"Embracing My Experience" -PS- Please Critique, Ideas, Etc.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
asew88
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:02 am

"Embracing My Experience" -PS- Please Critique, Ideas, Etc.

Postby asew88 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:09 am

This is my first draft of my personal statement. Please check it out! Would love to know your opinions!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Embracing My Experience"

Experience is a prerequisite to understanding the world around us. Without experience, one will find it increasingly difficult to understand, empathize or relate to another’s experience. Although, I have not always held this view, I pride myself on experiencing a life, albeit short, that has encompassed many perspectives and outlooks that have grounded me and shaped the worldview that I hold today.

It is very simple to embrace the perspective that our differences place us in a weakened position against those who lead lives which appear to be much more suitable. I entertain no such chasms. I wholeheartedly believe that I have been uniquely blessed by the life that I have lived and the man that I am today.

I have the distinct privilege of representing several groups with challenging experiences. I believe my background uniquely prepares me for the study of law because I understand how the formulation and implementation of law and public policy affects the lives of everyone. I am an African-American man. I am a gay man. I come from a lower-middle class family. I will be a first generation college graduate. Each one of these experiences is shared by many. But, the key to my life has been to fully embrace my experience. My experience in leading a life that at times is compartmentalized and other times conjoined in what is called “vulnerable groups” in our society have enabled me to find my purpose in life.

I can unequivocally state that my purpose is to advocate and protect those most vulnerable to the ills of society. My journey has started with my active participation in advocacy on behalf of causes such as HIV/AIDS prevention in black community at my full-time job as Community Relations Coordinator for a non-profit prevention agency; securing equality rights for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals through my internship with a legal non-profit which advocates for LGBT civil rights and my lobbying efforts in the Illinois State Legislature for increased education funding in my role as Student Government Association President at Roosevelt University. It is my firm belief that the application of law, its formulation and implementation is the best tool that we have to correct any injustice that threatens our society.

As an African-American man, I know very well the affect that the criminalization of men of color has done to both individuals and communities. Not only has it ruined lives because of imprisonment, but it has curtailed dreams of being anything other than the stereotype of a criminal. I also am aware of my very own great-grandfather’s story of being denied a home after serving in the armed forces in the 1940s. But, it is through the law that these injustices are enforced and it is through the law that they can and will be rectified.

As a gay man, I battle with whether to disclose who I am because it can be grounds for many to discriminate. I can only speculate that my openness has been punished by those who were made aware; similar to those individuals who risk their lives in uniform but can not disclose their sexual orientation for fear of retribution by our military. But, it is through the law that these injustices are enforced and it is through the law that they can and will be rectified.

My family has suffered from stagnate wages, unequal pay for equal work, lack of quality education in their urban and rural communities, denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions and devastation due to the financial collapse of 2008. But, it was through the law that these injustices were allowed to occur and it is through the law that they can and will be rectified.

This is not a “rage against the machine” soliloquy. It is, in fact, an embrace of my experience and differences that I believe will enable me to understand law better thus preparing me for law school and a career in law. I am hopeful about for the progressive direction that application of law has the ability to take. And it is my hope that I will be fully participate, armed with a quality legal education from your institution. I can contribute to the dialogue about how to make our world a better place by instituting laws and protections that help the most vulnerable Americans. And the truth is we are all “vulnerable” in some way or another. We must choose to embrace it and protect ourselves as well as our brethren. This is my mission.




Please let me know what you think? It is my first draft. I am open to critique, changes, etc. Thanks guys! :D

User avatar
SullaFelix
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:18 pm

Re: "Embracing My Experience" -PS- Please Critique, Ideas, Etc.

Postby SullaFelix » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:47 am

Not terrible. But there's a fair amount of telling and not showing. For example, nothing would be lost by cutting the first paragraph.

asew88
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:02 am

Re: "Embracing My Experience" -PS- Please Critique, Ideas, Etc.

Postby asew88 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:57 am

SullaFelix wrote:Not terrible. But there's a fair amount of telling and not showing. For example, nothing would be lost by cutting the first paragraph.


Thanks! I was thinking of highlighting how I've struggled in the past to embrace my experiences and the impact its had in my life. Thus, demonstrating I have overcome obstacles in the past. How do you think it would be more effective? Thank you for your time and comment!

User avatar
chaosnoodlesoup
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:07 am

Re: "Embracing My Experience" -PS- Please Critique, Ideas, Etc.

Postby chaosnoodlesoup » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:04 am

You have a lot going for you in your PS, but I see a few problems that you'll have to address before this will become a successful and I'll start with the harsh stuff first:

1. That first paragraph is unfortunate and is the one thing about this PS that makes me cringe (sorry, I am really rubbed the wrong way with that embrace the abstraction of experience cliche: see below).
2. At times, this PS comes off as a repetition of your resume, even though you spend the majority of it listing off the dominant features of your identity--I am [x,y,z] which entails stereotypical suffering of generic social/racial/class group--but fails to develop any particular characteristic to really highlight the value of such and such to you specifically.
2a. Your PS should be demonstrative, not descriptive.
2b. As a general rule of thumb, a PS should focus on a specific theme relevant in your life. You can mention that you are a gay African-American male (and indeed you should), but this PS is organized around abstract notion of experience, which allows you to include a lot but say nothing substantive about you as a human person.

One the other hand, it seems like you have a ton of 'experience' to draw from to make your PS especially compelling, which is why you shouldn't sell yourself short by making 'experience' itself the focal point of what you have to say. Pick out one of those things you mention and demonstrate your uniqueness through narrative power.

Best of luck, Cheers.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.