My Personal Statement
I used this personal statement to apply to college this year. I talk about my journey with finding where I belong as a creative.
“Hey guys, do you want to go to the movies after school today?” the question that filled me with dread. My drama club members proceeded to agree with this plan, their voices getting louder as they huddled in a circle of white air force 1s and light wash denim jeans to debate over what movie to see.
I was silent for a majority of this conversation. I truly did not know what to say. Can we do this on a Saturday? No, that sounds pretentious. That theater is kind of far from where I live and I can’t be out that late. No, I sound like a wimp. I can’t afford to go to the movies at this moment. No, I just sound pitiful. Do we not have homework to do? Absolutely not, I sound like the fun police. The entire time I stayed on the fringe of that circle, trying to peer in.
This version of myself is very different from when I am at home. I animatedly imitate the characters I see on screen with their foolish actions; I randomly burst into wacky dances or pose like I’m Naomi Campbell on the cover of Vogue. As you, dear reader, can probably tell, I would not be caught dead doing any of the aforementioned actions previously stated in public, let alone in school (shudder). If I did, I would be more out of place in my school environment than I already am. I am black, taller than most girls in my class (always have been), and I have blue dyed locs. I like dressing in a primarily dark wardrobe, books, movies, and writing to create different realities. My classmates like law, the stock market, and dress in primarily light colors (the occasional dark green or navy is broken out though).
Being at an academically rigorous school was fine, but what made it difficult was having no classmates with similar interests as me. I needed a space that would relieve me of my loneliness, and support my creative outlets. So, I sat on my living room couch, pulled out my phone, and entered “arts programs for teens in NYC” into the Google search bar. I scrolled through a few articles and lists. Then, I went back to the search bar and cleared it. I typed in “FREE arts programs for teens in NYC.” Through this search I found a lot of programs that actually specialized in my interests. I found Girls Write Now, Stella Adler Acting School, Girls Make Movies, and Ghetto Film School.
Throughout my time in high school I’ve become an actress, filmmaker, and published author. I never thought I would be able to accomplish these things in such a short amount of time. I never imagined that I would be able to tell important stories, and that people would actually listen.
I wrote several drafts, but they didn’t feel as if they were me. I wanted to reflect on my high school experience and note how I changed throughout the four years. Thinking about how I didn’t belong in my surroundings and being able to admit my insecurities was very difficult, but I’m glad I did. For someone to understand who I am now, they have to see who I was when I was younger.
Today, I realize that the discomfort and isolation I felt before were good because they pushed me to grow and accept who I am, not who I thought I should be.
Sheridan Cole is a high school senior on the threshold of her future. The most important thing to her in storytelling is creating stories where characters of a marginalized group have agency in their own lives and decisions. Sheridan loves filmmaking and plans to be an award winning director and screenwriter in the future.