RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
Bless
Posts: 533
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:32 am

RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

Postby Bless » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:22 am

I sat in the cold and empty waiting-room of my surgeon’s office like it was any routine check-up. Other than the fixed discomfort from the 30-plus stitches that had been squeezing the fresh wound in my back for the past week, it was just a customary linger in my day—no more significant than waiting in line for a cashier to ring-up your groceries. That’s how I felt, at least. My parents tried to hide the fact they felt any different, all the meanwhile failing to realize that their attempts to conceal their feelings only made it all the more observable that they were afraid. Typically distant and nonsocial, especially in his work clothes on Monday mornings as was the case on this day, my father was overly-talkative, and he conveniently spoke on every single topic possible except for the obvious one. Typically, I have to fight my way to get more than a mumble out of him, but not on this day. My mother is (and was) the complete opposite of my father; usually a high-strung chatterbox badgering me beyond annoyance, on this day she was mute and surprisingly, perfectly pleasant.

As I sat between them, I should have been worried too. If my life was a movie, this assuredly was the climactic scene. Today, I would be finding out what would either turn out to be the best or worst news of my life. As for my attitude: alarmingly neutral. Looking back, I’m unsure as to why this was the case, as it is certainly ironic. Perhaps the heavy dosage of oxycodone for pain-relief turned me into such a zombie that alongside my physical pain, my emotional response was sedated as well. Or possibly, it was just too early in the morning for me to feel anything other than tiredness. But probably, it was the fact that I was simply incapable of interpreting the magnitude of what I was going to find out. Especially given the fact that I would be receiving news of this nature during an already pivotal, fork-in-the-road transition in my life, an extensive list of implications were assuredly attached to this determination. Regardless, finding out whether or not cancer was spreading throughout my entire body should have been a big deal to me by itself.

And just to think, the derivative of this dilemma was a tiny freckle on my back. For months, my mother had been hounding me about it—but again, she does that about a lot of things. In fairness to her, the pestering ended up being absolutely worthwhile in this case. Finally schlepping my way into a dermatology office just so I wouldn’t have to endure anymore nagging about it, I found out that my mother’s worries were legitimate. My dermatologist proceeded with an incision after finding the particular freckle “suspicious”, by her own admission. Lab results turned out being even more “suspicious”, so she dug a little deeper and I waited to hear back. This time, my dermatologist’s reply would be more formal, and with reason. Apparently, lab results by both The University of Miami and Harvard University confirmed that I had a malignant melanoma in my body. In laymen’s terms, I had skin cancer, and the only question at this point was to what degree. Of course, the results of my forthcoming surgery would answer this question.

So there I finally was, waiting unenthusiastically for my fate. My mother delivered an overwhelmingly powerful sigh as my father leaped from his seat when the answer was at last given as to the status of my cancer—“negative”. The cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes and thus, was not scattering throughout my body; in fact, the surgery had eliminated it completely. I was cancer-free.

Still, my response was ambivalent. It just didn’t hit me. It must have been quite a humorous site for my surgeon to see—two parents having a dramatic emotional meltdown for their son who meanwhile sits between them looking as if he is lost in a daydream. That’s probably what led him to add the hook, line, and sinker: if I hadn’t discovered the cancer within a six-month period from when I actually did, I would not have survived.

That’s when reality crashed in on me. No cancer. No chemotherapy. No fighting for my life. I had been saved by complete chance. In that moment, I felt more appreciative of my life than I had ever before—but that was only of slight importance. What would become immensely significant, however, was the evolution of a genuine appreciation for where my life was going. This enlightened perspective—an epiphany on a continuum, if you will—would manifest itself through a relentless determination to succeed. And what determined “success” was far from ambiguous in my case; it was quite lucid, in fact. Since early childhood, my family and I had envisioned me becoming a lawyer, and at this point, absolutely nothing would deter me from that achievement. My life had been handed back to me, and it would become my aspiration to legitimize it for happening.

The timing for this monumental cycle of events couldn’t have come at a more convenient time, which makes it all the more enthralling. A month after finding out I had escaped cancer, I began my college tenure at Florida State University. Unquestionably, my college career was met with great success; however, I take less pride in my individual academic achievements than I do for actually maintaining the ambition that I started with. Certainly, the former is superficial, while the latter encompasses a much deeper value.

Without a doubt, my persistent attitude alongside the ensuing outcomes underlies the authority of my outlook since beating cancer. For me, this is reassuring, and it reinforces my lack of regret for the 13-inch scar on my back, as I certainly persevered as a stronger, wiser, and all-in-all better person as a result. Not many people can say they have had their life handed back to them, and that with that, I cherish the unique, lifelong gift that I gained because of it. Moreover, I am certain that my occupancy in law school will embody the same ideals that I inherited from my cancer breakthrough. In the meantime, I will continue to keep my ultimate vision intact and act accordingly…and I’ll also find a means to stay out of the sun.







I feel like the lower half might need some work. This is only my first draft. Thanks for all the replies and I will return the favor upon request.

sarahh
Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

Postby sarahh » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:33 pm

I would combine the first five paragraphs into one paragraph. You don't need to go into that much detail about your medical issues - you just need a little bit to explain your perspective on life. I would discuss a little more why you want to be a lawyer. I don't think just saying I have always wanted to do this is enough. I disagree with your assertion "Certainly, the former is superficial, while the latter encompasses a much deeper value." Sticking with the same career goal could be a sign that you have never really thought about what you want to do - show them this is not the case.

User avatar
Bless
Posts: 533
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:32 am

Re: RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

Postby Bless » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:26 pm

sarahhope82 wrote:I would combine the first five paragraphs into one paragraph. You don't need to go into that much detail about your medical issues - you just need a little bit to explain your perspective on life. I would discuss a little more why you want to be a lawyer. I don't think just saying I have always wanted to do this is enough. I disagree with your assertion "Certainly, the former is superficial, while the latter encompasses a much deeper value." Sticking with the same career goal could be a sign that you have never really thought about what you want to do - show them this is not the case.

Thanks for the input. I agree that I need to expand more on the "wanting to be a lawyer" bit. As for the line you quoted, I was suggesting there was deeper value in actually fulfilling the goal of achieving quality grades rather than just the grades by themselves. Nonetheless, your criticism provides that I need to make that more clear. Thanks.



Upping for more replies.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

Postby AreJay711 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:16 am

I agree with sarahhope82, the first 5 paragraph can be combined to one. It is really just to set the scene.

Your 6th paragraph is really good. I would leave it the same.

I also like the first to sentences of the 7th paragraph -- once again as your 3rd -- minus the word tenure. I don't have mush of a reason just don't like it there lol.

I want to hear more about how you came to FSU with your newfound passion for life and where it was going. Share with the reader what it was like, how you looked at classes, (if you were involved) the energy you brought to extra extracurriculars. Also don't say you did unquestionably well, if your going to say anything say what you accomplishments were. They are going to breeze over you transcript, not study it.

I also think you really need to re-word you final paragraph if you want to keep the same general idea (which you should). That 6th paragraph is powerful because you avoid big words that don't quite mean exactly what you want and you keep the sentence structure simple; your last paragraph is the opposite. Remember, short words have power; overly lengthy words, and particularly when accompanied by complex sentence structure, while they may be able to reflect subtle nuances otherwise difficult to express, at least exactly, tend to befuddle the reader away from your singular vision. <-- Like that. Finally, if I were you I would continue to only mention law except to say you are going to bring the same energy and zeal for life to law school as you did your undergrad. Most people want to be lawyers because they think they will be happier as lawyers than as their next best alternative. Unless you have some super-cool and PC reason, let that assumption fly.

Mind reciprocating and looking over my DS?

User avatar
Bless
Posts: 533
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:32 am

Re: RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

Postby Bless » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:05 pm

Great critique. When you two told me to combine my paragraphs (1-6 I believe it is), do you mean chop it all up into a shorter paragraph? Or just put it all as one paragraph? I'd hate to chop it up as I like the way I worded it and made the narrative intriguing. I was hoping it would make readers want to keep reading and find out what the whole situation was about. ???


Yes, I'll be happy to take a look at your DS, but I don't know what a "DS" is. Is that the same thing as PS? Link me.

sarahh
Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: RIP APART my Personal Statement if need be!

Postby sarahh » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:27 pm

I meant removing information and spending a little less time describing it. It takes up more than half of the essay. I agree with AreJay 711 that you could spend more time talking about school. I still recommend talking more about why you want to be a lawyer - but you want to make sure you have a compelling reason for it.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.