Need Help Evaluating PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
alito08
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:38 pm

Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby alito08 » Thu May 06, 2010 2:28 am

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Last edited by alito08 on Sun May 23, 2010 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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goodmank
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 10:59 pm

Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby goodmank » Thu May 06, 2010 4:13 am

My 2 cents

alito08 wrote:I am in the process of fine tuning my PS, and need help dissecting, manipulating, and directing it. Please feel free to critique it as you wish. All constructive input is appreciated. Thanks:


It is safe to say that my childhood was downright confusing. Brought up in a home where religion was the ultimate priority, my predisposition to ask questions did not go over very well with my parents. In their view, to question one’s parents was a sign of disrespect punishable by physical discipline. As a child you learn to cope with the circumstances that you are given, and so the primary challenge in my life became enduring the physical abuse that I received on a daily basis. As the oldest son in a family of nine children, my parents felt that I had additional responsibility to be a shining example of their beliefs. I had serious questions about their beliefs, however, so my inability to live up to their religious fancies became the main source of tension between myself and them.

^^^^^ The beginning did not draw me in. I was also confused. At one point you say physical discipline and another you say physical abuse. I think that there is a big difference.

Inevitably, my teenage years were rough. The differences between my parents and I became so great during that period that I preferred to spend my nights sleeping under bridges, in my schools dugout, or with friends in order to avoid them. Because of this my grades in school suffered, and I never realized the potential that my instructors felt I was capable of. After narrowly graduating with my class, I decided that high school marked the end of my educational pursuits.

^^^ I feel that this paragraph could be taken out.

Soon after graduation I began working construction. The abuse at home did not stop, and eventually the rift between my parents and me became too large. They could no longer accept our differences, and frankly neither could I. I remember throwing the old trunk that my grandparents had given me as a child, full of my possessions, into the back of my truck. As I drove away from the home where I was raised, I headed towards a life of uncertainty. I was no longer welcome in my parent’s home. Sleeping in my truck at night, working during the day, and showering at the beach during the evenings, I made do for a couple of weeks before the foreman at my jobsite caught wind of my circumstances and allowed me to live in his vacant camping trailer.

^^^ Here is where I start to get drawn in, although again you are speaking of abuse and not physical discipline
Everythig after this point I thought was great
I enjoyed my job. It paid well, I got along with my co-workers, and I was poised to do well in the company. Not only that, but laboring in the steel and cement skeletons of San Diego’s high-rises was satisfying work in my view. It was a few of the older guys that I worked with who helped me to see the larger picture. They encouraged me to get an education. At least by doing so, they said, I would have options when age, as they had experienced, got the better of me. I decided to take their advice, and I enrolled in a few evening classes at the local college.

It started as an experiment really. I thought that as I had before, I would undoubtedly perform poorly as a student, at which point I could full-heartedly carry on in my career as a construction worker. Fortunately my assumption was wrong, and I received high marks in all of my classes. Eventually I enrolled as a full-time student and transferred to ----. By this point, I had also reversed career paths. I chose to explore opportunities that allowed me to serve the public interest, working in student support, with a local U.S. Congressman, and eventually even officiating marriages with the San Diego County Clerk’s Office. I also became involved with my university’s extracurricular activities, and worked as an officer for various student organizations. Most importantly, I married my lovely wife -------, and during my last year of education we had our son -----.

It is hard to fully emphasize the personal growth that has taken place since my turbulent childhood. I can, however, outline a particularly difficult experience that tested the extent of the growth that had taken place. At the beginning of 2009, I was on track to graduate at the top of my class by the end of the year. As the spring semester approached, I prepared to take on the most rigorous schedule of my academic career. With an academic schedule of more than full-time, I was transitioning from my job with the San Diego County Clerk’s Office and into my position as Chief Communications Officer for Associated Students Incorporated. I was also serving as vice president and treasurer for the history society. Along with all of the pressure involved with my classes and the work I was doing for student organizations, my wife was expecting our first child, and I was trying my best to be a supportive husband.

On February 22, after finishing with a California State Student Association board meeting at CSU San Jose, my wife called me with unanticipated news. My grandmother was dying, and she was not expected to make it through the night. My grandparents had always been there for me, so I felt it important that I be there for them. I spent the night sitting with my grandfather in the hospital’s waiting room, listening to his stories about a childhood in Mexico that led to a life with my grandmother in Los Angeles. It was the first of four nights that I would spend with him. Despite my optimism, on March 2, as the heart monitor slowed and the family gathered, my grandmother passed away.

In spite of everything that surrounded my grandmother’s death, I was able to accomplish my goals in school and with the organizations that I worked for. I secured funding for and helped to organize our schools first history colloquium. I re-structured the process that Associated Students Incorporated used to select students for our lobby effort in Sacramento by creating an application and interview process. Because of this we were able to introduce a wider range of students to their student body through the lobby effort. With everything that happened that semester, making the dean’s list again was also very satisfying. Though faced with a tumultuous semester, I used the qualities I had acquired as a result of my life experiences to persist under pressure and uphold all of my responsibilities.

Presently I support my wife by taking care of our son as she completes the last year of her degree. Her work as a Biology student with plans for graduate school requires long hours in various labs, so my contribution is important to her success. Although I stay home with our son during the week, I continue to make every effort to stay involved in our community wherever I can. Currently I am working as a volunteer on the weekends for a non-profit organization called Water Station. The desert-border region of Ocotillo California has claimed numerous migrant lives due to the effects of dehydration. Our work seeks to prevent these deaths by providing water stations throughout the region.

Ultimately, my life experience provides me with a unique perspective that allows me to relate to those affected by less fortunate circumstances. Through them I have learned to look at issues critically rather than dogmatically, broadening my perspective rather than narrowing it. My education, work and extra-curricular involvement equips me with the necessary writing, leadership and presentation skills I need to clearly express my ideas. All of these attributes will help me with my goal to practice as a public interest attorney in the state of Texas. As the SMU Dedman School of law is known for its quality of education, internships, fellowships, and societies - such as the Association for Public Interest Law - it offers me crucial opportunities for guidance and practical experience. With my future aspirations in mind, I look forward to the challenging education that your institution will provide.



I believe that you have a very strong, well written PS here. Other than my comments above, I enjoyed the read.

I hope that I did not seem insensitive to your relationship with your parents. I just think that there is a difference in physical discipline (Spanking) and abuse (Beating). If you keep that topic in your PS, I would call it what it was, discipline or abuse... If it was abuse then I am sorry to hear that as I have five children of my own and could not ever imagine them suffering in any way.

alito08
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby alito08 » Thu May 06, 2010 12:28 pm

I understand. It was their belief in physical discipline that justified the actual physical abuse, nothing close to a swat on the butt, if that helps clarify. Believe me, I understand the difference and am not calling your parenting skills into question. If that was not clear, your suggestions as to how to make it so would be appreciated. But yes, even spanking your kids can be a form of physical abuse - just to clarify. It is the difference between a controlled swat on the butt, this has a purpose, and an uncontrolled act of rage where the child becomes an outlet for the parent's agression issues. The latter loses its purpose and becomes physical abuse.

fiftyonefifty
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 am

Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby fiftyonefifty » Thu May 06, 2010 12:33 pm

If this was my PS, I would start with sleeping under a bridge first to draw in the reader then explain why you had to do it and how you overcame all that.

alito08
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby alito08 » Thu May 06, 2010 1:37 pm

fiftyonefifty wrote:If this was my PS, I would start with sleeping under a bridge first to draw in the reader then explain why you had to do it and how you overcame all that.


That might really help actually. I might be able to shorten it that way too. Thanks.

alito08
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby alito08 » Thu May 06, 2010 3:03 pm

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Last edited by alito08 on Sun May 23, 2010 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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goodmank
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Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby goodmank » Thu May 06, 2010 3:18 pm

I think that this is a really good and well written PS. I think the changes have made it better and it has actually given me some ideas for mine.

alito08
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Need Help Evaluating PS

Postby alito08 » Thu May 06, 2010 3:24 pm

goodmank wrote:I think that this is a really good and well written PS. I think the changes have made it better and it has actually given me some ideas for mine.


Again, thanks for your input. It took a while to process, but you helped me to see the disconnect that my jump from discipline to abuse brought.




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