First PS draft EVER.....

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
lornarose07
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First PS draft EVER.....

Postby lornarose07 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:02 pm

I debated over which way to take this personal statement. The fact of the matter is, everything that I think makes me who I am cannot possibly go into one PS (that's what Lifetime makes movies for). This is my first ever attempt, I literally just started typing and 45 minutes later here I am. I have another COMPLETELY different idea in mind that I'll post when I get done. At any rate, here it is, please don't hold back as my future kinda-sorta depends on this =P



I can remember, as clear as day, the first time that I got what I wanted. Screeching at the top of my lungs for my daddy to push my high-chair closer to the kitchen cable, because I couldn’t reach the color of Playdoh that I wanted, it dawned on me at the ripe old age of two years old that being daddy’s little girl was perhaps the greatest bargaining chip I would ever have. The years that followed, full of horseback riding lessons, cheerleading and Barbie dolls, would be a testament to how much my father loved me and would give me anything I wanted, anything at all.

Unfortunately, those testimonial years came to an end once I reached nine years of age. It took all of three days for my grandmother to be diagnosed with lung cancer, swell to 300 pounds from the medication, and be read her Last Rites. In that same 72-hour time span, my father managed to unravel almost ten years of sobriety and succumbed to his previously dormant drug and alcohol addiction. I went from accompanying my father to weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (with subsequent trips for milkshakes afterwards), to making for myself the only two things I knew how to cook on my own, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches, for dinner on a rotating basis every night. While my grandmother struggled for her life, in and out of hospitals and nursing homes for the next ten years, I struggled to get out of bed and have to face what my life had become every day. I knew little about depression, neglect, or addiction; all I knew is that my once incredible life with my father and grandmother were long gone. I had little to look forward to, outside of my love for school, reading, and being a computer nerd until four o’clock in the morning (I suppose that was one of the perks of having an alcoholic parent: no one was ever home to tell me to go to bed).
A group project in fifth grade would prove to be more important to me than I ever would have thought building a bridge out of toothpicks could possibly be. Having been designated the group leader, I must admit I was pretty ruthless. What would eventually develop into what I like to call ‘self-diagnosed OCD’ (and what my boyfriend likes to call “being a control freak”) was my affinity for having authority, my strong desire to tell people to do things exactly the way I think they should be done, because I just know that I’ve got it right. When that group project finally concluded, one of my group members delivered the infamous line, the line that so many of us aspiring law students hear, the line that I would continue to hear from so many people throughout my life: “You know, you’re really bossy. You should be a lawyer.”

Fast forward to the present, and after years of pursuing an undergraduate degree in social work, being a lawyer means so much more to me than being a powerful voice in the courtroom, directing the jury to render the decision that I know is the right one. Being a lawyer means giving people an opportunity to see some justice in their lives where justice may be nearly, or entirely, absent, as I can relate to all too well. Many people might agree, it is not justice when a 15-year old girl has to watch her father try to function with a brain injury that resulted from his heroin overdose. Or, perhaps, the injustice lies in the death of her grandmother almost ten years after being diagnosed with lung cancer, just one month after the death of her grandfather, resulting in her inheritance of the “estate” at the age of 19 which consisted of a house that was not paid off that had to be sold. But this young woman decided not to let the injustices drag her down any further than they already had. This young woman decided that she would benefit from the injustices in her life by using them as motivation to help others who face similar circumstances, and even worse ones. As I prepare to graduate from Syracuse University and move on to the next chapter of my life, I choose to focus on everything that is just about my life.

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StillHerexxx
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby StillHerexxx » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:17 pm

The writing is really wordy and very childish throughout, but you said it was your first draft so I am sure you can weed all of that out. I felt like the best part of it was the last paragraph, but it was still really jumbled up. I think if you cut out the first few paragraphs and focused on issues in the last one, it could be really good, but the 5th grade project idea is something I would cut--adds to the childish aspect of it. Also, I wouldn't play up the "people told me I should be a lawyer idea", I had a few girlfriends that told me rather often that I should be a lawyer becasue I was such an asshole, seems like you should be a lawyer because you are bossy goes along the same line.

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nataliejane38
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby nataliejane38 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:26 pm

I don't think the last paragraph works at all. The things that happened to you have nothing to do with justice...it's called life and s*** happens. I think you have a good story in there somewhere, although I must admit after that first paragraph I didn't really know what to think. I know this is your first draft and you seem to be a good writer so I think you will make it much better. Oh and i would take out the boyfriend calling you a control freak and OCD thing.

ohlawl
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby ohlawl » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:28 pm

Remember the personal statement is about why you should be admitted to a law school. This draft feels to be more about what you went through and less about how it shaped you. Also, make sure that the first sentence, moreover the first paragraph, grabs the reader and makes them want to hear more. Right now, you open with your baby-self having a temper tantrum. I think the biggest thing you should address is the last paragraph. It wasn't clear to me what was going on here until the second read (more time than an adcom will probably put in). The change to third person was certainly the biggest problem. I'd also suggest avoiding the topic of justice if you can. Lastly, the paragraph about fifth grade is cliche and off-putting. Realize that fifth graders, and moreover most people, have literally no idea what lawyers do. And it certainly is not being bossy or telling people what to do!

My advice would be to read a bunch of personal and see what they do right and wrong. Then write a few more drafts! You have a powerful experience that I think could turn into a very good PS. Good luck!

lornarose07
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby lornarose07 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:37 pm

Alright, there is the second draft. Different direction completely.





They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. While I’m certainly not going to argue with that statement, I pose the following question: which diamonds are the best of the best? Are those diamonds found stud earrings, or in a dainty tennis bracelet? Perhaps that engagement ring, with the rock that could rival the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, is what best friends are made of. For me, the most valuable sparkly thing I own isn’t actually made of diamonds, but rather diamond’s second cousin once removed, Swarovski crystal. And I don’t wear my bling on my finger, wrist, or ears. I wear it on my head, in my crown.

Most people roll their eyes when I tell them that I compete in pageants. Nothing makes them cringe more than to hear me brag about being a titleholder in the Miss America Organization, the oldest and largest scholarship provider for young women… except when I tell them that as Miss Finger Lakes 2009, I promote my personal platform of fighting back against domestic violence and sexual assault, because I’m a survivor of both.

Having never won a pageant before the Miss Finger Lakes 2009 pageant, I got into the habit of competing simply to give those prom dresses more exposure to the light of day outside my closet. In fact, I’d always shied away from competing in the prestigious Miss America Organization, because each contestant had to present a talent and I didn’t really consider myself to be extraordinarily talented. What convinced me to enter, however, was the requirement of each contestant to have a personal platform, a social issue to which the contestant is dedicated to promoting. Just two and a half years after being sexually assaulted on a date, and just a few years out of a series of physically and emotionally abusive relationships, I felt that I could finally turn my negative experiences into motivation for something positive. So, with a Shakespeare monologue from high school performing arts classes to pass off as my ‘talent’ in tow, I entered the Miss Finger Lakes pageant.

Hearing my named called as the winner (especially after having won best evening gown, best swimsuit, best interview and most money raised for the Children’s Miracle Network) was surreal. Knowing that I would soon be representing the Finger Lakes, and violence victims everywhere, at the Miss New York pageant was exciting. Knowing that I was now in a position where I could educate people about the realities of violence, and potentially touch the lives of other victims, was the most rewarding.

When a fifteen-year old girl approached me after an appearance I’d made at a local pageant to tell me she had been raped just four days earlier and ask if I could help her prepare for the upcoming trial, I was stunned. That moment was a true testament to my work as Miss Finger Lakes, my academic career as a social work major, and my childhood dream to become a lawyer. I wanted nothing more than to march into court with that young lady and demand justice for her, and that passion burns brighter within me each and every day. Today, I listened to a thirteen-year old share her story about being sexually assaulted by her 38-year old cousin. Her mother added that she’d recently placed fourth runner-up in a local pageant, something she’d entered as a way of trying to distract her from everything she’d been through. The world may work in mysterious ways, but when life presents you with signs that you are in the right place and that everything that happens is for a reason, it’s hard not to believe in that. I believe I was crowned Miss Finger Lakes for a reason, and I believe that it was to give me yet another avenue through which I could cultivate my passion for bring change and justice, and for that I am entirely grateful.

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acfair
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby acfair » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:43 pm

The first paragraph makes you sound like a spoiled ...brat, in my opinion.

ohlawl
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:39 pm

Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby ohlawl » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:44 pm

Definitely not a fan of this draft. Last paragraph could be salvaged but this one sounds too much like a creative-writing assignment. Also, try to avoid cliches!

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nataliejane38
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby nataliejane38 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:49 pm

Wow this is very different. I really do not like the intro paragraph. I do not take pageants very seriously and I think most educated people don't either. Sorry if that sounds bad, but its probably true. To use that as a backdrop for your essay to get into law school is risky.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:06 pm

personally, i see nothing wrong with including your pageant work. yes, i called it work. I believe it was Berkeley's last incoming class (or perhaps the one before it) that included a laker girl. i wouldn't be surprised if she emphasized that in her PS. mentioning your pageantry experiences can make for the ever-so-elusive unique PS as I might surmise that there aren't too many pageant queens applying to top law schools.

however, the problem with this essay is that the writing is no good. i say this because it seems like it has been written by a pre-teen. so much so, that i'm inclined to think this is a flame.


lornarose07 wrote:They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. While I’m certainly not going to argue with that statement, I pose the following question: which diamonds are the best of the best? Are those diamonds found stud earrings, or in a dainty tennis bracelet? Perhaps that engagement ring, with the rock that could rival the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, is what best friends are made of. For me, the most valuable sparkly thing I own isn’t actually made of diamonds, but rather diamond’s second cousin once removed, Swarovski crystal. And I don’t wear my bling on my finger, wrist, or ears. I wear it on my head, in my crown.



Wait! Aren't you going to quote B*Witched before you go on? With reference to Titanic and bling, you SURELY must quote an early 00's pop group.

Please?

If this isn't a flame, delete the first paragraph and consult a prof to help with writing the rest.

lornarose07
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby lornarose07 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:12 pm

First of all, I want to thank everyone who's responded so far.This process has been difficult for me and I'm really glad I took the time to get some honest feedback. Consider these drafts trashed and I'll get started on something (hopefully) better

lornarose07
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby lornarose07 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:15 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:personally, i see nothing wrong with including your pageant work. yes, i called it work. I believe it was Berkeley's last incoming class (or perhaps the one before it) that included a laker girl. i wouldn't be surprised if she emphasized that in her PS. mentioning your pageantry experiences can make for the ever-so-elusive unique PS as I might surmise that there aren't too many pageant queens applying to top law schools.

however, the problem with this essay is that the writing is no good. i say this because it seems like it has been written by a pre-teen. so much so, that i'm inclined to think this is a flame.


lornarose07 wrote:They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. While I’m certainly not going to argue with that statement, I pose the following question: which diamonds are the best of the best? Are those diamonds found stud earrings, or in a dainty tennis bracelet? Perhaps that engagement ring, with the rock that could rival the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, is what best friends are made of. For me, the most valuable sparkly thing I own isn’t actually made of diamonds, but rather diamond’s second cousin once removed, Swarovski crystal. And I don’t wear my bling on my finger, wrist, or ears. I wear it on my head, in my crown.



Wait! Aren't you going to quote B*Witched before you go on? With reference to Titanic and bling, you SURELY must quote an early 00's pop group.

Please?

If this isn't a flame, delete the first paragraph and consult a prof to help with writing the rest.


Thank you for acknowledging that it is workthat I do, as that part of the job is often lost on people. It's most definitely not a flame, just me sitting down and letting my fingers fly across the keyboard. I figure, the only way I can go from here is up.

HBK
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Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby HBK » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:21 pm

How common is it for 15 year old rape victims to confide in beauty pageant winners they don't know? Did this really happen?

You have some interesting stories in your two drafts. A lot of tough stuff, but somehow you still manage to come off as spoiled in both. Try to sound less spoiled.

Think of this as a sales pitch for yourself. What qualities do you have that would make you an asset to the school?
Example:
Learning to take care of myself, and my father, at such a young age gave me maturity and self reliance. Seeing my father's downward alcoholic spiral made me want to be a more responsible person. It made me realize that every decision we make has consequences outside of ourselves. I often consider how my decisions will affect my family, my friends, and myself. I know even the greatest people have their flaws, and even the strongest men have an Achilles heel. Nobody is perfect, but every day I strive to make the best choices for myself and others and to be as close to perfect as I can be.

or something like that.

lornarose07
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Re: First PS draft EVER.....

Postby lornarose07 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:38 pm

HBK wrote:How common is it for 15 year old rape victims to confide in beauty pageant winners they don't know? Did this really happen?

You have some interesting stories in your two drafts. A lot of tough stuff, but somehow you still manage to come off as spoiled in both. Try to sound less spoiled.

Think of this as a sales pitch for yourself. What qualities do you have that would make you an asset to the school?
Example:
Learning to take care of myself, and my father, at such a young age gave me maturity and self reliance. Seeing my father's downward alcoholic spiral made me want to be a more responsible person. It made me realize that every decision we make has consequences outside of ourselves. I often consider how my decisions will affect my family, my friends, and myself. I know even the greatest people have their flaws, and even the strongest men have an Achilles heel. Nobody is perfect, but every day I strive to make the best choices for myself and others and to be as close to perfect as I can be.

or something like that.


To answer your first question, it's not that common. That's why it blew me away that she did it (and yes, it did really happen, I would never lie or exaggerate about something that serious). I'm seeing a trend in the responses that I sound spoiled and to be honest, I was trying NOT to sound "woe-is-me" and I was hoping to avoid these PS's as being pity parties... perhaps I went too far down the spectrum in the opposite direction.




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