As long as I can remember, my favorite question has been, “What if?” As a child, I could turn any subject into a serious discussion following where this question led me. When I heard something was impossible, I would immediately ask: “What if it was possible?” When I heard something had or had not happened, I would start to imagine opposite situations. Even being on my own, I would constantly model various life situations, trying to figure out how I or other people would act, what would they say or feel.

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For a rather long period of time, this habit remained a mind exercise; sometimes it caused me trouble, since I easily got absorbed in my thoughts, and almost always believed in their truthfulness. Considering that I loved to read books—all kinds of books, starting from fiction and ending up with popular science—I constantly had food for thought. Therefore, it seems strange to me that I attempted to write down my fantasies down only at the age of 17. One day, when I noticed I had once again started to unfold the “what-if chain of events,” as I called it, I took a piece of paper, a pencil, and started to write everything down that came to my mind.

I quickly realized that imagining events and trying to describe them is not the same; rather often, my brilliant ideas looked unconvincing and clunky on paper. I could draft one essay or story for weeks, and still be displeased with the result. At that time, I already knew that if I did not become a professional writer, I would become nothing, because no other career attracted me. I sharpened my skills day by day, I read many writing manuals and guidelines, I studied biographies of famous writers, and I continued to devour books of all genres—but I still felt discontent with my performance.

I went to writing workshops in my neighborhood weekly, and found that constructive criticism is invaluable. After a year or so of attending these workshops, and consistently writing new short stories, I sent my works to many publications and writing contests. I ended up in six literary magazines and one book, all of which were independent presses. I became a finalist in the South Carolina Youth Writing Contest, which was an honor for me. But after these publications and becoming a finalist in a nationwide contest, I realized I did not refer to the category of people who could rely entirely on their talent, and made a decision to enter a college and pick a specialty that would facilitate my development and help me accomplish my dream to become a professional writer.

This is why I chose the University of South Carolina—the faculty of Arts and Sciences, in particular. In my opinion, the department of English Literature and Culture would perfectly suit my needs. I find the set of disciplines offered by this department extremely useful for a person with my area of interests; classes on composition and rhetoric, literary and critical theory, linguistics, communication studies, and especially creative writing seem to be the most facilitating for my improvement and development as a writer.

I know the stereotype that creativity is not a skill one can obtain through training and thorough studying; it is presumed that talent and skills should be natural. On the other hand, personally I see nothing wrong in studying to become a writer or to be proficient in any other creative profession. From my perspective, it is a perfect opportunity to transform my accumulated knowledge and experience into a greater understanding; this way is much faster than comprehending my subject by the trial and error method. Thus, studying in your university is my chance to achieve my goals and dreams faster and easier. This is the main reason why I want to enter the University of South Carolina.

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