How personal Should I Get?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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mmotieju
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How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:25 pm

Hey guys, so I was interested in your opinions of my possible personal statement subject, and I thought I should ask before I getting too into it. Im in Canada if that makes any difference.

So Im thinking of writing about how my dads drug use has effected me as a person. He has had weed in the house forever, and actually grows it but Im not sure I should to mention that part. Back in high school we were robbed for the drugs and obviously couldn't go to the cops which really pissed me off especially considering my father kept using/growing it.
Aside from that, two of my cousins are in jail in the states for drug trafficking and my uncle recently died from drug related causes.
While my life could have been a lot worse, these things have definitely messed with my morals and Ive felt intense shame, guilt, anxiety, etc. from it.

I have used these experiences as motivation to not end up like this, and stay away from drugs and stay determined blah blah. So Im wondering if you think this is a good enough platform and maybe how far I should go? Like show specific ie. using the word drugs vs weed. Any ideas would be awesome! Thanks a lot!

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mmotieju
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:10 pm

I also have this one, its a much less personal/possibly offensive topic that I wrote for the last admission cycle where my lsat was too low. Maybe reusing/reworking it would be a better option?

Most people are surprised to learn that I have a black belt in karate, and looking back, it seems somewhat surreal. The day of my black belt grading was one of the most arduous of my entire life, cramming the past four years of my journey through coloured belts into a grueling five hour ordeal to reach a level few martial artists ever do. A plethora of forms, defense techniques and weapon sets were exhibited by myself and four others as we fought through the trials our sensei requested of us. However one particular occurrence that day stands out.

Nearing the end of the grading, we were asked to perform ‘Saber 1;’ the most advanced weapon set we had learned up to this point in our martial arts careers. Swords were handed out to each of us and unfortunately for me, I was given the only steel one complete with red ribbon on the hilt. So while this added a aesthetic quality and finesse to the set, they also proved awkward and created the possibility of tangling around the user’s arm. The other swords were wooden and lacked the cumbersome ribbons, however, I knew this would be the pinnacle of the grading that day and I had no choice but to simply go with it. As I proceeded with the set, it appeared that the ribbons and heft of the sword would not be an issue, but rather my increasing exhaustion as I eviscerated the imaginary targets around me. Swinging the sword to gain momentum and stabbing forward with all the ferocity I could muster, resulted in a loss of grip, sending the sword flying into the mirrors with a loud crash. Although the mirror did not smash, I was evidently embarrassed yet pushed myself to pick up the sword and finish the set. When the grading was over, I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Something I had worked towards for four years amidst times of painful injuries and wanting to quit had amalgamated and been completed in one amazing day. And even though my grand finale did not go perhaps as smoothly as I had envisioned it, the day and nonetheless been mine and I had prevailed.

My time spent in university followed a similar path. While I began my career in the Global Commerce program at the University of Western Ontario, I soon realized I did not possess an aptitude for accounting and struggled with the concepts required of the program. Disheartened by my lackluster performance, I was forced to consider potential other roads to my education. As I have learned over and over again in life, giving up entirely because challenges arise is not an option. Instead one must reassess, deliberate with him/herself and find alternative routes to their desired destination; universally known as ‘Plan B.’

With a new start, and a new direction, I continued school in Ottawa. Not only did I receive an educational lesson, but living so far away from home was fraught with challenges of its own such as figuring out Ottawa’s overwhelming bus system. It was another challenging two years, but that does not matter now that they are over. What matters to me is the ending, and I am proud to be the first person in my family to graduate university. Like my black belt grading, finishing university was not always the most fun but it was worth finishing, however I feel like my post secondary career is not over and there is more for me to learn.

I have been exposed to a number of different disciplines in my university career, including business, sociology and English, but law encompasses the parts I like most of each. My time in the Public Affairs Law undergraduate program at Carleton introduced me to several types of law, and the ones that foremost drew my attention included contractual and employment relationships as well as intellectual property. In my final year of the program, however, I found myself drawn to the environmental policy, or lack thereof, in the business world. For the research essay in my ‘Corporate Crime‘ class, I took the opportunity to argue how certain environmental disasters and/or cover-ups should constitute as crimes against humanity. I feel there are major problems with how first world transnationals are able to externalize risk and environmental degradation to lesser-established countries. As an issue that involves international, corporate and environmental laws, I believe this to be unfair and would love a chance to push for reform and advancement in this field.

I have grown up wanting the opportunity to create positive change and do something good for the world, and I feel this is the proper avenue. Even though environmental law is still a relatively new and unprecedented field, I am up to the challenge to fight for stricter policies and make sure they are abided by in the future. As the law was once created to protect the public from their government, I feel that the next important milestone is dealing with overzealous and benevolent companies. In my mind, the law is a living tool that can change and shift when it needs to in order to uphold the rights of the public, and establish equality. I want to be one of the future generation lawyers to wield this tool to create change and lessen the negative effects certain individuals have on the planet.

avemundi
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby avemundi » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:45 pm

It seems a bit disjointed IMO
First, I don't really see how karate and your university career 'took a similar path' other than 'The process was hard but worth it in the end', which is not a particularly compelling or unique similarity. And the whole bus system thing seems a bit...underwhelming.

Also, I feel like your interest in environmental law is introduced too late and too suddenly - there's really nothing in your PS that suggests you have any interest in environmental law for a long, long time and then towards the end it's kind of crammed in.

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mmotieju
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:57 am

Yes good advice for sure, I would definitely rework it. So you think I should not bother with the other topic and just rework the old one?

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mmotieju
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:42 pm

Anyone else have any opinions?

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Moomoo2u
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby Moomoo2u » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:55 am

the other topic is bad IMO for a number of reasons. 1) any reference to illicit drug use is probably going to be frowned upon (even if its not you doing it). 2) It seems like a lot of the PS would be focused on your dad and feeling like a victim and not on yourself (this is something I might add into an adversity statement addendum). 3) I don't see it as a good vehicle to highlight your talents and other things that aren't in your transcript/resume.

A personal statement should be personal, but it should highlight your strengths, passions, interests etc...

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mmotieju
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:31 pm

Okay thats a great point. Ill take the one I wrote last time and improve it for sure then, thanks for the help!

swoozie
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby swoozie » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:24 pm

I agree with avemundi on the second statement.

When I read it, I got a disjointed feeling not only from the karate to the school section, but again between the school to the disciplines, and then again to environmental law. I think the transitions need to be smoother, or you should revise so you don't need so many transitions. Nothing else in the statement really stood out to me that related to your sudden interest in environmental law. There should probably be more earlier on if you're focusing on one part of law already, you're telling me what influences you but nothing in the rest of your statement really confirms it for me. (I had the same issue with my first draft PS).

I'd also be wary about putting out the sentiment that your time in school didn't matter, only the ending matters. Considering you say later on that interest in law arose from liking the law portions of each of your classes and is your main influence for going back to school, it's jarring that you focused on saying it was "worth finishing" (was it worth going or only worth finishing? There's a subtle difference). When I read that part, it kind of left me with the impression you didn't really enjoy school, you were just glad to be done with it. It doesn't connect that well IMO to your desire to go back to law school.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:38 pm

Your personal statement is disjointed & poorly written--although the second paragraph is much better than the others.

Delete discussion of being overwhelmed by undergraduate accounting concepts & by the complexities of the Ottawa bus system.

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mmotieju
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:31 pm

I agree after recently reading it again, I think I waited until too close to applying to really rip it up and it suffered drastically. Im definitely going to take all your advice and I have some things to add since applying last year which I think will help. Making it smoother and less disjointed is my top priority, thanks again.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:52 pm

Focus on developing a theme for your personal statement that is clearly set forth in your opening paragraph. A possible theme could be that the disciplined study of martial arts has been the steadying force in a life surrounded by family chaos. And that you now intend to channel that discipline & dedication toward the study of law.

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twistedvagabond
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby twistedvagabond » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:14 am

Depending on how you angle it, I actually think that first topic could be incredibly compelling. I think the more affected you are by your topic, the more authentic the tone of your essay becomes. It might be worth it to sort of free write and see what comes of it.

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mmotieju
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Re: How personal Should I Get?

Postby mmotieju » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:20 am

You think so, twistedvagabond? I found this cool quote I could use if I went in that direction: “Every life is a march from innocence, through temptation, to virtue or vice”

Otherwise Im probably just going to scrap most of the karate part, using it to show a bit of determination, and emphasize being drawn to environmental law. This is annoying because so many sources give you different advice. I've read that sometimes its good not to mention why you want to do law at all and read some guys stt about wishing he had superpowers. lol maybe I should follow his example.




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