Rough draft

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KJG
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 10:21 pm

Rough draft

Postby KJG » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:06 am

So here's the first rough draft of my PS. I usually feel very confident in my writing ability but never written anything about myself. please ignore grammatical errors. I will catch those later. Just worried about the statement as a whole. It all seems a little wishy washy.

As a young man, I had the privilege of being responsible for millions of dollars of equipment and over a hundred lives onboard the USS Pasadena. This experience challenged my ideas about me and my view of the world. My final days onboard, during the 2007 Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination, were some of the most memorable because I discovered a new passion and found an opportunity to lead.
I joined the military to gain mechanical experience and finance an education at a technical school. I never imagined that I would become a specialist in paperwork. In the United States Navy, I became a Quality Assurance Inspector. It was my job to research requirements and develop procedures to test, maintain, and repair equipment vital to the safety of the ship. Many people did not enjoy the meticulous hours of preparation for seemingly mundane jobs, but I realized that I had a knack for it. This position propelled me into leadership roles. The experience that I gained from these projects proved a great aid when I assumed the role of the ship’s Diesel Petty Officer.
I was in charge of a large diesel engine that provided auxiliary power and emergency services. While the maintenance of the engine was important, it meant little without documentation. The previous charges neglected the records and kept them sporadically. The relaxed attitude towards paperwork caused the maintenance of the engine to suffer. I organized the existing records and identified problem areas, but struggled to control the paperwork I received from operators. I often found myself performing their tests and correcting their paperwork.
When I began my assault on the poor state of our diesel system, I corrected errors that others made without focusing on the cause. I performed the complex processes of chemical testing and trend analysis because I felt sure of my own abilities. I neglected to focus on leading my division. Another crewmember performed a chemical test under the supervision of the ORSE staff and failed miserably. Instead of helping him learn the proper method of testing, I performed a subsequent test that set things right. At the time, I thought that I had helped the crew.
As part of the ORSE, crewmembers performed an emergency shutdown of the nuclear power plant. Procedure dictated that my division would start the diesel engine to provide power until ship’s personnel could recover the nuclear power plant. As one of my shipmates began to start the engine, he failed to follow safety procedures and the engine’s failsafe caused it to shutdown. This created the possibility that water had leaked into the engine, which could cause an explosion. The drill became a real casualty.
It was my job to lead my subordinates and seniors through a thorough inspection of the engine to ensure that it was safe to operate. Failure to execute this inspection properly could cause a sizable explosion that would endanger the crew and damage equipment. This inspection was most certainly a team effort. It would have been impossible for me to conduct it on my own.
As the engine hummed to a successful startup, I learned an important lesson. All of my efforts and hard work to ensure that the diesel system was in top shape were in vain because I had failed as a leader. My shipmate erred in his startup procedure because he had become complacent and thought that procedural compliance was unnecessary. I felt that everything about the engine was so important that I should handle it myself. I shifted those with less concern or knowledge out of opportunities to improve because I only wanted the best on the job. I allowed my shipmates to become complacent because I neglected those that were weaker. One person alone could not have performed the team actions that resuscitated the engine. In this instance, it was necessary for us to forget about our individuality and instead coalesce into a single unit. If any part of our chain was weak then it compromised the whole chain. I feel that I have a much stronger grasp of real leadership because of this casualty.
A few hours after the successful resuscitation of the engine, I collapsed. I had been battling a respiratory illness for some time and the fumes from the final inspection of the diesel engine acted as a catalyst for the illness. I made my way to medical personnel and lost consciousness. I have a vague memory of being lifted off the floor and my shipmates rushing to revive me. I began breathing moments before the hospital corpsman intabated me. I found myself helpless except for the help of my shipmates. This accentuated the necessity for teamwork that I felt. I spent most of the rest of the night recovering on oxygen in the executive officer’s own quarters as the ship prepared to call for a medical evacuation.
I received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal for my actions during the ORSE but I lost the ability to serve on a United States submarine. While the medal was a nice addition to my military resume, I feel that the lessons about teamwork and leadership that I learned will follow me for much longer.

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PinkCow
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:03 am

Re: Rough draft

Postby PinkCow » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:36 am

I don't have time to go line-by-line right now, but, big-picture, I really liked the feel and theme of this essay. On whole, it told me a lot about your own personal growth and experience. However, the way it is written at parts takes away from the message.
1. You do a lot of "telling" rather than "showing". Admins always say this, but it's hard to actually do once you write your PS. Basically, instead of just saying things like "I feel that I have a much stronger grasp of real leadership because of this casualty", you want to tell the story in a way that the reader can easily come to that conclusion without you having to spell it out for him or her. It makes your story much more powerful.
2. Stylistically, it was a little choppy and monotone, almost like I would expect a military brief to be. This is not to say that you should totally start flowering up your writing with useless transition and drivel, but it needs to be smoother to make sure your reader doesn't lose focus.
3. Finally, I think you should try to tell this exact same story, but tell it in a way that isn't so focused on your failure. I know that's the important lesson, but I think you could write it without spending undue time on the mistakes you made. You want to sell yourself - not excuse past actions.

In all, really cool topic though. I think it has great potential.

bbalcrzy23
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:57 pm

Re: Rough draft

Postby bbalcrzy23 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:55 am

PinkCow wrote:I don't have time to go line-by-line right now, but, big-picture, I really liked the feel and theme of this essay. On whole, it told me a lot about your own personal growth and experience. However, the way it is written at parts takes away from the message.
1. You do a lot of "telling" rather than "showing". Admins always say this, but it's hard to actually do once you write your PS. Basically, instead of just saying things like "I feel that I have a much stronger grasp of real leadership because of this casualty", you want to tell the story in a way that the reader can easily come to that conclusion without you having to spell it out for him or her. It makes your story much more powerful.
2. Stylistically, it was a little choppy and monotone, almost like I would expect a military brief to be. This is not to say that you should totally start flowering up your writing with useless transition and drivel, but it needs to be smoother to make sure your reader doesn't lose focus.
3. Finally, I think you should try to tell this exact same story, but tell it in a way that isn't so focused on your failure. I know that's the important lesson, but I think you could write it without spending undue time on the mistakes you made. You want to sell yourself - not excuse past actions.

In all, really cool topic though. I think it has great potential.


100% agree with all these comments.

Great story and theme. Just clean it up by "showing" more. Focus less on the failure. No need to tell them about your improved qualities and skills, this should be implicit. Tons of potential here for a great PS.

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

Re: Rough draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:33 am

This is a poorly written essay that portrays you in a negative light. Essentially, you tell readers that your borderline incompetence jeopardized the health & safety of the ship's crew. Several sentences are unclear; for example, " When I began my assault on the poor state of the diesel engine, I corrected errors that others made without focusing on the cause." The first phrase is done poorly, while the second portion of the sentence is ambiguous.

Overall, this personal statement is weak & ineffective due to bad writing & shoddy structure. Do you really want to tell law school admissions officers that because of your repeated inability to properly handle your assigned duties that you endangered the crew & the ship's equipment while poisoning yourself & passing out ? Basically your personal statement indicates that the Navy took pity on you & your incompetence leading them to kick you out by awarding you a medal.

KJG
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 10:21 pm

Re: Rough draft

Postby KJG » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:33 pm

thank you for the advice.

I guess I tried to put it together in a way that showed overcoming adversity. I see your point, but I would definitly not say that they took pity on me or that I was borderline incompetent. I completely revamped the records system and responded to a casualty. I was trying to cast the operators mistake in a way that I could show it had positive merits and led to growth. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. Still trying to wrap my mind around what a ps should be.




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