From a young age, I have been interested in aquatic life and first decided I wanted to be a marine biologist at age nine. Living on the coast has been a major advantage for this ambition as I was able to familiarize myself with the rocky shore environment and could often be found exploring rock pools. In addition, I have kept aquariums, both cold water and tropical, along with semi-aquatic terrariums, for over twelve years. Through this, I have learned the basic care of aquatic organisms and have been able familiarize myself with their biology and the physical environment which has heightened my enthusiasm.

 

Also, through keeping aquariums, I gained a strong interest in disease and pathogens following some unfortunate outbreaks. This gave me basic knowledge of how to evaluate the clinical signs observed in an animal and diagnose the problem, choosing a suitable treatment, and I would often read up on how different pathogens infect an organism along with the physiology of different parasites. Also, while carrying out my undergraduate study at Stirling, my interest in aquatic pathobiology grew thanks to the lectures on the subject and through practical work. It was at this point that I knew I wanted to specialize in aquatic pathobiology.

 

The reason I am choosing to continue my studies at the University of Stirling is that I enjoyed my time during undergraduate study and know first-hand how good the staff and facilities are, both in the department and in the university as a whole. I am also aware that the Institute of Aquaculture is one of the most reputable and respected institutes of its kind and it would be an honor to continue on to postgraduate study here.

 

I feel that past experiences have given me the skills necessary for postgraduate study. I am very dedicated and am prepared to put time into the course as I am used to showing such commitment and implementing time management in everyday life. I have been playing tenor horn since age nine and can now play at a Grade 6 level and have picked up piano and voice at ages twelve and seventeen, now performing both at a Grade 5 level. All of these have required much discipline and dedication, especially considering that I was also committed to my studies, which has given me the necessary time management skills from a young age. Also, I feel the undergraduate course has prepared me for such intensive study, though I am aware the postgraduate course will require much more commitment.

 

I am also capable of working well both in a team and on my own. As well as playing tenor horn solo, I was also a member of my high school’s band which not only required a great deal of team work, but also, a great deal of trust within the team, especially given that we often traveled overseas together to play on tour in the summer. I also currently have a part-time job at Tesco working in grocery replenishment where I need to be able to work as part of a team and alone while maintaining my responsibility to the customers in order to be considered an efficient worker.

 

I am also responsible and can work in a leadership role which I feel is advantageous for postgraduate study as I am able to take initiative and get work done without avoiding my responsibilities. I have previously taught music theory at a number of local elementary schools along with the basics of playing a brass instrument throughout my final year at high school and was also the leader of my section in the school band for three years. As well as this, I trained as a Buddy with Barnardo’s in S4 which allowed me to mentor younger students and offer them confidential help when they did not feel comfortable speaking with members of staff and I later went on to mentor other Buddies in order to support them and their assigned students.

 

I can communicate my ideas well and have an aptitude for research which will serve me well when it comes to course work, particularly the final research project. I work as a freelance writer and can write accurate and succinct pieces and meet deadlines regularly. I have been asked to write articles on a variety of different subjects and so have improved my research skills through my writing. Particular writing successes include having articles accepted by a number of different clients, having short stories published in literary magazines and having won a nation-wide poetry competition. As well as this, I feel my undergraduate study, in particular my research project, has greatly improved both my communication and research skills and has prepared me for postgraduate study.

 

In terms of my aspirations, I am interested in conservation and welfare and would eventually like to be working to diagnose disease and prevent outbreaks in both wild and captive populations. I feel that, in the future, I would most like to work with an animal welfare charity to improve the health of aquatic animals and hope that this course will help me to achieve this goal.

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Ben Frederick M.D.
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During my fourth year of medical school, I was faced with writing yet another personal statement, this time for a radiology residency. I'm not a strong writer, but after sending my personal statement to our founding editor, Sam Dever, I had to turn down interviews because I was getting too many. True story!

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