Tell me about yourself… this is the one liner that most interview candidates are comfortable with, but they (usually) don’t really nail it! Most of them, complacently and without giving it a second thought, reel off the following: My name is… I have done my M.Sc from …University and have secured 97%. My father is an engineer working in a private company and my mother is a homemaker. I have a brother who is doing his under graduation in ….University. I come from …and I think I qualify for this job.
The astute (and irked) interviewer puts a cross against the candidate; the occasional forthright interviewer patiently explains: I have not learned anything about you! I now have some knowledge about your family; whatever else you have said about yourself is already there in the CV. This puzzles and perplexes many a young person because what they have stated above is what their school essays have contained, and they have received a good grade for it. Hence they have assumed that they have been on the right track!
Students right from class 1 keep writing about themselves; however, but for the first one or two sentences, the focus shifts to other people and other things! The Myself essay is customarily about the family; the student writes about siblings, parents, and concludes with a one liner such as: I like cats.
Typically, a primary class student would probably write something like the following:
My name is Anita Kohli. I study in Class 4 in KS Matriculation School. I have a brother and a sister. They are younger than me and they study in the same school. My father’s name is Arjun Kohli. He owns an electrical shop. My mother’s name is Anuradha Kolhi. She is a teacher. My brother, sister, and I play in the evening and do our homework.
The sentences are simple, have no grammatical flaws, and the vocabulary is apt. The student would probably be awarded three or four marks out of five. But does one know anything about Anita? There are no personality traits mentioned and there is no mention even of the game or the sport that she plays. The unfortunate student does not even recognize that what she has written is not of relevance to the topic because I, as a teacher, have not offered that feedback. The student assumes that since she has used the first person pronoun throughout the essay, the essay has been about her!
The essay below, in contrast, qualifies for an essay about Myself.
My name is Mahesh Vardha. I study in Class IV in St. Thomas School. I like my school because it has a big playground with a lot of swings. I love to swing, and I can swing higher than my friends. I like that! The subject I hate most is mathematics because I can never understand it. I like basketball. I need to improve. My coach says that I need to grow taller for that. My mother is giving me more milk for this reason. I play the keyboard and entertain my grandmother. She thinks I play very well. People ask me what I want to be…I think it is enough to be ME right now!
The author is a teacher educator and language trainer based in Hyderabad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.