rough - feel free to rip it apart

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
hulahoop
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:29 pm

rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby hulahoop » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:10 pm

This is my very rough first draft of one idea I have been playing around with, feel free to rip it to shreds (but please give me some kind of constructive criticism in the process). I am having a really hard time deciding how to approach my PS, and this is a basically free-form attempt to get some ideas down.

Is it too general? bad topic?

sigh. just help plz. thanks in advance!

I was lucky to experience first-hand many things in my childhood that most people only ever read about. By the time I started college, I had been out of the country almost 20 times, travelling through Europe with my mother for weeks at a time on each trip. My mother and I sometimes struggled to make ends meet, but this annual trip to the 'old country' was at the top of her list of priorities, and I rarely missed the luxuries we sacrificed to make it possible. Unlike the rest of my family, I was born in America, but these trips allowed us to visit her home in Frankfurt, as well as affording oppurtunities to travel the surrounding countries while on the continent.

My unusual upbringing shaped me into someone who could empathize with many opposing types of people. In college, I strove to seek out and understand different worldviews, as I found that experiencing the world through someone elses eyes was the best way to widen my own perspective. After attending numerous schools and college within driving distance of my childhood home, I moved to Rome to spend my senior year abroad. My exposure to European culture allowed me to immerse myself and build lasting friendships with people from vastly differing backgrounds from my own, in contrast to the majority of my classmates, who never ventured outside of the study-abroad group. Each exposure reinforced my drive to make my own concrete contribution to my peers, giving direction to my search for a way to apply the skills I had gained in college towards a palpable cause. My desire to learn from others eventually drew me to foster deep relationships with American soldiers, stationed in Italy, who had recently returned from the bloodiest frontlines in Afghanistan. These men taught me, through example, what selflessness truly entails.

Growing up in Berkeley, CA, the difference between mine and my peers' understanding of the world was never apparent to me until my involvement with the armed forces struck an ideological nerve. I had spent my college career immersing myself in the study of politics and other abstractions of power, but my political views did not keep me from forming lasting and important relationships with the men I met. They taught me to focus on the ultimate consequence my studies, the human cost of conflict; that elusive idea that I had written about in countless papers but had not been able to fully understand until I was directly confronted with it. These enlisted soldiers were the most apolitical people I had ever encountered, doing what was asked of them not because of some underlying ideology but because they believed it was their duty and because they knew others were relying on them to do so. Despite losing life-long friendships after heated debates with people who could not understand how I could empathize with 'killers,' I eventually moved to an army town in the conservative South, determined to immerse myself in the opposite end of the spectrum. I attained employment in military housing office, and have since been a combination of counselor, landlord, and psychiatrist to countless people I would otherwise never have met.

Living on my own and supporting myself on less than five dollars an hour while interviewing for 'gainful employment' pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to put my own experiences thus far into a new perspective and realize how lucky I have been. In the last two years my life has changed in countless ways, but each change has taught me lessons I am grateful for. I have learned to live with the knowledge that those closest to me often go willingly into life-threatening situations, and draw inspiration from their dedication, regardless of whether we share the same political beliefs. I have constructed my own list of priorities, topped by my desire to make a meaningful contribution to those around me. I find my current job incredibly fulfilling, as I can go home each day knowing that I have made a concrete difference in someone's life. I have not forgotten my passion for politics and international relations, and am now ready to continue my education with defined goal. I have been inspired to take chances with my life by those who have survived the unimaginable, I hope to live up to their example in forming my own path.

hulahoop
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:29 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby hulahoop » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:46 pm

cmon. anyone?

adampres
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:48 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby adampres » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:20 pm

I'll give a little feedback, since you've asked. You've had some interesting experiences, but I didn't feel like there was a guiding theme to your statement. It went from your childhood to your association with military guys, and I felt like the transition was a little unclear. Also, I would focus on a couple of specific experiences to anchor everything else, because the entire piece is kind of abstract and as a reader I wanted to be connected to something more specific.
Just my opinion.

zephyr36
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:49 am

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby zephyr36 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:37 am

The experiences are good, but to be honest it's really unconvincing that you were struggling to make ends meet while able to go back and forth to Europe for a few weeks. I realize that you and your mom gave up certain luxuries to make this happen, but I think it would be better rephrased to say that you and your mom saved every spare penny you had to make this trip happen every year. I'd avoid the phrase "struggling to make ends meet."

hulahoop
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:29 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby hulahoop » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:21 pm

thanks guys. back to the drawing board. 8)

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plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:42 pm

My reaction to this is, "So what?" To me, it just sounds like you like have a thing for military dudes, and that's not an appropriate topic for a personal statement. "I went to Europe and dated soldiers, so now I want to go to law school" is not a coherent thesis.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:51 pm

This is a good essay if you want to join the military & marry a soldier, however, it is not appropriate for a law school admission essay. After reading your personal statement, I wonder whether or not you are ready for law school.

hulahoop
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:29 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby hulahoop » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:56 pm

Thanks for the honest feedback.

OK, that is exactly what I was afraid of. My job right now lends to a tendency to do that. I dont want to come off completely pro-military ( and for the record Im not married), but I wanted to kind of give them an idea of what I have spent the last year doing since I graduated. Was there anything in there that I could expand on more or should I just ditch this idea completely (experiences living abroad - cliche, I know, upbringing with single immigrant parent..?). Someone suggested I do the military slant to try to play against type, think there is any wisdom to that if I approach it in a different way?

adampres
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:48 pm

Re: rough - feel free to rip it apart

Postby adampres » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:00 pm

You could nix the last paragraph and focus on how your beliefs were formed and interacted with other people's opposing opinions, i.e. at Berkeley. That might be the easiest way to get some mileage out of this one.




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