Hm? Oh no, I'm not posting my essay here. Not yet, anyhow. I've already told you, it'll be put up in this space after I get my acceptance from [name of world-class program here]. Heck, CASPA just opened up a week ago. No, this post is to laugh at myself and how verbose I am. And simultaneously demonstrate.
The instructions at the mack-daddy app site say this:
USING YOUR OWN WORDS, in the space provided (2970 character count, this is about 495 words), write a brief statement expressing your motivation or desire to become a physician assistant. You are encouraged to save your work often in the event that your are timed out of the system.
Okay, well, first off, the all-caps reminding people not to plagiarize doesn't inspire a lot of awe in me, when it comes to who my competitors are going to be. I mean, there's already an anecdotal undercurrent of complaining out on SDN and other sites, because many of today's PA school grads are fresh-faced young kids with no experience to speak of, rather than the hardened vets that began the profession. (Not that I've seen anything like the complaints about Australian 6th-years who can't find the prostate on a diagram, but these things are relative.) If they're at all likely to get all Trace Viswanathan on top of that, then heck, I'm a friggin' paragon of virtue over here! Witness over a year's worth of my unique narrative voice, n' stuff.
Yeah, that's right. The blog might actually be helpful to the app process. Conceivably. Maybe. Crazy like a fox, yo.
Secondly, if you needed any further evidence that this is the 21st century, dig that "2970 characters" thing. I absolutely adore the fact that nobody decided to just bump it to 3000 and call it good. Long about interview season, I imagine many of us will start thinking of that 2970 as some Lost-style clue about what dark forces actually underlie the application process.
Third, a typo? On the instructions for the application? "in the event that your are timed out of the system," huh. Okey-fine, but I get a typo in return, and you can't ding me for it.
Lastly, CASPA earns my respect (and a sweet, chaste kiss on its sharply-designed but user-friendly little cheek) for that reminder to save often. Although, seriously. Everybody knows that if you're actually composing your 400-odd words right there on the spot, rather than just copy-n-pasting it into the text box, then you're either a total schmoe-donkey or you're Chuck Norris.
Anyway, here's the great thing about my first draft: 806 words (non-Asian words, thank you Microsoft Word for that). 3774 characters with no spaces.
And the relevant number? With spaces and punctuation, 4578.
(special thanks to my housemate the Drummer, for the term "schmoe-donkey.")