Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
SalsaLaw
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Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:20 am

I'm aware that this is a bit of a risk. Then again I definitely don't have the risk aversion gene (if there is one). If you don't mind reading it, I don't mind you being harsh. It is my freshly completed first draft that I started on around 4 hours ago, so I expect some lumps. For your viewing (dis)pleasure....

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'Tis another day in 10th grade Chemistry Honors class. Stoichiometry and I have decided to spend some time together – a date perhaps. She has some insight as to why Oxygen thinks Hydrogen is so nice, that it seeks it twice. This juicy tidbit is going to have to wait. I’ve been called to the front office to be checked out. As I walk down the chaos inspired painted hallway (what else would one call an eclectic mix of pink, green, and gold?), I am not distraught over our lack of time together. Opening the door to the front office, I am certain there will be plenty of time for us to get reacquainted. Soon enough, the jest, as well as everything else I am certain about, will change.

It is six hours later. I choose to employ escapism. It’s an uncomfortable situation that I can no longer endure. There is nothing I can do, despite my efforts. He still hasn’t spoken, nary a flinch. This is the man that the United States conferred the Bronze Star for heroic achievement upon after the Vietnam War. He is the guy who has always been invincible to me. This is my dad. The doctor says he had a massive stroke and that we are entering the unknown. They have no idea whether or not to expect a recovery, and if so, how long it would take.

Weeks go by. After incremental improvements we find ourselves in a Veteran’s Affairs healthcare facility. A man comes in and introduces himself as one of the hospital’s administrators. I hear him telling my mom, “There’s been a strong correlation found between your husband’s condition and a particular form of herbicidal warfare, Agent Orange.” He goes on to describe how a class action suit was filed in 1984, but that in 1997 the settlement fund was closed. Now this is not my world. I do not know the rules of this game. Not yet anyway. These and a thousand other thoughts are coursing through my brain: “What can we do? There have to be laws regarding this. We need to take action. This is not right.”

It has now been months. My dad is able to speak and move which is a blessing. Prior to the stroke however, this is the man who was the pillar of our general contracting company—the machine that allowed everything to work. His blood and sweat put a roof over our heads, literally and figuratively. Yet he is now 100% physically disabled. He has a progressive vascular disease that is inoperable, and incurable. Nothing is certain. Everything has changed. I have changed.

It was at that point that I stopped trying to escape. I had become engaged and was sinking my teeth into anything I could find regarding Agent Orange. I was insatiable. Spending time with the attorneys granted me the ability to see how their minds worked. They were proficient, exposing any fault. Over the next two years we fought against the Veteran’s Affairs to establish my father’s condition as an accepted resulting consequence of his exposure to Agent Orange. In the end, we were successful.

Before the aforementioned experience, I had wanted to be an attorney. The entire ordeal only served to nurture my thirst. It cemented my path to the study of law, and to helping those who can’t always help themselves in this arena. To orchestrate and foster evolution within our system, one must be able to dance on the rules of the game, not just abide by them. Personally, I like to Salsa.

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You should notice I stuck to a present narrative throughout the first four paragraphs...this was done with purpose. I think it makes the paper more engaging. I've also been wrong occasionally...

Edit: I can appreciate the T'is hate...
Edit: T'is-'Tis. Still lots of hate.
Edit: Changed to "nurture my thirst". Does cultivate or encourage work better? Any ideas?
Last edited by SalsaLaw on Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

DanInALionsDen
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby DanInALionsDen » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:21 am

I got to "T'is" then stopped reading.

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sanpiero
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby sanpiero » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:23 am

DanInALionsDen wrote:I got to "T'is" then stopped reading.

SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:24 am

The whole first paragraph is meant to be tongue in cheek-y...hence the T'is. lol

At least I'm laughing...

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catharsis
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby catharsis » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:26 am

i really didn't find this to be an effective personal statemet because too much time is being spent talking about other things that are not you- most of it revolved around the doctor/hospital and your father and not about you.

on a sidenote though, i really feel for your father. i devoted countless hours of research into Agent Orange and know what kind of devastation it caused/causes. please thank your father for his service for me. one of the reasons we're able to go to law school is because of him and many others like him.

SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:31 am

You mean someone got past "T'is"? I'm flabbergasted. ;)

I appreciate the critique, as well as the thanks to my father. Hope your cycle is treating you right.

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Cupidity
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby Cupidity » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:39 am

afformentioned....???? srsly.

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bees
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby bees » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:53 am

Ehh I don't know. I started writing some criticism a few times and erased it all each time. I say go for it. It shows you can write and will at least wake up the adcoms when they read it.

I will say that for such a short piece you change styles far too often, or perhaps cannot decide on how exactly you want to write. This may by the product of applying a humorous, relaxed writing style to a very serious event. I think you shy away from really doing what you set out to do in the first paragraph when you say things like "100% physically disabled" and other random sentences that clearly depart from your original tone.

I'm going to stop typing now, but don't pay attention to whatever was said about this not being enough about you and too much about your father and the hospital. You manage to talk about why you want to be a lawyer and bring some originality at the same time.

And since I've said I liked it I think I need to balance that out a bit more. You write well, but in trying to be clever there are some spots where you really slip up. "Literally and figuratively" comes to mind as something that needs to be cut. At times it seems like you took lines you liked out of poems and just kind of stuck them in. Ok I'm done now...my biggest problem is your inability to be consistent with your tone throughout the piece though.

DanInALionsDen
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby DanInALionsDen » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:00 am

No seriously. Lose the T'is. It's kitsch, and not in a good way. I promise you, all you'll get with that is a bunch of adcomm people sitting around a table, simultaneously rolling their eyes, and you don't want that at the very start of your PS.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:17 am

I would agree with a lot of the criticism, but stipulate that I think a lot of the piece is incredibly effective. Your story is unique, you tell it in a compelling way, and your dedication to the law is apparent. This personal statement would seem to work best at schools that look for candidates strongly interested in public service. This doesn't mean that you have to be, but your personal statement demonstrates that disposition.

I'd lose the present tense. I think that would let you be more succinct. It would also let you shred some of the cutsy type things you, like the t'is, and still be powerful. Remember that, in this case, the details of your story carry a lot of weight. Styling it so wildly, and perhaps controversially, probably takes away from it, in this case.

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BigA
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby BigA » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:23 am

I could be wrong, but wouldn't it be 't is, since the letter that the contraction is replacing is the i? If I'm wrong here, ignore this. But if you are gonna use it, I'd make sure it's spelled right.

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TTTennis
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby TTTennis » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:35 am

For some weird reason I liked it. I say keep it, but lose the "tis"

SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:43 am

I appreciate the feedback received thus far. A couple comments though.

Fark-
First, if I removed the present tense (which I have considered many times), I would just change the T'is, to T'was....Probably. In the end I felt it would make it more powerful for the adcomm to see it through my eyes. Are you just not a fan of present tense, or do you think it actually takes away from the presentation?

You say it may be too controversial, too wild. If that is exactly what I'm going for, do you still think I should change it? I've always been this way, and it has served me well. My view atm is a school decides to reject me because of my personality, we're probably not a good fit.

Bees-
Regarding your comment about the tone of the paper. I chose to shift tones. Maybe I didn't accomplish what I was trying to do though? Does it seem like it's wildly out of control? Or do you just not agree with shifting a tone within a paper? BTW, I hate poetry. But people commonly think I'm a fan.

Tennis-
I like it too. Thanks.

So far there is an overwhelming amount of hate on T'is. I'm fairly certain I've never used it before. I thought it was due. No?

Any other feedback is GREATLY appreciated. I'm going to take all the comments and synthesize tomorrow night. I literally spent 4 hours on this paper (with some COD: MW2 mixed in). I know it needs work though. Thanks guys.

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jcunni5
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby jcunni5 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:45 am

catharsis wrote:i really didn't find this to be an effective personal statemet because too much time is being spent talking about other things that are not you- most of it revolved around the doctor/hospital and your father and not about you.

on a sidenote though, i really feel for your father. i devoted countless hours of research into Agent Orange and know what kind of devastation it caused/causes. please thank your father for his service for me. one of the reasons we're able to go to law school is because of him and many others like him.


I agree with this and I do feel for your father and am very thankful for his service, but I feel this is almost a more apt diversity statement explaining your unique circumstances rather than a personal statement talking more about yourself... either way good luck to you in your cycle and to your family as well

SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:50 am

Thanks for the comment. I've had a few tell me now they weren't sure how it functioned as a personal statement. I thought I wove enough underlying things about me into those areas. I didn't want the whole PS to be on the top layer. Does it need to be?

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JustDude
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby JustDude » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:53 am

Drop T'is or whatever it is. And what exactely the message??

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bees
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby bees » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:54 am

SalsaLaw wrote:Bees-
Regarding your comment about the tone of the paper. I chose to shift tones. Maybe I didn't accomplish what I was trying to do though? Does it seem like it's wildly out of control? Or do you just not agree with shifting a tone within a paper? BTW, I hate poetry. But people commonly think I'm a fan.


The problem was I couldn't tell for sure if you were switching tones or just having a tough time keeping up with the first paragraph (discounting the last paragraph, of course, which is clearly different). It seems like you sat down prepared to throw caution to the wind and really let your personality come through and the faltered/backed off a bit as you went on. Maybe I was looking for a more distinct or obvious change in style that didn't occur. I'll take a look at the next draft as well.

I'm on board with everyone else about the T'is, however. While I'm all for attention grabbers, I think you should play around with ditching that word.

As I hit submit I see more people saying this is a DS instead of a PS and again I have to strongly disagree. This PS gives a much clearer picture of who you are than many others I have read. There is a difference between showing and telling that some people could appreciate a little more.

epyon
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby epyon » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:00 am


SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:03 am

Very much appreciated. I tried to employ the use of three separate tones. The first paragraph is decidedly different. I tried to let the reader know I was shifting with the last sentence by indicating that "the jest" (both the tone of the paper thus far, as well as the day I was describing) was coming to an end. Does that clear it up? Or does it flat out not work?

The next several paragraphs were an attempt at something almost somber in tone.

Obviously the last paragraph is what it is.

Again, thanks for standing behind it as a PS. Though I would take a DS over a POS any day.

epyon and BigA-

Thanks. Edit for 'Tis. Appreciate it

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$1.99
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby $1.99 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:09 am

you should only take risks when they have the possibility of leading to greater returns. obviously this is not what you did. you just love to throw away your returns. i feel like you tried to invest in toyota stocks except toyota stocks may rebound soon enough, your ps won't.

SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:14 am

My portfolio needs some work too. Any tips?

What can I buy with $1.99 and expect returns? Besides a godaddy.com URL of course.

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$1.99
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby $1.99 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:22 am

expand on the last two paragraphs where you talk about you and what went on with you, and condense the stuff about your dad while getting rid of the "'tis" business. i like your topic, it is definitely unique and makes you stand out.

SalsaLaw
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby SalsaLaw » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:24 am

I knew if I invested $1.99, I'd get some returns. :) I appreciate the feedback. It's slowly getting woven in. Hope your cycle has been treating you right.

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autarkh
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby autarkh » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:24 am

Aside from the T'is, which made me avert my eyes, I think this is an excellent first draft. Bees' comment about showing not telling is right on. A lot of you comes through without needing to be stated explicitly. So does your writing ability. Tweak it a bit for tonal consistency. I love the imagery of your penultimate sentence. Also -- did you intend to use "foster" twice in the last paragraph?

Risk be damned. This is not a gimmick. As you said, being rejected by a school based on this alone would be a good indication that you don't want to be there anyway.
Last edited by autarkh on Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

DanInALionsDen
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Re: Bit of a risk...But not shy. Let me have it.

Postby DanInALionsDen » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:27 am

SalsaLaw wrote:
So far there is an overwhelming amount of hate on T'is. I'm fairly certain I've never used it before. I thought it was due. No?



No. I get that you're trying to develop a voice here, but this is a personal statement, not some bullshit short story for a freshman year intro. to creative writing class.




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