another ps? why, yes! help pleaseeeee...

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jesss
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:14 pm

another ps? why, yes! help pleaseeeee...

Postby jesss » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:15 am

early draft, feel free to tear it apart/tell me if i should start over/parts that are worth keeping. I realize that it is a little short. Thanks!
It has always been my personal belief that you get out of something what you put into it. By this I mean that you have to exert some effort in order to gain experiences and, in turn, perspective. It is with this thought in mind that I entered [school x], determined to make the most of my college career. I had no idea that I would learn so many lessons outside of the classroom. Encountering people from different backgrounds and putting myself into new situations has allowed me to really change the way that I look at life.

Upon entering college, I was excited by the amount of opportunities I had to try new things. I lived with more people that were born in foreign countries than were born in the United States. Growing up in a middle-class suburb, I had little experience with people from backgrounds different from my own. Learning first-hand about other cultures prompted me to apply to live in my university’s [y house], the only on-campus residence where foreign students and visiting professors lived with regular undergraduate students. I loved interacting and experiencing people from other countries and decided to study abroad the following year in Barcelona, Spain. A summer living in the mountains as a camp counselor and endless intramural sports added to my extracurricular activities.

The more serious side of my personality was satisfied by both working on campus and volunteering at the YMCA in the Naval Medical Center of [city]. I was able to learn about education from an administrative point of view and suggest new activities for incoming freshman based off of my experiences. The YMCA allowed me to meet and become friends with college-aged people who were seriously injured in the Navy or Marines. These men and women often had undergone severe surgeries and were trying to adjust to how their lives had changed. The fact that they were able to smile and laugh after going through so much really makes you reexamine any type of everyday drama that you might be dealing with.

My initial desire to get the most out of my college experience has changed the way I see other people and has helped me to realize that learning about others can make you learn more about yourself. Interacting with people from so many different walks of life has led me to challenge some of the beliefs that I had come to school with. Attempting to see things from a perspective other than my own has been my reward for stepping out of my comfort zone and really making an effort be involved in the unique opportunities that were available to me.

It is this shift in perspective that has brought me to study law. While everyone has their own personal views, it is what brings these views together. The law defines the rules of our society and in making or interpreting these rules it is important to think of other people and not just yourself. While I realize that I have experienced just a fraction of the viewpoints offered by others, I am eager to continue to explore the different perspectives and how the law affects peoples’ lives.

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WhatSarahSaid
Posts: 293
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:01 pm

Re: another ps? why, yes! help pleaseeeee...

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:33 pm

It has always been my personal belief that you get out of something what you put into it. By this I mean that you have to exert some effort in order to gain experiences and, in turn, perspective. [Do you firmly believe that it is impossible to have an experience and gain perspective without the exertion of any amount of effort? I'd happen to disagree -- getting into, say, a car crash can be a perspective-granting experience that didn't require a lot of effort. Obviously, this is nitpicky as hell, but you'll want to make sure you can defend claims you make] It is with this thought in mind that I entered [school x], determined to make the most of my college career. I had no idea that I would learn so many lessons outside of the classroom. Encountering people from different backgrounds and putting myself into new situations has allowed me to really change the way that I look at life.

Upon entering college, I was excited by the amount ["number," not "amount"] of opportunities I had to try new things. I lived with more people that were born in foreign countries than [add "people who"] were born in the United States. Growing up in a middle-class suburb, I had little experience with people from backgrounds different from my own. Learning first-hand about other cultures prompted me to apply to live in my university’s [y house], the only on-campus residence where foreign students and visiting professors lived with regular undergraduate students. I loved interacting and experiencing people ["Experiencing people" is a little awkward. "I loved interacting with people..."] from other countries and decided to study abroad the following year in Barcelona, Spain. A summer living in the mountains as a camp counselor and endless intramural sports added to my extracurricular activities. [It sounds like you want to say that this summer was valuable because it added to your list of activities on your resume. Do not say that.]

The more serious side of my personality was satisfied by both working on campus and volunteering at the YMCA in the Naval Medical Center of [city]. I was able to learn about education from an administrative point of view and suggest new activities for incoming freshman based off of my experiences. The YMCA allowed me to meet and become friends with college-aged people who were seriously injured in the Navy or Marines. These men and women often had undergone severe surgeries and were trying to adjust to how their lives had changed. The fact that they were able to smile and laugh after going through so much really makes you reexamine any type of everyday drama that you might be dealing with.

My initial desire to get the most out of my college experience has changed the way I see other people and has helped me to realize that learning about others can make you learn more about yourself. Interacting with people from so many different walks of life has led me to challenge some of the beliefs that ["which," not "that"] I had come to school with. Attempting to see things from a perspective other than my own has been my reward for stepping out of my comfort zone and really making an effort [add "to"] be involved in the unique opportunities [Do you believe that they were rare enough to be considered unique? A more skeptical person might say that nearly every major college campus grants these opportunities] that were available to me. [This paragraph is bland and general. What did you learn about yourself? What beliefs were challenged? When did you have to get out of your comfort zone? Show, don't tell!]

It is this shift in perspective that has brought me to study law. While everyone has their own personal views, it [I assume the antecedent of "it" is the law, but you have to clarify that] is what brings these views together. The law defines the rules of our society and in making or interpreting these rules it is important to think of other people and not just yourself. While I realize that I have experienced just a fraction of the viewpoints offered by others, I am eager to continue to explore the different perspectives and how the law affects peoples’ lives ["people's lives"].

Three problems here:

1) Your topic is fairly generic. I've read a lot of personal statements on these boards, and this theme comes up a lot. Does that mean you shouldn't do it? Of course not. But if you are going to run with this, you have to be aggressive. You have to tell the reader exactly what sets you off from the other thousand people who tried something new in college and grew from it. You have to tell the reader about yourself and your experiences and your beliefs in specific terms, which leads me to...

2) You say things like "I had no idea that I would learn so many lessons outside of the classroom," but you never tell the reader what those lessons were. To be blunt, I haven't actually learned anything about you, and that's a bad feeling after finishing a PS. Your PS is filled with general statements like that (I pointed out a few more in the next-to-last paragraph), and you need to change those. Your thesis seems to be that "you get out what you put in," which is totally fine, but you never tell us what you put in or what you got out.

3) Your tie-in to the law is weak. Basically, you're saying that your beliefs were challenged by having new experiences, so now you want to study law. Honestly, I don't buy that tie-in at all. It feels tacked on and like an afterthought, and you definitely do not want the reader to be thinking that. You may want to do some reflection on why you want to go into law so that you can come up with something more specific.

I hope this isn't too harsh. I think you can work with this and make it into a strong PS. Feel free to PM me if you'd like any more advice or if you want a pair of eyes for another draft.

jesss
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:14 pm

Re: another ps? why, yes! help pleaseeeee...

Postby jesss » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:09 am

thanks for all of your suggestions, they were very helpful. I will be re-working it the next couple of days so hopefully I can get my ps where it needs to be




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