PS-Please critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
tessakate6
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:35 pm

PS-Please critique!

Postby tessakate6 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:12 pm

The words hurt as though the boy 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 as my two sisters and I were drawing with our broken white chalk on the 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 were trusted to entertain ourselves and remain out of trouble while the adults of the Thompson clan 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. Rather than confront the boy, I turned around and followed my sisters into the small and perpetually smoky living room of my grandparent’s home. They sat on the smoke-stained, green shag carpet and watched Mighty Ducks which eventually calmed my older and twin sisters who had been weeping 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, the Thompson family motto is usually, “Suck it up,” I had decided to tell her what had happened because I did not fully understand what occurred and why. Even as the hurt welled up as tears in my eyes, I did not understand why it upset me so much. I had showered that day and every day before; I always did my homework and chores. How was I dirty and lazy?
Then a rare thing happened, my Grandma Thompson softened. She hugged me and then led me to the living room with my sisters. We sat on the worn-in couch and listened to our unusually 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, like other Northern Minnesota towns, 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 local Native Americans because of perceptions of undue entitlements for tribal members and the struggles of living in a region with limited economic resources. The tribal safety net would not catch everyone and the anger that stemmed from fear and uncertainty was brewing; the recent events widened that social divide 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 that evening and my new understanding of personal worth 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, of climbing each rung of a corporate ladder in order to provide for his family, he encouraged us to focus on our education. He constantly reminded us that a quality education is necessary 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 their professional careers, evolving a new “Thompson habit.” 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 to be the first in my family pursue a graduate/professional 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 aware that the complexity of the law is like a foreign language to many citizens. 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.

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BigBuckey
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:17 am

Re: PS-Please critique!

Postby BigBuckey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:52 pm

tessakate6 wrote:Although, the Thompson family motto is usually, “Suck it up,” I had decided to tell her what had happened because I did not fully understand what occurred and why.


You might want to remove the comma after although.

tessakate6 wrote: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.


This sentence needs re-worded.

tessakate6 wrote:It was because of that evening and my new understanding of personal worth 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.


You need a "to" before prove.

tessakate6 wrote: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 to be the first in my family pursue a graduate/professional degree.


This needs to be rephrased and rethought. Did his example encourage you to qualify for the scholarship and graduate from college, or did his example encourage you to do well in high school (and by doing well in high school qualify for the scholarship). Consider your word choice here - did you qualify for the scholarship or did you receive the scholarship?

This personal statement is interesting and gives the admissions committee a glimpse into your life and upbringing, but consider this: this document should inform the reader of your accomplishments (academic, work-related, etc.). Most of what you have written would fit nicely in a diversity statement. Just remember that every sentence in this statement should compel the reader to want to let you in their law school. I hope this helps.

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ArchRoark
Posts: 1000
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:53 pm

Re: PS-Please critique!

Postby ArchRoark » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:15 am

BigBuckey wrote:This personal statement is interesting and gives the admissions committee a glimpse into your life and upbringing, but consider this: this document should inform the reader of your accomplishments (academic, work-related, etc.). Most of what you have written would fit nicely in a diversity statement.


I haven't read the statement but I don't necessarily agree that it has to show your academic/work-related accomplishments. While that is certainly a fine avenue to take (you have to be careful to not write a narrative version of your resume), imho all a PS needs to do is grip the reader and have him come away with a clear picture of your personality. A personality that should have character traits that support the contention that you will succeed in law school. Now that I think about it, as long as you broaden accomplishments to include pretty much any significant obstacle you have overcome then that seems to encompass just about all the different PS I have read.




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