning of my undergraduate career I was driven by the notion that the melding of this passion for language (in particular the Spanish tongue) with a financially luring field of study such as business would prove most advantageous, I have since realized that most important is studying what one loves and what one finds most valuable. It is as a result of this that I am applying for admission to the Department of Linguistics at the University of [redacted].

Though I have always been highly interested in linguistics, I only became aware of its vast applications well into my undergraduate career. I have throughout college (and even before) spent my free time immersed in linguistic literature and the study of the grammars of other languages but until now it has been something I did only for the love of learning rather than for any kind of academic preparation. Now that my undergraduate career has ended I see no more fit field of study for me and indeed no more appropriate plan of action for my life than a graduate career centered around linguistics.

Although my research experience in the field of linguistics is still expanding, I resolutely maintain that I will be a well-suited candidate for the study of the discipline at the graduate level. Being that I do not have an undergraduate degree in linguistics, I recognize the possible need for me to complete additional coursework before beginning the program and I am disposed to do whatever is necessary. I understand that the caliber of study at the graduate level is much higher than anything else I have seen; this is however not a deterrent but rather an enticement.

While my academic coursework has not yielded me direct experience in the discipline of linguistics, it has afforded me with the skill set, passion and hands-on language experience one would look for in a linguistics graduate student. The mixing of my two undergraduate majors was such that it fostered a regimented sense of discipline in my academic studies (as business schools many times do), while still providing me with the coursework to drastically expand my knowledge of the Spanish language. Although I have since shed my aspirations to involve myself in the world of business, the [redacted] School of Business at [redacted] University has excelled in preparing me for the academic rigor of pursuing a graduate degree. Analytical writing, critical analysis of ideas, and the formulating and defending of personal ideas and beliefs are at the heart of the [redacted] program. Although my knowledge of economics and business practice may not be of direct relevance to a linguistics program, the methods by which I have obtained such knowledge and the academic skill set I have taken from [redacted] as a result have certainly prepared me for the rigors of graduate study.

In terms of specific experience, my undergraduate career has well prepared me by providing me with two unique opportunities. The first came in the form of the position I held for two years at [redacted] University in the Department of Modern Languages as a Spanish tutor and facilitator. As a facilitator I led groups of students (ranging anywhere from five to 25 in number) in more intense oral and auditory interaction with the language than obtained in a classroom. This naturally honed my ability to teach and impart language-related knowledge on those learning. My second impacting experience was the opportunity to spend the spring academic semester of 2009 studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For four months I lived with an Argentine family and studied at two universities, one of which was the American program that arranged the whole semester (IES Abroad) and the other being a fully Argentine institution (Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales in Buenos Aires). Although my Spanish had reached the level of fluency before my arrival in Argentina (as I had previously travelled throughout the Spanish-speaking world on different occasions), the full immersion I experienced substantially heightened my awareness and sensitivity to language and in many ways led to me to where I am today.

My linguistic interests lie in the fields of historical linguistics and phonology. Sound change (and linguistic change in general) and the way it influences dialectal evolution is something I regard as profoundly fascinating and something which I could spend several lifetimes studying were that a possibility. While I am without a doubt prepared to study language change in all of its facets, I find the romance languages to be particularly intriguing not just for the variation found within the languages themselves but for the phonological variation in the dialects within the languages (the history and evolution of Rioplatense Spanish in Argentina and Uruguay over the past 100 years has been a particularly stimulating topic of study for me). I am especially intrigued by the University of [redacted] due to the work of Dr. [redacted] in historical linguistics as well as that of Dr. [redacted] with phonological patterns.

The most compelling force behind my actions has always been the desire for self-betterment and the need to accomplish something important within my lifetime. Both of these desires are fully realizable in the study of linguistics and contributing to the realm of human knowledge is something I regard as paramount to realizing self-actualization and fulfillment. I see no better way to spend my life than contributing to the discipline which has been my lifelong obsession. I eagerly look forward to a career in the intriguing world of linguistics, and graduate study at The University of [redacted] will make this possible.


 This essay gained admission to a terminal masters program in linguistics at a prestigious R1 institution.

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