looking for some constructive criticism

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
icecold3000
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:50 am

looking for some constructive criticism

Postby icecold3000 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:38 pm

Here it is. I Changed some stuff around.


In 2006, to the astonishment of my friends and family, I volunteered to do something unimaginable for many college students. With school not shaping up as I imagined and longing for a drastic change, I enlisted in the United States Army. I recognized that my decision would invariably land me on the front lines of an active war zone. As a cavalier nineteen year old, this did not faze me. I simply wanted to take my life in a different direction and the Army afforded me the opportunity to escape my past and face challenges in ways I never before fathomed.
 

Not long after finishing training, I found myself in Northern Iraq during what is often referred to as the "troop surge." When I first laid my eyes on the modest mud-huts and noticed the plethora of donkeys roaming around, I felt as though I had stepped back to the biblical times. Most of my deployment was spent driving long hours through remote villages and patrolling along abandoned desert highways. The threat of being ambushed by insurgents armed to the teeth with rocket-propelled-grenades (RPGs) and automatic assault rifles lingered through my thoughts. I learned quickly that attention to detail could be the difference between life and death. One wrong move could have lethal consequences.

However, running patrols is only one aspect of an enlisted soldier’s duties while stationed in a modern war zone. We always had other less celebrated jobs to perform. Of my many duties while serving in Iraq, nothing influenced me more than the time I spent guarding Iraqi detainees. I was stationed in a small Combat Outpost (COP) with about 150 soldiers. Our COP operated as a holding cell for detainees until they could be transported to the larger base in Mosul. Every single one of the detainees in our COP had been captured and brought in by someone in our Company. It was not an impersonal matter. These were the actual insurgents we were out there fighting with everyday. We knew it and they knew it. During my guard shifts, I could not help but notice the desperate look of terror in the eyes of our captives. They seemed convinced we were moments away from taking them out back and shooting them. Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, they would have faced certain death for their insurrection. Many prisoners believed we would treat them with similarly harsh punishment. 


The right to trial and defense never appeared to cross their minds. Even though they were my enemy, I grew to have compassion for them. Many of the prisoners I guarded were at the bottom of the insurgent hierarchy. Often, these men were the unfortunate pawns of the higher-up insurgents. They were put into terrible situations which no person should ever have to experience. In a small makeshift holding cell, one prisoner told me (through a translator) that the terrorist had threatened to kill his family if he did not cooperate. He had no other choice. Another detainee voiced that he could not provide food for his children. The foreign Syrian fighters had offered him a large payoff simply to dig a hole next to the road after curfew. While his crime may have seemed minuscule, in reality this was a common tactic foreign fighters used for hiding roadside bombs targeted at our morning patrols. 


Through hours of overseeing detainees, I ultimately realized that many of these men, who are often viewed as terrorists, were sometimes just doing what they can to survive.  While their actions were not always justified, they were by no means villains.  The line between atrocity and decency is not always apparent. My time in Iraq allotted me an uncanny view of seeing the points of view from both sides.

Now that I have served in the Army honorably and taken advantage of my military benefits to pursue my bachelor’s degree, I would like continue my service in a different way.  I believe I now possess the maturity, discipline, and work ethic to pursue a career in law.  I contend that my past experiences will allow me to empathize with future clients as well as contribute a distinctive voice in the legal classroom.
Last edited by icecold3000 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
icecold3000
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:50 am

Re: looking for some constructive criticism

Postby icecold3000 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:00 pm

Anybody?

User avatar
fundamentallybroken
Posts: 663
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 am

Re: looking for some constructive criticism

Postby fundamentallybroken » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:17 pm

icecold3000 wrote:Anybody?


Give it time, they'll come...

At first glance, I like the army angle, but I'd be wary of the "I want to be a lawyer so I can help the accused" angle. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure this is one of the topics advised against for a PS.

I'd go more with a "this is how the army helped me grow as a person, and provided me with the tools necessary to succeed in law school."

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

Re: looking for some constructive criticism

Postby MrSparkle » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:53 am

It's a difficult leap to go from prisoners-of-war to domestic criminals and defense. If you're trying to say "why law?" I'm not completely convinced of that connection. Perhaps leave out the "why law" question altogether, it's not completely necessary to write a compelling PS. But you can allude to a growth of character and an intent to do something to help people.

Stylistically, it sounds like you wrote a bunch of bullet points in sentence form. There's barely any sentence variety. Make it an essay, not a police statement.

User avatar
icecold3000
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:50 am

Re: looking for some constructive criticism

Postby icecold3000 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:41 am

Thanks for the help. I was trying to avoid using over flowery language and write in simple concise language. I guess I took it too far (if it reads like a police statement). Any other thoughts?

User avatar
icecold3000
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:50 am

Re: looking for some constructive criticism

Postby icecold3000 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:39 pm

bump




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.