PS review needed! Please be critically honest

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PS review needed! Please be critically honest

Postby tessakate6 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:39 am

The words hurt as thought the kid had thrown rocks at our heads, “You dirty Indians! My mom says you are all just a bunch of dirty, lazy Indians!” It was a cool October evening when my two sisters, an older cousin and I were drawing with our broken chalk on the cracked sidewalk in front of our grandparent’s house in Cloquet, Minnesota. The lanky, blonde boy looked like the kids I went to elementary school with but his venomous words were unlike anything I had ever heard. My six year old brain struggled to understand the ignorance of the boy’s rant but I knew the consequences of getting into any trouble. We had been trusted to entertain ourselves and remain out of trouble while the adults went about their business of the weekend; my father was bow hunting on the Fond du Lac reservation lands with my grandfather and uncles and my grandmother was getting ready for her night shift as a Black Bear Casino manager. I slowly turned around and followed my older cousin and my sisters to the small and perpetually smoky living room of my grandparent’s house. The others sat on the smoke-stained, green shag carpet and watched Mighty Ducks which eventually calmed my older and twin sisters who had been bawling for the past five minutes. I crept into my grandmother’s bedroom and timidly tapped on her bathroom door, “What do you want? I am going to be late for my shift,” Grandma Thompson muttered. Although, usually the Thompson family motto is “Suck it up” I had decided to tell her what happened because I did not fully understand what and occurred and why; my incessant search for answers began and a young age. Even as the hurt welled up tears in my eyes, I did not understand why it upset me so much. I had showered that day and every day before, also I always did my homework and chores. How was I dirty and lazy?
A rare thing happened then, my Grandma Thompson softened. She hugged me and then brought me to the living room with my sisters and cousins. We four cousins sat on the old couch and listened to a calm and reserved grandmother explain where the boy’s venom probably stemmed from. The local paper plant had recently announced it would be permanently closing, which would cripple the small town’s economy because Cloquet relied on the paper plant to employ a majority of its citizens. Our tribe, the Fond du Lac Ojibwe had publically vowed to aid the tribal members who would lose their jobs. A schism had always been present, between “townies” and the Native Americans of the area but with the recent events the divide had activated further.
It was that October evening I realized that my ethnicity and was not just about my dark skin, pow-wows or fry bread but that it affected how society would perceive me. It was because of this experience that I have been driven to work hard and prove my worth in any venue I choose whether in academics, sports or eventually my legal career. My father was the only child to graduate college in his family and because of his experience he encouraged us to focus on our education, which she believed would provide us with the tools to secure a better life. He constantly reminded us that a quality education is a necessity in order to break away from what he called the “Native habit,” or staying on the reservation forever and relying safety of the tribal and its sovereignty. His influence pushed both my sisters to graduate from college and start professional careers, starting a new “Thompson habit” in our family. For me, his example encouraged me to excel in high school, qualify for a full academic scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, soon to graduate from college and be the first in my family pursue a graduate degree.
What I find desirable about a career in law is the chance to work within a sophisticated and ethical system which affects every citizen no matter their age, race, politics or socio-economic status. I am certain that the complexity of the law is like a foreign language. I am also sure that, because the law affects all of us every day, a legal career is not just a professional aspiration but is also a realistic way to help others navigate their legal system. My first hand experience with Native American interaction with the government and law stimulated intellectual interest in me and believe that pursuing a career in law, possibly in Native American law, would be beneficial to me, my family and community


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Re: PS review needed! Please be critically honest

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:44 am

I read a much better version of this personal statement about a week ago. What happened ? I stopped reading halfway through this version. I did, however, read the last paragraph which is not good.

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Re: PS review needed! Please be critically honest

Postby ZachOda » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:29 pm

This can be a very good personal statement. It is a good topic and you speak powerfully about something so personal. However, there are a few problems with it. A few words are misspelled, there are too many questions, and there is a little too much imagery. You have two pages to convince an admissions counselor that you have exemplary writing skills and a story that sets you apart from your peers. Don't just explain that there is a divide between the "townies" and the Native American population, explain how it has changed you. How have you grown from this experience? How will it relate to your ability as a lawyer? Why is this important to you? Do not leave the admissions counselor asking questions about why you wrote this, and do not ask questions in the personal statement that the counselor wants answered by you. I have to agree with CanadianWolf here about the last paragraph as well. It sounds slightly forced and the last sentence is completely unnecessary. Do not say you possibly think you will do Native American law. You have three years to figure that out in law school.

I apologize if the criticisms seem harsh, but I feel that you can make this a great PS if you focus more on the content and what this story means to you rather than attempting to wow with imagery. Make this your story for your schools to see.

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