From as early as we can remember, adults ask: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The “future” is assumed to be this attainable “thing,” burdening us with pressures of achievement throughout our primary education years, coming to a head when we face a blank page upon which we must write our college application “personal statement.”
Personal Statement, directed by Juliane Dressner, makes its America ReFramed television and online premiere October 23 at 8pm EST on the WORLD Channel. Through the eyes of three high school seniors from under-resourced Brooklyn schools, the film begins to fill this “blank page.”
Enoch, Karoline, and Christine exemplify a multitude of experiences facing today’s youth — LGBTQ, gender/cultural norms, family/financial difficulties — while balancing extracurriculars, college applications, and their work as peer college counselors.
Personal Statement reminded me, and I hope it reminds you, that the fears and insecurities rising up as you journey to college and life are deep and valid, but not insurmountable.
Two America ReFramed interns, Madeleine Collier and Davyana San Miguel, and I thought about what we wished our high school selves knew. Here’s what we came up with:
Your past shapes, not defines, who you are becoming. The journey is not always linear, and can at times be tear-producing, joy-producing, or a bit of both.
This “future” that we tend to grasp at is built on how we live each day, moment, and hour. Build your life on the things that matter, the things that remind us of our shared humanity.
Never stop learning. There’s so much more to life than what you see in front of you.
Instead of asking “what” do you want to be, ask “who” do you want to be? What kind of person?
What’s the STATEMENT you will make in this life, with your life? Think about that, then go out in the world and state it, personally.
About the Author: Naomi McPeters is the Programming and Outreach Assistant for public television’s America ReFramed series. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University at Albany, SUNY in 2017.
Watch the Online Premiere of Personal Statement below or follow this link to learn more.
PERSONAL STATEMENT Documentary Credits/Bios
Director & Producer: Juliane Dressner
Her films focus on young people overcoming challenging circumstances and have shed light on economic and racial justice issues in education and the criminal justice system.
Co-Director: Edwin Martinez
Edwin Martinez is a Bronx-born filmmaker. His first feature documentary, To Be Heard, was named a New York Times “critics pick.”
Producer: Beth Levison
Beth Levison is the producer of Personal Statement. She is the recipient of two national Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards.
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