Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
m6maing
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:40 am

Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby m6maing » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:00 pm

Please let me know if you see typographical or grammatical errors as well... Mahalo!

(NEED TO FIRST CUT to 1000 and then 500!!!)

The Skills and Spirit of Leadership


As I read through the most current edition of the “Ka Leo”, our university’s student-run news publication, I stumbled upon a letter to the editor that would create a lasting shift in my understanding of power and influence. The letter is from an associate professor, who evidently didn’t appreciate my email-blasted student response to the new contract negotiations between our system’s executive administration and our faculty union.

The professor’s letter opens with the assertion, “If Mark Ing’s open letter to faculty and students at UH weren’t so laughably inept, it would be tragic.” In his public letter, the professional faculty member proceeds to personally attack me, a student at his own university, with a myriad of reproachful adjectives and rather rashly assumed statements.

Until this point, my open letter of neutrality had been received with mostly positive responses from students, administrators, and faculty alike –but I knew that staunch detractors would inevitably emerge. However, I was not expecting such blatant antipathy; this particular response was heart-striking.

While I opted to focus on the positive, the professor's letter led me to recall a passage from a Lewis Mumford reading that I have studied in the past: “A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

At that very instance, I began to realize that leadership, with title, takes more than just a positive attitude and the ability to influence. In the role of an acquired or elected position of leadership, including my position as Undergraduate Student Body President, certain skills, traits, ideals, and a sense of responsibility is expected and necessary for a leader to be successful. Since these expectations are purely subjective, it is impossible to please everyone who is affected by a leader’s actions and decisions.

***

Before this epiphany, my perception of leadership focused almost exclusively on the positive attitude and morality that I learned from my father. Since I was a child, my father would stress the importance of "always be(ing) a leader, and never be(ing) a follower" and "always stay(ing) postive and never be(ing) negative." In fact, he would have my brother and I recite this mantras back to him every day before he would drop us off at school.

Whether in my sports, studies, music, or friendships, I would try to emulate my father's spirit of leadership, hoping to reach people on a very real, warm, and personal level, while avoiding temptations that came my way. I learned a form of influence that was driven purely by genuine care and aloha. When my father unexpectedly passed away near the time of my twelfth birthday, it was time for me to step up to the plate and set an example for my siblings, friends, and everyone around me: just as my father had.

With my older brother attending boarding school at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, I felt as though a share of responsibility in maintaining our family’s household, and taking care of my two younger siblings, was now mine. In order to help my mother with our family's struggling finances, I worked 50 hour weeks harvesting pineapples in the fields of Hali‘imaile during the summers of my early teen-age years. I gave the majority of my income to my mother and used the rest for enrichment summer school expenses and my driver's education in order to get ahead. When I reached the "working age" of 16, I was feeding my siblings, driving them to school, excelling in the three sports I participated in per school year, while working a part-time job during the evenings. [It was here, where I realized...type of work, help?]

The pressure started to take a toll on me in high school. Luckily, a few teachers truly believed in my potential, pushed me to reach my goals, and inspired me to shoot higher. One teacher in particular, a former State attorney who was also my mock-trial coach, led me to recognize the current, bleak state of the Hawaiian people. He taught me how local leaders are needed in future generations in order to achieve positive progress in our society and economy, and to allow our culture to prosper. He recognized my interest in local politics and law, as well as my aptitude in writing and speaking, and helped ignite a strong passion for public service and Hawaiian rights into my maturing mindset. As a result of his mentoring and direction, I now try not to take any blessings for granted and strive to allow other Native Hawaiians to receive the same opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to receive.

During college, I furthered my interests in public service and law by directing my coursework towards the various social sciences, volunteering with political campaigns, interning with law firms, State courts, and non-profit organizations, and by getting involved in a number of clubs and student organizations. I balanced my personal life with my passions of playing music, learning, and staying physically active very delicately to get through my undergraduate years. Admittedly, with certain extenuating personal and financial circumstances, the balance of some semesters proved to be less sturdy than others. However, each diverse semester of my undergraduate experience brought me something of value that is unique, and together, have transformed me into the intelligent, diligent, and professionally-experienced young man I am today. This semester, my brother and I will become the first people in our direct family ancestry line to graduate from college.

In my quest for the spirit and skills of leadership, I have finally created a leadership style that [coincides harmoniously] with my personality type. But in order to become the leader that I strive to be, I recognize that I have a long way to go. To meet my leadership potential, I must maintain the genuine and caring personality that my father has instilled in me while embracing educational opportunities to further my knowledge. I now understand that in addition to holding a spirit and attitude of leadership, an effective leader must utilize specific knowledge and skills to decide what he or she believes to be the most pono.

With my dedicated passion for public service, the people of Hawaii, and continued learning, I feel as though the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law is a perfect fit for me, at this crucial point of my life, to obtain the skills that I need to meet my professional goals. With the help of financial aid and student loans, which will alleviate the constraints of a part-time job, I will finally be at a position to devote my attention and effort to my education. [As I excelled and was especially engaged in law-centered, upper-division courses during my undergraduate studies, I look forward to taking law courses that will be a challenge and of specific interest to me.] If admitted I will be sure to make the most of my education, work diligently, and strive to be the most effective leader I can be for the people I encounter, for my home of Hawaii, and for my culture.

***

After completing my study routine for the night, I stayed up into sunrise drafting a response. I dug deep to keep the letter positive and hold back from including any disparaging statements. At the end of the night, I had a product that I was proud of. I had drafted a plan of legislative lobbying and diplomatic action to be published that day, recognizing the faculty member's concerns of student inaction without compromising my initial stance of neutrality. My response was well received by thousands of students and faculty members and, by the end of the week, I had received an apology by the professor and we had opened a meaningful dialog in order to find solutions and tackle the issues of our university community together.

[omit this paragraph, incorporate it in somewhere?]

legallybound
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:33 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby legallybound » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:16 pm

m6maing wrote:Please let me know if you see typographical or grammatical errors as well... Mahalo!

(NEED TO FIRST CUT to 1000 and then 500!!!)

The Skills and Spirit of Leadership


[strike]As I read through the most current edition of the “Ka Leo”, our university’s student-run news publication, I stumbled upon a letter to the editor that would create a lasting shift in my understanding of power and influence. The letter is from an associate professor, who evidently didn’t appreciate my email-blasted student response to the new contract negotiations between our system’s executive administration and our faculty union.

The professor’s letter opens with the assertion, “If Mark Ing’s open letter to faculty and students at UH weren’t so laughably inept, it would be tragic.” In his public letter, the professional faculty member proceeds to personally attack me, a student at his own university, with a myriad of reproachful adjectives and rather rashly assumed statements.

Until this point, my open letter of neutrality had been received with mostly positive responses from students, administrators, and faculty alike –but I knew that staunch detractors would inevitably emerge. However, I was not expecting such blatant antipathy; this particular response was heart-striking.

While I opted to focus on the positive, the professor's letter led me to recall a passage from a Lewis Mumford reading that I have studied in the past: “A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

At that very instance, I began to realize that leadership, with title, takes more than just a positive attitude and the ability to influence. In the role of an acquired or elected position of leadership, including my position as Undergraduate Student Body President, certain skills, traits, ideals, and a sense of responsibility is expected and necessary for a leader to be successful. Since these expectations are purely subjective, it is impossible to please everyone who is affected by a leader’s actions and decisions.[/strike] No relevance except for intro. You don't need a 300 words intro.

***

Before this epiphany, my perception of leadership focused almost exclusively on the positive attitude and morality that I learned from my father. Since I was a child, my father would stress the importance of "always be(ing) a leader, and never be(ing) a follower" and "always stay(ing) postive and never be(ing) negative." In fact, he would have my brother and I recite this mantras back to him every day before he would drop us off at school.

Whether in my sports, studies, music, or friendships, I would try to emulate my father's spirit of leadership, hoping to reach people on a very real, warm, and personal level, while avoiding temptations that came my way. I learned a form of influence that was driven purely by genuine care and aloha. When my father unexpectedly passed away near the time of my twelfth birthday, it was time for me to step up to the plate and set an example for my siblings, friends, and everyone around me: just as my father had.

With my older brother attending boarding school at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, I felt as though a share of responsibility in maintaining our family’s household, and taking care of my two younger siblings, was now mine. In order to help my mother with our family's struggling finances, I worked 50 hour weeks harvesting pineapples in the fields of Hali‘imaile during the summers of my early teen-age years. I gave the majority of my income to my mother and used the rest for enrichment summer school expenses and my driver's education in order to get ahead. When I reached the "working age" of 16, I was feeding my siblings, driving them to school, excelling in the three sports I participated in per school year, while working a part-time job during the evenings. [It was here, where I realized...type of work, help?]

The pressure started to take a toll on me in high school. Luckily, a few teachers truly believed in my potential, pushed me to reach my goals, and inspired me to shoot higher. One teacher in particular, a former State attorney who was also my mock-trial coach, led me to recognize the current, bleak state of the Hawaiian people. He taught me how local leaders are needed in future generations in order to achieve positive progress in our society and economy, and to allow our culture to prosper. He recognized my interest in local politics and law, as well as my aptitude in writing and speaking, and helped ignite a strong passion for public service and Hawaiian rights into my maturing mindset. As a result of his mentoring and direction, I now try not to take any blessings for granted and strive to allow other Native Hawaiians to receive the same opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to receive.

During college, I furthered my interests in public service and law by directing my coursework towards the various social sciences, volunteering with political campaigns, interning with law firms, State courts, and non-profit organizations, and by getting involved in a number of clubs and student organizations. I balanced my personal life with my passions of playing music, learning, and staying physically active very delicately to get through my undergraduate years. Admittedly, with certain extenuating personal and financial circumstances, the balance of some semesters proved to be less sturdy than others. However, each diverse semester of my undergraduate experience brought me something of value that is unique, and together, have transformed me into the intelligent, diligent, and professionally-experienced young man I am today. This semester, my brother and I will become the first people in our direct family ancestry line to graduate from college.

In my quest for the spirit and skills of leadership, I have finally created a leadership style that [coincides harmoniously] with my personality type. But in order to become the leader that I strive to be, I recognize that I have a long way to go. To meet my leadership potential, I must maintain the genuine and caring personality that my father has instilled in me while embracing educational opportunities to further my knowledge. I now understand that in addition to holding a spirit and attitude of leadership, an effective leader must utilize specific knowledge and skills to decide what he or she believes to be the most pono.

With my dedicated passion for public service, the people of Hawaii, and continued learning, I feel as though the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law is a perfect fit for me, at this crucial point of my life, to obtain the skills that I need to meet my professional goals. With the help of financial aid and student loans, which will alleviate the constraints of a part-time job, I will finally be at a position to devote my attention and effort to my education. [As I excelled and was especially engaged in law-centered, upper-division courses during my undergraduate studies, I look forward to taking law courses that will be a challenge and of specific interest to me.] If admitted I will be sure to make the most of my education, work diligently, and strive to be the most effective leader I can be for the people I encounter, for my home of Hawaii, and for my culture.

***

After completing my study routine for the night, I stayed up into sunrise drafting a response. I dug deep to keep the letter positive and hold back from including any disparaging statements. At the end of the night, I had a product that I was proud of. I had drafted a plan of legislative lobbying and diplomatic action to be published that day, recognizing the faculty member's concerns of student inaction without compromising my initial stance of neutrality. My response was well received by thousands of students and faculty members and, by the end of the week, I had received an apology by the professor and we had opened a meaningful dialog in order to find solutions and tackle the issues of our university community together.

[omit this paragraph, incorporate it in somewhere?]


I'd delete everything above the first stars.

Your discussion your background and your commitment to public service is connected poorly. I would try to refocus your topic on how you had to overcome your background, were successful, learned that other people faced similar challenges in your community, and desired to help them like you helped your family.

Don't worry about grammar/typos till your essay is distilled.

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Gefuehlsecht
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:20 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:44 am

You don't want to mention having an epiphany in your ps. Ever.

Don't do it.

Furthermore, your statement is full of claims which are very hard to verify for somebody who has ten minutes time to spend with your essay. So you excel at three sports and you're intelligent and diligent. You've created a leadership style which fits your personality type. The list goes on and it's all great. What you have to understand is that these claims are a dime a dozen, they aren't memorable. Plenty of intelligent applicants with lots of internships and big ambitions sitting in that pile on that desk.
What you need to do is to cut the fluff and allow the admission council person to make a decision on her own. Don't say that you're intelligent. Show that you're intelligent. Don't say that you've got a great leadership style. Show it.

You say you worked as a pineapple farmer. That's actually pretty damn interesting. I'm dead serious. I'm pretty sure not too many other people who applied to lawschool did that. So talk about it, tell me what's difficult about pineapple farming and how it made you feel. Did you hate it? Did you mind it? Did you enjoy it? Was it tough work? Was it easy? Show me how your mind works and don't just write sentence after sentence about how awesome you are. Allow me to remember you.

m6maing
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:40 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby m6maing » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:28 pm

Thank you guys for the great input.

My open-letter analogy was meant to be a showcase of leadership skills and intelligence, but I had a hard time keeping it short enough to be effective. So yes, it probably should be cut out.

When I begun drafting my personal statement, I had a few different directions to take: one was as is, another was my father as a role model, and one used harvesting pineapples as a short metaphor and metaphor. Mistakenly, i thought it might be alright to try to fit all of these themes into one statement. But it now seems to have watered down the focus and organization of my personal statement, and it does seem to be serve merely as a chronological detailing of my resume.

The theme supposed to be centered around the idea that I have a leadership spirit and personality from my father, but I now need to further my skills in order to be an effective leader as an adult, and to generalize my influence from my micro-groups such as family and friends to other similarly struggling people in our society. I dont think that this essay or format does a good job of making that obvious.

Do you think that modifying and focusing the essay on this idea more may mke a solid personal statement, or might it be better to drop it and go a completely new direction?

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Gefuehlsecht
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Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:20 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:02 pm

Focusing on one idea might be just what you need. But again, do ensure that whatever idea you'll end up with is something which is at least a little bit different from what everybody else will write about. I realize that not everybody is a unique snowflake but you don't really have to be.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby Anonymous Loser » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:29 pm

Focus on just one idea: you want to use the ideals and values that your father instilled in you to help solve some of the problems facing the native Hawaiian people. Keep it simple.

Dad taught me to be a leader + live with aloha>When he passed away, I worked hard to live up to his expectations, helping to support the family in the by taking a job in the pineapple fields>I applied these same values and ideals to my studies>Soon, I realized I had become just the sort of person my Dad would have wanted me to become, which has inspired me to do even more>Now, I see that my skills and background are well suited to tackling some of the problems facing the native Hawaiian community>U of H is the ideal place for me to continue being the leader I have now become.

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Cupidity
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Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby Cupidity » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:38 pm

I can put "SG Pres" "Faculty Senate" "Board of Trustees" etc. etc. in my resume, but there is lots of interesting stuff I can say in a personal statement that I could not.

You want to use your PS to convince them you are a well rounded student, not hit the things you easily could in your Resume.

m6maing
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:40 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby m6maing » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:31 am

UPDATE: Thanks for all the help! Now I just need to cut this down to 500 words...

For a pineapple farmer, a stubborn crown tearing through a pair of brand-new gloves at five-thirty in the morning is not a good omen for what the rest of the day will bring. By six o’clock, his jeans and chaps would probably be drenched in a mixture of pesticides, rotted fruit fragments, and the remnants of the last night’s rain. Before seven, fog that was constantly gathering in his already scratched goggles would make it nearly impossible for him to even see the boom.

As a fourteen-year-old harvester, I was not about to let this reality get the best of me. I knew that I would have to wait until my next paycheck before I could afford any deductions for new supplies, so I snubbed these mishaps as I worked through the day and the upcoming week. I thought about what my father would have done and how my mother needed my help financially, and I shouted words of encouragement to my co-workers, hoping to clear our first two blocks and earn our first water break before eight o’clock.

Just six months earlier, my father unexpectedly passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. He was the leader of our family and has always been my role-model and mentor. With my older brother boarding at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, I knew it was time for me to own up to a share of responsibility in maintaining our family’s household caring for my two younger siblings. 50-hour weeks in the pineapple fields during the summers of my early teen-age years, in conjunction with washing dishes at a local restaurant during most evenings, became the start of my quest to obtain the genuine and aloha-filled style of leadership that my father had so profoundly exemplified.

As I directed these values to my studies, I became captivated by the hardships that others in the Native Hawaiian community continue to face. Many had stories similar to mine; many more had worse. I heard stories about great Hawaiian leaders and activists from the past and present such as George Helm, Kimo Mitchell, Nainoa Thompson, Jon Osorio, Clayton Hee, John Waihee, who rose to greatness on their own accords. I related the experiences of these leaders to the experiences I witnessed of my father and Hawaiian co-workers that I encountered in the pineapple fields. As a result of their influence, I became increasingly active in demonstrations of Hawaiian rights around Hawaii, and my long-lasting passion for music naturally evolved to learning and performing traditional Hawaiian song.

From subsequent work experiences, I realized that my niche—how I could be most effective as a leader in advancing the Native Hawaiian community and the future of Hawaii—was in analyzing undesired situations, researching similar cases in history with positive outcomes, and solving the problem. I honed my analytic thinking skills (Psychology) and furthered my ethical foundations (Political Science) throughout my studies and extra-curricular activities in college. Last year, my brother and I became the first people on either side of our family to graduate from any institution of higher learning.

Hawaiian leaders from the late 20th century have spawned a movement through their zeal and steadfastness and laid a solid foundation for generations of activists to come. With a movement now established, future leadership can now be focused on fostering intelligent, civil, and directly solution-oriented activism. I remain an activist-at-heart, and am elated while down in the frontlines, but I recognize that my generation and those upcoming may call for this new type of activism: where active, analytic thinking and problem-solving will be just as important as passionate demonstrations and campaigns; and where change will be most likely to occur when these are coupled together.

By first attaining the Native Hawaiian rights certificate that your institution exclusively offers, that is the type of activist I one day hope to become. I have a strong understanding of the difficulties faced by modern Native Hawaiians, and by acquiring and applying a relevant legal education, I will strive to help them achieve justice. The University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law is the ideal institution for me to obtain the skills to continue to grow into the leader that I strive to be, and to make a positive impact for the future of Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian community just as my father would have wanted me to.
Last edited by m6maing on Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:50 am

Consider starting over. The last five paragraphs should be deleted. The first paragraph is fine & interesting. Delete "at least" in the second sentence of the second paragraph. Delete the last sentence of the second paragraph. Delete the title.
This is not an effective personal statement primarily because it doesn't enlighten the reader about your inner workings nor does it offer any other insights. In short, this is a wasted opportunity to market yourself to law school admissions committee members.

m6maing
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:40 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby m6maing » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:48 pm

Thanks for the help. so all of the last five paragraphs are no good?

m6maing
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:40 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby m6maing » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:26 pm

For a pineapple farmer, a stubborn crown tearing through a pair of brand-new gloves at five-thirty in the morning is not a good omen for what the rest of the day will bring. By six o’clock, his jeans and chaps would probably be drenched in a mixture of pesticides, rotted fruit fragments, and the remnants of the last night’s rain. Before seven, fog that was constantly gathering in his already scratched goggles would make it nearly impossible for him to even see the boom.

As a fourteen-year-old harvester, I was not about to let this reality get the best of me. I knew that I would have to wait until my next paycheck before I could afford any deductions for new supplies, so I snubbed these mishaps as I worked through the day and the upcoming week. I thought about what my father would have done and how my mother needed my help financially, and I shouted words of encouragement to my co-workers, hoping to clear our first two blocks and earn our first water break before eight o’clock.

Just six months earlier, my father unexpectedly passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. He was the leader of our family and has always been my role-model and mentor. With my older brother boarding at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, I knew it was time for me to own up to a share of responsibility in maintaining our family’s household caring for my two younger siblings. 50-hour weeks in the pineapple fields during the summers of my early teen-age years, in conjunction with washing dishes at a local restaurant during most evenings, became the start of my quest to obtain the genuine and aloha-filled style of leadership that my father had so profoundly exemplified.

As I directed these values to my studies, I became captivated by the hardships that others in the Native Hawaiian community continue to face. Many had stories similar to mine; many more had worse. I heard stories about great Hawaiian leaders and activists from the past and present such as George Helm, Kimo Mitchell, Nainoa Thompson, Jon Osorio, Clayton Hee, John Waihee, who rose to greatness on their own accords. I related the experiences of these leaders to the experiences I witnessed of my father and Hawaiian co-workers that I encountered in the pineapple fields. As a result of their influence, I became increasingly active in demonstrations of Hawaiian rights around Hawaii, and my long-lasting passion for music naturally evolved to learning and performing traditional Hawaiian song.

From subsequent work experiences, I realized that my niche—how I could be most effective as a leader in advancing the Native Hawaiian community and the future of Hawaii—was in analyzing undesired situations, researching similar cases in history with positive outcomes, and solving problems. I honed my analytic thinking skills (Psychology) and furthered my ethical foundations (Political Science) throughout my studies and extra-curricular activities in college. Last year, my brother and I became the first people on either side of our family to graduate from any institution of higher learning.

Hawaiian leaders from the late 20th century have spawned a movement through their zeal and steadfastness and laid down a solid foundation for generations of activists to come. With momentum now established, future leadership can now be focused on fostering intelligent, civil, and directly solution-oriented activism. I remain an activist-at-heart, and am elated while down in the frontlines, but I recognize that my generation and those upcoming may call for this new type of activism: where active, analytic thinking and problem-solving will be just as important as passionate demonstrations and campaigns; and where change will be most likely to occur when these are coupled together.

From pursuing the Native Hawaiian rights certificate that your institution exclusively offers, that is the type of activist I one day hope to become. I understand the difficulties faced by modern Native Hawaiians, and by acquiring and applying a relevant legal education, I will strive to help them achieve justice. The University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law is the ideal institution for me to obtain the skills needed to grow into the leader that I strive to be, and to make a positive impact for the future of Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian community—just as my father would have wanted me to.

fjsms
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:34 pm

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby fjsms » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:21 pm

I like your latest draft. I think your personality does come through and it works well as a targeted statement. You should be able to cut some fluff and get it down to 500. Go through and cut out unnecessary words.

Example:
Just six months earlier, my father unexpectedly passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. (13 words)=
My father had passed away unexpectedly six months earlier.(8 words).

Check your tenses in the first paragraph, and throughout really.

m6maing
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:40 am

Re: Please critique and help me truncatemy personal statement...

Postby m6maing » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:59 pm

Took your suggestions to heart! New draft...please help me cut this down to 500 words. Mahalo!


A stubborn crown tearing through a pair of brand-new gloves at five-thirty in the morning is a bad omen. As a fourteen-year-old pineapple harvester, I already knew this meant that by six o’clock, my jeans and chaps would probably be drenched in a mixture of pesticides, rotted fruit fragments, and the remnants of the last night’s rain. By then, before the sun was even up, a torn glove would be the least of my problems.

It was 2002; it had been six months since my father died. One day he was leading our family; the next day he was gone. A brain aneurysm took him from us instantly. My older brother boarded at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, which left me to help my mother with my younger siblings at home on Maui. I picked pineapples 50 hours a week in the summer and washed dishes at a local diner in the evenings during the school year. I worked hard; my father taught me that.

We didn’t have it easy. Throughout college, I discovered how many had it harder. I became spellbound by the hardships that many others in the Native Hawaiian community continue to face. I heard stories about great Hawaiian leaders and activists from the past and present such as George Helm, Kimo Mitchell, Nainoa Thompson, Jon Osorio, Haunani Trask, Queen Liliuokalani, and John Waihe`e: who rose to greatness on their own accords.

I related the experiences of these leaders to the experiences I witnessed of my father and Hawaiian co-workers that I encountered in the pineapple fields. As a result of their influence, I became increasingly active in demonstrations of Hawaiian rights around Hawai`i, and my long-lasting passion for music naturally evolved to learning and performing traditional Hawaiian songs.
From subsequent work experiences, I realized that my niche—how I could be most effective as a leader in advancing the Native Hawaiian community and the future of Hawaii—was in analyzing undesired situations, researching similar cases in history with positive outcomes, and solving problems. I honed my analytic thinking skills (Psychology) and furthered my ethical foundations (Political Science) throughout my studies and extra-curricular activities in college. Last year, my brother and I became the first people on either side of our family to graduate from any institution of higher learning.

Modern Hawaiian leaders from the late 20th century have spawned a movement through their zeal and steadfastness and laid down a solid foundation for generations of activists to come. Future leadership can now be focused on fostering intelligent, civil, and directly solution-oriented activism. I remain an activist-at-heart, and feel at-home while among the frontlines, but I recognize that my generation and those upcoming may call for this new type of activism: where active, analytic thinking and problem-solving will be just as important as passionate demonstrations and campaigns; and where change will be most likely to occur when these skills are coupled together.

By pursuing the Native Hawaiian rights certificate that your institution exclusively offers, this is the type of activism I look to one day practice. I understand the difficulties faced by modern Native Hawaiians, and by acquiring and applying a relevant legal education, I will strive to help them achieve justice. The University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law is the ideal institution for me to obtain the skills needed to grow into the leader that I strive to be, and to make a positive impact for the future of Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian community—just as my father would have wanted me to.




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