After debating with myself on whether to use the BS word in the title or not, I finally decided not to censor myself on my own blog and went ahead with it. Censoring the BS word on a BS topic is actually some BS in itself; and using BS instead of bullshit is also bullshit … so what gives.
Anyways, the point of discussion is that, recently, it has come to my attention that one of our “highly decorated” acquaintances might have misled a number of scholarship organisers with her “powerful” essays and personal statements. We (me and my wife) happened to figure this out over a dinner meeting when we heard of some extraordinary high-flying crap (unreasonably lofty ideals, fake “personal life experiences”, etc.) from this person. A few things just jumped out at us as pretty obvious discrepancies (when you have been through a similar experience, you can very easily tell when the other person is exaggerating/lying - sort of) and a few other odd things we figured out after pondering over the entire story all over again.
I was thinking over it for a while and then realized that she is just playing the scholarship system to her advantage. Almost every scholarship/award that I have seen in seven years of graduate school asked for an essay or a personal experience statement, or some document of that sort. Many of the scholarships/organizers specifically state (verbally or otherwise) that, generally, very similar academic profiles of graduate students, scholarship decisions will ultimately boil down to a contest between personal statements. “Powerful” personal statements will have a better chance of getting the scholarship.
Now, I haven’t really understood this obsession with “powerful” personal statements and essays .. and with preferences for people with “powerful life experiences”. Sounds very “Miss America” like. This obsession for larger-than-life idiocy encourages words over deeds, lofty ideas over achievable targets, and bullshit over plain old simple truth.
Why should something dramatic happen in your life to make you eligible for a scholarship? Why is it necessary to relate your success to obscure words that your mom/dad (or a dead relative) said 20 years ago? Why is it necessary to “boast” about your far-fetched “noble” intentions in future (which are not really “noble” the moment you start boasting about them)?
Interestingly enough, almost none of the scholarships will actually take the pains to verify any of your “personal” events. So whatever you throw at them will be accepted - and even glorified. So where is the motivation to be honest and straightforward about who you are, why you want the scholarship, and what you want to do with the money you will get from the award?
As educational expenses rise, we will probably see more such bullshit floating around in future.
I wonder what else we will do for money.
Is it too much to ask for a very little tiny bit of personal honor? Or is that some kind of bullshit too?