The transition I am planning to accomplish is not a common one; graduate study in economics after pursuing a major in physics. The reason behind this unusual path is very simple. I love to learn, and I discovered that I enjoy learning and doing research in economics more than physics. Physics has been a good preparation, since the excellent reasoning skills I acquired during my studies will help me a lot in economics.
I have always believed that the purpose of life for me is to be happy. This belief guides me to a career that I would enjoy everyday, and where I would produce useful results at the same time. Throughout my undergraduate years, I tried to come up with ideas for this suitable career of mine. I have tried to keep my spectrum of choices broad by taking various courses, and came up with the decision that when I become an academician in economics, I will be happy. Economics combines my favorite intellectual tool, mathematics, with the conceptual challenge of explaining the economical choices and values of the society and the individual.
How come I like to play with mathematics is another story from my past. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go on studying a subject related to science and mathematics. One of the main reasons for this decision was that my family is very science oriented (my parents, and my elder brother are all chemical engineers), and at high school, I became aware of the analytic abilities I could gain through science and math. During my undergraduate education, I encountered economics and realised that when I apply my analytic abilities to economics, studying economics becomes easier and more enjoyable. This is how I ended up taking so many different and interesting courses in economics. Now, my aim is to go on studying this exciting subject and most importantly, make contributions to economics by publishing articles during my graduate degree.
Maybe because I enjoy studying economics so much, teaching it has been even more fun. I have given private lessons in math, economics and science; and teaching economics has always been the most enjoyable. Being able to give more real-life examples to my students, and helping them understand the subject by not only my personal examples, but rather understand it by using their own intuitions was the great joy I found in teaching economics. This satisfaction is another indicator that earning an academic degree and teaching is the way to fulfil my purpose in life – happiness.
The other opportunity I hope to find in an economics Ph.D. program is being able to conduct researches. Now that I am a senior, I have been involved with a research project in biophysics for about a year with Prof. XXX. The project is about MC and MD simulations of a DNA structure with waters in an a1/a2-DNA homeodomain complex. For this project, I have learned how to use an advanced graphic program (midas), how to write programs in Fortran and how to use some other unix based programs. But above all, I have learned how to analyse the results of a research. Even though this research is not in economics, my experience in analysing data and the research techniques I learned in this project will help me a lot with my future researches in the graduate school.
Even though I have drawn a very rosy picture about a Ph.D. in economics so far, I am also aware of the extremely demanding first year, and the hard work and dedication I will have to put in during graduate school. I am experiencing this demanding environment in some graduate level courses I am taking (topics in macroeconomics and topics in economics; I will take the latter one next semester) in my senior year. To further strengthen my mathematical background, I will take probability theory next semester.
I am sure your program in economics will serve me well in achieving my personal aims, and the inspiration I will get from your distinguished faculty will further boost my enthusiasm and dedication for a graduate degree in economics. I know I will live up to and exceed your expectations with my hardworking nature and my passion for economics. By this time next year, these positive features of mine will prove to be well claimed, and I wish to be very productive under your guidance.