Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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teaadntoast
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby teaadntoast » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:41 pm

You write very well, and there are a number of affecting lines in your statement that make it stand out. Having said that, the overall structure is rather inelegant, and doesn't do justice to either your academic drive or personal history. The fourth and fifth paragraphs, in particular, feel as though they've been borrowed from some other essay entirely. Up through the third graph you're giving us memoir and suddenly we're reading resume. The effect is a bit unsettling.

I agree, too, that the current version of the statement isn't at all clear as to whether the disorder is in the past, but think the problem could be solved be re-working the hunger theme. Were I to reorganize this, I'd spend one or two paragraphs discussing physical hunger and your desire to overcome it entirely, then devote one to explaining that you have come to see hunger differently: that you now understand that not feeding yourself, also inhibits your ability to sate your intellectual appetites. Then move on to a discussion of those cerebral and academic passions to end on a positive note.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:30 pm

acrossthelake wrote:I would scrap mention of your eating disorder entirely. What does it add, exactly? What is it supposed to show that you couldn't demonstrate separately? Your interest/"hunger" for these other things can be discussed without mentioning your eating disorder. If you're trying to say "I overcame something difficult", I just don't think it's worth it. Your writing is good--but this is more material for a personal essay that you would submit to the Arts section of a magazine, not to law school. If you were on the admissions committee, what would you think? "Okay. She overcame an eating disorder. What else?" You might cast doubt in their minds that you can handle law school--plenty of people relapse under extreme stress--especially if it's still a large enough part of your identity that you feel compelled to write about it for your personal statement. Your personal statement is your one shot to show them who you are--and you're defining yourself by a disorder, when there are probably other traits/characteristics that are more positive and compelling that you could dedicate that space to.

ETA: Ugh, typo. You're instead of your.


Hm, OP, I read this and it brings up an interesting point --as the essay stands now one could say that you're "defining yourself by your disorder," and that's not a good thing. However, you can revise the essay so that what you're defining yourself by is the strength you've gained from recovering from the disorder and not the disorder in itself. You mention in your essay that overcoming anorexia has enabled you to "teach children," and "pursue something or another with music" (I don't feel like scrolling to quote, so excuse me if I'm off). You need to focus more on this. You need to emphasize the positive effects of the disease (what you fill your life with now) and not the causes (your figurative and literal desire for hunger). Touch on the ED still. Leaving it in your essay shows that you have confronted it, dealt with it, and it's in the past. Moreover, it's a obviously a part of what makes you "you," and leaving it out might seem less-genuine. I've seen plenty of recovering addicts essays that have been done quite well, and oddly, I don't see nearly as many "dont write on this" comments... At any rate, I say leave it, but don't make it the central focus.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ArchRoark » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:50 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote: I've seen plenty of recovering addicts essays that have been done quite well, and oddly, I don't see nearly as many "dont write on this" comments... At any rate, I say leave it, but don't make it the central focus.


When I read this essay and the comments that followed I thought the exact same thing. I don't understand why this topic is taboo but addiction PS aren't.

acrossthelake
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:20 am

Tiva wrote:
ShuckingNotJiving wrote: I've seen plenty of recovering addicts essays that have been done quite well, and oddly, I don't see nearly as many "dont write on this" comments... At any rate, I say leave it, but don't make it the central focus.


When I read this essay and the comments that followed I thought the exact same thing. I don't understand why this topic is taboo but addiction PS aren't.


I wouldn't write one about addiction, either.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ArchRoark » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:28 am

acrossthelake wrote:
Tiva wrote:
ShuckingNotJiving wrote: I've seen plenty of recovering addicts essays that have been done quite well, and oddly, I don't see nearly as many "dont write on this" comments... At any rate, I say leave it, but don't make it the central focus.


When I read this essay and the comments that followed I thought the exact same thing. I don't understand why this topic is taboo but addiction PS aren't.


I wouldn't write one about addiction, either.


Mind taking a look at my PS?

Anyways, perhaps this will be of help to the OP or anyone else.

TLS wrote:Finally, Dean Cornblatt had a number of interesting comments on applicants that have gone through severe hardship (alcoholism, drugs, depression, etc.). When asked if those factors can help explain away a lower GPA, he responded:

Dean Cornblatt wrote:For applicants that fit that profile, we pay even more attention to their personal statement and letters of recommendation, just to get the best possible picture we can of what happened and where the applicant was then and where they are now. Once we feel that the applicant has left that behind and is in good shape to begin law school, we think that shows a real strength of character and we would view that in a positive way. However, it's on a case-by-case basis, so we have to look at each individual and what their particular circumstances were, and we weigh all of those circumstances together. We do feel that anything that requires real strength of character and determination is something that we'll look upon favorably.

In other words, there’s no need to avoid these “taboo” topics if they proved to be a significant factor in your personal development. Instead, consider confronting them in an addendum and explaining how you’ve changed. It will help explain any deficiencies in your academic record, and it might just get the admissions committee to give your application a second look.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:29 am

acrossthelake wrote:
I wouldn't write one about addiction, either.


Yeah, I hear you. Quite frankly, I can't say I'd write on it either. But, then again, I've never experienced a drug addiction or an eating disorder. So, could your reluctance to write on the subj also be because you've never experienced such things, so your perspective on its possible significance is different? Obviously, I don't know your story, but just posing a question for consideration.

acrossthelake
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:47 am

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
I wouldn't write one about addiction, either.


Yeah, I hear you. Quite frankly, I can't say I'd write on it either. But, then again, I've never experienced a drug addiction or an eating disorder. So, could your reluctance to write on the subj also be because you've never experienced such things, so your perspective on its possible significance is different? Obviously, I don't know your story, but just posing a question for consideration.


Oh, I've experienced an eating disorder. It's why I feel comfortable voicing such strong opinions about it. I didn't write about it for college for the same reasons I voiced--I felt there were other characteristics that were better to highlight(which worked out well, the essay I did write was mentioned in my admissions letter as being a factor that helped me get in) and I didn't want to define myself by a disorder. I'm all for looking at negative past experience as a growing experience, but unless the end result of your eating disorder is that you now work as a clinician helping other people overcome it, then I think to give it credit for your direction in life gives the disorder way too much credit and yourself too little. It's a disorder. It's damaging. It steals away months/years of happiness from you, and months/years of peace with yourself, your body, and your life. It never even crossed my mind to use it for my LS personal statement because I don't consider it part of my identity anymore, but back when it was, back in high school when I saw it as part of my identity because to be honest I don't think I was truly over it yet, I still felt that there were better things to emphasize about myself.

The one caveat: I think it's worth writing about if your grades took a hit because of it or you had to withdraw from school. In this case, I think it's appropriate for a more lengthy addendum, though, not necessarily a PS.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:56 am

Gotcha. I sensed that in reading your first comments, and also in the fact that you don't generally post here but decided to, for that topic. Perhaps you would be able provide the OP with better insight then.

acrossthelake
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:09 am

Tiva wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
Tiva wrote:
ShuckingNotJiving wrote: I've seen plenty of recovering addicts essays that have been done quite well, and oddly, I don't see nearly as many "dont write on this" comments... At any rate, I say leave it, but don't make it the central focus.


When I read this essay and the comments that followed I thought the exact same thing. I don't understand why this topic is taboo but addiction PS aren't.


I wouldn't write one about addiction, either.


Mind taking a look at my PS?



You asking me? If so, sure?

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:Gotcha. I sensed that in reading your first comments, and also in the fact that you don't generally post here but decided to, for that topic. Perhaps you would be able provide the OP with better insight then.


Ha, yeah, I debated outing that fact here. But there you go. I understand the tendency to see the ED as an extension of you the way the OP writes about it. I had a similar mindset in HS, though to be honest, I think it's because back then I wasn't as fully recovered as I thought I was. The things the OP talks about outside the ED---intellectual curiosity, are great. I think they would have been a part of her even w/out the disorder. I think she discredits herself and overcredits the ED too much.

ETA: You know where I generally post?

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:35 am

No, I just don't see you posting on here.

acrossthelake
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:18 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:No, I just don't see you posting on here.


Gotcha. I'll add one last thing.

One more caveat: I think writing about an ed/addiction/etc. can work if you can provide concrete relevant examples from your life of how you turned it around and then started doing something new and positive that is directly and obviously related. For example, maybe you recover from an eating disorder and then start an outreach program. If you can talk about those examples, it makes it stronger. More higher wishy-washier connections ("like to be hungry") aren't as convincing.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Personal Statement - overcoming an eating disorder

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:05 pm

acrossthelake wrote:One more caveat: I think writing about an ed/addiction/etc. can work if you can provide concrete relevant examples from your life of how you turned it around and then started doing something new and positive that is directly and obviously related. For example, maybe you recover from an eating disorder and then start an outreach program. If you can talk about those examples, it makes it stronger. More higher wishy-washier connections ("like to be hungry") aren't as convincing.


Exactly. I agree 1000%, and that's what I hoped I was getting at in my earlier post. There is a PS in the Personal Statement Samples section of the website (not the thread) in which the writer mentions her rape, and how that propelled her commitment to working in Domestic Violence shelters (or something of the sort, don't remember it entirely). OP, it might be good for you to look at that essay!




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