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User Topic: How to answer "What is your weakness" essay question?
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Question  Posted: 1:23 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm a university student applying for a Scholars Program that prepares first generation graduate students for PhD programs (I will be pursuing my PhD in Epidemiology).

The program matches you with a mentor in your field, gives you the tools that you need to succeed in the research field, and pays you a stipend to conduct your own research. Should I be chosen for this program, my research topic will focus on maternal/child nutrition, and it's link to infectious disease, and will be conducted while I am interning in Uganda next year.

However, I need to write an essay detailing my research goals, and also my "strengths" and "weaknesses". I THINK I know what o say for my strengths (I work well with diverse populations, I have great written and oral communication skills, I'm ambitious) but I'm so nervous about listing WEAKNESSES.

Previously I had always heard to disguise a strength as a weakness (as in "I'm a perfectionist, I like all of my work to be perfect."). I took an informal Facebook poll of professional friends who say NO, don't do that. It's insincere.

Most of these people who gave the advice(made of of classmates I have become friends with, colleagues, and former coworkers) offered the opinion that my biggest weakness is my tendency to second guess myself, and not see my worth. I would agree with this, I rely way too much on external validation (i.e. I never look at my work and think "That's good!" until someone tells me so).

The drawbacks are:

1) I feel like it's more a personality flaw then a weakness.

2) I feel like it's talking them out of choosing me. Who wants someone who second guesses their work?

The pros are:

1) This is something I have truly been working on since I began school, so I can mention that.

2) This feeling of unworthiness likely stems from the fact that I was a high school drop out when I began college (I didn't even have a GED), and I can work that into my essay, to show how far I've come and what I've accomplished since then.


I'd love some opinions, from the collective wisdom of SI. You guys have never steered me wrong.

(Oh, and the essay needs to be turned in on Monday).

ETA: If you could also send me some mojo, in hopes that I will be selected for this opportunity, that would be awesome as well!

[This message edited by Want2help at 10:26 AM, May 3rd (Saturday)]


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2265 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Crescita
♀ Member
Member # 32616
Default  Posted: 1:36 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think 2nd guessing yourself is a great topic if you go into how you feel it has held you back and what you are doing to overcome it.

And given you are posting this question here, I see you are still second guessing what you already know is a good topic

You've got this, and your program sounds fascinating!


Posts: 3388 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: The Valley of the Sun
marchmadness
♀ Member
Member # 6475
Default  Posted: 1:39 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think this sounds like an amazing program. To answer your question, I think that the weakness that you are focusing on will work for this assignment. Both of your "pros" are areas that you should explore in the essay. If you can, I would try to explain how this specific weakness will affect your research project and what steps you can take to counter it.


You get to sleep in the bed you make...be careful what goes on between the sheets.

Posts: 413 | Registered: Feb 2005 | From: pa
million pieces
♀ Member
Member # 27539
Default  Posted: 2:02 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYZEYsOeRDM

Totally honest job interview.

Don't watch if you are easily offended


Me - 42
2 kids, 9 and 11
D-Day 2/5/10, separated 3 wks later
Divorced 11/15/11!!!!

Posts: 1244 | Registered: Feb 2010 | From: MD
caregiver9000
♀ Member
Member # 28622
Default  Posted: 3:24 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I would call it self confidence rather than second guessing.

I think that honesty here is a good idea. The fact that you are over coming perceived difficulties to now succeed will help in the self confidence. The first step to fixing a problem is identifying it. You can always say that every success and achievement contributes to "fixing" this weakness.

It also tells them that you will work well with a leader who praises and recognizes the strengths in others. A selfish grand standing SOB won't hire you and that will be good for both of you!!!


Me: 44, independent, happy, despite co-parenting with a lower muppet
FT "Stretch" (and Skew!) ;)
DS 13 DS 10
S 5/2010
D 12/2012

Posts: 5820 | Registered: May 2010 | From: a better place
cayc
♀ Member
Member # 21964
Default  Posted: 4:29 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The interview question about weakness is designed to figure out how well you know yourself. The key is that when you state your weakness, you follow it with your coping strategy.

So it's "my weakness is that I sometimes hesitate to act decisively when my decision will greatly impact a lot of my co-workers (code for 2nd guessing yourself). I handle this weakness by making sure in those situations I talk to a few other people and alleviate the concern that my choice won't be well received.

Or something like that.


"The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed." -Martina Navratilova
"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 3086 | Registered: Dec 2008 | From: Mexico
NaiveAgain
♀ Member
Member # 20849
Default  Posted: 9:25 PM, May 2nd (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My biggest weakness is my tendency to overextend myself and not practice enough self-care. So I usually give that as my weaknesses but talk about how I am limiting how much I take on and that I make sure I have 30 minutes to myself every day to exercise or read a book, etc......


Original WS D-Day July 10, 2008. Kept lying, he is gone.
New WS (2 EA's, no PA) 12-3-13
If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.

Posts: 15227 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: Ohio
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 10:25 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you, everyone! I knew you'd all be insightful!

I begin writing my essay today, and turn in all of my materials (and there are a LOT) on Monday.

If you could all send me some of that good old SI mojo, that'd be awesome! This program is a tremendous opportunity.

million pieces, I cackled wildly through the whole thing!

[This message edited by Want2help at 10:41 AM, May 3rd (Saturday)]


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2265 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
asurvivor
♂ Member
Member # 32368
Default  Posted: 12:08 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Here's an idea: "My weakness is honesty and quite honestly that's a dumb ass question"


I've wiped the shit off. It can be wiped off you know.



Posts: 565 | Registered: Jun 2011
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 12:33 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Here's an idea: "My weakness is honesty and quite honestly that's a dumb ass question"

Oh, it's funny because it's true!

My little brother says "You can't walk away from a fight [argument]. If you know someone or something is wrong, you're powerless to walk away."

Somehow I don't think that would fly with the panel of Ph.D.s who will be looking over my application.


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2265 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
norabird
♀ Member
Member # 42092
Default  Posted: 10:28 AM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Mojo!!!! Sounds like a great program and your essay on your greatest weakness will be awesome too


Sit. Feast on your life.

Posts: 4165 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: NYC
cayc
♀ Member
Member # 21964
Default  Posted: 11:42 AM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I had a friend that once answered that question with the answer "kryptonite". It was for a job in Hollywood, and he got the job lol.


"The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed." -Martina Navratilova
"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 3086 | Registered: Dec 2008 | From: Mexico
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 1:19 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Cayce, that's hilarious!

Norabird, thank you. I've put it off until today. I'm shaking in my boots just thinking about it.

Also, fear of of rejection. Just thinking about getting a rejection letter is keeping me from writing this essay. Gah!


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2265 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Kajem
♀ Member
Member # 36134
Default  Posted: 10:16 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Since the essay is (hopefully) written by now. I'll send mojo for the results!


I trust you is a better compliment than I love you, because you may not trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. - Unknown
Relationships are like sharing a book, it doesn't work if you're not on the same page.

Posts: 5073 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: Florida
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 10:23 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ugh, I'm still trying to write it! I have 5 mini essays to write, and normally I'm the type who can bust out any essay in 20 minutes, but I'm just so stuck! Nothing I type feels good enough. Gaaahhh!!!


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2265 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
mainlyinpain
♀ Member
Member # 39134
Default  Posted: 11:08 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Mojo Mojo Mojo Mojo Mojo >>>>>>>>>>>Want2help


DD 1 - 7/7/2004
DD 2 - 10/31/2011
DD 3 - 4/30/2013(or continuation?)(Yes)
DD 4 - 9/25/2013
DD 5 - 2/15/2014 (found phone from 2009)

Posts: 489 | Registered: Apr 2013
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 1:59 AM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks mainlyinpain and Kajem! They are written! Now I have to submit my application tomorrow, hope that they have received the (snail mailed) letter of recommendation, turn in my other two letters, and then cross my fingers until I find out!


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2265 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Topic Posts: 17

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