Personal Statement Attempt- Please Critique

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dzollman
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:46 am

Personal Statement Attempt- Please Critique

Postby dzollman » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:00 am

This is my first attempt at a statement. It is a rough draft and tt may be totally incoherent and off topic. Please let me know what you think. Thanks..


I looked out over valley below and watched as the inversion caused the smoke to lie down heavily over the trees. The cool, damp air that the night brings in is always appreciated by wildland firefighters. Even though I lived and fought fire in Alaska, where during the summertime it can stay light till midnight, the humidity levels rise and fire activity decreases. The calm that sets in after this happens always seemed unnatural to me. Earlier that day the ten acre area where the fire had started was a site of constant activity. We had arrived as an Initial Attack Team by helicopter in the mid-afternoon. The team consisted of myself and four other firefighters of various levels of experience and expertise. I had been designated as air-to-ground radio operator and drop zone coordinator. As my co-workers began to employ basic wildland firefighting procedures, I set up a drop zone and began talking to two different helicopters and the airplane that would drop the smoke-jumpers and supplies out by parachute.

To the outside observer the entire scene might have seemed unorganized and chaotic, but to those of us with experience and training it was all beautifully orchestrated. It is not easy work. Everyone sweats, breathes in smoke, and tries to put up with the heat of the flames, their eyes stinging, and the deafening sound of the rotors overhead. On a small fire such as this one, you do this until either you stop the fire or the fire escapes you. If you can hold the fire back or just slow it down until nightfall, you have won the battle. That night we knew we had done our jobs successfully. There were no hot showers, warm meals, or cold beers for waiting for us. At the end of the night you sit around camp, eat military rations (MREs), and converse with your ash-covered friends and co-workers. On almost every fire the same subject would always come up.

“Why do you want to go to law school?” No, the question was not asked in the typical way that it often is on applications and essays. It was asked in a rhetorical sense. No one really want to hear a good explanation of why I intended on going to law school. Most people asked me this and then immediately began giving me reasons why I shouldn’t go to law school. I had been fighting fire during the summer for the four years that I had been attending college. During my second year, I landed a full-time summer position with Alaska State Forestry. It was a great job but I had always intended on leaving it once I had received my bachelors. When people found out that I had planned on going to law school, it became a popular subject amongst my co-workers who couldn’t understand why I would leave the great job I already had. I could never truly explain to them why I wanted to go to law school.

To me, going to school, practicing something as prestigious and intriguing as the law is, and becoming truly successful is every bit as interesting, intense, and in a sense adventuresome as fighting fire. My first experiences with the law in our local “youth court,” and my observations of the actions of judges and lawyers has shown me that the law has the potential to be every bit as unpredictable as fire. But it has also show me that, with the right set of skills, knowledge, and training it can be controlled, maintained, and manipulated.

I come from a working class background but this does not prevent me from being incredibly proud of my mother and father who have worked hard all of their lives to provide my family with a comfortable life. In Alaska I could have settled for several different job opportunities that would have left me well provided for, but I am unwilling to just simply “settle.” I want to lead a challenging, yet satisfying life and I believe that attending [LAW SCHOOL] will give me the best chance of achieving my goals.

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PinkCow
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:03 am

Re: Personal Statement Attempt- Please Critique

Postby PinkCow » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:14 am

I scanned this very quickly. I did see quite a few grammar errors and usage errors. Maybe someone else can point them out, or I will maybe tomorrow.

More importantly, I think you have the makings for a very interesting statement here, but it needs to be developed more. I liked how you compared law to "fire" near the end, citing both unpredictability and manipulation. This seems to be key to your statement. Connect this more to your experience and personal thoughts.

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dzollman
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:46 am

Re: Personal Statement Attempt- Please Critique

Postby dzollman » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:20 am

Thanks, I can probably take care of most of the grammar errors myself when i go back through it... Mostly want to see how people respond to some of the general ideas of the statement. Are they too generic? Cliche? Kinda corny? Or like chip3341 pointed out, which areas need to be more developed?

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Personal Statement Attempt- Please Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:34 am

The third sentence (?) is unclear. Viewing law as "unpredictible" is interesting, but many are likely to disagree. Although well written & enjoyable to read, your reasons for wanting to attend law school are unconvincing & overly romanticised making it easy for the reader to understand why you were not able to convince your buddies why you want to go to law school.




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