Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
Siamsa414
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:34 pm

Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby Siamsa414 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:11 am

I'm struggling through a first draft of my personal statement and I'm worried that it might actually be a little too much on my personal life and experiences, especially because this draft breaks two TLS rules, discussing both a romantic relationship and religion. This is a first draft, and I would appreciate critiques. Thank you!

------

On October 30, 2010, I married my best friend. Surrounded by our family and closest friends, beneath palm trees and California’s crisp blue sky, we affirmed our commitment to one another and formed our own fledgling family. But our marriage, though solemnized by an ordained minister, would not be recognized by the state or by the church of my childhood. To the federal government, we remain legal strangers to this day.

Why? Because Grace, my wife, is a woman, and so am I.

When I met Grace while I was moving into my sophomore-year dorm, I never imagined that she would change my life forever—that the consequences of this simple introduction would shake my faith to the core, challenge my last ounce of courage, and teach me who I am and who I may become. As we got to know one another, I realized I had never met anyone like her. I could talk to her about almost anything, but I still hesitated to tell her my biggest secret: I feared I might be gay.

The secret was a painful one because it seemed impossible to reconcile with my Catholic identity. Growing up, I lived in the most Catholic of families. My Irish Catholic mother, my converted father (whom we jokingly called “more Catholic than the pope”), and 13 years of Catholic education combined to give me a strong faith. I loved the church; it was my family and my home. I loved the richness of its intellectual foundation, the breadth of its cultural traditions, the universality of its rituals. While I disagreed with some of its teachings, I understood my whole world within its framework. My secret threatened my place in that world, and so I kept it hidden as long as I could—but I knew I couldn’t hide forever. As I began to come out to friends and family and plan for a life with my partner, I started to realize that these two facets of my life would not be easily reconciled.

I have never been one to sit out a fight or to back down from a tough conflict. I dived headfirst into the resources that were available to me, immersing myself in exploring the scholarship surrounding the Church’s teachings on sexuality, morality and conscience. I joined my parish’s student LGBT group, and later became its moderator. I attended workshops, meetings and panels, all in the hope of finding a way to integrate fully these two aspects of my identity.

I have yet to succeed completely. The conflict between my marriage and my church sometimes feels as though I’m standing above a widening canyon, with one foot on either side, and I may someday have to pick a side once and for all. But these two facets of my life have taught me a great deal. I have learned to grapple with difficult issues, to sink my teeth into complicated questions. I know intimately the struggles for equal rights under the law, and I feel the concern of many religious communities for preserving the right to practice as they see fit. Most importantly, I have learned that the law of our country offers protection to those who fight to claim it, regardless of the shifting tides of public opinion.

Because I am gay, I feel the law’s impact on my daily life in a way that most of my peers do not. I am pursuing a legal education to gain the skills that may be necessary to defend my family and to work for equality for all Americans. I’m inspired by legal leaders such as Judge Vaughn Walker, the federal judge who handed down a brilliant, nuanced and strategic ruling on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Reading his opinion with the rapt attention most people reserve for page-turning novels confirmed what I already knew: The law is my calling. The rapidly shifting legal landscape surrounding sexuality and gender makes this a fascinating time to become a lawyer, and I hope that the legal education I gain at University X will help me become a leading voice for equality.

User avatar
well-hello-there
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby well-hello-there » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:03 am

Siamsa414 wrote:The rapidly shifting legal landscape surrounding sexuality and gender makes this a fascinating time to become a lawyer, and I hope that the legal education I gain at University X will help me become a leading voice for equality.

I learned in Latin language class that the word fascinate comes from a Latin word that means an erect penis used for heterosexual purposes. just sayin'
I think the subject matter will go over well with a lot of admissions committees.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby delusional » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:56 am

I didn't get the memo about religion and personal statements. Mine is full of it too. I think some people don't realize how all-encompassing religion is to people who are very strongly religious.

If I were you, though, I'd downplay the specific relationship with Grace in favor of more general and anonymous references.

Oh, and a prediction about the fascinating developments in the LGBT arena: In six months, LGBT people will be granted all the rights and protection of everybody else, including marriage and adoption. Possibly, there will be some affirmative action involved. That will be the end of that, except for the occasional high profile discrimination suit.

User avatar
gbpackerbacker
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 12:13 am

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby gbpackerbacker » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:26 am

delusional wrote:Oh, and a prediction about the fascinating developments in the LGBT arena: In six months, LGBT people will be granted all the rights and protection of everybody else, including marriage and adoption. Possibly, there will be some affirmative action involved. That will be the end of that, except for the occasional high profile discrimination suit.


Interesting. Do you think the marriage change will take place through the legislative or judicial branch?

If you're referring to the RFMA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect_for_Marriage_Act), then I think you're mistaken.

It might happen through Perry v. Schwarzenegger, though I think'll take much more than six months.

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby 3|ink » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:42 am

It’s not focused. Are you going to write about sexual orientation or religion? I think writing about both only clutters your statement.

From what I’ve seen, the most successful personal statements are the ones that focus on specific instances.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby delusional » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:47 am

gbpackerbacker wrote:
delusional wrote:Oh, and a prediction about the fascinating developments in the LGBT arena: In six months, LGBT people will be granted all the rights and protection of everybody else, including marriage and adoption. Possibly, there will be some affirmative action involved. That will be the end of that, except for the occasional high profile discrimination suit.


Interesting. Do you think the marriage change will take place through the legislative or judicial branch?

If you're referring to the RFMA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect_for_Marriage_Act), then I think you're mistaken.

It might happen through Perry v. Schwarzenegger, though I think'll take much more than six months.

I'm talking out of my hat. I have not been following any aspect of it. My opinion is based on the objective ridiculousness of passing laws to ensure that today's facts will not change even when everyone wants them to. Also, as a religious person, I am aware that it is very difficult to oppose gay anything on any grounds other than Judeo-Christian morality. Everyone knows that, and everyone also knows, deep down in their most secret places, that having legalities based on the morality of a particular religious line is a bad thing for democracy.

Anyway, that's my opinion. /threadhijack.

Carry on, personal staters.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby delusional » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:48 am

3|ink wrote:It’s not focused. Are you going to write about sexual orientation or religion? I think writing about both only clutters your statement.

From what I’ve seen, the most successful personal statements are the ones that focus on specific instances.

Um, conflict between sexual orientation and religion is a pretty resonant theme.

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby 3|ink » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:59 am

delusional wrote:
3|ink wrote:It’s not focused. Are you going to write about sexual orientation or religion? I think writing about both only clutters your statement.

From what I’ve seen, the most successful personal statements are the ones that focus on specific instances.

Um, conflict between sexual orientation and religion is a pretty resonant theme.

For one thing, it's cliché. Secondly, it's too much drama for a personal statement.

Ghost
Posts: 1282
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:34 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby Ghost » Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:21 am

.
Last edited by Ghost on Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

DoctorSurf
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:18 am

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby DoctorSurf » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:25 pm

Although it seemed personal, I found the writing to lack fluidity and carry a lot of words that you pulled from a thesaurus that really didn't fit the sentence.

There is something wrong with this passage as well:
When I met Grace while I was moving into my sophomore-year dorm, I never imagined that she would change my life forever—that the consequences of this simple introduction would shake my faith to the core, challenge my last ounce of courage, and teach me who I am and who I may become. As we got to know one another, I realized I had never met anyone like her. I could talk to her about almost anything, but I still hesitated to tell her my biggest secret: I feared I might be gay.

I met Grace while moving into my sophomore-year dorm, never imagining that she would change my life forever. The consequences of this simple introduction would shake my faith to the core, challenge my last ounce of courage, and teach me who I am and who I can become. As we got to know one another, I realized I never met anyone like her. I could talk to her about almost anything, but I still hesitated to tell her my biggest secret: that I am Gay.

This takes out some of the wordiness that made me actually skip over the paragraph. With writing, less is more. If you put to much into a sentence, the reader becomes lost and uninterested. This is just my personal take though, everyone has their own styles.

DoctorSurf
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:18 am

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby DoctorSurf » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Here is my personal statement that I used for my medical residency applications. Every interview I went on, it was the first thing they complimented me on because they actually got an idea of who I really am.

It is amazing to think how many “personal statement” style essays I have written over the years and how my personal statement has changed over time. I think about the Bob Dylan song “The Times They are a Changing”, and in retrospect when I always agreed with the interpretation of his words, it is really the people that are changing with the time, and that time is the true constant that does not change. 12:00pm today will be the same time tomorrow as it will be next week as it will be next year, but with all of those hours passing, the world can change at any moment and with that, as can you or I, therefore it is really impossible to predict what you will feel or what you will perceive because what you may feel is right today, you may feel is wrong tomorrow. I have grown up dreaming of becoming a doctor, changing someone’s life for the better, imagining what really goes on in the OR, apart from what I grew up watching on television, and that dream is becoming very close to reality. The only thing I can rely on now is that in this specific time, you see me as the right person that you perceive as a future physician and colleague in this particular field. What I have learned in these past two years is the true variety and differences there are in the medical community. How a surgeon thinks one way compared to an internist who thinks another way compared to an anesthesiologist who thinks another way to a family medicine doctor or pediatrician who have all read the same books and taken the same tests with the same goals, yet have become so different. I spent the first two years of medical school learning how the body works as one and what allows it to do so, and have now spent the last two learning how truly different medicine can be. What it is like to feel the rush of being in the OR, under the gun, watching the surgeon mechanically fix the body solely with the use of his hands and tools verses working in a family medicine office, discovering the cause of a patients debilitating condition that has caused them to suffer for years, and knowing that by giving them THIS medication or referring them to THAT doctor that you have changed their life forever. This is medicine. It is so unique in that no matter what you choose to do, and if one day you change your mind and decide to specialize in something else, the ability to heal will always be in your hands. From a scalpel to a script pad, I will feel blessed in whatever I am chosen to do knowing that I will get the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life, changing them, not time, while still remembering not to forget to occasionally stop and smell the roses.

User avatar
verklempt
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:59 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby verklempt » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:32 pm

As a former adcomm, I would have been overjoyed to read that PS. Out gay women are rare. And the tone is pretty close to perfect. You want to be personal in your PS!

I would strengthen the connection to the law. The crux of your PS seems to be the separation of church and state, obviously a big topic and a contentious legal area. You might want to show that your knowledge of/interest in that area goes beyond Walker, Prop 8, and your own personal situation.

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby 3|ink » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:43 pm

verklempt wrote:As a former adcomm, I would have been overjoyed to read that PS.

This doesn't add up considering what you said here earlier today:
verklempt wrote:If the scores are coming out today I need to call my sister right away and wish her a happy birthday because I'll be too depressed afterward.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=142213&p=3776954#p3776954
verklempt wrote:Out gay women are rare.

Not really.
verklempt wrote:And the tone is pretty close to perfect. You want to be personal in your PS!

Of course you do. At the same time, you want your PS to be interesting. It's hard to stay interested in a statement like this one because the drama feels like it's straight out of a soap opera.

User avatar
verklempt
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:59 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby verklempt » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:29 pm

My adcomm experience was not in law, and I'm not sure what that has to do with my sister's birthday. In my experience reading thousands of applications, it was extremely rare for a woman applicant to indicate that she was gay.

I don't see anything "soap opera" in this PS. I have read essays that made me cringe because they go into inappropriate detail. More often, though, writers err in keeping their essays at too high a level. Your PS should sound like you, and be as distinctly you as your fingerprint. I have always advised people to write from the heart -- I realize it is not easy to do!

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby 3|ink » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:40 pm

verklempt wrote:My adcomm experience was not in law, and I'm not sure what that has to do with my sister's birthday.


The point is that you haven't attended law school yet because you're waiting on your LSAT scores. This means you were never a law school adcomm and shouldn't pose as one. Perhaps this was not your intention, but you should have been clearer and said that you were a UG adcomm.

verklempt wrote:In my experience reading thousands of applications, it was extremely rare for a woman applicant to indicate that she was gay.


It's probably not as relevant in UG applications.

verklempt wrote:I don't see anything "soap opera" in this PS. I have read essays that made me cringe because they go into inappropriate detail.


I'm not saying that OP goes into inappropriate detail. I'm saying that it expects us (perhaps not intentionally) to think of those stereotype characters from soap operas. If her Dad is ultra-religious, that should not be described so directly.

User avatar
artichoke
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:20 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby artichoke » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:50 pm

I don't think this is too personal. However, if I may add my two cents, I don't think you should drop the story of Grace altogether when you begin to discuss your faith. The part about being afraid of coming out to her is like a cliffhanger, the reader understands that eventually you ended up together but with no explanation of HOW. I just think your PS would be stronger and seem more 'complete' if you add those details. One to two additional sentences could resolve this.

User avatar
verklempt
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:59 pm

Re: Personal statement too ... personal? LGBT/religion

Postby verklempt » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:56 pm

3|ink wrote: Perhaps this was not your intention, but you should have been clearer and said that you were a UG adcomm.

I was not a UG adcomm but an adcomm for a top tier professional program. A very similar population to this one, although our application required more essays.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.