Tear it apart

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
lawnerd1
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:23 pm

Tear it apart

Postby lawnerd1 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:31 pm

Anyone mind offering an honest review of my PS? Don't hold back. If you'd like, PM me/post yours here and I'll return the favor.
I'm not much of a writer, and I'm still not even sure if this is a good topic, so any help is appreciated.

I am a nerd. Who else, other than a nerd, would have a keen interest in the convoluted world of bankruptcy, estates, and music royalties? While my extroversion precludes me from meeting the exact criteria of a nerd, the way I immerse myself completely in new topics qualifies me. When I come across an interesting subject, I try to consume and digest as much of it as I can. It is this strong desire for learning and dedication to academic success that makes me an apt candidate for admission to [INSERT NAME].

When I was younger I fit the nerd stereotype to a T with my interest in computers. At one point, my life was filled with building computers, programming, web design, network design, and even assisting with the development of a Linux distribution. My interest won me several awards in high school, but that interest soon waned. Eventually I reached what has been jokingly called “the end of the Internet”. This was before the advent of Web 2.0 and more modern programming languages, so computers were limited by the technology of the day. This limitation indirectly led me to delve into a new passion. Sitting in front of computers for a long period of time, I would listen to music to drown out the hum of computer fans and keep my sanity.

Often staying up until the early hours of the morning, I had plenty of time to listen to music and developed a voracious appetite as a result. Gradually, I transformed from a computer nerd able to discuss my hobby with only a few select friends, to a music nerd able to share my diverse interest in the subject with everyone. Combining the ability of the Internet to do research, my summer job earnings, and the local record store, I was able to explore the world of music thoroughly. When I would discover a new band, my nerd-dom would surface and thrive in the unconstrained world of music. I could listen to a band’s complete works, research the band and their influences, and then learn the work of the artist that inspired my favorite artists.

However, there was one drawback to this new hobby; the intellectual inside me still craved the satisfaction that comes with having solved a difficult problem. Besides designing new instruments, there was no apparent problem to solve. This left a gap in my life and an idle mind, but two years later an unforeseen source would fill that gap.

During my sophomore year of college, I was taking the prerequisites to a general business degree and found myself in a class I had heard nothing but bad things about: the Principals of Financial Accounting. But after the first few class meetings, I found that I had a natural talent in the material that seemed to “just make sense” to me, and that it wasn’t as advertised. Soon my inner nerd began to reemerge and I was majoring in the topic; the subject had the problem solving aspect I had been craving, and was applicable to real world situations. The challenges accounting presented were interesting, and they pushed me intellectually. The subject also taught me to think analytically and critically, two skills I believe will serve me well in the legal field. It wasn’t until the unfortunate death of my grandmother and the subsequent problems encountered that my nerdiness would excel in the most unlikely of places.

Upon death, a person’s estate is valued and taxes are levied on everything in the estate that qualifies for taxation. My grandmother’s estate met certain requirements that allowed it to be valued six months from the date of her death, and our family chose to do so. During this time the United States entered the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, and companies throughout the country were failing. Six months to the day after my grandmother passed away, the day her estate was valued, was a Friday and that meant the stock markets would be closed for the weekend. During the next two days, the bank that most of her stock subsisted in, announced that the company was about to collapse. Monday morning, when the stock markets opened, the value of the stock, (and the majority of her estate), fell by 90 percent. This drastic decline in value presented an interesting tax implication.

Coincidentally, while this was unfolding, I was covering the topic of estates and liquidation in two separate classes, and was thus able to follow along in class while at the same time witnessing the real world implications. I quickly learned, however, that accountants mainly handled the numbers, and that it was attorneys who were given the pleasure of solving the complex problems. Ergo, the decision to pursue a career in law instead of accounting was made much easier for me.

While reading a book about the music industry, I realized that a law degree would give me a unique set of skills that would combine my passions. Music publishers handle the contracts that govern how royalties are distributed by record companies and songwriters. With technology advancing at the pace it presently is, new problems are becoming apparent. For instance how do you split the royalties of a 99¢ song? While this specific problem has been solved, I am positive more like it will emerge in the coming years with presently unforeseen technology.

Since then, I have had the vision of being a musician’s “one stop shop” for their legal needs and being the best at what I do. Once again I am finding myself and my interests in a state of change. This time, however, I am directing the change and can already foresee my next stage of nerd-dom being in the area of law.

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plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
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Re: Tear it apart

Postby plenipotentiary » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:45 pm

No. Bad. Don't refer to yourself as an "intellectual" and don't use words like "ergo." Don't explain THE LAW in your PS. The person who reads it will have gone to law school, and you have not, so you're only going to make yourself look like an ass. And don't make I'M A NERD (but I'm not socially awkward!!!) your theme. Use less boring anecdotes.

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3|ink
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Re: Tear it apart

Postby 3|ink » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:53 pm

plenipotentiary wrote:No. Bad. Don't refer to yourself as an "intellectual" and don't use words like "ergo." Don't explain THE LAW in your PS. The person who reads it will have gone to law school, and you have not, so you're only going to make yourself look like an ass. And don't make I'M A NERD (but I'm not socially awkward!!!) your theme. Use less boring anecdotes.


+1

The first line definitely has to go. Even if you didn't intend it as a joke, it will come off as a joke. The first thing I thought of was that clip from The Simpsons.

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2807
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Re: Tear it apart

Postby 2807 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:54 pm

Ok, you have a solid foundation, but you need to focus. Drop 95% of the nerd references. We get it.

It is very long. LUCKY YOU. Because, I would cut out the entire first half, and start with the paragraph that reads "During my sophomore year of college..." Run with that concept and story. That is good!

But, Then you go 90 degrees on me and start talking about music royalties. STOP. DROP. and Roll... Stay with the personal lesson learned and experience with the law and family that surrounded your grandmothers estate. Just expand a bit on how that enlightened you. You do not need to go so heavy on your future plans, just indicate your experience and the effect it had on you.

Craft a nice intro sentence and put it as a lead into the "During my sophomore year..." Then lay it out like you did, then wrap it up with how that experience effected and defined an interest in law.

I would not rely on the nerd stuff, it is a disarming tool that may work in the intro/ending bookending trick, but otherwise it is falling flat to the reader.

Do a re-do and come on back.

lawnerd1
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Tear it apart

Postby lawnerd1 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:37 pm

Thanks y'all for the tips. This is the kind of direction I've been needing with this paper. As you can tell, I'm a numbers person, so I don't get around to doing much writing.

I'll scrap it and start with the accounting bit, but one question.

This is supposed to be a "personal" statement right? From what I have gathered the adcom want to get a feel for who you are. So why no jokes? I know that first line wasn't a good joke, but I was using it as more of a place holder. Just trying to get a feel for this thing, and apparently I got the wrong one.

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plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
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Re: Tear it apart

Postby plenipotentiary » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:02 pm

lawnerd1 wrote:Thanks y'all for the tips. This is the kind of direction I've been needing with this paper. As you can tell, I'm a numbers person, so I don't get around to doing much writing.

I'll scrap it and start with the accounting bit, but one question.

This is supposed to be a "personal" statement right? From what I have gathered the adcom want to get a feel for who you are. So why no jokes? I know that first line wasn't a good joke, but I was using it as more of a place holder. Just trying to get a feel for this thing, and apparently I got the wrong one.


Personally, I think jokes are fine if they're actually funny and paint you in a positive light. This was neither.




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