This answer is from a successful application that landed me a vacation scheme interview. It is probably one of my most “personal” answers.
What achievement in the past 5 years are you most proud of and why?
My acceptance into the London School of Economics was certainly one of my greatest achievements. As an undergraduate, I had spent most of my time in the library, poring over textbooks and preparing diligently for exams. When the LSE welcomed me to their postgraduate programme, I knew I would soon be embarking on a grand intellectual adventure at one of the world’s most stimulating communities of inquiry. I felt the hard work had finally paid off.
In reality however, the hard work had only just begun. My programme in political economy was a marked departure from my background in American legal studies, and I initially found some legislative procedures difficult to comprehend. Many of my colleagues were former interns at various European think tanks and government institutions, and I sometimes felt out of my depth in comparison. In addition to managing my academic workload, I also confronted everyday difficulties of adjusting to life in a foreign country.
Four months into my programme, my closest friend from my school and undergraduate days committed suicide. After a period of mourning, I was galvanised to make the most of my time in London. I redoubled my academic efforts, and pushed myself to write my thesis on European copyright issues, a subject I found personally fascinating. I also set aside time for travel, ran the Edinburgh marathon, and opened myself to new friendships.
As such, earning a merit in each of my modules at the LSE in 2012 is the achievement I am most proud of. I proved I am capable of excelling when handed challenging new material, and that I can do so whilst leading a fulfilling and balanced life beyond the classroom. This achievement undoubtedly strengthened my resolve to remain in London to pursue my career.