Assistance/Opinions Please

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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memphisbelle
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Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 06, 2011 12:51 pm

Hi,

This is my first attempt to put something down on paper. I'm wondering if the theme or any of the writing is worth keeping. I'm really not sure how to tie it all together. I'm comma happy, so if you enjoy editing for grammar I would appreciate the help. I know it needs alot of development...



****************

One of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you’re only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Fall behind, and you become a liability to the group. Whether they choose to help you or step over you is entirely their prerogative.

I could write pages on my abusive, controlling, adulterous father or my emotionally unstable mother but that wouldn’t tell you much about me.

I’ve always loved my mother and sister and wanted nothing more than for my father to stop tormenting them. I’ve never been terribly concerned for myself on this matter as I’ve always fancied myself stronger than them and thus, their protector. I assumed this role at four. My mother had just given birth to my sister when she found out my father was cheating on her. She lay in bed many days and often relied on me to ensure that my sister was taken care of.

My father continued to cheat and my mother sank further into depression. They refused to divorce. Each year, he would threaten to leave us with nothing or to take my sister and me away. The back and forth quickly got old and sometimes I just wished he would do it already so that we could move on. My mother and sister had always relied on me to be strong and I became my own, immature, version of what I thought it meant to be strong. I was stoic and numb. When things given could just as easily be taken away, what was the point in becoming attached? I stopped caring about anything and everything in my life.

When they needed me, I gave in. I skipped classes and quit jobs to be there time and again to pick up the pieces. Bit by bit, I gave everything away until I had nothing. No job, no education, no options. I became a liability and I was stepped over. I knew I had to get out and distance myself from my family, but I didn’t have any idea how to do it. My father exercised a great deal of control over us. I worked day and night just to gather money to leave, but it ended up spent on a bill here or a dinner there when he hadn’t sent money to care for my mother and sister. When I finally left, I had nothing save a fourteen year old car and a job offer. The word ‘left’ tends to give the illusion of forethought and planning. I fled.

An avid reader of all things, I particularly enjoy reading about aircraft incidents. In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing that specifically causes the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. There are many factors at play in aviation- the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. As in life, there are things that can be controlled and those that cannot. Over time, small concessions and acceptances accumulate until you realize that there is nothing left to cede.

It was difficult in many ways to distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I took the job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve received several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, I returned to college. Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will graduate with honors in the spring.

I wish that I could say that things have changed for my family. Unfortunately, they haven’t. My sister has taken much the same approach to the problems we’ve faced and is currently doing very poorly in school. My mother is on depression medication and continues to stay with my father because she believes that she can’t do anything else. I’ve made my peace with the situation and with them. I can’t tell them differently, but I can show them.

There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I have had because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges and remain dedicated to continuing my education and my goal of becoming a lawyer.

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PKSebben
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 12:58 pm

A couple of comments off the top of my head.

It's clear you are a strong writer, but there isn't a lot of cohesion here.

The hook is good, but I'm not sure it's relation to the rest of the story outside of the loose connection to your interest in aviation accidents. The rest is a stream-of-consciousness mess. I suppose the main point of what you are trying to say here is that you've had some tough cards, you've persevered, and you're better off for it. But you need to really rethink a couple of the themes that just come off as depressing and weird. I think you have the tools to have a great PS, but right now this is a huge liability -- you kinda come off as a head case when it's clear that you've really busted ass, made some difficult yet smart decisions to better yourself. Let that be the focus of your piece.

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icecold3000
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby icecold3000 » Fri May 06, 2011 1:10 pm

memphisbelle wrote:
One of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you’re only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Fall behind, and you become a liability to the group. Whether they choose to help you or step over you is entirely their prerogative.

I could write pages on my abusive, controlling, adulterous father or my emotionally unstable mother but that wouldn’t tell you much about me. (this sentence is out of place/unrelated to intro. need more transition)

I’ve always loved my mother and sister and wanted nothing more than for my father to stop tormenting them. I’ve never been terribly concerned for myself on this matter as I’ve always fancied myself stronger than them and thus, their protector. I assumed this role at four.(A bit far fetched? You thought of yourself as your mother's protector at age 4. Rephrase) My mother had just given birth to my sister when she found out my father was cheating on her. She lay in bed many days and often relied on me to ensure that my sister was taken care of.

My father continued to cheat and my mother sank further into depression. They refused to divorce. Each year, he would threaten to leave us with nothing or to take my sister and me away. The back and forth quickly got old and sometimes I just wished he would do it already so that we could move on. My mother and sister had always relied on me to be strong(an example of how you had to be strong would be better than stating it) and I became my own, immature(different word), version of what I thought it meant to be strong. I was stoic and numb. When things given could just as easily be taken away, what was the point in becoming attached? I stopped caring about anything and everything in my life.(these last two sentences do not really flow with the previous ones)

When they needed me, I gave in. I skipped classes and quit jobs to be there time and again to pick up the pieces. Bit by bit, I gave everything away until I had nothing. No job, no education, no options. I became a liability and I was stepped over. I knew I had to get out and distance myself from my family(I think when you rewrite, you should focus more on this in the introduction), but I didn’t have any idea how to do it. My father exercised a great deal of control over us. I worked day and night just to gather money to leave, but it ended up spent on a bill here or a dinner there when he hadn’t sent money to care for my mother and sister. When I finally left, I had nothing save a fourteen year old car and a job offer. The word ‘left’ tends to give the illusion of forethought and planning. I fled.Than use that word . . .)

An avid reader of all things, I particularly enjoy reading about aircraft incidents. In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing that specifically causes the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. There are many factors at play in aviation- the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. As in life, there are things that can be controlled and those that cannot. Over time, small concessions and acceptances accumulate until you realize that there is nothing left to cede. (this analogy seems very foced)

It was difficult in many ways to distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I took the job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve received several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, I returned to college. Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will graduate with honors in the spring.

I wish that I could say that things have changed for my family. Unfortunately, they haven’t. My sister has taken much the same approach to the problems we’ve faced and is currently doing very poorly in school. My mother is on depression medication and continues to stay with my father because she believes that she can’t do anything else. I’ve made my peace with the situation and with them. I can’t tell them differently, but I can show them.

There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I have had because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges and remain dedicated to continuing my education and my goal of becoming a lawyer.


This is a good start, and you have alot of intresting stuff to work with. I think you need to ask yourself, what exactly you are trying to convey to the adcomm. This personal statement gives alot of insight to your family, but not so much into you. In my opinion, your personal statement would be much better if you focused more on yourself and less on your family.

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glitter178
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby glitter178 » Fri May 06, 2011 1:14 pm

Without even reading content, I can see you have far too many contractions. Contractions are meant for informal conversation -- I'd remove them.

kublaikahn
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby kublaikahn » Fri May 06, 2011 1:58 pm

I would use this as an adversity/obstacles addendum and not your PS. I am not saying it does not work as a PS but using it as an addendum would give you the opportunity to show two perspectives--this one plus a more upbeat version.

This is a mess, and thus probably represents you very well. :) I think you focus too much on the details of dysfunction and not enough on how you overcame it and came out stronger. In reality, children who function as the adult tend to have some over-developed coping skills, but also some under-developed coping/life skills. Your job is to focus on the former, and REMOVE all the latter. The Ad Com will probably assume some of the negative anyway (to your detriment).

Your writing skills are good, so you can get this done. The analogy is a great tool, but you are using it in a disjointed way that detracts from your story. I assume your theme from the opening paragraph is that you need to take care of yourself first, so that you can help others. But when I read the essay, it does not support that well. For now, I would cut the airplane stuff.

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Flustercluck
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby Flustercluck » Fri May 06, 2011 2:26 pm

memphisbelle wrote:Hi,

This is my first attempt to put something down on paper. I'm wondering if the theme or any of the writing is worth keeping. I'm really not sure how to tie it all together. I'm comma happy, so if you enjoy editing for grammar I would appreciate the help. I know it needs alot of development...



****************

One of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you’re only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Fall behind, and you become a liability to the group. Whether they choose to help you or step over you is entirely their prerogative. This relates to nothing. Unles you can tie in a seemingly off-topic introduction to personal experience or a theme that runs through your entire statement, it is ixactly that: off-topic

I could write pages on my abusive, controlling, adulterous father or my emotionally unstable mother but that wouldn’t tell you much about me. You told me about yourself while saying that you weren't telling me about yourself - and the way in which you've told me this tells me that you're passive aggresive. Also, you continue discussing this, after saying it doesn't tell about you... isn't that counter intutive for a personal statement?.

I’ve always loved my mother and sister and wanted nothing more than for my father to stop tormenting them. I’ve never been terribly concerned for myself on this matter as I’ve always fanciedword choice... fancied is rather whimsical. Choose something with more weight and convictionmyself stronger than themthis needs to be rephrased, you sound simultaneously depressed and arrogant and thus, their protector. I assumed this role at four. My mother had just given birth to my sister when she found out my father was cheating on her. She lay in bed many days and often relied on me to ensure that my sister was taken care of.

My father continued to cheat and my mother sank further into depression. They refused to divorce. Each year, he would threaten to leave us with nothing or to take my sister and me away. The back and forth quickly got old and sometimes I just wished he would do it already so that we could move on. My mother and sister had always relied on me to be strong and I became my own, immature, version of what I thought it meant to be strong. I was stoic and numb. When things given could just as easily be taken away, what was the point in becoming attached? I stopped caring about anything and everything in my life.

When they needed me, I gave in. I skipped classes and quit jobs to be there time and again to pick up the pieces. I can see how you may use the previous points to explain perhaps a dip in grades or resume blemishes, but the way in which you're conveying your experience is too drenched in resentment. It bleeds through that you resent the situation, you resent having to be strong for your family, and you essentially resent yourself. Personal statements should be positive, constructive, and uplifting... Bit by bit, I gave everything away until I had nothing. No job, no education, no options. I became a liability and I was stepped over. resentment againI knew I had to get out and distance myself from my family, but I didn’t have any idea how to do it. My father exercised a great deal of control over us. I worked day and night just to gather money to leave, but it ended up spent on a bill here or a dinner there when he hadn’t sent money to care for my mother and sister. When I finally left, I had nothing save a fourteen year old car and a job offer. The word ‘left’ tends to give the illusion of forethought and planning. I fled.once again, you need to be POSITIVE. Yeah, I understand things sucked, but you can phrase it in ways that don't depress the reader. Admissions committees are looking for success stories, not sob stories, and while I sympathize with what you've gone through, the way in which you express it will determine the way in which the committee judges you. No one wants to admit a Lifetime movie

An avid reader of all things, I particularly enjoy reading about aircraft incidents. In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing that specifically causes the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. There are many factors at play in aviation- the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. As in life, there are things that can be controlled and those that cannot. Over time, small concessions and acceptances accumulate until you realize that there is nothing left to cede. Took way too long to tie this back together, if you choose to use a metaphor (which i would discourage since a personal statement should be professional) it must be interwoven and re-referenced in every paragraph. This pops back into the narrative out of nowhere and is essentially non-sequiter at this point in the essay. Unless you worked with aircraft, remove it

It was difficult in many ways to distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I took the job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve received several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, I returned to college. Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will graduate with honors in the spring. DISCUSS THIS - celebrate your successes! how did you advance, what did you learn in your job, how important your family is to you and what have you done to ensure they don't have to endure what you did? This should be the bulk of your essay, not a footnote after you've already depressed the reader into disconnection

I wish that I could say that things have changed for my family. Unfortunately, they haven’t. bringing me down again. END WITH SOMETHING POSITIVEMy sister has taken much the same approach to the problems we’ve faced and is currently doing very poorly in school. My mother is on depression medication and continues to stay with my father because she believes that she can’t do anything else. I’ve made my peace with the situation and with them. I can’t tell them differently, but I can show them. How? This doesn't actually mean anything unless you explain it. How does your law degree show them? (I assume that's the angle you were aiming for?)

There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I have had because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges and remain dedicated to continuing my education and my goal of becoming a lawyer.Why? Through this whole essay you've said nothing of why you want to be a lawyer. What led to your interest in law, what learning and experience in your past makes you believe you'd be successful at law, what kind of law do you want to do and why? These questions are never even glanced at in your statement but they need to be included, and included with clarity and direction. Otherwise you just sound like someone who's using law as a continued means of escape from all the problems you discused and are obviously still hung up on. You need to present yourself in a positive light, because that's how you need the admissions committee to see you. Re hash and reorganize, lose the metaphor, send one paragraph on your struggles, one on how you found a way to move forward and on with your life, then 3-4 discussing various successes, perhaps interweaving how the difficulty of your upbringing pushed you to move past barriers and challenges etc etc

bmore
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby bmore » Fri May 06, 2011 2:32 pm

Interesting but disjointed. When did your dad leave, because you start talking about your parents not getting divorced but then not sending money. The airline stuff is just stuck in there. Law schools want to know what you will add to their school. Give them more of this. Good luck.

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PKSebben
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 2:32 pm

I've made some quick and dirty edits. I'll take this down if you ask, but it might be useful for other forum members to see my edits and comment on them.


******

As an avid reader of aircraft [history, something -- anything but AIRCRAFT DISASTER STUFF -- that's odd], I've learned that one of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you are only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Otherwise, you are a liability. Early in life, my instinct was always to look out for other's welfare to my own detremint. But through my experience with [my troubled family?], I have learned to "secure my own mask first." Consequently, I am now in a better position to help others.

I could write pages on my abusive, controlling, adulterous father or my emotionally unstable mother but that wouldn’t tell you much about me. I’ve always loved my mother and sister and wanted nothing more than for my father to stop tormenting them. I’ve was never terribly concerned for myself and I’ve always fancied myself stronger than them and thus, their protector. My mother had just given birth to my sister when she found out my father was cheating on her. She lay in bed many days and often relied on me to ensure that my sister was taken care of. My father continued to cheat and my mother sank further into depression. They refused to divorce. Each year, he would threaten to leave us with nothing or to take my sister and me away.

I was stoic and numb. When they needed me, I gave in. I skipped classes and quit jobs to be there time and again to pick up the pieces. Bit by bit, I gave everything away until I had nothing. No job, no education, no options. I became a liability and I was stepped over.

I knew I had to get out and distance myself from my family, but I didn’t have any idea how to do it. My father exercised a great deal of control over us. I worked day and night just to gather money to leave, but it ended up spent on a bill here or a dinner there when he hadn’t sent money to care for my mother and sister. [Talk about how you left -- what was the breaking point? Show that you worked hard to break free from this!) When I finally left, I had nothing save a fourteen year old car and a job offer. [For the first time in my life, I decided to put my mask on first.]

It was difficult in many ways to distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I took the job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve received several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, I returned to college. Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will graduate with honors in the spring.

In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing that specifically causes the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. There are many factors at play in aviation: the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. So too with life. [I have learned to not focus on the uncontrollable, but rather on what I can control: namely, me. With my "mask" fully secure, I am stronger and more capable than ever to help others.]

There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. Yet I wouldn’t trade my experiences because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges. [I look forward to the challenges of legal education and becoming a lawyer. But what I look forward to most is using my legal education to help others secure their own masks.]

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PKSebben
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 2:37 pm

kublaikahn wrote:I would use this as an adversity/obstacles addendum and not your PS. I am not saying it does not work as a PS but using it as an addendum would give you the opportunity to show two perspectives--this one plus a more upbeat version.

This is a mess, and thus probably represents you very well. :) I think you focus too much on the details of dysfunction and not enough on how you overcame it and came out stronger. In reality, children who function as the adult tend to have some over-developed coping skills, but also some under-developed coping/life skills. Your job is to focus on the former, and REMOVE all the latter. The Ad Com will probably assume some of the negative anyway (to your detriment).

Your writing skills are good, so you can get this done. The analogy is a great tool, but you are using it in a disjointed way that detracts from your story. I assume your theme from the opening paragraph is that you need to take care of yourself first, so that you can help others. But when I read the essay, it does not support that well. For now, I would cut the airplane stuff.



It's okay to use this as a PS -- I wrote a similar type PS and got letters from adcoms commenting on it. It has to be done well, though. Why rehash a resume? This is personal and delivered correctly, really shows what it took to get where she is now. That's everything to an adcom.

Otherwise, I agree completely with Kub's assessment and tried to bring out that focus in my edits. I like the airplane / mask metaphor. I think it's a great hook.

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Mce252
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby Mce252 » Fri May 06, 2011 2:48 pm

I think if you follow some of the advice on clearing up your analogy and focus more on the theme of the paragraphs below, it will be a very interesting personal statement.


It was difficult in many ways to distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I took the job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve received several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, I returned to college. Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will graduate with honors in the spring.


There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I have had because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges and remain dedicated to continuing my education and my goal of becoming a lawyer.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 06, 2011 2:49 pm

You are a survivor. Your personal statement offers a couple of interesting insights. Although revealing, I am not sure that your essay is effective in convincing the reader that you should be admitted to law school. I suspect that this version of your writing is more useful as a cathartic exercise for you than as an admissions essay. Lawyers aren't supposed to abandon clients. Put on the oxygen mask & help your passengers.

P.S. An old saying states: You can't love others until you love yourself. If you were truly healthy, then you should be able to help your family. As is, your personal statement portrays you as one who is surviving, but not yet able to help others. Is that the message that you want to convey ?
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri May 06, 2011 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 06, 2011 2:53 pm

I LOVE this...you are one hell of an editor. Do you mind if I use these edits?

In any case, I'm glad it's you guys telling me I sound like a nutter rather than the adcomms!

Most people have that reaction to the aircraft disaster thing. Yes, it can be depressing, but I look at it is an opportunity to learn from other's mistakes. I took a class in Crew Resource Management (the avoidance of accidents) and found it fascinating.

I'll pull back on the morbid stuff, though. :D


PKSebben wrote:I've made some quick and dirty edits. I'll take this down if you ask, but it might be useful for other forum members to see my edits and comment on them.


******

As an avid reader of aircraft [history, something -- anything but AIRCRAFT DISASTER STUFF -- that's odd], I've learned that one of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you are only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Otherwise, you are a liability. Early in life, my instinct was always to look out for other's welfare to my own detremint. But through my experience with [my troubled family?], I have learned to "secure my own mask first." Consequently, I am now in a better position to help others.

I could write pages on my abusive, controlling, adulterous father or my emotionally unstable mother but that wouldn’t tell you much about me. I’ve always loved my mother and sister and wanted nothing more than for my father to stop tormenting them. I’ve was never terribly concerned for myself and I’ve always fancied myself stronger than them and thus, their protector. My mother had just given birth to my sister when she found out my father was cheating on her. She lay in bed many days and often relied on me to ensure that my sister was taken care of. My father continued to cheat and my mother sank further into depression. They refused to divorce. Each year, he would threaten to leave us with nothing or to take my sister and me away.

I was stoic and numb. When they needed me, I gave in. I skipped classes and quit jobs to be there time and again to pick up the pieces. Bit by bit, I gave everything away until I had nothing. No job, no education, no options. I became a liability and I was stepped over.

I knew I had to get out and distance myself from my family, but I didn’t have any idea how to do it. My father exercised a great deal of control over us. I worked day and night just to gather money to leave, but it ended up spent on a bill here or a dinner there when he hadn’t sent money to care for my mother and sister. [Talk about how you left -- what was the breaking point? Show that you worked hard to break free from this!) When I finally left, I had nothing save a fourteen year old car and a job offer. [For the first time in my life, I decided to put my mask on first.]

It was difficult in many ways to distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I took the job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve received several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, I returned to college. Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will graduate with honors in the spring.

In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing that specifically causes the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. There are many factors at play in aviation: the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. So too with life. [I have learned to not focus on the uncontrollable, but rather on what I can control: namely, me. With my "mask" fully secure, I am stronger and more capable than ever to help others.]

There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. Yet I wouldn’t trade my experiences because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges. [I look forward to the challenges of legal education and becoming a lawyer. But what I look forward to most is using my legal education to help others secure their own masks.]

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Fri May 06, 2011 2:54 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Lawyers aren't supposed to abandon clients. Put on the oxygen mask & help your passengers.



This would be a great transition with your analogy and would bring in the relevance as to why you'd make a good lawyer/student of law

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PKSebben
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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 3:02 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You are a survivor. Your personal statement offers a couple of interesting insights. Although revealing, I am not sure that your essay is effective in convincing the reader that you should be admitted to law school. I suspect that this version of your writing is more useful as a cathartic exercise for you than as an admissions essay. Lawyers aren't supposed to abandon clients. Put on the oxygen mask & help your passengers.


FAIL. The alternative would be that she could never help anyone. Not everyone comes from a household where it's easy to buck up and help everyone else out. Sometimes you gotta leave.

Also, there are times where a lawyer is ethically obligated to terminate the lawyer / client relationship. For example, if a case becomes outside the scope of your expertise or events come up in your personal life (say, health reasons) that would interfere with the representation. Same thing with Memphis and her family. It's an apt metaphor, really.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby kublaikahn » Fri May 06, 2011 3:19 pm

I took a crack at this to give you an idea how I think it could be repositioned. I would use it as an addendum and not a PS. It is obvious you are explaining some of your non-traditional aspects and diversity.
memphisbelle wrote:One of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you’re only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Fall behind, and you become a liability to the group. Whether they choose to help you or step over you is entirely their prerogative.

[Move this paragraph here] An avid reader of all things, I particularly enjoy reading about aircraft incidents accidents. In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing cause that specifically causes responsible for the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. A series of small errors, that alone would not cause a problem, when combined lead to catastophe. There are many factors at play in aviation- the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. As in life, as in aviation, there are things that can be controlled and those that cannot. Over time, small concessions and acceptances accumulate until you realize that there is nothing left to cede.
I could write pages on my abusive, controlling, adulterous father or my emotionally unstable mother but that wouldn’t tell you much about me.

My father tormented my mother, sister, and me. My mother lived in the haze of depression the comes from living with an abusive, controlling, and cheating husband. Even as a young child, as the older sister and the strongest in my family, I took on the role of caretaker and protector. I ’ve always loved my mother and sister so I ceded my needs to comfort my mom and take care of my baby sister. and wanted nothing more than for my father to stop tormenting them. I’ve never been terribly concerned for myself on this matter as I’ve always fancied myself stronger than them and thus, their protector. I assumed this role at four. My mother had just given birth to my sister when she found out my father was cheating on her. She lay in bed many days and often relied on me to ensure that my sister was taken care of.

My father continued to cheat and my mother sank further into depression. They refused to divorce. Each year, he would constantly threatened to leave us with nothing or to take my sister and me away. The back and forth quickly got old and sometimes I just wished he would do it already so that we could move on. My mother and sister had always relied on me to be strong in the face of uncertainty and fear. and I became my own, immature, version of what I thought it meant to be strong. I was To project htis strength, I ceded my own need to be comforted and instead became stoic and numb. When every good things given could just as so easily be taken away, what was the point in becoming attached? I lost hope and stopped caring about anything and everything in my life.

[Move this paragraph here] One of the primary rules of safety aboard an aircraft is to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In a disaster situation, you’re only as good as the benefit that you can offer the whole. Fall behind Fail to protect yourself, and you become a liability are no longer able to contribute to the group. Whether they choose to help you or step over you is entirely their prerogative.However, when they needed me, I gave in. I skipped classes and quit jobs sacrificed my studies and good jobs to be there time and again to pick up the pieces. Bit by bit, I gave everything away until I had nothing to give. No job, no education, no options.

I became a liability and I was stepped over. I knew I had to If I did not get out and distance myself from my family, but I didn’t have any idea how to do it I would have been stepped over in life. My father exercised a great deal of control over us. I worked day and night just to gather money to leave, but it ended up spent on a bill here or a dinner there when he hadn’t sent money to care for my mother and sister. When I finally left, I had nothing save a fourteen year old car, and a job offer, the hope of a better life. The word ‘left’ tends to give the illusion of forethought and planning. I fled.

An avid reader of all things, I particularly enjoy reading about aircraft incidents. In an aircraft incident, there is never one thing that specifically causes the incident. It’s always a culmination of small events, ones that if not combined with other events wouldn’t be catastrophic. There are many factors at play in aviation- the mechanics of the aircraft, the preparedness of the pilots, and the uncontrollable factors such as weather. As in life, there are things that can be controlled and those that cannot. Over time, small concessions and acceptances accumulate until you realize that there is nothing left to cede.

After years of being the safe harbor in my family, It was difficult in many ways to take flight distance myself from my family. Initially, I felt that I was abandoning them. I felt guilty and they used that to try to convince me to continue my old ways. However, I knew I needed to go, I couldn’t go back if I wanted to have any chance at a future for me or for them. I followed my natural curiosity and took the a job with an airline and delved into my work. Over the past five years, I’ve advanced quickly within the company. I’ve receiving several merit raises and promotions. I’ve built a home and a family for myself. Once I achieved stability, Gaining altitude, I returned to college and Over the past three years, I have been able to complete my degree while working full time. I will complete my degree and graduate with honors in the spring.

I wish that I could say that things have changed for my family. Unfortunately, they haven’t. My sister has taken much the same approach to the problems we’ve faced and is currently doing very poorly in school. My mother is on depression medication and continues to stay with my father because she believes that she can’t do anything else. I’ve made my peace with the situation and with them. I can’t tell them differently, but I can show them. By taking care of myself and improving my station, I am showing my family that when we know better we do better. While a series of unfortunate events can lead to disaster, a series of positive steps can lead to hope and success. I hope to help, support, and set an example for my sister so that she too can overcome her unfortunate start.

There are many routes available in life and I must admit that I’ve chosen a long one mine has been a circuitous one. It’s easy to stray from your course and infinitely harder to find your way back. Like most who have been through the fire, I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I have had because they have made me stronger. Challenges serve to remind you of your mission and to test your dedication. I have risen to meet those challenges and remain dedicated to continuing my education and my goal of becoming a lawyer.
Last edited by kublaikahn on Fri May 06, 2011 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 06, 2011 3:21 pm

@PKSebben: In this instance, it doesn't help OP's cause, in my opinion. I understand OP's story, but I am not convinced that it will help his law school admissions chances in its current form.

P.S. kubliakahn's version is much more positive & convincing.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby kublaikahn » Fri May 06, 2011 3:30 pm

.
Last edited by kublaikahn on Sun May 15, 2011 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 06, 2011 3:46 pm

The difference is that OP's version seeks pity, while your version attempts to show strength.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby kublaikahn » Fri May 06, 2011 3:50 pm

.
Last edited by kublaikahn on Sun May 15, 2011 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 06, 2011 4:00 pm

That was exactly what I was worried about...I don't want to come off as pitiful. I want to be accepted to law school because I'm awesome. :D

Thanks Kub, I like your edits as well. I think some mixture of the two will be necessary since I like the theme/metaphor and think that it pretty well sums up the experience. I don't want to depress people, though. I'm very appreciative of the help. I'll redo it here soon and see what I can come up with. Keep the ideas coming!



kublaikahn wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:The difference is that OP's version seeks pity, while your version attempts to show strength.


Which is weird because OP is strong and I am pitiful.
:lol:

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 4:03 pm

I think a good mix of our edits is a good idea. I would make sure not to overuse flight metaphors if you combine our work -- between both of us, I think we beat that horse dead. "Gaining altitude" is nifty on its own, combined with the rest of the edits -- could elicit a *groan*

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 4:05 pm

kublaikahn wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:@PKSebben: In this instance, it doesn't help OP's cause, in my opinion. I understand OP's story, but I am not convinced that it will help his law school admissions chances in its current form.

P.S. kubliakahn's version is much more positive & convincing.


Thanks for that. But I just reread it and still think it is too negative. Needs more work.


Personal statements don't have to be unicorns shooting rainbows and some gravitas is useful. That shit is serious and it obviously took serious work to overcome those obstacles.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby PKSebben » Fri May 06, 2011 4:16 pm

I'm torn between kub's arrangement of the two metaphor paragraphs and my own.

His version: Small things add up to disaster -> explanation of small things that added up to disaster in house -> disaster response means taking care of yourself first ->

Pros: makes more logical sense, more positive

Cons: Loses the good oxygen mask hook -- that keeps someone reading. It's an experience we all know have some knowledge of and fuels the reader's desire to see where the piece is going

My version: the hook -> take care of yourself to help others -> family history -> the AH-HA moment of when you got it all together and left -> what you did and what you learned (and the small things metaphor) -> how you're going to use this to be lawyer

Pros: keeps the hook, which I like. Brings the save yourself to save others theme right up front. I like the imagery of cabin de-pressurization hitting the reader right off the bat. It's visceral and keeps the PS memorable. Burying that line seems like the safe and boring route.

Cons: Tone is darker, makes less logical sense in a way, second airline metaphor perhaps beating a dead horse -- maybe more tight in kubs version

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 06, 2011 4:55 pm

Ha. Maybe I'll do my 250 on unicorns that shoot rainbows out of their asses and subsist on nothing but love. That should even me out. :mrgreen:

Will watch the flight metaphors. I like both, but I agree that overkill is not the key here. Maybe I'll do two versions in the order that you guys suggested and then take a vote.

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Re: Assistance/Opinions Please

Postby SJU2010 » Sun May 15, 2011 11:37 pm

What bothered me the most is that you specifically said that you would not write about the abuse etc.... but you did. Maybe you should say that although your writing about this, it does not define you.




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