Help with PS!!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Acortez2
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:24 pm

Help with PS!!!

Postby Acortez2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:19 am

Ok so like most I really dislike writing about myself, that being said I have had sooo much trouble figuring out what to talk about and how to relay it. I would really appreciate some advice on what I have going so far. I am not done and plan on including a story about volunteering in Mexico, protesting Taco Bell corporate and running a free legal clinic. I just need some serious critiques about the direction I am going and if I should just start over all together. I am 28, five years removed from college and will be including an addendum regarding DUI's right after college. Anyway here goes.

PS - For most there was a particularly significant event that ignited an internal desire to pursue a career in law and venture on to the path towards law school. In my case, there is not a singular encounter or dramatic event that I can point to, its a collection of events that have only reaffirmed my desire to pursue law. I have had many trials and tribulations in my life, there have been difficulties and times where I felt I had hit rock bottom, at the same time there have been an uncountable amount of blessings. Being five years removed from the undergrad world/perspective, I believe the final catalyst proved to be the actual maturing process and understanding of life’s many lessons that have compelled me to pursue law and more particularly a career in legal service.
Like most people I have early memories about family trips, favorite toys, and people in my life. Unlike most, the reverberating memory ingrained in mind, is being in our tiny apartment at the early age of three watching my Mother throw out my cheating, substance and physically abusive Father. At the time I didn’t understand, yet in that instance the tone for my life was set, I later understood that when times are most difficult you can ask questions all you want, but sometimes you just have dig deeper and get through it. I have never been one for pity and I am in no way trying to evoke that here, the truth my sister and I were always taught me to be thankful for the hardships in our lives. These hardships teach us valuable lessons and strengthen our souls. My focus isn’t so much what happened it’s what I learned. These lessons were impressed upon me whenever difficulties arose and I attribute survival to the way I was raised. Like when we had to move in with family in Tia Juana because we couldn’t afford to live our own. Or all times I spent at home alone because we couldn’t afford a baby sister and my six year elder sister was forced to assume the role of substitute Mom. In these moments of hardship my Mother, about twenty-eight at the time, who worked two sometimes three jobs, would remind us how lucky we were, to never quit and always be thankful. Of course being a child you really don’t understand there is a tendency to be selfish and give in to your woes, but with my Mother’s leadership we always seemed to make it through.
I was in college when the lessons started to sink in. I started to realize that not only was I lucky to just be in school but that I needed to do more than just to go school. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to lead and serve. I felt most alive when I was volunteering, working for a cause or pursuing a leadership position. Two majors, a job, seven campus organizations and a few intramural teams, this became my quarterly routine in College. Friends and even some mentors said I was crazy, they couldn’t fathom such a load themselves; still for me it was perfect. Although at times immature in execution I was able to accomplish a great deal during my undergraduate years. My motivation was simple; education was a privilege not a right, and at nearly the same age my Mother had two kids worked two jobs, taught herself English, so I better not waste any time.

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hiromoto45
Posts: 881
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Help with PS!!!

Postby hiromoto45 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:28 am

You really have not said anything about why you want to go to law school. That is not required for PS but you mention law school in your first line. I'm just curious you mention you had a substance abusing father and then you had your own DUI...connection?

Are you planning on applying this cycle? if so where?

[strike]For most there was a particular significant event that ignited an internal desire to pursue a career in law and venture on to the path towards law school. In my case, there is not a singular encounter or dramatic event that leads me to law, for me its no one event stands out more than the other. I have had many trials and tribulations in my life, there have been difficulties and times where I felt I had hit rock bottom, but at the same time there has been an uncountable amount of blessing[/strike]s.

Being five years removed from the undergrad world/perspective, I believe the final catalyst proved to be the actual maturing process and understanding of life’s many lessons that have compelled me to pursue law and more particularly a career in legal service.
That's a given for anyone with WE or out of college for a couple of years. Do not need to state.


I think it is not a good thing to talk about negatives i.e. what you wrote about your childhood. Or at least shorten it to a sentence and say you moved on since then but the experience had an impact on you. So I would scrap the rest of the PS and write about something else.

Acortez2
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:24 pm

Re: Help with PS!!!

Postby Acortez2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:51 am

Thanks Hiromoto45, appreciate your honesty.

I had another personal statement all finished up but then after some advice and a couple weeks ago and even more from a friends who works with the admissions dept of a school, I was advised to write about the DUI's in an addendum.

I was planning to apply this cycle and have completed all other portions of the application process. With an LSAT of 158, I planned to apply to mostly tier 2 and below schools, like Chapman, Whittier, Thomas Jefferson. The top schools of my list were USD and Pepperdine.

To answer the personal question, yes I believe my Father did have some part in it, but in all honesty it was some immature decisions I made and I take responsibility for. I feel very blessed to be here and I talk about it as much as possible with friends and I go to my old fraternity to council them as well on the dangers of drinking and driving.

Acortez2
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:24 pm

Re: Help with PS!!!

Postby Acortez2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:53 am

Anyone else??? lol.

Acortez2
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:24 pm

Re: Help with PS!!!

Postby Acortez2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:48 am

Ok so I have made some changes and additions. I am having trouble with editing and would like some opinions from people. I plan to wrap this up with talking briefly about life after college and working in finance and ultimately deciding to go back to pursue a career in legal service. Don't know if anyone is awake or even reading this, but its worth a shot.

Like most people I have early memories about family trips, favorite toys, and people in my life. Unlike most, the reverberating memory ingrained in mind, is being in our tiny apartment at the early age of three watching my Mother throw out my cheating, substance and physically abusive Father. At the time I didn’t understand, yet in that instance the tone for my life was set. I have never been one for pity and I am in no way trying to evoke that here, I was always taught to be thankful for the hardships in our lives. These hardships teach us valuable lessons and strengthen our souls.
I was in college when the lessons started to sink in. I started to realize that not only was I lucky to just be in school but that I needed to do more than just to go school. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to lead and serve. I felt most alive when I was volunteering, working for a cause or pursuing a leadership position. Two majors, a job, seven campus organizations and a few intramural teams, this became my quarterly routine in College. Friends and even some mentors said I was crazy, they could not fathom such a load themselves; still for me it was perfect. Although at times immature in execution I was able to accomplish a great deal during my undergraduate years. My motivation was simple; education was a privilege not a right, and at nearly the same age my Mother had two kids worked two jobs, taught herself English, so I better not waste any time.
I remember during one volunteer experience going to Tia Juana to help with construction on a Mission that was adding classrooms. I felt almost at home, for the rest of the group it was a chance to come out, break a sweat and do something good for those who couldn’t afford to hire a professional construction crew. For me this presented an opportunity to show people the dirt roads, cinder blocks and sheet metal “shanty towns” just a few miles away from our local malls and discount shopping centers. It was a chance to show them why so many would leave their families risking their lives to cross the boarder. This was a chance to show them where I had once lived for a year of my childhood. For me on a deeper level it was another opportunity to heed that internal call to service.
I was always aware of the disparity and separation of classes in our society, although it was in college that I began to actually seek to make tangible change and not just volunteer. In 2001 in my second year, after hearing a presentation made by migrant workers at my school’s M.E.C.H.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) meeting, I was compelled to act. The workers were fighting Taco Bell to be paid a penny more for every pound of tomatoes they harvested. They planned a protest at the local corporate headquarters and were looking for support there as well with spreading the message of their nationwide boycott of Taco Bell. There was no question about it I was going to help in any way shape or form. At first I felt like being there, spreading the news on campus about the boycott was enough. Yet after attending the daily protest and speaking with the workers, looking in their eyes, seeing the conviction, pride, hope simultaneously mixed with quiver of helplessness; I knew it was not enough. I was even interviewed by Univision for one of their news broadcasts; I spoke of the need for workers and students to unite to combat unjust pay and working conditions. After the week long protest, protest organizers and advocates continued the fight in on the corporate turf, behind closed office doors away from the media’s , and the world’s attention for that matter. I naively, was enraged; I wanted change and change now, I wanted to be there. What I didn’t understand at the time, was battles like this between David and Goliath aren’t won with one deadly blow, they would take a continued effort and layers upon layers of groundwork. Not to mention I was merely a student and not invited to participate more. Fortunately five years later the workers won their extra penny per pound of harvested tomatoes.
After that experience I recall feeling somewhat helpless, but I remembered my Mother’s teachings to learn the lessons that needed to be learned from every difficult situation and use it as motivation. I saw that I was inexperienced on that level, so I decided to affect change where I could. It was through a student government position that I was able to coordinate the free legal clinic, which would provide legal council to undergraduate students. Lawyers would donate their time and I would schedule meetings for students who couldn’t afford legal representation or just needed some legal advice on issues they were facing. It was there that I saw that justice is sometimes only for those that can afford proper representation. I found that more often than not people will not approach a legal battle or fight unjust treatment, simply because they did not know their rights, they did not know what certain contracts meant, and they did not have the funds to seek help.

Acortez2
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:24 pm

Re: Help with PS!!!

Postby Acortez2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:13 pm

After a lot of re reading and some help from friends, this is what I have now...I would really appreciate some more critiques and edits, I am hoping to finish and submit the rest of my applications by this week. Thank you.

The reverberating memory ingrained in mind, is being in our tiny apartment at the early age of three watching my mother throw out my father. At the time I didn’t understand why. My father was abusive on many levels, but it was the difficulty of his absence that set the “tone” for my life. My mom rose above her own pain to teach my sister and I that life does not always unfold the way we want, but it is necessary to be thankful for the hardships in our lives because these hardships teach us valuable lessons and strengthen our souls.
I was in college when the lessons started to sink in. I began to realize that not only was I lucky to just be in school but that I needed to do more than just attend classes. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to help others who had it rough. I felt most alive when I was volunteering, working for a cause or pursuing a leadership position. Two majors, a job, seven campus organizations and a few intramural teams, became my quarterly routine in college. Friends and even some mentors said I was crazy, they could not fathom such a load themselves; still for me it was perfect. Although at times immature in execution I was able to accomplish a great deal during my undergraduate years. My motivation was simple; education was a privilege not a right, and at nearly the same age my mother had two kids worked two jobs, taught herself English, so I felt compelled to make the most of my time in college.

One of the more memorable volunteer experiences was going to Tijuana to help with construction on a Mission that was adding classrooms. I felt almost at home, for the rest of the group it was a chance to come out, break a sweat and do something good. For me this presented an opportunity to show people the dirt roads, cinder blocks and sheet metal “shanty towns” just a few miles away from our local malls and discount shopping centers. It was a chance to show them why so many would leave their families risking their lives to cross the border. This was a chance to show them where I had once lived for a year of my childhood. For me on a deeper level it was another opportunity to heed that internal call to service.

It was 2001 in my second year that I was able to work with those people who uprooted themselves from places like we had previously volunteered. During a weekly M.E.C.H.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) meeting a presentation and call for action was made by migrant workers who were fighting Taco Bell to be pay the workers a penny more for every pound of tomatoes they harvested. Protests at the local corporate headquarters were planned along with a nationwide boycott. I was compelled to action. At first I felt like being at the protest and spreading the news on campus about the boycott was enough. I was even interviewed by Univision for one of their news broadcasts; I spoke of the need for workers and students to unite to combat unjust pay and working conditions. Yet after attending the daily protests and speaking with the workers, seeing the conviction and pride simultaneously mixed with quiver of helplessness; I knew it was not enough we needed more. However after the week long protest, organizers continued the fight on the corporate turf, behind closed doors away from the media’s, and the world’s attention for that matter. I naively, was enraged; I wanted change and change now, I wanted to be there and have my hand in the negotiations, it was easy for me to speak from a secure student position. What I didn’t understand at the time, was battles like this between David and Goliath aren’t won with one deadly blow, they would take a continued effort and layers upon layers of groundwork. Not to mention I was not invited to participate on that level. Fortunately five years later the workers won their extra penny per pound of harvested tomatoes, some victories come through years of work and dedication.

After that experience I recall feeling somewhat helpless, but I remembered my Mother’s teachings to learn the lessons that needed to be learned and use it as motivation. I saw that I was inexperienced on that level, so I decided to affect change where I could. It was through a student government position that I was able to coordinate the free legal clinic, which would provide legal council to undergraduate students. Lawyers would donate their time and I would schedule meetings for students who couldn’t afford legal representation or council. It was there that I saw the importance of providing legal council to those who could not afford it on their own. I also found that in many cases people would not approach a legal battle, because they did not know their rights, they did not know understand contracts, and they did not have the funds to seek help. I knew that this was the area were I could be of most service and where I wanted to make my career.

In my life there has not been a singular encounter or dramatic event that I could point to for my inspiration to become a lawyer. I believe its been a result of both the many tribulations and blessings that have unearthed my passion. Being five years removed from college and crossing some serious hurdles, the final catalyst proved to be the actual maturing process. Understanding the drive that was instilled in me by my Mother, to turn tough situations into lessons I could learn from. The world perspective I gained by living in Tijuana. The lessons I learned through my involvement with the legal clinic and other volunteer experiences. It is a collection of all these experiences, and most importantly an understanding of myself that really compels me to pursue a career in legal service.




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