Self-deprecation in a PS?

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ssteinway
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Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby ssteinway » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:52 am

New poster here. I'm almost done with my Personal Statement, but I'm not sure about my first paragraph. I want to use a little self-deprecating humor, but a reviewer cautioned against it. Thoughts? The point of my essay is how I realized that I wanted to do public interest work/how I've learned to keep an open mind about the path to success. This is my first paragraph as it stands:

When I was nine years old, I decided to write out my life plan. Under the words, “My Life Plan,” triple-underlined—I like to think I was a preternaturally mature child, but I was still nine—I laid out my steps for success. As I saw it, the path to partnership at Skadden Arps was simple: getting As in elementary school would naturally lead to honors classes in junior high, which would beget AP classes in high school. With fabulous SAT scores and a score of extracurricular activities, including an afterschool job at an attorney’s office, I’d be able to attend an Ivy League university, which would set me up for admission to a top law school. A career in Mergers & Acquisitions law—and the corner office—was mine, provided I adhered strictly to the Plan. And throughout high school, I did, using the document as a checklist. Official bench-warmer of the field hockey team? Cross off “play sports.” Norwich Free Academy’s worst flautist? Put a check next to “learn musical instrument.”

Do the last two lines come off as funny? And does the paragraph do enough to set up the theme that I will eventually change my mind and have a more nuanced view of the path to success, or do I need to add more hints? Thanks for your help!

acrossthelake
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Re: Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:09 pm

ssteinway wrote:New poster here. I'm almost done with my Personal Statement, but I'm not sure about my first paragraph. I want to use a little self-deprecating humor, but a reviewer cautioned against it. Thoughts? The point of my essay is how I realized that I wanted to do public interest work/how I've learned to keep an open mind about the path to success. This is my first paragraph as it stands:

When I was nine years old, I decided to write out my life plan. Under the words, “My Life Plan,” triple-underlined—I like to think I was a preternaturally mature child, but I was still nine—I laid out my steps for success. As I saw it, the path to partnership at Skadden Arps was simple: getting As in elementary school would naturally lead to honors classes in junior high, which would beget AP classes in high school. With fabulous SAT scores and a score of extracurricular activities, including an afterschool job at an attorney’s office, I’d be able to attend an Ivy League university, which would set me up for admission to a top law school. A career in Mergers & Acquisitions law—and the corner office—was mine, provided I adhered strictly to the Plan. And throughout high school, I did, using the document as a checklist. Official bench-warmer of the field hockey team? Cross off “play sports.” Norwich Free Academy’s worst flautist? Put a check next to “learn musical instrument.”

Do the last two lines come off as funny? And does the paragraph do enough to set up the theme that I will eventually change my mind and have a more nuanced view of the path to success, or do I need to add more hints? Thanks for your help!


The last two lines are meh. And honestly the paragarph doesn't really give off a great impression in general.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby plenipotentiary » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:17 pm

A little humor is good. But this comes off as disingenuous. I find it difficult to believe that you wanted to be a partner at Skadden working in M&A when you were 9. I was a precocious child and I dreamed of being a lawyer, but my goal was just that: Lawyer. I didn't have any firms or practice areas in mind. Did you really use a list you wrote when you were 9 as a guideline in high school?

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ssteinway
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Re: Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby ssteinway » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:23 pm

Sad but true. I still have the Plan, actually, and it really does say m&a. I'm not sure where I came up with that, but I was obsessed with the stock market and CNBC at that age.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:36 pm

The entire paragraph should be scrapped since nobody is likely to believe that a nine year old child even knew of law firm names or of honors classes. To answer your question, the last two lines were not humorous.

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bk1
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Re: Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby bk1 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:38 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The entire paragraph should be scrapped since nobody is likely to believe that a nine year old child even knew of law firm names or of honors classes. To answer your question, the last two lines were not humorous.


This.

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paratactical
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Re: Self-deprecation in a PS?

Postby paratactical » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:44 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The entire paragraph should be scrapped since nobody is likely to believe that a nine year old child even knew of law firm names or of honors classes. To answer your question, the last two lines were not humorous.


Holy shit. I agree with CanadianWolf.




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