Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
colbarfran
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:11 am

Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby colbarfran » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:50 pm

[size=150]After high expectations, my first year at the University ----- was hardly what I expected. Classes that I thought I would enjoy such as French, German and Biology turned out to be subjects that I had little interest or aptitude for. My first year floor of peers and classmates that I had hoped to meet life long friends amongst turned out to have few social interests outside of consuming drugs and alcohal. Between school work, part time jobs, volunteer hours at the local food shelter, and a frustrating social scene, I began to feel isolated, overwhelmed, and stretched far too thin.


Realizing that I was slipping into a rut, I decided that I needed to change things up to get excited again about having the opportunity to go to college. I decided to pursue boxing, a sport that I have always had a fascination with but lacked the motivation (I was afraid) and location to pursue. Bamtam Boxing was a 30 minute walk from campus and I will always be happy that I overcame the nerves to take those beginning steps.


Walking in for the first time, Bantam was an intimidating place. The gym itself was squirreled away in the poorer section of Wisnooksi (a neighboring town). The interior was in a state of disrepair with carpets frayed, heavy bags taped up, and everything looking like it needed to be replaced or repaired a decade ago. The local boxers were oversized and stony faced and I felt small and out of place. Everything from the foot movements to the most basic punching techniques felt awkward and unnatural. The heavy bag wore my arms and back out and running the stairs took the strength out of my legs. I half staggered home that night and slept better than I had in months. Despite my weariness, there was something about the noises and rythyms and motions of the gym that attracted me and made me feel at home despite my initial uneasiness.


The next day I returned and made fast friends with the men and women who frequented Bantam. They were suprised to see me back and joked that few returned after their first day. With much work and mistakes, I learned how to jab, throw combinations, use the speed and double end bags, move my body as a unit, keep my feet properly spaced apart, and much more. Within a month I was signed up for my first official boxing match. I felt strong, ready and pictured myself winning a succession of matches on my way to my first golden gloves (local and national amateur boxing competition) title.


The nerves came back in a big way on the night of the fight. I was terrified stepping into the ring and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Before the bell rang to start the fight, my trainer told me to land the first punch and make it a hard one to set the tone for the fight. I ran across the ring at the bell and threw and missed. I then ate a glove in the face followed by another to my midsection that took my air away. I was in pain and gasping for breath and the thought crossed my mind about taking a knee and quitting. I didn't, but instead chased my opponent across the ring for the rest of the round and returned some of the punishment. The bell rang to end round 1 and I returned to my corner breathing so hard I thought I would pass out. The second round began and I was in the same shape and quickly lost with a TKO despite trying to continue. I had not run enough, sparred enough, worked hard enough on the heavy bag, and was too inexperienced. Despite the loss my trainer was impressed and praised my courage and spirit as he cut off my hand wraps and wiped the blood from my face.


I returned to Bantam after the fight as a new person. I was so proud of myself for not quitting and vowed to do better next time. I watched the tape of my fight over and over and saw some of my many glaring flaws in technique and form and conditioning. I analyzed myself and my opponent and mentally broke performance down in an effort to improve myself, so that next time I might win. Two weeks later I took another fight and lost again. I repeated this routine of analyzing details, breaking things down into small pieces that I could master, and working harder and harder to improve. I will never be a great boxer, and probably never even a particularly good one, but this sport has enriched my life in so many ways and taught me valuable lessons that have allowed me to enrich the lives of others.


The jabs, combinations and footwork were fun for me to learn. But the real lesson was one of discipline. Boxing taught me a level of discpline that had never been in my life before. I have worked numerous jobs since I was 15 and legally allowed to, but I had never really known work until I learned what you must put your body and mind through in order to succeed in boxing. And I never really tried until I took a beating in the ring and kept moving forwards beyond when I really could have and until the ref stopped the match. These lessons were learned through boxing, but they transcended the sport and influenced everything in my life ever since.


I took my new found work ethic and discipline to the classroom and excelled. I took another shift at my job and hired tutors through the University to help me through my most difficult classes until the next year started and I could reform my schedule to take classes that I had more interest and aptitude for. It was a long process but with great self discipline I have turned myself into an excellent student. By my last year of college I took a seminar in Anthropology and got an A-. It was the first Anthropology class I have ever taken and the professor only let me into the class because I was persistent in explaining my interest in the material. I worked like a dog for that A- and in an earlier time of my life I would have taken a C with a feeling of relief.


Law school once seemed a pipe dream to me, an obstacle that I really wasn't sure if I could overcome or would be ready for when the time came. No longer. I am excited and confident in my ability to succeed at law school largely because boxing has given me the discipline and self confidence to succeed in any environment and at any task I set my mind to. After helping and mentoring students and coworkers in my three years as Resident Advisor and Senior Resident Advisor at UVM, I want to go to Law School in order to continue this type of work in a more meaningful setting. I know that Law School is the place for me and I can't wait to begin this new adventure and see where it leads me.[/size]
Last edited by colbarfran on Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

colbarfran
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:11 am

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby colbarfran » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:15 pm

would really appreciate any and all feedback, thanks in advance guys

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sach1282
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:50 pm

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby sach1282 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:40 pm

Put line breaks between paragraphs. I can't read it like this, it hurts my eyes.

colbarfran
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:11 am

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby colbarfran » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:44 pm

sach1282 wrote:Put line breaks between paragraphs. I can't read it like this, it hurts my eyes.



done!

Naritus
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby Naritus » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:52 pm

I really like the concept behind your PS. and I am considering writing my PS on a similar topic (fought pro for 3-4 years...it changed my life).

As for a critique, here are a few things I quickly noticed:

1. Was the gym called Bamtam or Bantam (Bantam makes more sense)? You spelled it both ways.

2. The pacing seemed a little off and as a whole, it didn't read fluidly to me. The conjunction "and" was a little overused.

3. Get rid of the "-------" in the opening sentence.

4. Again, having gone through a similar experience, I can completely envision and feel what you went through, but only because I also went through it. I think it would be more powerful if you could describe the experience in a slightly more gripping way, as well as be a little more when going through the step by step of training/the fight. I know it was a powerful experience and can understand, but had I not had a similar experience, I probably wouldn't feel the same way.

5. There are a few grammatical errors that again ruin the pacing and force me to stop reading and think about what is going on. Here, the verb tense does not agree (past + present):
"interior was in a state of disrepair with carpets frayed, heavy bags taped up, and everything looking like it needed to be replaced or repaired a decade ago."

I do think you're on the right track and have a great idea. Good luck!

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby thederangedwang » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:57 pm

The overall theme and story is solid, but there are serious grammatical, stylistic, and structural problems (but since I am assuming this is the first draft, no worries)

My only major concern is the last paragraph which seems very forced and superficial. A law school PS does not have address why you want to go to law school or why law school is of interest. The PS could be just that, a personal statement...so if I were you, I would delete the last paragraph as it looks contrived anyway

colbarfran
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:11 am

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby colbarfran » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:15 pm

Thanks for the input guys. Needs a lot of grammatical work I agree I will get to that. I wanted to make sure I was on the right track with the basic material mostly.

Any ideas how to improve the flow and structure?

I was on the fence with that last paragraph whether to add it or not, anyone else want to chime in on that?

colbarfran
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:11 am

Re: Please help me improve my draft of a personal statement....

Postby colbarfran » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:24 pm

Hey thanks for the input man. I wanted to go into more detail but I held back because I was worried I would make it too long. Gym was called Bantam as you guessed. I will touch it up and get back to you guys with a better version

Naritus wrote:I really like the concept behind your PS. and I am considering writing my PS on a similar topic (fought pro for 3-4 years...it changed my life).

As for a critique, here are a few things I quickly noticed:

1. Was the gym called Bamtam or Bantam (Bantam makes more sense)? You spelled it both ways.

2. The pacing seemed a little off and as a whole, it didn't read fluidly to me. The conjunction "and" was a little overused.

3. Get rid of the "-------" in the opening sentence.

4. Again, having gone through a similar experience, I can completely envision and feel what you went through, but only because I also went through it. I think it would be more powerful if you could describe the experience in a slightly more gripping way, as well as be a little more when going through the step by step of training/the fight. I know it was a powerful experience and can understand, but had I not had a similar experience, I probably wouldn't feel the same way.

5. There are a few grammatical errors that again ruin the pacing and force me to stop reading and think about what is going on. Here, the verb tense does not agree (past + present):
"interior was in a state of disrepair with carpets frayed, heavy bags taped up, and everything looking like it needed to be replaced or repaired a decade ago."

I do think you're on the right track and have a great idea. Good luck!




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