Need topic help...

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
imjustjoking22
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:46 am

Need topic help...

Postby imjustjoking22 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:10 pm

I am struggling with my PS topic (no surprise here!) and would love some advice on how to attack my topics.

- I was my mom's caretaker from ~13 - 19 years old (when she died). Largely because of this, I pursued a vetmed path (sort of became a "caretaker" in all aspects of my life). But, not my passion- after she was hospitalized for good the last time, I swapped schools and majors, switched to something I loved, did very well at it.

- Would like to incorporate my positive attitude- I know it sounds corny bulleting it like this, but if there is one thing everyone in my life would use to describe me, it would be this- I turn the shittiest situations into jokes/ try to make the best out of everything/ believe 100% in making my own happiness and have always been the person that others "lean" on. My favorite quote is Camus' "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." I would like to work this aspect in if I can make it non self-congratulatory, but more express that I make a good classmate/ student/ coworker/employee etc. I don't think it's remarkable in and of itself, but since a solid 5+ years of my life was caring for someone who literally faced death every day I'm hoping it carries a bit more weight.

- I left to attend college farther from home when she was doing better, then she got much worse and I basically sacrificed my grades entirely to drive home weekly to help her/be with her at the end, and right after she died, I returned to school and got my first sem. of straight A's- I'm finding it difficult to balance this between too emotional and too detached, but I want to convey that I let *nothing* get in my way short of caring for her, not even grieving.

-Right after starting college, I moved out/worked 3 jobs to support myself/kept caring for her just to have some space/independence... I don't have much WE since then (undergrad and then traveling) so I don't know whether it might be helpful to show that I have worked full time + been an adult and supported myself, even if it was at an unconventional time.

- I'm a super enthusiastic and engaged student (my LORs should reflect this, as I have several good personal relationships with profs), and had the "lawyer dream" my whole life, but I'm more drawn to being a lawyer now because I think it would play to my strengths - I enjoy reading challenging and technical material, am detail-oriented, work well in a team, good at creative/clever solutions - I also have business connections in my area and have a specific corporate field I'm very interested in working in.

- However, I also am interested in healthcare law/reform, due to what I have gone through with my mom and people I met through her. We were fortunate enough to have great medical insurance, but even then I had to spend hours researching/prepping to try to justify trials or medications to insurance (and several promising treatments were denied to her due to the legalities of clinical trials and/or because the insurance wouldn't cover them). I knew several people whose deaths were definitely due in large part to denied care, which was often deemed "experimental." I think that focusing on this might flow better with my PS, but I am losing myself in the PS to my mom's story and struggling to fix this.

- Backpacked for several months in Asia, so I have these experiences as well, which I have been trying to incorporate as a little intro "story" bit to lighten up the PS, but I feel that I'm risking making it disjointed.

Sorry for the train wreck of ideas. I've been wrestling with this stupid thing on and off for several weeks and don't feel like I've really gotten anywhere.

TL;DR : things were shitty for me but I have a really positive attitude and would make an awesome lawyer. Also, I suck at writing my PS.

horrorbusiness
Posts: 669
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:49 pm

Re: Need topic help...

Postby horrorbusiness » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:57 pm

imjustjoking22 wrote:- Would like to incorporate my positive attitude- I know it sounds corny bulleting it like this, but if there is one thing everyone in my life would use to describe me, it would be this-


This is actually really important. If you were to omit this, you'd have one of those painful "please pity and accept me" essays. I'd say being really positive about your circumstances is totally necessary to make this a winning essay.

Also, I'd probably leave out your backpacking story. All of the "foreign-adventure" stories I've read so far give me a really bad vibe (ie naive, well-off american becomes enlightened and worldy during their two-week romp abroad, their perspective is changed forever because they never imagined people could possible live any other way than they do). Not saying you'd be one of those, but I feel that it's exceptionally difficult for someone to make a convincing PS about a short foreign trip.

vkgarrett
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 2:35 pm

Re: Need topic help...

Postby vkgarrett » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:02 am

Just reading your bullet points, I see the common theme of your mother. I'd start a brainstorming outline from there. Come up with all the stories/points about your mother, and then be sure to relate them to different things about YOU (remember its about you, not about your mother). It sounds like your mother has had a huge impact on your life, so maybe by using her battle with her sickness (or whatever happened) it might be a cool way to bring out some different events and different points you want to bring up. Does that make sense? I also think that you will be able to show your "positivity" if you are able to write an essay about your mother's difficulties and still leave the reader feeling "uplifted" - so basically you wouldn't be listing that you are positive but instead showing the adcom that you have that quality.

Hope that helps. I'd also steer away from backpacking. I think you have a great thing going with your mother, bring it in. Just try not to make it depressing/a downer, you know? use your positivity :)

imjustjoking22
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:46 am

Re: Need topic help...

Postby imjustjoking22 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:06 am

Thanks for the input, you guys! I've written well over 2,000 words on this, and still amazingly have nothing to show for it... hoping something magical happens soon :o

vkgarrett
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 2:35 pm

Re: Need topic help...

Postby vkgarrett » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:16 am

It's going to be great I'm sure - you have a lot to talk about. If you want someone to edit it later, PM me when you have your next draft up :)

imjustjoking22
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:46 am

Re: Need topic help...

Postby imjustjoking22 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:16 am

vkgarrett wrote:It's going to be great I'm sure - you have a lot to talk about. If you want someone to edit it later, PM me when you have your next draft up :)


Appreciate it, thanks!!

JCOHEN
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:05 am

Re: Need topic help...

Postby JCOHEN » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:13 am

I'd start a brainstorming outline from there. Come up with all the stories/points about your mother, and then be sure to relate them to different things about YOU (remember its about you, not about your mother).


I agree that brainstorming should help you come up with a good starting point for a narrative-style essay focused on how you experienced your mother's illness and how this leads to your interest in healthcare law. I'll be happy to help you with a draft if you send me a PM.

User avatar
theadvancededit
Posts: 315
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:31 pm

Re: Need topic help...

Postby theadvancededit » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:56 pm

vkgarrett wrote:Just reading your bullet points, I see the common theme of your mother. I'd start a brainstorming outline from there. Come up with all the stories/points about your mother, and then be sure to relate them to different things about YOU (remember its about you, not about your mother). It sounds like your mother has had a huge impact on your life, so maybe by using her battle with her sickness (or whatever happened) it might be a cool way to bring out some different events and different points you want to bring up. Does that make sense? I also think that you will be able to show your "positivity" if you are able to write an essay about your mother's difficulties and still leave the reader feeling "uplifted" - so basically you wouldn't be listing that you are positive but instead showing the adcom that you have that quality.


I wholeheartedly agree with this. You have a lot going for you here and, if written well, your statement could be fantastic. It's a great thing that you want to reatain your positivity while talking about something so serious, and you can certainly "tug at the heartstrings" without being cloying or precious. Given the genuine influence your mother has had in your life, this heartfelt frankness and honesty will certainly translate through your statement.

Because this is a lot of ground to cover, be sure to outline and develop your argument structure. For more on that, see: http://theadvancededit.com/admissions/s ... our-essay/

imjustjoking22
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:46 am

Re: Need topic help...

Postby imjustjoking22 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:30 pm

theadvancededit wrote:
vkgarrett wrote:Just reading your bullet points, I see the common theme of your mother. I'd start a brainstorming outline from there. Come up with all the stories/points about your mother, and then be sure to relate them to different things about YOU (remember its about you, not about your mother). It sounds like your mother has had a huge impact on your life, so maybe by using her battle with her sickness (or whatever happened) it might be a cool way to bring out some different events and different points you want to bring up. Does that make sense? I also think that you will be able to show your "positivity" if you are able to write an essay about your mother's difficulties and still leave the reader feeling "uplifted" - so basically you wouldn't be listing that you are positive but instead showing the adcom that you have that quality.


I wholeheartedly agree with this. You have a lot going for you here and, if written well, your statement could be fantastic. It's a great thing that you want to reatain your positivity while talking about something so serious, and you can certainly "tug at the heartstrings" without being cloying or precious. Given the genuine influence your mother has had in your life, this heartfelt frankness and honesty will certainly translate through your statement.

Because this is a lot of ground to cover, be sure to outline and develop your argument structure. For more on that, see: http://theadvancededit.com/admissions/s ... our-essay/


TY advedit, I am checking out the links right now, very helpful!




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