Personal Statement for critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
rgdavis2
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:18 pm

Personal Statement for critique

Postby rgdavis2 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:42 pm

I saw it coming, but it caught me off guard. A dull thud resonated throughout my body from my solar plexus and the wind was knocked out of me momentarily as I staggered backward from the sudden impact. My assailant stared at me with a wide toothy grin while gauging my reaction to his projectile. As I recovered on my feet I was reminded by a roaring voice that I had, indeed, asked for this. My would-be assailant’s name was Jim. A cerebral palsy patient, Jim can scarcely control his legs but has built considerable upper-body strength through many years of walking on crutches. He was sitting a few feet away from me with a ten pound medicine ball in his hands when I requested a brisk chest pass that found its’ target much sooner than anticipated. The resulting impact is more distinct in my mind than any from high school football or college rugby because it represented, to me, the culmination of patience, hard work, and self-confidence that are vital to success in any pursuit.
Jim and I have become friends through my volunteer work of running physical education programs for people with special needs, yet I still habitually underestimate his physical and mental strength. When I started working with Jim his exercise routine consisted of stretching, walking on a tread mill, and sporadic dumbbell work. He now blazes through a routine that I am certain many of my classmates would struggle with and is able to do so because he started small, devoted himself fully to every exercise, and enthusiastically answered in the affirmative every time I told him about a new exercise and asked if he thought he was up for it. Despite his disability he posses a zeal for life that allows him to overcome obstacles that would prove insurmountable for many more able bodied people.
I too, started out small. Growing up in a rural --- farm town taught me that there are many opportunities and lessons to be learned from any person or situation if they are approached with an open mind. Graduating high school with less than forty classmates meant that enthusiasm for new challenges was key as I adapted to a class size of over seven thousand at the University of ---.
Devoting myself fully to the task at hand is a skill I have acquired out of necessity during my four years in college. For all four years I have held part time employment during the school year while completing two majors and occasionally taking weekend-long bus trips around the country as a member of the University of --- Rugby Football Club. In no way do I view these commitments as burdens, but rather opportunities that have helped engender the gradual personal growth I have experienced during my college career.
I view my work with Jim as a microcosm of my life leading up to law school. Working diligently and patiently to achieve a series of small goals, I believe my progression mirrors that of Jim in many ways. From my discussions with him I have also become familiar with the myriad ways that people who may be viewed as weak by the state can be harassed without access to adequate counsel and defense. I wish to pursue the study of law in order to make a difference in the lives of disabled and disenfranchised people, not because I feel sorry for or take pity on them but because I realize that every person deserves someone to take a stand against authority in a way that only a lawyer can. I do not, however, seek to simply study law and represent the disenfranchised but to do so with a zeal that strikes people like a medicine ball.

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chihuahua12
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:42 pm

Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby chihuahua12 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:06 pm

You need to discuss more why you want to be a lawyer.

"I feel sorry for or take pity on them but because I realize that every person deserves someone to take a stand against authority in a way that only a lawyer can."

You definitely should describe what you mean here.

I would also say that you spend too much time talking about Jim. Although you make a nice parallel between his small accomplishments leading to greater ones and yours, I don't think you have demonstrated why this process has contributed to your decision to pursue law. I would suggest describing some legal struggles Jim has had to overcome and how that has inspired you. Otherwise, you could logically say you want to be a doctor, a teacher or anyone else that has anything to do with helping special needs people.

Also, I would take out the part about the zeal of the medicine ball. You don't want to imply that no other non-lawyer professional is zealous.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:07 pm

I enjoyed reading your essay. The "zeal of a medicine ball" sentence tied the essay together in a sincere & convincing fashion.

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verklempt
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Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby verklempt » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:28 pm

Too much about Jim. If you're going to focus in on a topic, it should be related to your achievements, not someone else's.

Lots of spelling mistakes here. A lot of people can't spell, so I wouldn't hold that against you, but if you submit a PS with those "typos" an adcomm will assume you don't care. When you get to your final draft, ask someone (or us) to check it. For starters, there is no such word as its'. (Sorry, pet peeve of mine.) The word you want is its, no apostrophe.

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ach24
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Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby ach24 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:48 pm

.
Last edited by ach24 on Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MrSparkle
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Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby MrSparkle » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:58 am

Reduce Jim to 3-4 sentences, talk more about yourself.

rgdavis2
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:18 pm

Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby rgdavis2 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:43 pm

verklempt wrote:Too much about Jim. If you're going to focus in on a topic, it should be related to your achievements, not someone else's.

Lots of spelling mistakes here. A lot of people can't spell, so I wouldn't hold that against you, but if you submit a PS with those "typos" an adcomm will assume you don't care. When you get to your final draft, ask someone (or us) to check it. For starters, there is no such word as its'. (Sorry, pet peeve of mine.) The word you want is its, no apostrophe.


I honestly did not know that its' is not a word. It makes sense because how would you pronounce it? I think I've used that in a few college essays and papers but I guess it's better to find out late than never.

I'm going to write a new draft today that focuses more on me and post it here. Get your red pens ready, senseis of the PS.

rgdavis2
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:18 pm

Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby rgdavis2 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:52 pm

This is not drastically different from the first draft, but the second paragraph is the only one that focuses exclusively on Jim as the background info is important. I think the narrative first paragraph is necessary for the overall structure of the piece. Any suggestions on how to focus it more on myself or for what to omit are more than welcome. Grammar and spelling corrections are also greatly appreciated. Thank you to all who take the time to read this.



I saw it coming, but it caught me off guard. A dull thud resonated throughout my body from my solar plexus and the wind was knocked out of me momentarily as I staggered backward from the sudden impact. My assailant stared at me with a wide, toothy grin while gauging my reaction to his projectile. As I recovered on my feet I was reminded by a roaring voice that I had, indeed, asked for this. My would-be assailant’s name is Jim. A cerebral palsy patient, Jim can scarcely control his legs but has built considerable upper-body strength through many years of walking on crutches. He was sitting a few feet away from me with a ten pound medicine ball in his hands when I requested a brisk chest pass that found its target much sooner than anticipated. The resulting impact is more distinct in my mind than any from high school football or college rugby because it represented, to me, the culmination of patience, hard work, and self-confidence that are vital to success in any pursuit.

Jim and I have become friends through my volunteer work of running physical education programs for people with special needs, yet I still habitually underestimate his physical and mental strength. When I started working with Jim his exercise routine consisted of stretching and walking on a tread mill. He now blazes through an advanced routine that I am certain many people would struggle with and is able to do so because he started small and devoted himself fully to every exercise. Despite his disability he posses a zeal for life that allows him to overcome obstacles that would prove insurmountable for many more able bodied people and has truly inspired me.

I too, started out small. Growing up in a rural --- farm town taught me that there are many opportunities and lessons to be learned from any person or situation if they are approached with an open mind. Graduating high school with less than forty classmates meant that enthusiasm for new challenges was key as I adapted to a class size of over seven thousand at the University of ---.

Devoting myself fully to the task at hand is a skill I have acquired out of necessity during my four years in college. For all four years I have held part time employment during the school year while completing two majors and occasionally taking weekend-long bus trips around the country as a member of the University of --- Rugby Football Club. I do not view these commitments as burdens but rather opportunities that have helped engender the gradual personal growth I have experienced during my college career.

I view my work with Jim as a microcosm of my life leading up to law school. Working diligently and patiently to achieve a series of small goals, I believe my progression mirrors that of Jim in many ways. From my discussions with him I have also become familiar with the myriad ways that people who may be viewed as weak by the state can be harassed without access to adequate counsel and defense. Both he and his live-in girlfriend face legal issues related to social security and he has expressed to me multiple times that they feel they are not paid adequate attention by their lawyers because they are both disabled. I wish to pursue the study of law in order to make a difference in the lives of disabled and disenfranchised people, not because I feel sorry for or take pity on them but because I realize that every person deserves someone to take a stand against authority in a way that only a lawyer can. I do not, however, seek to simply study law and represent the disenfranchised, but to do so with a zeal that strikes people like a medicine ball.

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chihuahua12
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:42 pm

Re: Personal Statement for critique

Postby chihuahua12 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:11 pm

I think it's a good edit, but you still need to talk about yourself more. It seems like you mention yourself as often as you mention Jim and that's not the way it should be. I don't think the references to Jim are excessive in this edit, but I do think you need to flesh out your reasons for pursuing law a bit more. Perhaps you should elaborate more on general legal issues for the disabled that you have observed or are interested in. Connect your biographical information (part-time work, rugby, double major) to the overall theme so that it flows, otherwise it seems unnecessary. Perhaps describe how all of that stuff you did in college contributes to your character in such a way that would positively contribute to you being a lawyer. Hope I'm making sense....

Good luck!




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