You do me and I'll do you.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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You do me and I'll do you.

Postby acfair » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:57 am

Here is my first draft of my PS. Harsh criticism is appreciated.

My first draft of my DS follows the PS.


I ride the number two bus every day on my way to class. This bus, while it goes directly to the university also travels through the most highly concentrated community of American Indian people in this nation. All of the expected stereotypes are featured on this ride: veterans begging for change, drunk Indians passed out with a bottle of Scope in their hand and a housing project for poor Indian people. Every day when I pass these landmarks, I am looking out the window at what could have been my future.

My reflection in the window, my race is obscure. I am half-Anishinaabe and half-Norweigian, a third generation immigrant who is indigenous to this place. I've learned not to mention the neighborhoods I grew up in. The high school I attended was made to be riot-proof, a protection from the American Indian Movement's violent protests in the 1970s. When people write about their past they often say that they have overcome it. I have not overcome my past. My past has shaped me as a human being, it has inspired me to work tirelessly to become better than what I was expected to be.

On the bus again, the driver calls out a stop; Franklin Avenue, my old neighborhood. Growing up in the shadow of the University of Minnesota, I knew my only escape could be found within those elusive gates. My parents, a blue-collar dad, and a serially unemployed mom, had more love to give than money. When the time came to apply to college I spent teary eyed nights crying over glossy college viewbooks, the tuition prices higher than anything I could my parents to pay. I applied to community college instead.

Even at the community college, I did not succeed. Constant worries about money forced me to take a full-time job, while attempting to carry a full course load. Our house was foreclosed upon, leaving my family technically homeless, couch-surfing to keep a roof over our heads. As much as my grades suffered, it hurt my spirit more. I quit school, took a job as a card dealer at a casino, and resigned to what I had settled upon as my fate. Every teacher since the second grade had spoke of my potential. But in the real-world, potential didn't pay the bills, or the bus fare.

Working forty or more hours at the casino, watching as my friends worked on their degrees, I came to the realization that I could not give up on my life. One day I would have children, and I never wanted them to worry about where their next meal was coming from. I returned to a new community college, learned to manage my anxiety, explored every possible source for financial aid and worked my hardest to achieve my goal to of becoming a lawyer, something I had dreamt of since I was a small child.

The number two bus carries me to the American Indian after- school program where I have volunteered almost 400 hours in the past two years. Many kids there honestly believe that they have no future. I volunteer there because I want these kids to know that college, even law school, is a possibility , no matter what tax-bracket their parents fall into. It is my responsibility to show them how to get on the bus.

Diversity Statement

n 1932 my grandmother got onto a train that carried her to a boarding school operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They cut her hair, forced her to speak English, and made her pray to a God who was not her own. Her struggle forced her to assimilate. She began to believe everything the government had told her. Her language was dead. Her culture was dead. Her people were as good as dead.

Tonight, nearly eighty years later, in the living room of our house, I sat with my grandmother as we watched a movie together in Anishinaabemowin, her first language, my second. I am in my third semester of classes in the language of my people. Speaking my language helps me connect to my culture in a way I never knew was possible. For each word that passes my lips, I know what it more of what it means to truly be Anishinaabe.

For twenty-three years, I have been an Indian. I grew up poor on the south side of Minneapolis. I danced at pow-wows in my dirty socks. I know what it is like to come home to a house in the middle of the city that has no running water or electricity because my mom couldn't pay the bill on time. I know what hot frybread tastes like fresh out of the pan. I have always known how to be an Indian.

When I began my time at the University of Minnesota, the school I had always dreamt of going to, I declared my major in Political Science. But an amazing professor in an Federal Indian Policy class convinced me that American Indian Studies was my home. I have learned about the history of the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people. I have always known how to be an Indian girl. College has taught me how to be an anishinaabeikwe, an Anishinaabe woman.

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Re: You do me and I'll do you.

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:04 am

Powerful & effective concluding sentence. I enjoyed reading your essay. In contrast, however, the final sentence of your well written diversity statement destroys its effect.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: You do me and I'll do you.

Postby acfair » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:08 am

Thank you! The main thing I am concerned about, after reading it again, is that it might not speak directly to why I want to be a lawyer.

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Re: You do me and I'll do you.

Postby gdane » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:09 am

acfair wrote:Thank you! The main thing I am concerned about, after reading it again, is that it might not speak directly to why I want to be a lawyer.

Ones PS doesnt always need to mention this. You can, but its not necessary. If you feel you can incorporate that into this statement, go for it, but its mostly fine as is.

Also, look into the camera when you take pictures. You have a cute smile.

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Re: You do me and I'll do you.

Postby nikkilaw » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:10 am

I see where you're going, but the bus metaphor needs a little more development. The last two paragraphs seem too abrupt, and do not flow well with the rest of the statement--maybe focus on what you did differently the second time around? also, the last paragraph is good, but I feel it also needs a little more development, possibly it will be stronger when you add depth to the paragraph above it? Nonetheless, it has the potential to be a very powerful ending to your statement, because it already sounds good!

lastly, foreclosed upon, I may be wrong, but just my opinion. =) good luck

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