3rd Draft - I feel like i'm just missing the mark

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onthecusp
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3rd Draft - I feel like i'm just missing the mark

Postby onthecusp » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:02 am

Any criticism will be greatly appreciated. I feel like it's missing something. Is there anything here that I should expand upon, or eliminate?


I grew up the bastard child of juvenile delinquents. I was Joe Amateur sitting at the poker table staring down Phil Helmuth armed with a pair of twos. My world was chaos, moving one family member’s house to another, navigating through a dark cloud of violence, drugs, and hunger. For me, role models were scarce, and the one person who might have served as my shepherd early on passed away only months before my birth, the result of an illness that has been speculated to have manifested out of the stress and pain that comes with knowing that your 16 year old baby is going to have a baby.

Never in any coherent thought did I ever consider the possibility that I could become a lawyer. My mind was a wonderful place full of possibilities, unrealistic through my circumstance, yet beautiful constructs of truth in my heart. Words of encouragement chimed a perfect song through my hopes, but always faded with no tangible foundation to reinforce them. As a child this was maddening, and through my escalating frustration I searched within. If it were true that I were to survive childhood with nothing positive in my life to model myself after, than I would become my own role model. I chose to bend fate to my own dreams, becoming the opposite of everything I understood my father to be.

At the age of 15, through my obsession, I started a neighborhood bible study, knowing nothing of the bible on my own. Why the Bible? It was that one mysterious place where everything was perfect; where guidance was abundant, through supernatural channels to shape me into something resembling a great man. I went for it, knowing that if I stood for something, others would follow, even in disagreement; and I was right. My first Bible study took place on a Friday night consisting of 10 friends from high school who thought I was absolutely nuts. The next week, their parents joined; mostly out of curiosity. It became the case in ensuing weeks, that I would have to prepare for 50+ teenagers and parents every Friday night to squeeze into our living room, all waiting for me to deliver a one hour speech on the topic of the day. My topics held no outline, since nobody was there to stop me; I spoke about anything I wanted. I spoke about issues important to who was there at the time. Mostly I spoke of hope, and the importance of modeling one’s self in youth as the person you wished to become in adulthood, using biblical anecdotes to reinforce the importance.

It got to the point where there was enough buzz to attract the attention of a local youth ministry who invited me to join them for a mid week service. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation; here was my opportunity to be taught, not to teach. Not long after my initial meeting with them, I was promoted into leadership where I learned some hard lessons about the truths behind the leaders ushering this ministry. Out of principle I left in shambles knowing that the one constant source of hope in my life was a fraud. I understood that I could not blame all of Christianity for the imperfections of a few individuals, but my faith was shattered.

I was 18 when I stopped trying to be my own role model, and moved to reconcile who I was. I have undergone many philosophy shifts, spiritual overtures, demonstrative inner conflicts that served only to delay the truth of what was already obvious. My life has served as an attempt to right wrongs around me; to halt the chain of sorrows ingrained into the DNA of my family history. I sought this justice through my marriage at 23, through the birth of my first child at 26, through my educational awakening at 23 to shift my focus to serve as an educational example to my siblings, through my refusal to settle on a profession unbefitting a man of my talents.

If justice is the thing I seek out of my natural inclination, then there could be no barriers in becoming a part of the one profession structured around its truth. Law is in my blood, and the only topic that stirs me to engage all my talents, in pursuit of its ultimate truth. For the first time in my 29 years, I am comfortable in my own skin. I have resolved to myself, and to those around me, that I am less than perfect, significantly more than adequate, and if given the opportunity, someone who will do remarkable things at INSERT LAW SCHOOL HERE.

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Tanicius
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Re: 3rd Draft - I feel like i'm just missing the mark

Postby Tanicius » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:43 am

First thoughts: Not sure you want to use the word bastard. Otherwise, the beginning really gripped me. I also really like the part about the Bible studies.


More concerning problems:


1.)
First and foremost, what is this about? Don't make this a biography. We need the beginning, middle, and end to clearly relate to each other in a way that is both interesting and relevant. This must have more than a shocking beginning and a mildly intriguing but unrelated middle, and right now it does not. I do see one connection to your interest in law, though, and it's not a bad one:

"I was 18 when I stopped trying to be my own role model, and moved to reconcile who I was. I have undergone many philosophy shifts, spiritual overtures, demonstrative inner conflicts that served only to delay the truth of what was already obvious. My life has served as an attempt to right wrongs around me; to halt the chain of sorrows ingrained into the DNA of my family history. I sought this justice through my marriage at 23, through the birth of my first child at 26, through my educational awakening at 23 to shift my focus to serve as an educational example to my siblings, through my refusal to settle on a profession unbefitting a man of my talents."

One thing you can do to make this piece more cohesive is use phrases like "my own role model" throughout the entire essay. Remind us of these things! Now, with that said, don't go overboard, particularly with the word "justice," because adcomms are sick of people who want to be lawyers to promote "justice" in the world. Either way, the point is that we need unification of your theme. Right now your anecdotes are connected somewhat, just not very visibly, and that's what matters. Make the entire essay more recognizably connected to the above quoted paragraph.


2.) The vocabulary in general seems to strike an overly "edgy" tone, as though you're trying really hard to make the voice exciting and unique. Words like "shepherd," while perhaps creative and useful if this were about just entertaining an audience, would probably be best replaced with the normal and more boring words like "role model."


3.) Sometimes I have no clue what a sentence actually means. For example: "My mind was a wonderful place full of possibilities, unrealistic through my circumstance, yet beautiful constructs of truth in my heart. Words of encouragement chimed a perfect song through my hopes, but always faded with no tangible foundation to reinforce them." Don't be Faulkner. Make your sentences shorter and more to the point. They can still have impact (ex. "impact" vs. "plenty of impact" :P ).


4.) While I think I understand the implication, the part about you leaving the church because the leaders were "frauds" was confusing. Remember, you're not dealing with an active reader here. These readers are not reading your piece for the pleasure of it, and they do not want to sit there putting a puzzle together.


Overall: It's as the guy below me says: You need a theme badly. Fortunately, I think that you have a good theme but just haven't consciously integrated it yet. Beyond that, there is a chance that you could draw an enthusiastic adcomm into your PS with your style of writing and make them really like you, but I feel that it is much, much more likely that adcomms will find it melodramatic and get bored for exactly the same reasons. You've clearly suffered under some bad circumstances, but remember that there are many law applicants like you who have also struggled under similar and often times worse circumstances, and there is a danger here that adcomms could perceive narcissistic undertones that don't have to be there. I personally like the writing, and it's fun to read to an extent, but you definitely need to tone down the sentence structure and verbiage for the sake of impact and also clarity.
Last edited by Tanicius on Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:13 am, edited 14 times in total.

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chicoalto0649
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Re: 3rd Draft - I feel like i'm just missing the mark

Postby chicoalto0649 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:51 am

onthecusp wrote:Any criticism will be greatly appreciated. I feel like it's missing something. Is there anything here that I should expand upon, or eliminate?


I grew up the [strike]bastard[/strike] just not a good way to start off a law school application child of juvenile delinquents. [strike]I was Joe Amateur sitting at the poker table staring down Phil Helmuth armed with a pair of twos.[/strike] ---most law adcomms i would wager have no idea who phil helmuth is (i do but I am not a geeky graduate of an ivy league school )---My world was chaos, moving FROMone family member’s house to another, navigating through a dark cloud of violence, drugs, and hunger. For me, role models were scarce, and the one person who might have served as my shepherd early on passed away only months before my birth, the result of an illness that has been speculated to have manifested out of the stress and pain that comes with knowing that your 16 year old baby is going to have a baby. This sentence is way too long/vague and confusing--edit this heavily

Never in any coherent ?? thought did I ever consider the possibility that I could become a lawyer. My mind was a wonderful place full of possibilities, unrealistic through my circumstance, yet beautiful constructs of truth in my heart. Words of encouragement chimed a perfect song through my hopes, but always faded with no tangible foundation to reinforce them. As a child this was maddening, and through my escalating frustration I searched within. If it were true that I were to survive childhood with nothing positive in my life to model myself after, than I would become my own role model. I chose to bend fate to my own dreams, becoming the opposite of everything I understood my father to be. ( I literally have no idea what you are talking about in this paragraph)

At the age of 15, through my obsession (what are you obsessed with?), I started a neighborhood bible study, knowing nothing of the bible on my own. Why the Bible? It was that one mysterious place where everything was perfect; where guidance was abundant, through supernatural channels to shape me into something resembling a great man.( these two ideas are contradictory, you say you did not know anything about the bible- yet you think it is a place where everything is perfect and shaped you into a man--how can this be?) I went for it, knowing that if I stood for something, others would follow, even in disagreement ; and I was right. My first Bible study took place on a Friday night consisting of 10 friends from high school who thought I was absolutely nuts. The next week, their parents joined; mostly out of curiosity. It became the case in ensuing weeks, that I would have to prepare for 50+ teenagers and parents every Friday night to squeeze into our living room, all waiting for me to deliver a one hour speech on the topic of the day. My topics held no outline, since nobody was there to stop me; I spoke about anything I wanted. I spoke about issues important to who was there at the time. Mostly I spoke of hope, and the importance of modeling one’s self in youth as the person you wished to become in adulthood, using biblical anecdotes to reinforce the importance. anecdote is probably not the right word here, and I remain unconvinced because you failed to show me you knew what you were talking about since u just said you knew nothing of the bible....you need to clarify these inconsistencies

It got to the point where there was enough buzz to attract the attention of a local youth ministry who invited me to join them for a mid week service. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation[strike];[/strike] here was my opportunity to be taught, not to teach (you use semicolons way too much in this paper). Not long after my initial meeting with them, I was promoted into leadership where I learned some hard lessons about the truths behind the leaders ushering this ministry. Out of principle I left in shambles knowing that the one constant source of hope in my life was a fraud. I understood that I could not blame all of Christianity for the imperfections of a few individuals, but my faith was shattered. ( WHAT HAPPENED!! ZOMG THIS IS BEYOND VAGUE )

I was 18 when I stopped trying to be my own role model, and moved to reconcile who I was. I have undergone many philosophy shifts, spiritual overtures, demonstrative inner conflicts that served only to delay the truth of what was already obvious. My life has served as an attempt to right wrongs around me; to halt the chain of sorrows ingrained into the DNA of my family history. I sought this justice through my marriage at 23, through the birth of my first child at 26, through my educational awakening at 23 to shift my focus to serve as an educational example to my siblings, through my refusal to settle on a profession unbefitting a man of my talents.

If justice is the thing I seek out of my natural inclination, then there could be no barriers in becoming a part of the one profession structured around its truth. [strike]Law is in my blood[/strike] (seriously, no), and the only topic that stirs me to engage all my talents, in pursuit of its ultimate truth. For the first time in my 29 years, I am comfortable in my own skin. I have resolved to myself, and to those around me, that I am less than perfect, significantly more than adequate, and if given the opportunity, someone who will do remarkable things at INSERT LAW SCHOOL HERE.


Man, you need a lot of help here, I really do not know where to start. I really don't fancy myself as someone who's great at editing but content wise I have absolutely no idea what you are trying to get at. There is no unifying theme here. You have a series of disjointed/unconnected paragraphs that are too vague to reveal anything about you. This is a PS that can sink an otherwise decent application package....don't mean to discourage you or anything but the PS is something you can NOT afford to mess up. Take some time and try to hone in on one event in your life or something and write about that. Stray away from convoluted sentences and bloated words-

hth-- def not trying to be mean here

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onthecusp
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Re: 3rd Draft - I feel like i'm just missing the mark

Postby onthecusp » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:25 am

Please don't feel like you are being mean. This is what I was looking for. I know what I have isn't working so all of this is great.




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