One of the wonders of working in the world of words is how many fascinating opportunities it brings.
This week I was asked to run a session on that most dreaded of demons of young people, the personal statement on their university and college application forms.
I immediately said yes as I saw the opportunity to (1) explore something new (believe it or not, it's been a while since I applied for university (and double believe it or not, yes I did go)), (2) run an interesting and fun course, and (3) do some good.
The statement is about five hundred words long, and most young people say the hardest part of the process.
So, how to go about giving them an insight in ways to tackle it?
I did some thinking and didn't come up with much, so I headed to my usual temple of creative thought (yes, you know where I mean, and yes, it does rhyme with dub), and yay! Inspiration -
Before you think it, this is not a self portrait, but this handsome chap who appeared in Cambridge after the snow of the weekend isn't a bad guide for how to go about a personal statement.
It's just the same as any story you might write. Whether a letter, news report, social media post, essay or a novel.
The secret is simple, and all in the storytelling -
Have yourself a good beginning, which draws the reader in to wanting to know more.
Expand on your narrative, in this case yourself, in an interesting, informative and elegant way.
Find your voice and show your passion for your chosen subject.
Come to an satisfying conclusion, which leaves the reader with a legacy of thought.
And although the personal statement is so important for students, as their passport for what I hope will come to be a fantastic future, never hesitate to include something so very critical.
A lesson of serious stuff we might take from our snowman friend -
Leave us with a smile.