In red: Comments/Suggestions
Bold: Grammar/Diction/Syntax changes
When I handed him my pizza, he did not ask for money, or anything else; he hugged me and said “Today is my birthday, I am 57.” Admittedly, I was nervous about receiving a hug from a homeless man who had lived across the street from my Washington, D.C. apartment building for nearly a year. Prior to this moment ,I had never uttered a word to him and avoided exchanging glances whenever I returned to my apartment building. Before I moved out of the apartment, I made a trip to a local pizzeria and purchased a pizza pie for him. I did not expect the reaction he gave or the impact it would have. After I shrugged off my nervousness and the adrenaline rush, I thought about what he said to me. How many birthdays had he spent homeless on the bench in front of our house? What will he do for his next birthday; more importantly will he have one? Thus, the most pivotal lesson I learned while in Washington, D.C. was not from a Georgetown professor, or a Senator on the hill, but from a 57 year old homeless man who lived on a bench across the street. I don't know exactly how this ties into the rest...you may want to set a clear path to unite this with the rest of the p.s.
Only six years earlier my reality was quite different. Without the divorce of my parents I may have never had the opportunity to learn all that I did from that man in Washington. I have come to learn that divorces are similar to roller coasters; the steady climb up is familiar and predictable, steady confrontation and escalating arguments, but no matter the climb up, you can never predict quite how steep the drop will be on the way down. I try to look back on what that thirteen year old version of myself was thinking; if only he could imagine what was to come. Since that time roughly six years ago, my brother, sister and I, along with my mother, bounced around from rented homes, apartments and hotel rooms while watching my mom struggle with bankruptcy and the lingering fear of homelessness. My experiences with poverty as a result of my parents’ divorce gave me a greater understanding of who I am; however, it was our ability to overcome poverty that enabled me to discover who I want to be. (I like this, and think this parqgraph may in fact work best as your first paragraph.)
You need some transitions here, something piecing this together
I arrived in Washington, D.C. at twenty-one years old on a mission. It was the middle of winter and just as all of nature seemed to stagnate in the cold, so did Congress. The Healthcare Bill and Financial Reform were gridlocked. I quickly found myself entangled in the legislative rhetoric that filled the senate office buildings and the chamber itself. For the first time, I was able to witness the other side of the dynamic I experienced as a result of my parents’ divorce. I worked with lawyers, legislators and volunteers all attempting to right the wrongs of a system. Despite my lack of legal knowledge, the relevance of my own experiences to the legal issues at hand enabled me to be an asset to my team. I have never worked harder in my life, and often wonder if the comforts of a stable household would have kept me not only from jumping at the opportunity to test my interest in pursuit of law, but also from experiencing the pressures of a thinly budgeted lifestyle.
Eventually these experiences allowed me to cross paths with the homeless man in front of my apartment. The divorce of my parents taught me about the nature of poverty; the likelihood that it is often the result of bad luck or fate rather than poor decision making. The framework for my goals in Washington, D.C. stemmed from that experience and allowed me to witness the ways in which lawyers and legislators handle the dynamic of poverty on a national level. Although I have worked towards going to [Law School] for over four years, it was the homeless man whom I shared a pizza with that validated my legal pursuits and direction through life. He taught me the value of humility. The understanding that great degrees may land you the best jobs, but there are some things even the best degrees cannot teach you; principles essential to the practice of law: empathy, passion and dedication to a cause greater than yourself.
Your buzzwords need to resonate---although said/shown differently---throughout each paragraph. Good start.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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