When applications for college admissions, scholarships, internships, and even employment, require essay responses from interested candidates, some people immediately turn away from the opportunity. Before the application deadline comes around, the inner questioning often shifts from What if I was able to write a response to the essay question? to What if I made it past the first phase and got the call for an interview? to What if I actually won or was selected? Unfortunately, this wonderful sense of positive possibilities is often, almost reflexively, followed by one or more extremely common self-depreciating sentence starters. Have you ever said, or heard someone else say, these three words to start a thought or response?
But I can't…
But I'm not…
But I don't…
But they won't…
Then after the application due date has come and gone, and advertisements are removed from the school or organization's website, the sense of regret floods in and consumes the thoughts that run through your mind, sometimes for days or longer.
Is this experience a predictable cycle?
Yes, without a doubt!
Is this predictable cycle avoidable?
What does it take to avoid it?
It takes just one powerful, potentially life-changing word: "TRY!" Choose to give yourself a chance, get out of your own way, and take a shot at that application essay!
Everyone has had moments of feeling insecure and vulnerable. Some people struggle with this every day, which can make daily living and decision-making more challenging than not. There are others who are able to maintain healthy levels of self-confidence, who don't hesitate to pursue opportunities that come their way. Depending on circumstances such as timing, people involved, the rewards, the risks, etc., we all fluctuate in our levels of confidence in the same way our moods shift throughout each day.
Without going into the depths of psychology and sociology, it's important to realize that though we may not be aware of it all the time, we all play a role in influencing what we see and believe about ourselves and those around us. Experiences we face throughout our lifetime and how we choose to see those experiences shape who we are in any given moment, which continuously contributes to who we become over time.
That being said, let's spend the next few minutes creating a different mindset and perspective of yourself as it relates to your interest in being considered for the available opportunity that's within your reach. Take your time as you move through each step below.
First, do you meet all of the minimum qualifications?
For example, do you have the required qualifications such as maintaining a minimum grade point average, completing specific levels of coursework, being of a certain grade level or having earned academic degrees or certifications, having proficiency with skill sets, etc.?
Yes: Move on to the next self-reflection question.
No: Think about how interesting and important the opportunity is to you. If it has sparked excitement and intrigue, look for relevant resources and information and start building your credentials so you are able to apply the next time this, or a similar experience, becomes available.
If you answered Yes! to the first question, you're now ready for the next two critical steps.
Second, take note: YOU ARE interested and qualified!
Third, can you see yourself in the position or receiving the reward? Even if there may be some blurry spots in your visualization, can you imagine yourself being selected?
Yes: Great! Keep that picture front and center in your mind as you move on to the fourth and final step.
No: Take a second to create that image. Visualize yourself receiving the exciting news and put yourself in that moment. If you're struggling to do this, change what you're seeing right now. On the screen that you're looking at as you read this sentence, fix your attention on one of the following phrases for at least 10 seconds:
--Congratulations! You're accepted!
--You've been selected for an interview!
--Congrats! You've won!
Do not move on until you can hold the picture of at least one of these phrases in your mind with your eyes closed. Strive to believe that this outcome is possible for yourself and that you are deserving of it! If you find that you're stuck after several solid attempts, reach out to us and let's give it a go together. It may be that you need this prompting to come from a different angle--one that you can relate to more effectively.
You're now at the final step right before you take the huge leap to opening that door to new opportunities! Here's a quick recap of how well you've positioned yourself for this big moment: YOU ARE interested and qualified, AND you can see yourself in the winner's circle. This shows that your self-confidence is on the rise, you do believe you're deserving of this experience, and that you are aware that wonderful outcomes are possible for yourself. Perfect!
The fourth and final step to this crucial process of building self-confidence requires making a promise to one person and only one person. Right now, please make a firm promise to yourself that:
you will make it to the finish-line and submit your application on or before the deadline because YOU ARE interested in, qualified for, and deserving of it.
the moment you notice your confidence levels dropping, you will come back to this post and work through the two phases above to reset your thoughts and feelings about yourself.
none of the commonly used "but" phrases (at the beginning of this post) will interfere and slow you down.
if you get stuck, you will access the resources available to you, e.g., family, friends, teachers, coaches, and/or us here at PenSoulPad.com.
The time has come! Take a look at the application materials, look for essay prompts or questions, and confidently set up your computer or paper and pen. You can do this! If you need guidance as you tackle the writing process, don't hesitate to look over some of the other posts we've written on this site. We also offer tips and tricks if you need to untangle writer's block issues, and we also provide a wealth of information in other areas of writing for applications.
Having a low level of self-confidence that ultimately hinders one's comfort with and ability to write is a common challenge many people of all ages face. With application essays and prompts being a typical requirement for college, scholarship, and internship consideration, it's worthwhile to face this head-on. With even just a bit of confidence, anyone can write essays to keep doors to opportunities open. Ongoing practice and seeing essays to completion will strengthen confidence levels, which will make the task of writing much easier over time. From there, style techniques can then be added to infuse voice and personality into those personal stories. So if you find that your self-confidence is wavering as you look at the application for a new opportunity, take the steps to build your self-confidence. It'll help you to know what you genuinely want and it will give you the courage to go after it with everything you've got!
A final word…
If and when self-driven attempts fall short (as they sometimes do in life), having the confidence to reach out for support can be a major first step toward new, exciting possibilities! Click here to contact us if you have any questions or would like some support with this. We believe everyone can write a strong essay for any type of application!