After seeking expert advice how is this?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ryanw5520
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:52 pm

After seeking expert advice how is this?

Postby ryanw5520 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:50 pm

I could not ignore the chord that was struck within me as I prepared to advocate for the family at hand. I was part of the support staff for the Mary Catherine Macauley Center for Women and Families, and we were holding our weekly meeting to discuss issues within the house. Over the weekend I had completed the intake on a family of four, a father and three sons. Two of the sons were ages fourteen and sixteen, and the issue was whether we could afford to give the two boys a room of their own if it meant others would be denied shelter. As my turn to speak grew near, emotions of appreciation and remorse befell me. When my turn came, I was void of the usual nervousness and anxiety that accompanies public speaking; rather I felt an over-whelming confidence that was supported by feelings of purposeness, dignity, and appreciation. I then delivered a very effective and sound argument as to how allowing them to stay in two rooms would help maintain the family's morale, especially amongst the older ones whose age puts them at a greater risk of becoming individual homeless youths. I admit that I had a unique familiarity with the situation which undoubtedly fueled my efforts.
No more than six years earlier, I along with my mother and little brother were forced to stay in the Salvation Army's emergency shelter. They let me have my own room, however, at fourteen I found it hard to muster any gratitude for the hospitality. Honestly, the staff there was exceptional. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how exceptional they were until moments before my turn to give my input for the meeting at hand. Why was I allowed a room of my own, while other families were left in strange situations: sleeping in their car or staying in abusive relationships? I realized that the staff that took care of my family did so by making us feel as welcome and comfortable as they could. I became aware of the humanity I was treated with before and I understood that my time in a homeless shelter was not something to look back on and feel responsible for, regret, or feel ashamed of. Rather, I was given the learning experience of a lifetime. Upon reflection, the staff at the Salvation Army made great steps to make me feel as autonomous and respected as possible. This helped me to be a stronger person for my family.
We were attached to the salvation army for over a year, progressing through transistional shelters and eventually to scattered site housing. My mother's financial struggles motivated me to try and be as financially independent as possible. At that time it seemed working was my only freedom. I started working in the cornfields of South Dakota over the summer when I was thirteen and I loved it. Working provided me an escape from home, independence, and a sense of dignity that replaced the stigma. Working eventually took over my life; my senior year was spent working overnights and by the second half of the school day I was asleep. Although I have been proud of my work ethic I have never been proud of my decision to drop out of high school. Time and hindsight have provided me countless opportunities for regret which many times I have fulfilled. However, I have persisted in molding that regret into motivation to pursue my education.
My position within the shelter compelled me to recall many of my personal experiences with poverty to help see things through the eyes of our residents, but more importantly I was granted an opportunity to see how I could tackle social issues on a larger scale. While working at the shelter I met Pat Ford, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Nebraska in Omaha. He would visit our shelter often, helping clients with a broad range of legal issues. Although I had little more then a GED at the time, I derived, partially from his work, that an education was my best chance to hurdle the various challenges of poverty that was experienced by myself and countless others.
I will enjoy celebrating my graduation from the University of Nebraska at Omaha this spring. I'm getting married in May as well. I am proud of the formidable road I traveled to get here and I see no reason to slow my pace. I just hope that the next chapter of my story can begin at XXX University School of Law, where I can learn a skill set that I can return to the society that took care of me years before.

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esq
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: After seeking expert advice how is this?

Postby esq » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:57 pm

ryanw5520 wrote:
We were attached to the salvation army for over a year, progressing through transitional shelters and eventually to scattered site housing. My mother's financial struggles motivated me to try and be as financially independent as possible. At that time it seemed working was my only freedom. I started working in the cornfields of South Dakota over the summer when I was thirteen and I loved it. Working provided me an escape from home, independence, and a sense of dignity that replaced the stigma. Working eventually took over my life; my senior year was spent working overnights and by the second half of the school day I was asleep. Although I have been (passive) am proud of my work ethic I have never been proud of my decision to drop out of high school. Time and hindsight have provided me countless opportunities for regret which many times I have fulfilled. However, I havepersisted in and molded that regret into motivation to pursue an education.
My position within the shelter compelled me to recall many of my personal experiences with poverty to help see things through the eyes of our residents, but more importantly I was granted an opportunity to see how I could tackle social issues on a larger scale. While working at the shelter I met Pat Ford, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Nebraska in Omaha. He would visit our shelter often, helping clients with a broad range of legal issues. Although I had little more then a GED at the time, I derived, partially from his work, that a legal education was my best chance to hurdle the various challenges of poverty that was experienced by myself and countless others. (did he also motivate you to get a legal education? If so, I would suggest the edits in blue.)
Upon celebrating my graduation from the University of Nebraska at Omaha this spring, I hope to take what I have learned and continue on to XXX University School of law. (this seems to be a better continuation from the last paragraph) (I'm getting married in May as well. - you need a better way to fit this in.) I am proud of the formidable road I traveled to get here and I see no reason to slow my pace. With the help of a legal education from XXX University School of Law, I am eager to develop a skill set that will allow me to give back to the society that took care of me years before.


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Overall, I think that you have a pretty solid PS here. These suggestions are just some of the things I would tweak if I were in your shoes. Good luck!

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

Re: After seeking expert advice how is this?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:13 pm

This essay needs substantial revision. Does your university have a writing center ? If so, ask for editorial help. The story is good, but the delivery needs refinement. The sentences are too wordy; try to write in a more concise manner comprised of crisp. clear sentences. The opening sentence is weak.

Peg
Posts: 331
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:32 am

Re: After seeking expert advice how is this?

Postby Peg » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:57 am

This isn't a well-written PS. Good subject, but really bad writing.

ryanw5520 wrote:I could not ignore the chord that was struck within me as I prepared to advocate for the family at hand. This first sentence is painfully verbose and melodramatic and will make the adcomm laugh. It made me cringe. My advice is try to be as non-theatrical/dramatic as you possibly can, because otherwise the reader will feel turned off. I was part of the support staff for the Mary Catherine Macauley Center for Women and Families, and we were holding our weekly meeting to discuss issues within the house. Over the weekend I had completed the intake on a family of four, a father and three sons. Two of the sons were ages fourteen and sixteen, and the issue was whether we could afford to give the two boys a room of their own if it meant others would be denied shelter. As my turn to speak grew near, emotions of appreciation and remorse befell me. I seem to remember reading this PS - I think I might have critiqued an earlier draft? I definitely remember reading this "appreciation and remorse" piece before. Please DO NOT use it. Not only is it passive voice, it's completely wooden and artificial and does not in any way get the reader under your skin, which is where the reader should be. Also, what are you feeling appreciative of? That sounds so out of place. Anyway, instead try, "As it neared my turn to speak, I struggled with conflicting feelings" or something like that. When my turn came, I was void of the usual nervousness and anxiety that accompanies public speaking; I would change this to, "I didn't feel nervous." Seriously, this is ridiculously verbose. rather I felt an over-whelming confidence that was supported by feelings of purposeness, dignity, and appreciation It feels like you're just throwing emotions into a blender to see what mixture comes out of it. This feels wooden. Don't describe your emotions like this, it will produce yawns at best. I do not understand what purposeness, dignity and appreciation have to do with your confidence, your lack of nervousness, or even the subject you're about to speak of. They're meaningless words and what's worse, they are LOTS of meaningless words. If I were you I would seriously consider cutting this whole sentence out because I think it adds nothing to the essay. I then delivered a very effective and sound argument We only have your word for it. I think you should relate the argument or at least describe how people reacted to it. as to how allowing them to stay in two rooms would help maintain the family's morale, especially amongst the older ones whose age puts them at a greater risk of becoming individual homeless youths. I admit that I had a unique familiarity with the situation which undoubtedly fueled my efforts.


I don't have to time to read further than this but I think CanadianWolf pretty much got it spot on - please look around for good editing help, maybe at your college. I would especially cut down vastly on all the descriptive words and sentences. Good luck.




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