This is my first attempt at the Personal Statement Essay.
I know this is very rough, but would appreciate some feedback and to know whether I am on the right track or need to scratch it and start again.
I am applying to transfer to UT Austin to the COLA to major in History. I have an AA in History and a 3.9+gpa. I am a non-traditional student going back after 14 years away from college
<p>When my step-sister graduated from college 2 years ago it caused me to pause and look back on my life. When I was 18 I went straight from school to college in my favorite town of Aberystwyth. However, I was not ready emotionally or mentally for college having barely scraped through my A-Levels without a mental breakdown. The breakdown came in December and I dropped out of University in March. From there I fell back to the occupation that was the easiest for me mentally and emotionally: Grooming top level show-jumping horses. I quickly moved to Belgium and in this job I got a cultural, historical, and social education that I would never have received had I stayed at school. I spent 4 years travelling all over Europe with the horses. Almost every night I shared a dinner table with 10-20 people, each from a different country, eating the food of the country that we happened to be in that day and we talked late into the night, not only about work, but about the countries and cultures we came from.
My two strongest memories of this time of my life are very different from each other, but each pushed me back to my love of History. I was in Moscow for the citys 850th birthday and asked the translator assigned to the grooms if she would take me to the Red Square. After riding the sub-way which was an experience all in its self, we stepped out onto the street just outside the entrance to the square. There were people everywhere! Drinking, dancing, shouting, and generally having as much fun as possible. In a stark contrast I saw that there were rings of what I assume were the military, shoulder to shoulder, surrounding the square, and keeping an eye on the revelers. We entered the square and I was confronted with yet more revelers, but more significantly I saw in one view the Kremlin, St. Basils Cathedral, and Lenins Mausoleum. I was struck at the history that was in front of me and that was continuing to be made all around me.
My second strongest memory was when I visited Croatia for a competition. On our way to the large town where the competition was being held we drove through a small deserted village. We could see doors left open with belongings still inside the houses. At the center was a small square which had a large wall on one side (the back of a building); it was pock marked and a strange sludgy red stain was present. The second night our hosts took us for a meal and I struck up a conversation with their daughter (we were about the same age). I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me and asked about the village. She sighed and told me how one winters night armed men invaded the village and took all the males, regardless of age, to the square. There they lined them up against the wall and proceeded to mow them down. The pock marks were bullet holes and that stain was blood. It struck me that this was an event that the locals were trying their best to wipe away the painful memory; but to me this was something important that should be told to remind us of the horror of war.
It was these experiences that started my journey back to college. I had a newly rediscovered interest in history, especially that of wars and their causes and effects. But it was not until so many years later when I reflected on my life, faced with pangs of regret as my sister graduated with her degree, that I realized that I was ready. I was emotionally, mentally, and more importantly intellectually prepared to pursue my degree in history, a field that my time travelling in Europe fueled my passion in. I hope that with his degree I can play a role, however small, in reducing the number of wars fought in the future by learning the lessons of the ones we have already fought.</p>