please help - not sure!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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please help - not sure!

Postby jaysgirl42671 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:13 pm

I'm looking for anything - I'm not sure if this comes off trite or if it has potential. Final editing to be completed soon if it's okay.

Thank you so much.

Coward. The word haunted me, branded me. I hated how much truth that word had in my life, but I was also loathe to admit how much I used it as an excuse when my friends asked me to do something I deemed too “adventurous.” By the time I entered college, I was secure in my safe but dull comfort zone. As much as I wanted to break free, I was actually afraid of doing so. Fears of failure and inadequacy had become a part of my everyday life.

Growing up, I had always lived by the fight or flight instinct, but when something would come up that I thought I couldn't handle, I always took advantage of running away. It was hard to realize and accept that what I considered a principle was actually making me into a coward. I may have been safe, but I had also never truly lived.

Changing my worldview would not be easy. I had always considered myself brave, but it was not the kind that made my peers positively take notice of me. It was a saucy stubbornness rather than a stable courage. Anything big in my life had been achieved through a reactionary thought process rather than a true, thought-out wisdom. I allowed others to talk me out of my dream of law school by listening to their comments that I would never be able to accomplish it. I knew that I wanted to change, but the process was painstakingly slow.

My conviction that I would always fail had to be replaced first. After a disastrous high school experience, I became withdrawn. I had numerous acquaintances, but few friends who I truly trusted. Although I had always been an introvert, but I began to branch out, trying to make friends who liked me for myself. When invited to a summer program at my future university, I hoped that would be my opportunity to reinvent myself for 100 strangers. Although hard, I managed to put myself out there enough to accomplish this modest goal.

Harder to tackle were my ingrained reactions. I began to work for a true courage, one that wasn't foolhardy and yet had an accompanying wisdom so I would know when it was truly best to back down. With help from a few close friends, I overcame my biggest fear of heights on a ropes course. I was terrified, and yet I knew that I had to do it for myself. It took some time for me to get through the entire course, but I had never before felt such a feeling of accomplishment as I did when I finished it. I knew then that while some fears may be natural, I cannot allow myself to be afraid to live.

I began to look for more opportunities to test myself, until the perfect chance came along for me to conquer my greatest fear: falling. Not the free-falling type, but the ability to relinquish control every once in awhile. Clinging to control of my life had made me feel secure, but I knew that I would have to let go, let myself feel experiences I had never dreamed about being able to do.

It was while I was on a study-abroad trip to Europe that I found out that we would have the option of going paragliding in the alps for a small fee. Truly the opportunity of a lifetime, I jumped in the chance to go and actually found myself looking forward to it - until the day that we were to go. The act of signing the releases passed by in a blur, as did receiving the equipment. Yet, looking up, the mountain didn't seem that imposing. That thought consoled me until I was on the cable car, slowly ascending to the ramp that I would have to run and jump from. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to convince myself to back out; that I no longer had to prove myself to anybody. But I also knew the truth, that I had to overcome myself.

My virtues were not formed in a day, but they were truly more appreciated for the sheer fact that I had to persevere to achieve them. While I may not have been the model for courage for my friends, I began to consider my actions as a standard that I would always try to live up to. No longer would I be afraid to live my life. When I tell people that my dream is to be a lawyer, I do not worry about their reaction. It is enough for me to know that I have the ability to face my fears and overcome them. I had always let people tell me what to think, what to feel, but now it was time for me to face the truth – I had to make my own decisions. I could not let people tell me that I was not smart or good enough to succeed in law school.

On the top of the mountain before paragliding, I steadied myself while I was being hooked up by my guide. When the time came, I took a deep breath, ran, and jumped. But instead of falling, I began to fly.


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Re: please help - not sure!

Postby theaether » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:22 pm

I think the first part about being safe should be shortened and compacted. Once you've done that you can focus more on how you changed, and the positive result of those changes, which are much more interesting and appealing to the reader.


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Re: please help - not sure!

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:38 pm

Every one can relate to fear. This is a great topic, but could be done much better. I get a sense of your ambivalence when you say you are a coward, and then always thought of yourself as brave. I would focus more on the competing ambitions of wanting to live fully and safely and how you reconciled the two.

Fear is a great motivator. Describe how you found a stronger force to move you. This is honest and, well, couragous. But it does not present you in the best possible light.

I would frame it about how early in life you wanted to take some risks but could never seem to step off the mountain. You also may need to discover the source of this fear. Here is a hint. It is easier to do what is safe. You lose nothing, but also gain nothing.

When you say you talk of law school and don't worry about people's response, that sounds so weak. You need to turn it on its head and say, I look forward to their response, or I am not afraid to express it because I am confident I will succeed.

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