personal statement! please help me

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ps help please
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personal statement! please help me

Postby ps help please » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:28 pm

ok, so this is my first draft. nobody's looked at it yet so be brutal!!! shy of telling me that i'm an idiot, i'll accept any criticism. thanks.



Growing up with an alcoholic mother and a workaholic father had an impact on my decisions as a teenager. Of course every teenager strives to be as rebellious as they possibly can be, but being given a citation at “senior week” isn’t a situation that any teenager wants to find him or herself in. Needless to say, I did find myself in this unfortunate situation and I was given the option of either paying a hefty fine or participating in a community service program. For me there was no choice: not because I favored one over the other, but because mom and dad wouldn’t bail me out this time. I signed up for the community service and cleared my calendar of every fun event I had planned for the next month.

The organization to which I was assigned was a local food center, Manna, that distributed food to people in need. I figured the days would be long, the work would be tedious and boring. I went into the experience with the most negative of attitudes. The way I saw it, I was here to work my hours, send my little paper to the Montgomery County court system and then I was off to live the rest of my life. But the way I saw it wasn’t exactly how it happened.

Up until that point, I lived in a very nice bubble of a world. I lived in a upper-class suburban community, with a doctor for a father and an elementary school teacher for a mother. I played a $1,500 dollar guitar. I was given a car when I turned 16. My house literally had a white picket fence around it. I was the archetypal American teenager. Along with all of these attributes, I also had my fair share of stereotypes. And it’s important to understand that these stereotypes stemmed from being sheltered rather than being a supremacist. One of these preconceived notions I had was that all people in need (i.e. homeless people, poor people, etc.) were lazy, addicted to drugs, uneducated, and socially unacceptable. I was repulsed by them. Never in a million years would I have expected community service, let alone assigned community service, to change my assumptions about people in need. Contrary to my expectations, that’s exactly what happened.

The first day I worked my time was spent separating the good cucumbers from the rotten cucumbers. I realized that these people were eating the food that didn’t “make the cut” at the grocery stores. All of the bread, milk and eggs we gave away had sell-by dates that had passed two days ago. I honestly felt sorry for the people who were going to have to eat this food. But it wasn’t until they actually came to collect their box of food that I felt true sympathy for them. The box of food might have lasted my family one day; it was supposed to last a poor family one week.

What made me feel even worse was that the people who were walking in the front door holding their food vouchers didn’t fall into my predetermined idea of what they would be. None of them were holding crack-pipes, in fact many of them had children with them. None of them were rude or bitter, most of them were genuinely grateful: a quality that I had never personally experienced. I had been given everything in the world, but I had never been grateful. Their gratefulness astounded me. How could somebody with no money and possibly no home be so grateful? It was that moment that I called into question my whole worldview. Just because I have money and a big house is by no means a gauge of how happy my life is. These supposed “needy” people showed me a better way of viewing the world. In the land of the poor, generosity is the only currency worth trading. On one of my last days at Manna, a lady said to me, “I really want you to understand how much you all are helping me and my family” and she offered me a dollar as a tip for helping bring her food to her car. To this day, that is the most rewarding dollar I have ever earned.



that's all i have so far. i think i need to strengthen my conclusion a little bit and maybe tighten up all of the writing. but again, that's what second drafts are for.
Last edited by ps help please on Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

snap ya fangaz
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby snap ya fangaz » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:40 pm

wow...

You should really write about something else, this PS just feels off

ps help please
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby ps help please » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:24 pm

snap ya fangaz wrote:wow...

You should really write about something else, this PS just feels off




alright, what feels off about it?

umichgrad
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby umichgrad » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:31 pm

you took the dollar? :shock:

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cardinalandgold
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby cardinalandgold » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:37 pm

umichgrad wrote:you took the dollar? :shock:
:lol:

nol607
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby nol607 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:46 pm

umichgrad wrote:you took the dollar? :shock:



HAHAHA

I agree that you need to change a bit- get rid of the word supremacist, and you are supposed to show personal growth, but your shock that they weren't holding a crackpipe...are you serious?

Edit: I re-read it. It needs to be totally re-done. The whole "personal growth" through unusual experience is so cliche, I'm sure they read a hundred of those a day.

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Gefuehlsecht
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:32 pm

This isn't particularly good. While I can see what you're trying to achieve with this statement it still makes you look like an immature brat. You don't come across as particularly sophisticated. The main problem is that you're constantly describing these 'surprising' revelations - no crackpipes, food past the best before date etc. etc. which simply don't sit well with readers who might be a bit more worldly. I went through too many 'No shit, Sherlock.' moments when reading this statement.

I'd start over.

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splay
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby splay » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:38 pm

I wanted to stop reading after the first sentence. I didn't. It got worse. Rewrite, probably on something completely different. The entire tone is really... off-putting, I guess. And your writing style is extremely ineloquent.

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CG614
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby CG614 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:41 pm

Stopped after first seven or eight words... Adcomms will too.

narkizopoint
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby narkizopoint » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:41 pm

Really? You took the dollar? That is beyond hilarious.

I think the part that is off is you need to begin with your last paragraph and show what you did from then on to prove you became a better person. Otherwise it is all the same old same old bs without solid meaning behind it. If it changed your worldview/perspective/etc. how did it do so? You started volunteering everyweek? Join the peace corps? Do anything beyond tell yourself that you were naive and lacked perspective? Otherwise dont write about it.

The dollar though is epic.

pollaclc
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby pollaclc » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:45 pm

unlike most everyone else i see some value in this idea. the part about your bubble life is misplaced and also doesnt really mesh with calling your mother an alcoholic.

and the idea that people would be given the food if they were moronic enough to show up with a crack pipe in hand... seriously? assuming & hoping you were trying to increase the disparity between what you anticipated and what happened, but take that out

show what you did from then on to prove you became a better person
+1

narkizopoint
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby narkizopoint » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:55 pm

pollaclc wrote:unlike everyone else i see some value in this idea. id put the part about your bubble life BEFORE your changing experience.


The idea of a life "changing experience" is very valuable but this PS, like so many others, lacks the "change" element. I pointed out that this PS is too light on the change and too heavy on the experience. It is one sided and sounds like the dude is still naive (see the no shit sherlock comment/readers may be more worldly comments previous).

I wouldnt go so far as to say its "stupid" or "extremely ineloquent" but it does lack substance and real meaning conveying nothing more than he is still very young/naive about the world and a little silly.

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Cupidity
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby Cupidity » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:00 pm

him or herself

wtf are you thinking. fix that.

ps help please
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby ps help please » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:55 am

well shit haha, i really don't know where to go from here. should i honestly scrap it all and start over with a new topic? i don't know what else to write about. i mean i have like 10 months to think about it, but i really thought that this was my "experience" to write about.

oh and about the dollar... yeah i know... that's pretty terrible. should i take that part out?


p.p.s ineloquent = first draft. thank you

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orangebluewhitered
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby orangebluewhitered » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:08 am

Really, really, really. Start over with a completely new topic. You got this one out of your system, now write an actual statement. Good call in testing this out here instead of sending this in.

ps help please
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby ps help please » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:26 am

orangebluewhitered wrote:Really, really, really. Start over with a completely new topic. You got this one out of your system, now write an actual statement. Good call in testing this out here instead of sending this in.




i guess it was a good call. but now i don't know what to write about. i've thought of everything i've ever done, and the only thing i can think of that actually had an impact on who i was was this experience (sad, i know). the other things i could think of are going to college, teaching myself how to play guitar, working my first job, discovering that my best friend was a drug addict, and my fraternity....... none of these ideas are exciting enough to write about.

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PlugInBaby
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby PlugInBaby » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:34 am

ps help please wrote:
orangebluewhitered wrote:Really, really, really. Start over with a completely new topic. You got this one out of your system, now write an actual statement. Good call in testing this out here instead of sending this in.




i guess it was a good call. but now i don't know what to write about. i've thought of everything i've ever done, and the only thing i can think of that actually had an impact on who i was was this experience (sad, i know). the other things i could think of are going to college, teaching myself how to play guitar, working my first job, discovering that my best friend was a drug addict, and my fraternity....... none of these ideas are exciting enough to write about.


Personal statemnts don't always have to be sensational storeis. All of those ideas you proposed can work considering you have the ability to make it interesting and cleverly tie it into your aspirations in the field of law as well as inherent qualities you possess that would allude to being adept at the study of law.

ps help please wrote: Of course every teenager strives to be as rebellious as they possibly can be, but being given a citation at “senior week” isn’t a situation that any teenager wants to find him or herself in.



Hated hated hated HATED this line. Perhaps it's me taking my logic classes to heart, but making sweeping generalizations when blatant counterexamples exist (in this case, the goodie two shoes teens) will hang you out to dry in the eyes of the adcomms.

khanvalescent
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby khanvalescent » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:21 am

ps help please wrote:well shit haha, i really don't know where to go from here. should i honestly scrap it all and start over with a new topic? i don't know what else to write about. i mean i have like 10 months to think about it, but i really thought that this was my "experience" to write about.

oh and about the dollar... yeah i know... that's pretty terrible. should i take that part out?


p.p.s ineloquent = first draft. thank you


If you must remain on this experience, I would reframe the essay entirely. The dollar part was the only interesting aspect of the story. For example you could begin the story with something similar to, " A dollar can sometimes be worth more than a million dollars. Accepting just one from a needy woman was more valuable than I originally thought." Describe her a little more, too. What was she wearing? Did she look aged? Additionally, I recommend going into greater detail on the people in general. Your story is broad enough that anybody could write it about anyplace, anywhere. Give some specific details.

I would also be careful in using the word "supremacist." It tinges (what you call) your insulated ideas with racism by implying people in need are people of color.

Good luck.

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Lighthouse28
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby Lighthouse28 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:15 am

Wow, I can't believe you took the dollar. I wouldn't have. If you keep the same topic, I definitely would not include that!

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Gefuehlsecht
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:26 am

Main problem isn't the dollar, it's the fact that he carried the groceries to the woman's car after going on about his exposure to the poor and destitute. I guess nobody sees what's strange about that.

narkizopoint
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby narkizopoint » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:34 am

Gefuehlsecht wrote:Main problem isn't the dollar, it's the fact that he carried the groceries to the woman's car after going on about his exposure to the poor and destitute. I guess nobody sees what's strange about that.


:?:
I don't get it? Poor people don't have cars? I was poor and lived in a car/had a car while still being poor. I could be missing something though.

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Gefuehlsecht
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:08 am

Of course, poor people have cars, too. Nevermind me. I'll go back to my balcony.

narkizopoint
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby narkizopoint » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:35 am

Does this mean you won't be interested in any pro bono work after LS?
:lol:

Sorry, I still can't stop laughing about the dollar. If you submit it with the dollar you should probably write an addendum stating, "Yes, I took the dollar-I am going to be a bankruptcy attorney."

lcw
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby lcw » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:22 pm

I appreciate you seeking advice from peers on this site and writing a personal statement that reflects a genuine experience that transformed your worldview. It's obviously something that means a lot to you. The problem is that it doesn't tell me why you want to specifically pursue a legal career? Your personal statement is better crafted for someone wanting to go into social work or work with non-profits. How does being exposed to different classes, cultures, etc. make you want to practice law?

What admissions committees are looking for is evidence that you're serious about your career choice, that you understand the career that you're getting into, and that you will be a valuable addition to their institution. Try writing a personal statement that answers these questions for the admissions committee.

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phoenix323
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Re: personal statement! please help me

Postby phoenix323 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:25 pm

lcw wrote:I appreciate you seeking advice from peers on this site and writing a personal statement that reflects a genuine experience that transformed your worldview. It's obviously something that means a lot to you. The problem is that it doesn't tell me why you want to specifically pursue a legal career? Your personal statement is better crafted for someone wanting to go into social work or work with non-profits. How does being exposed to different classes, cultures, etc. make you want to practice law?

What admissions committees are looking for is evidence that you're serious about your career choice, that you understand the career that you're getting into, and that you will be a valuable addition to their institution. Try writing a personal statement that answers these questions for the admissions committee.


+1




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