4th (and almost final?) Version - Please critque

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
keithkeating
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:42 pm

4th (and almost final?) Version - Please critque

Postby keithkeating » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:43 am

Once again, thank you to all who have helped to contribute to my personal statement. I am extremely proud of the work and certainly could not have accomplished this without the guise of those in this forum. Please give me any critiques you may have for my statement. I probably need to cut about 100 words but am having trouble as I feel those remaining are all critical to the story.


Three years ago I stood on a dirt road in Kampala, Uganda wearing shorts, a tank top, and my orange backpack. In front of me stood five armed police soldiers, each with their rifles pointed at my chest. Three more soldiers stood behind me, one with a pistol pointed at my head and two with machetes tapping their shoulders. In the distance stood a crowd of locals who had gathered, including a local volunteer whom I had just met, and who subsequently only spoke very little English. I did not understanding what was being said and to whom it was directed. My brain registered the following words in no specific order: “spy,” “military” and “kill you”. My body froze. The police were accusing me of being an American military spy. I wanted to defend myself, but like most of my life, I feared that I had no voice.

From the beginning of my life I was powerless; my voice was not heard. This premise began when my mother gave me up for adoption when I was three months old and I cried in protest. Through the remaining critical developmental years of my youth, my cries, pleas and thoughts went unheard. When I graduated high school at fifteen and started college, my lack of social skills as well as my inability to speak (were) crippling. As a result, I dropped out of college after one semester. Through the years I searched for my voice. I tried different dialects, speech patterns, even vocal coaching. I copied the vocabulary of strangers and mimicked the language of my neighbors. I learned what other people liked and loathed and I clung to their ideas as if they were my own words. My relationships became my voice and in between when there was no one to speak for me, I found there were no words to be heard.

Determined to overcome this struggle, I spent the next year working zealously on building my voice through self-introspection and self-nurturing. In doing so, I realized that a world existed outside of me. My intellectual curiosity was stimulated and my interest in education was piqued. I re-enrolled in college, while working full-time. I volunteered with food banks, recovery centers, and homeless shelters. This experience sparked a desire to continue my service on an international level.

I learned of the despairing plight of the Batwa tribe. The Batwa (also known as Pygmies) are considered forest people of Central Africa. Since the 1990s the government has forcibly removed the Batwa from the forests and given them no reparations. Instead, they have been classified as “sub-humans” in order to ensure that they receive no rights as human beings. This, in my opinion, was a legal form of genocide and consumed my thoughts. Six weeks later, I arrived in Uganda and began filing paperwork and starting a petition to regain rights for the Batwa, actions that were against the advice of the local people. On my second day I found myself under siege by the array of weaponry.

Although I tried to explain my volunteer status, the police arrested me under the guise that I was a spy. I was denied calls to local law counsel and the Embassy. It was at that pivotal moment that I realized what it must feel like to have no rights, which felt seemingly similar to having no voice. Through careful negotiation, my Ugandan companion was able to secure my release with proper financial compensation. Although I was advised again to stop my efforts, I was no longer afraid to use my voice and would not be dissuaded. I felt compelled to continue my efforts aiding the Batwa.

I spent two months in the Bwindi mountains teaching the Batwa self-sustaining skills to improve their quality of life. I helped them build six chicken coops spread out over six settlements and delivered thirty chickens to each settlement. With my local companion, we taught them how to feed the chickens in order to live off of their eggs. With the money I raised, I purchased medication and materials to build huts. The achievement that I am most proud of, however, was the monumental task of getting four Batwa children enrolled in a local school for villagers. It was the first time that the Batwa had been allowed to join the same school as the local village children.

Over the next year, I continued my travels around the world in hopes of gaining a better perspective on the way humans are treated. Through my travels, I have witnessed the destitution in the Brazilian favilas, watched children forced to work the brothels in Thailand, and witnessed the ever-increasing population of the homeless grow in the United States. I have seen the inequality of treatment given to human beings: women treated as cattle, children treated as merchandise, people treated as sub-human. These experiences have furthered my passion to continue service throughout my life.

What stands out in my mind most is an interview that occurred with the Batwa. When I asked the oldest member of the tribe what she wanted more than anything, this was her translated response: “I have the same blood as you. I want to be treated like you but I have no voice. I want to be heard.” Then she and several tribe members began dancing and singing, as if to make sure that I heard them. It is with knowledge I have gained and my passion to help people that I am in fervent pursuit to become a legal scholar. I have been blessed to find my voice. It is time that the silence ends for those who do not have a voice. It is with my sincerest hope that I can use this education to help be the voice for those who need to be heard.

User avatar
TIMEATELL
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:13 am

Re: 4th (and almost final?) Version - Please critque

Postby TIMEATELL » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:59 pm

Excellent!

LSATclincher
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: 4th (and almost final?) Version - Please critque

Postby LSATclincher » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:09 pm

I made a few tweaks. I understand your telling a story, but I still think the language should be a bit clearer in some parts. I think "to be verbs" should appear only a handful of times. This is a very good story. Your passion really shows. Your overall theme seems a bit "college-appish" -- by wanting to give people a voice. But you can actually back up your statements up with some unique experience. This makes the theme that much more powerful. I think everything flows generally. And you don't waste many words, except in the one para noted below. Feel free to post again.


keithkeating wrote:Once again, thank you to all who have helped to contribute to my personal statement. I am extremely proud of the work and certainly could not have accomplished this without the guise of those in this forum. Please give me any critiques you may have for my statement. I probably need to cut about 100 words but am having trouble as I feel those remaining are all critical to the story.


Three years ago I stood on a dirt road in Kampala, Uganda(.) In front of me stood five armed police soldiers, each with their rifles pointed at my chest. Three more soldiers stood behind me, one with a pistol pointed at my head and two with machetes tapping their shoulders. (In the distance a crowd of locals gathered), including a local volunteer whom I had just met, and who subsequently only spoke very little English. I did not (understand) what was being said and to whom it was directed. My brain registered the following words in no specific order: “spy,” “military” and “kill you”. My body froze. The police were accusing me of being an American military spy. I wanted to defend myself, but like most of my life, I feared that I had no voice.

From the beginning of my life I was powerless(.) My voice was not heard. (It all began) when my mother gave me up for adoption when I was three months old(,) and I cried in protest. Through the remaining critical developmental years of my youth, my cries, pleas and thoughts went unheard. When I graduated high school at fifteen and started college, my lack of social skills as well as my inability to speak were crippling. As a result, I dropped out of college after one semester. Through the years(,) I searched for my voice. I tried different dialects, speech patterns, even vocal coaching. I copied the vocabulary of strangers and mimicked the language of my neighbors. I learned what other people liked and loathed(,) and I clung to their ideas as if they were my own words. My relationships became my voice and in between(,) when there was no one to speak for me, I found there were no words to be heard. (This last sentence sounds corny)

Determined to overcome this struggle, I spent the next year working zealously on building my voice through self-introspection and self-nurturing. In doing so, I realized that a world existed outside of me. My intellectual curiosity was stimulated(,) and my interest in education was piqued. I re-enrolled in college, while working full-time. I volunteered with food banks, recovery centers, and homeless shelters. This experience sparked a desire to continue my service on an international level.

(On sentence on Batwa.) (In my opinion, this was a legal form of genocide(,) and it consumed my thoughts. Six weeks later, I arrived in Uganda (and immediately started) a petition to regain rights for the Batwa, actions that were against the advice of the local people. On my second day(,) I found myself under siege by the array of weaponry. Although I tried to explain my volunteer status, the police arrested me under the guise that I was a spy. I was denied calls to local law counsel and the Embassy. It was at that pivotal moment that I realized what it must feel like to have no rights, which felt seemingly similar to having no voice. Through careful negotiation, my Ugandan companion was able to secure my release with proper financial compensation. Although I was advised again to stop my efforts, I was no longer afraid to use my voice and would not be dissuaded. I felt compelled to continue my efforts aiding the Batwa.

I spent two months in the Bwindi mountains teaching the Batwa self-sustaining skills to improve their quality of life. I helped them build six chicken coops spread out over six settlements and delivered thirty chickens to each settlement. With my local companion, we taught them how to feed the chickens in order to live off of their eggs. With the money I raised, I purchased medication and materials to build huts. (My most memorable achievement, however, was enrolling four Batwa children in a local school for villagers. It was the first time that the Batwa had been allowed to join the same school as the local village children. (insert a clever transition here)

Over the next year, I continued my travels around the world in hopes of gaining a better perspective on the way humans (were) treated. Through my travels, I (witnessed) the destitution in the Brazilian favilas and ever-increasing population of the homeless grow in the United States.) I watched children (become slaves) the brothels in Thailand(.) I have seen the (unequal treatment of human beings): women treated as cattle, children treated as merchandise, people treated as sub-human. These experiences have furthered my passion to continue service throughout my life.

What stands out (most, in my mind,) is an interview that occurred with the Batwa. When I asked the oldest member of the tribe what she wanted more than anything, this was her translated response: “I have the same blood as you. I want to be treated like you(,) but I have no voice. I want to be heard.” Then she and several tribe members began dancing and singing, as if to make sure that I heard them. It is with knowledge I have gained and my passion to help people that I am in fervent pursuit to become a legal scholar.(I'd re-word this sentence and eliminate fervent) I have been (keep religion out--honored) to find my voice. It is time that the silence ends for those who do not have a voice. It is with my sincerest hope that I can use this education to help be the voice for those who need to be heard.

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

Re: 4th (and almost final?) Version - Please critque

Postby verklempt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:24 am

I suggested words to delete (in blue) and added a couple of others (red). This is an unusual PS and I like the fact that you don't overdramatize it.

keithkeating wrote:Once again, thank you to all who have helped to contribute to my personal statement. I am extremely proud of the work and certainly could not have accomplished this without the guise of those in this forum. Please give me any critiques you may have for my statement. I probably need to cut about 100 words but am having trouble as I feel those remaining are all critical to the story.


Three years ago I stood on a dirt road in Kampala, Uganda wearing shorts, a tank top, and my orange backpack. In front of me stood five armed police soldiers, each with their rifles pointed at my chest. Three more soldiers stood behind me, one with a pistol pointed at my head and two with machetes tapping their shoulders. In the distance stood a crowd of locals who had gathered, including a local volunteer whom I had just met, and who subsequently only spoke very little English. I did not understanding what was being said and to whom it was directed. My brain registered the following words in no specific order: “spy,” “military” and “kill you”. My body froze. The police were accusing me of being an American military spy. I wanted to defend myself, but like most of my life, I feared that I had no voice.

From the beginning of my life I was powerless; my voice was not heard. This premise began when my mother gave me up for adoption when I was three months old and I cried in protest; my voice was not heard. Through the remaining critical developmental years of my youth, my cries, pleas and thoughts went unheard. When I graduated high school at fifteen and started college, my lack of social skills as well as my inability to speak (were) crippling. As a result, I dropped out of college after one semester. Through the years I searched for my voice. I tried different dialects, speech patterns, even vocal coaching. I copied the vocabulary of strangers and mimicked the language of my neighbors. I learned what other people liked and loathed and I clung to their ideas as if they were my own words. My relationships became my voice and in between when there was no one to speak for me, I found there were no words to be heard.

Determined to overcome this struggle, I spent the next year working zealously on building my voice through self-introspection and self-nurturing. In doing so, I realized that a world existed outside of me. My intellectual curiosity was stimulated and my interest in education was piqued. I re-enrolled in college, while working full-time. I volunteered with food banks, recovery centers, and homeless shelters. This experience sparked a desire to continue my service on an international level.

I learned of the despairing plight of the Batwa tribe, The Batwa (also known as Pygmies) are considered forest people of Central Africa. Since the 1990s the government has forcibly removed the Batwa from the forests and given them no reparations. Instead, they have been classified as “sub-humans” in order to ensure that they receive no rights as human beings. This, in my opinion, was a legal form of genocide and consumed my thoughts. Six weeks later, I arrived in Uganda and began filing paperwork and starting a petition to regain rights for the Batwa, actions that were against the advice of the local people. On my second day I found myself under siege by the array of weaponry.

Although I tried to explain my volunteer status, the police arrested me under the guise that I was a spy. I was denied calls to local law counsel and the Embassy. It was at that pivotal moment that I realized what it must feel like to have no rights, which felt seemingly similar to having no voice. Through careful negotiation, my Ugandan companion was able to secure my release with proper financial compensation. Although I was advised again to stop my efforts, I was no longer afraid to use my voice and would not be dissuaded. I felt compelled to continue my efforts aiding the Batwa.

I spent two months in the Bwindi mountains teaching the Batwa self-sustaining skills to improve their quality of life. I helped them build six chicken coops spread out over six settlements and delivered thirty chickens to each settlement. With my local companion, we taught them how to feed the chickens in order to live off of their eggs. With the money I raised, I purchased medication and materials to build huts. The achievement that I am most proud of, however was the monumental task of getting four Batwa children enrolled in a local school for villagers. It was the first time that the Batwa had been allowed to join attend the same school as the local village children.

Over the next year, I continued my travels around the world in hopes of gaining a better perspective on the way humans are treated. Through my travels, I have witnessed the destitution in the Brazilian favilas favelas, watched children forced to work the brothels in Thailand, and witnessed the ever-increasing population of the homeless grow in the United States. I have seen the inequality of treatment given to human beings: women treated as cattle, children treated as merchandise, people treated as sub-human. These experiences have furthered my passion to continue service throughout my life.

What stands out in my mind most is an interview that occurred with the Batwa. When I asked the oldest member of the tribe what she wanted more than anything, this was her translated response: “I have the same blood as you. I want to be treated like you but I have no voice. I want to be heard.” Then she and several tribe members began dancing and singing, as if to make sure that I heard them. It is with knowledge I have gained and my passion to help people that I am in fervent pursuit choose to become a legal scholar. I have been blessed to find my voice. It is time that the silence ends for those who do not have a voice. It is with my sincerest hope that I can use this education to help be the voice for those who need to be heard.

User avatar
MrSparkle
Posts: 154
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:06 pm

Re: 4th (and almost final?) Version - Please critque

Postby MrSparkle » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:47 am

Awesome. You could change nothing and it's still awesome. This PS will not be the weak link of your application.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.