Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

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MCRemix
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:41 pm

Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

Postby MCRemix » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:14 am

Thank you everyone that helped me revise this previously. (Edit: added DS at the bottom, first draft. Please tear them both apart)

Ex Libris
An old green bible sits on my bookshelf, the cover dinged and the pages aged, but not a sign of use about it. There are no dog ears to mark a favorite page, no underlines to mark a passage, nor breaks in the binding from late night bible study. There are no bulletins tucked under a cover or notes in the margin from the preacher’s sermon. Like a life cut short, the book shows no signs that it ever got to serve out its noble purpose. Its owner long gone, it remains a remnant of their life, cast aside and longing to be used.

Growing up, my father was my hero, he was a man’s man, a military officer and a gentleman. I wanted to be just like him and do all the things he did. He loved sports, so I played sports, but no matter how long we practiced, I was never going to be the quarterback. I was always the geek in my class, my head swirling with history or science. While he preferred the outdoors, I was at home in the library. Although joining JROTC in high school gave us common ground and I took pride in wearing the uniform, my plans weren’t with the military. September 11th changed everything though, as I stood in shock in a classroom watching the towers fall and my plans suddenly altered course. My father and I never shared the same interests, but watching the smoke rising from ground zero we’d never had more in common.

College gave me the challenge that I had been craving and I found unexpected enjoyment in my academic pursuits. I’d plunged into computer science as a technical major that would give me positive points in my search of an Air Force commissioning and found a lifelong passion. Programming itself was just a footnote, my muse was the sheer excitement of overcoming obstacles and solving problems. I spent hours locked away in dark computer labs drawing on whiteboards in search of solutions to abstract problems and the rush of overcoming a major hurdle was exhilarating. The Air Force further rewarded that drive as job after job gave me challenges and opportunities to prove myself as a leader. I led teams as small as 5 and as large as 140 in projects as diverse as managing a $52 million network enterprise and international disaster response planning. As much as I appreciate the opportunities and no matter how much I’ve loved the people, military service has also taken a year and a half of time away from my family. That time can never be given back, birthdays and anniversaries can't be unmissed, and so I made the tough decision to separate from the service.

Like shredding the manuscript of your life, starting over is an unnerving experience, leaving behind the safety and accepting the risk. But this risk has rewarded me with a chance to start fresh and redefine my story. I’m excited by the prospect of solving ever changing problems and overcoming difficult challenges, but the greatest draw for me to the study of law is the possibility of using those skills to help everyday people. My life experiences have brought me close to several silent victims that never had anyone to help them or speak for them. But law is the great equalizer and those victims on the margin need strong voices on their side. Although I may be leaving the military, I believe there are battlefields all across our nation that desperately need leaders and I can be one of them. My experiences have prepared me for this journey at every turn and I am ready to start this new chapter.

The inside cover of that old bible has the only sign it’s ever been opened, a bookplate marked “Ex Libris: Karen Lacefield.” Karen was my mother. She never had an opportunity to serve out her life’s purpose and today I stand the only remainder of her legacy. She fought for three years and never let the pain show through her smile, but she never had the chance to make a difference in the world. She never had the opportunity to change the world, but I do. Her heart and her drive are the memories I hold of her and as much as I wish she could be here now, I know I’m going to make her proud.


Diversity Statement (First Draft)

“Hey jerk, how could you just run out on her like that? What, you’re man enough to father a child, but not enough to stick around?” It always played out the same way, someone heard a rumor that I was a father and decided they were going to set me straight. But then, to every girl on campus I was the worst scum on earth, I was a teen dad.

My life changed forever at fifteen when my girlfriend called to say she was pregnant. I was young and confused and spent weeks in shock. But I had responsibilities to live up to and so I went to appointments and did as much as I could, a boy trying to be a man. Our relationship was never going to las, she was imbalanced and difficult to live with. So when she was committed to a psychiatric facility I took her mother’s advice and went to court to get custody. Suddenly I wasn’t just a father, I was a single father with custody and I was alone.

I lost my childhood to my child, but I have only myself to blame. I lost out on hanging out on weekends in high school, campus life in college and not having responsibilities. I woke up at all hours to deal with nightmares and sickness, had to consult doctors for repeated ear infections and battled in and out of court for years. When I wasn’t taking care of her or going to school, I was working to pay for diapers and formula. And as cute as it is when college girls meet a single dad, it’s not so cute when he can’t hang out on weekends or stay out all night.

There were no support groups for single fathers; I was the only one in my high school class of 500. There were safety net systems to help take care of her health and education, but not to help a young man struggling to do the right thing. As a single dad in high school, I was alone amongst my peers and I was in the minority. But my experiences as a father matured me and gave me a unique point of view that continues to contribute to my personal diversity.

MCRemix
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:41 pm

Re: Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

Postby MCRemix » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:06 pm

Snowed in from work in TX, so I added my diversity statement. Please read them both and be blunt with me, I'm looking for honest feedback.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:43 pm

Diversity Statement: Well written, but you need to be more aware of the tone of your writing & its implications. "I lost my childhood to my child..." insinuates that you blame an innocent newborn for your predicament notwithstanding the following acceptance of responsibility. Similiar concern when referring to your child's mother as being unstable. Your lack of sensitivity gives rise to suspicions of unattractive character traits.
Your goal is to sell yourself as a desirable applicant adding to the breadth of maturing experiences of the first year law school class; it is not, however, productive to reveal lingering personal anger & insensitivities toward others.

mchuynh
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:23 am

Re: Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

Postby mchuynh » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:15 pm

^ +1

There were no support groups for single fathers; I was the only one in my high school class of 500. There were safety net systems to help take care of her health and education, but not to help a young man struggling to do the right thing. As a single dad in high school, I was alone amongst my peers and I was in the minority. But my experiences as a father matured me and gave me a unique point of view that continues to contribute to my personal diversity.

I think you should expand a little bit more.. HOW did it mature you? and what kind of "unique point of view"?

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helloperson
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:26 pm

Re: Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

Postby helloperson » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:01 am

If you're going to talk about being a single father, you had better be talking about how pre-baby you were anxious then post baby you realized a purpose in life outside of yourself. Right now, it sounds like you're pretty self centered: you talk about missed opportunities; there's a hint of resentment at not being able to go out with college girls; you speak ill of your child's mother. None of these things reflect positive personality traits, but not only that, it does not sound like having a daughter changed you at all. You didn't once mention how your daughter has changed how you perceive the world; all you talk about is how you now have additional restrictions on your activities and how isolated having a daughter has made you.

I strongly dislike your diversity statement, and so will any admissions committee.

Your personal statement is not spectacular. You open with a theme, abandon it entirely, then return to it only in the last paragraph. It seems detached from the rest of your writing. Stick to a single theme and make it resonate rather than trying to write your memoirs in the span of a couple paragraphs. I would suggest something along the lines of "I am well adept at overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles," then mention your mother's death, your air force experience, and providing for your child.

Just my 2 cents.

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

Re: Revised PS - Please read and critique (Edit: DS added)

Postby LSATclincher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:02 pm

I didn't read the previous comments, but here's my take. I'd delete the DS entirely. It's a touchy subject that seems to carry more risk than reward.

But the PS was very good. Except I'd delete the literary devices of the first and last para's. It seems like you waste valuable space. I wanted to learn a bit more about who you are. Use that space to give the reader one more tidbit about yourself.




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