completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

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completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

Postby jtoppe2 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:18 am

so, before, i was headed in the wrong direction. now, i could be headed further in the wrong direction. i threw this together in a few hours without really editing it much because if i am, in fact, not on track, i don't want to have wasted too much time on it for nothing. anyway, read it and comment. thanks.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance: those are the five stages of grief. You would be surprised at how accurate that summation of grief is. You would likely also be surprised that my best friend, Abe, committed suicide after calling me at two in the morning telling me he needed to hang out. You would probably be most surprised, though, that the means by which he took his life consisted of a needle, a tourniquet, and a bag of heroin. I know that is what I found most shocking.
Abe had a brilliant mind. On his nightstand there was a copy of The Republic by Plato that was so thumb-worn, he must have read it over a hundred times. Not to mention his bookshelf brimming with works from philosophical greats such as Aristotle, Nietzsche and Descartes. He had such a creative mind. He would analyze things to the point of excess. I admired him.
Lethargy, lack of hygiene, inhabiting a filthy environment, acute mood swings: these are the signs that somebody is using drugs. In hindsight, I should have known he was using drugs. I suppose I always assumed that he was just being a typical 20-year-old. I was wrong. When I got the call from his girlfriend on Thursday night, I was laying in bed, listening to music with the television on in the background.
Denial. It is unfortunate that this stage of grief did not last longer than a short while for me. I thought that it could not be true that Abe, one of the most brilliant friends I have ever had, committed suicide with heroin, let alone at all! I felt numb, not sad. I did not even shed a tear for the first few days. Anger. Once I realized the gravity of the situation, I was furious. I was mad at myself for not knowing that he was using drugs; I was mad at Abe for taking his life; I was mad at myself for not hanging out with him the night before he killed himself. I kept asking myself, “Why would he do this to us?” Bargaining. This was the immediate cause of the depression stage for me. I was blaming myself for his death. I thought, “What if I had gone over to his apartment that night? Would he still be alive?” I lost myself in a sea of “what if’s” and “if only’s.” Depression. This was the most trying and long-lasting stage of my grief. It was a depression so deep and dismal that I honestly thought I would never be happy again. I would sleep until dark. I would not eat regularly. I was consumed by guilt.
One stage that I think is missing from the path to acceptance is inspiration. I needed inspiration to get through the depression. My counselor suggested that, to supplement my daily regiment of 50mg of Zoloft, I pick up a new hobby. I had to work hard to even muster enough enthusiasm to get out of bed in the morning, how was I supposed to pick up a new hobby? I decided that, in order to overcome my depression, I had to force myself to just do it. It felt impulsive and spontaneous when I drove to the music store and bought a new digital piano. I have been playing guitar since I was in eighth grade. Never once had I attempted to play a piece of music on a piano (besides “Heart and Soul”) before deciding to shell out $700 on one. I brought it home with the intention of composing a song in memory of Abe.
I have always found music inspirational. I have always enjoyed playing guitar. But I never thought that playing piano could be such a force in lifting me from my depression. I played the piano, pretty aimlessly, every day for weeks; each day the playing becoming less and less aimless. Eventually, I taught myself entire pieces of music. The satisfaction that I felt was twofold: I was learning how to play a beautiful instrument and I was actually doing something with my time, other than feel sorry for myself.
There seemed to be no transition from depression to acceptance. One day I was thinking and I just realized that I no longer felt helpless. In fact, I felt empowered. There is not a moment when I do not miss Abe dearly, but he will never fade out of memory. I thank him for everything he contributed to my life. His final gift to me was music. I still find solace in the piano every day, and I am still working on Abe’s song. I could not have found my way to acceptance without first traveling the long roads of denial, anger, bargaining and depression; but now that my journey has ended, I feel more full of life than ever.
As a law student, I will persevere. I will find ways to thrive in what will undoubtedly be the most arduous and challenging three years of my life. iiiii dooonnnnn’ttttt knoooooowwwww how to conclude this paragraph… is that a bad sign? :oops:

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Re: completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

Postby SullaFelix » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:06 am

I think this may be a mistaken direction.

The first paragraph is definitely unhelpful. First, it assumes that whoever is reading the essay has no experience in dealing with grief. Why make that assumption? Second, it strings the reader along to a payoff that has a questionable connection with the narrative you're trying to construct (the precise details of your friend's suicide might strike the reader as relatively unconnected to your narrative about coping with his death).

Ultimately, however, the main problem is that the essay does very little to create a case for why you should be admitted to law school. Despite its impact on your life, which I do not mean to belittle in any way, it is difficult to appreciate how a heartfelt essay about your friend's suicide would inspire a member of an admissions committee to think you would make an ideal law student.

Perhaps think of it this way: If you were able to construct a different, effective essay on a totally separate topic concerning your perseverance and ability to thrive in the face of difficulty, do you truly feel that leaving everything in this essay unsaid would deprive an admissions committee of any absolutely necessary information?

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Re: completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

Postby chihuahua12 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:18 pm

I'll have to agree with Felix. My main concern is that this tells the adcomms nothing about why you want to pursue law or why they should admit you. The one brief mention to law in your conclusion is unsupported and therefore comes off as insincere. It's a well-written story, but an unconvincing personal statement.

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Re: completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

Postby MrSparkle » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:51 pm

Stream-of-consciousness your essay, don't just throw together some words all at once. Remember, adcomms have to say at the end, "I want to admit this person." I don't feel that way about this essay.

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Jack Smirks

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Re: completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

Postby Jack Smirks » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:15 pm

After reading this I know more about Abe than I do about you. I think you can use Abe's tragic death and its impact on you as a topic but I think you need to shift the focus to you considerably sooner in the statement and you need to find a way to tie this into law school. If you don't think you can do that, scratch this idea entirely.


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Re: completely reworked first draft (aka... 2nd draft)

Postby sandaltan » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:34 pm

its probably difficult to craft an effective essay around dealing with the loss of a friend.

the 5 stages thing is gimmicky.

this needs to be about you, what you learned, how you grew and matured, not just the story of you going through the 5 stages of grief. you need to show this maturity, not just say it at the end with i will persevere.

i would start over if i were you, i went through 7 or 8 drafts before i was happy, several of them completely from scratch.

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