Final Draft?--Please critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby tipler4213 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:24 pm

Here is my nearly final draft of my personal statement. It is currently at 2 and a half pages, but I have planned a shortened version for the schools that require a 2-page, 11 pt. font, and 1 inch margins. I will post it in the following post if anyone cares to take a look at it too. Please offer up your comments...I would love to be done by Friday!

Clumsily rolling out of my half-deflated air mattress, I fumbled around for my watch. Eyes still adjusting to the rays of the nascent morning sun, I pulled the watch to my face and squinted: 4:47 AM. “What on earth is that noise?” I wondered while stumbling across my empty apartment, back aching from seventeen hours of driving the day before. Peering out the window, I spotted my impromptu-alarm clock: a procession of Haitian men fervidly singing, dancing, and playing steel drums. In less than twenty-four hours, I had stepped out of the meandering pace of suburban life in Alabama into the middle of the J’Ouvert Caribbean carnival. Welcome to Brooklyn. Welcome home.
To most people raised in my hometown of Mountain Brook, Alabama, Brooklyn would not simply feel like another city; it would feel like another world. A subdivision of the epicenter of the 1960s civil rights struggle, Mountain Brook has remained virtually frozen in the 1950s. My high school graduating class of 337 had zero minorities and most students’ only exposure to diversity came through the bus line that shuttles the neighborhood maids and yardmen to and from their downtown apartments. By graduation, the lingering presence of racial prejudice and general homogeneity of my community led me to seek a more global perception of the world.
In college, I sought every opportunity to branch out from the confines of my youth. Despite no prior experience in either subject, I found my niche in Global Relations and the French language. Following a successful immersion program in France, I decided to apply for the US State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship for beginning Arabic. A week after returning from France, I was once again airborne over the Atlantic. Destination: Tunis, Tunisia.
Any confidence I had developed in my linguistic capabilities while in France vanished about thirty seconds into my first Arabic lesson when my professor informed me that my notebook was upside down. How else could you write from right to left? Undeterred, I embraced the language and the culture. When I first walked into the neighborhood café, twelve stern faces whipped around to glare at me, making it quite clear that I had intruded on their sacred space. After I timidly settled into a seat in the corner, I waited 30 minutes for service. Finally, when the owner, Fasaal, begrudgingly left his game of chess and approached my table, he noticed my copy of the Al-Kitaab textbook and mumbled a greeting in Arabic. When I responded with the customary reply and my order, the full extent of my Arabic at this point, he cracked a smile and began spouting an incomprehensible cacophony of Arabic as I pleaded for him to slow down. Finally, using my French fluency as a crutch, I explained that I had only been studying Arabic for three days!
Over the course of the summer Fasaal and I became quite close, gradually incorporating more and more Arabic into our conversations. After a few weeks my “usual” of tea and shisha, a large pipe for flavored tobacco, was waiting for me when I arrived for my nightly study session at the café. Those same twelve faces that had met me so harshly on my first night gradually softened and began to acknowledge my arrival with courteous nods. Nevertheless, four weeks into the program, not one had spoken to me despite the many evenings when I was the only other customer. Their argumentative voices and the haze created from their bevy of shishas seemingly melded in as a part of the cafés décor. However, one night, they waved me over and asked if I would like to join their game of chess. Tentatively taking a seat and surveying the board in front of me, I took a long drag of shisha and started to plan my strategy when it hit me: this suburbanite Alabamian was now a Tunisian “regular”.
Returning to the lull of life in Mountain Brook after the program, I quickly became “homesick” for the excitement of my last ten months abroad. However, when I awoke to the clamor of steel drums announcing the start of the J’Ouvert carnival on my first morning in Brooklyn, I knew I was home once again. Wedged in the juncture of Brooklyn’s Caribbean, Jewish, Russian, and Arab quarters, a short walk in my neighborhood transports you from one culture to the next: a truly global community.
Moreover, my position with the Chertoff Group has proven to be the perfect opportunity to work in a global context. Formed by the former Federal Appeals Court Judge and Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, the group provides strategic security and risk management advice to governments and corporations in fields such as counterterrorism, cyber security, border security, and intelligence. This has provided me with the opportunity to work intimately on complex legal matters of global significance, such as the planned mosque near the 9/11 Memorial, wiretapping of online service providers, and surveillance of suspected terrorists. Furthermore, while working for the coauthor of the Patriot Act, I am constantly exposed to the intricacies of the balance between individual liberties and national security.
My desire to pursue a career devoted to seeking the ever-elusive balance between security and the legal rights of citizens at home and abroad has led to my decision to apply for a dual degree at XXXXX law school. This truly unrivaled degree option provides the perfect synthesis for my interests in international relations and law. In addition, the educational environment at XXX, favoring classroom discussion and a globalized study of the law, perfectly complement my preferred learning style and career ambitions. Confident that my childhood experience with racial injustice in Alabama, unparalleled adventures abroad and in Brooklyn, and time with the Chertoff Group produced a wide-ranging perspective, I look forward to contributing my insight to the classes at XXXX.

tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

Re: Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby tipler4213 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:42 pm

Shorter version:

Clumsily rolling out of my half-deflated air mattress, I fumbled around for my watch. Eyes still adjusting to the rays of the nascent morning sun, I pulled the watch to my face and squinted: 4:47 AM. “What on earth is that noise?” I wondered while stumbling across my empty apartment. Peering out the window, I spotted my impromptu-alarm clock: a procession of Haitian men fervidly singing, dancing, and playing steel drums. In less than twenty-four hours, I had stepped out of the meandering pace of life in Alabama into the middle of the J’Ouvert Caribbean carnival. Welcome to Brooklyn. Welcome home.
To most people raised in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Brooklyn would not simply feel like another city; it would feel like another world. A subdivision of the epicenter of the 1960s civil rights struggle, Mountain Brook has remained virtually frozen in the 1950s. My high school graduating class of 337 had zero minorities and racial slurs were common fixtures of students’ conversations. In college, I sought every opportunity to branch out. Despite no prior experience in either subject, I found my niche in Global Relations and the French language. Following a successful immersion program in France, I decided to apply for the US State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship for beginning Arabic. A week after returning from France, I was once again airborne over the Atlantic. Destination: Tunis, Tunisia.
Any confidence I had developed in my linguistic capabilities while in France vanished thirty seconds into my first Arabic lesson when my professor informed me that my notebook was upside down. How else could you write from right to left? Undeterred, I embraced the language and the culture. When I first walked into the local café, twelve stern faces whipped around to glare at me, making it quite clear that I had intruded on their sacred space. After I timidly settled into a seat in the corner, I waited 30 minutes for service. Finally, when the owner, Fasaal, begrudgingly left his game of chess and approached my table, he noticed my copy of the Al-Kitaab textbook and mumbled a greeting in Arabic. When I responded with the customary reply and my order, the full extent of my Arabic at that point, he cracked a smile and began spouting an unintelligible stream of Arabic as I pleaded for him to slow down. Finally, using my French fluency as a crutch, I explained that I had only been studying Arabic for three days!
Over the course of the summer Fasaal and I became quite close, gradually incorporating more Arabic into our conversations. After a few weeks my “usual” of tea and shisha, a large tobacco pipe, was waiting for me when I arrived for my nightly study session at the café. Those same twelve faces that had met me so harshly on my first night gradually softened and began to acknowledge my arrival with courteous nods. Nevertheless, not one had spoken to me despite the many evenings when I was the only other customer. However, one night, they waved me over and asked if I would like to join their game of chess. Tentatively taking a seat and surveying the board in front of me, I took a long drag of shisha and started to plan my strategy when it hit me: this suburbanite Alabamian was now a Tunisian “regular”.
Returning to the lull of life in Mountain Brook, I quickly became “homesick” for the excitement of my last ten months abroad. However, when I awoke to the clamor of steel drums on my first morning in Brooklyn, I knew I was home once again. Moreover, my position with the Chertoff Group has proven to be the perfect opportunity to work in a global context. Formed by the former Federal Appeals Court Judge and Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, the group provides strategic security and risk management advice to governments and corporations in fields such as counterterrorism, cyber security, border security, and intelligence. This has provided me with the opportunity to work intimately on complex legal matters of global significance, such as the planned mosque near the 9/11 Memorial and wiretapping of online service providers. Furthermore, while working for the coauthor of the Patriot Act, I am constantly exposed to the intricacies of the balance between individual liberties and national security.
My desire to pursue a career devoted to seeking the ever-elusive balance between security and the legal rights of citizens at home and abroad has led to my decision to apply for a dual degree at XXXXX law school. This truly unrivaled degree option provides the perfect synthesis for my interests in international relations and law. In addition, the educational environment at XXX, favoring classroom discussion and a globalized study of the law, perfectly complement my preferred learning style and career ambitions. Confident that my childhood experience with racial injustice in Alabama, unparalleled adventures abroad and in Brooklyn, and time with the Chertoff Group produced a wide-ranging perspective, I look forward to contributing my insight to the classes at XXXX.

tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

Re: Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby tipler4213 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:55 pm

anyone?

tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

Re: Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby tipler4213 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:25 am

Please guys, this post is gradually fading away off of page 1....

User avatar
acfair
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:01 pm

Re: Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby acfair » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:55 am

I think this is one of the better PSs I have ever read here on TLS. It's actually interesting and I was compelled to keep reading. The only thing that felt out of place is when you just kind of drop your position with the Chertoff group in the last paragraph. You also never talk about how or why you moved to Brooklyn. Could these two be combined?

I really like it though. It tells a story about that highlights the unique facets of your personality, and explains how you have became the person you are today, which I believe is the goal of the PS.

tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

Re: Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby tipler4213 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:55 pm

Thanks for the response! I would love more feedback if anyone wants to offer some.

weejonbu
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:48 pm

Re: Final Draft?--Please critique

Postby weejonbu » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:18 pm

Pardon my asking, but are you a female? The writing style seems pretty feminine to me... not good or bad, just an observation




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