Personal Statement (And a Nod to Walt Whitman)

I celebrate myself, and sing myself, doubt myself, and question myself, know myself, and on some levels understand myself. I boast neither full self-awareness nor full self-understanding; predictability only takes you so far.

I wrap myself in a blanket of logic and reason. Thoughts constantly circulate through my mind; every moment I evaluate, analyze, calculate, and predict. Rooted deep within me is the desire to understand. I accept Reality but am forced to question it. When the feeling of being lost approaches I fight at all cost to remain aware. It is not that I refuse to be lead; guidance is needed and appreciated. It is the discomfort that comes with following blindly that I so fear. I trust those who lead and understand my areas of weakness and lack of knowledge, but without some basic concept of my situation I can never be comfortable. The question, “What stop are we getting off?” is not simply clarification or curiosity but a necessity for my peace of mind.

I struggle to come to an understanding with the knowledge presented. I will not pose questions that I am not entitled to ask, nor will I breach sometimes-uncertain social boundaries. Instead I listen. I watch. I witness and wait and I think, attempting to put together every piece of information so that I come to an understanding on a deeper level.

I am by no means perfect. Occasionally I say something, and even as I say it I realize that it was a mistake. In the second after I make my remark before I receive the response I know how it will sound, how it will be taken, and how the response will be.` I consider my relationships, my mood, my tone, the mood of the person to whom I am speaking, the way his or her day has been going, his or her opinion of me, and often times I determine that I made a mistake and have spoken offensively. And so in this moment between remark and response I suffer, unable to take back the mistake that I just made, only able to cringe as I offend others or make myself seem stupid, harsh, obnoxious, conceited, immature, selfish, rude, angry, weak, insensitive, disrespectful, arrogant, stubborn, close-minded, or some combination of traits which I try to separate from myself.

It is time to explain myself. I coined the term “Constant Cognition” in an attempt to explain my way of being. In every moment I consider the possible, launching into the Unknown. I strive to understand what might happen to me in any moment and what I would do in that situation. I play my life like a game of chess, planning ahead and weighing options, fighting at all costs against rash thoughts and quick errors. The cost is the painstaking slowness that comes with making decisions.

All of my logic and pros and cons serve only to help me determine the best course of action towards a goal; no amount of calculated chess moves will accomplish anything without the knowledge that checkmate is the goal. My soul trembles before the universe. This is my struggle and my uncertainty. It is here that I doubt myself, and that my pragmatism fails me; I render myself immovable, incapable of acting, and greatly torn by asking myself the simple question “what do I want?” I feel. I am filled with preferences and likes and dislikes and love and passion, but my analytical tendencies lead me to distrust my instincts and question them; when I am faced with choice I become lost in an internal debate over what it is that I truly desire.

Jacob Ginsberg, a cosmos, of Brooklyn the son, living, singing, learning, waiting, struggling to find and trust what he wants in the world.

Jacob Ginsberg
Age 18, Grade 12
Brooklyn Friends Schol
Gold Key

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