first draft. please critique. personal statement(military)

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first draft. please critique. personal statement(military)

Postby stevepark309 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:01 pm

From the day I was greeted into Basic Training by several angry Drill Instructors by cussing and screaming, I knew my life had changed. Like the other recruits, I was frantically rushing to get off the bus as formation had been called outside the bus. I had known all along what Day Zero would be like and had mentally prepared myself for it. Yet, the intense pressure of a Drill Instructor bearing down on me led to all of that preparation being thrown out the window as the infamous “Shark Attack” began. The “Shark Attack” as commonly referred to by soldiers is the moment when Drill Instructors begin their wonderful work of breaking any individual into a frantic, anxious, lost pup. They surround you as sharks would when they smell blood, towering over you, cussing, screaming as you cower in fear. I wondered at that moment if I had made the right choice as a storm of emotions brewed within me: anxiety, fear, anger, and excitement. I have come to realize that joining the Army was the best choice I have ever made. From Day Zero to stepping off the schnunk into Iraq and finally coming home after a year of deployment, I have learned many life skills which I can only credit the Army. Discipline, resilience, leadership, problem solving skills, and the ability to think under pressure are all skills which will help me succeed as a law student.

From the day I took my first step in Iraq, peering out of my dark Oakleys, weighed down by my 100 pounds of gear, and 60 pounds of personal belongings, I knew I was in a whole new world. Gone were the days of just aimlessly staying in bed for that extra hour, or those late night trips for that greasy burger and pizza. I was now placed in Camp Bucca, home to over 20,000 detainees and tasked with the security and maintaining of this compound. I was nervous but excited. Thoughts ran through my mind during my year there. How will I react if someone is killed? What happens if I do something wrong and a detainee escapes? Am I trained to react to all situations? Will my mind draw a blank when everything goes wrong? As I took a deep breath, the discipline instilled in me and the training I received during Basic Training and mobilization began to set in and all those worries and fears disappeared. I was trained to trust my training and to overcome all obstacles.

Working our shifts, we had 27 soldiers to man 24 positions. Having been tasked with the scheduling of the troops, I knew how physically draining the shifts were and how one soldier down meant the others would have to pick up the slack and carry the weight of that soldier. Injury and fatigue was not a valid option for me. Sirens and alarms went off at 5am one day signaling we had a problem. A detainee had escaped and the base was alive, buzzing with soldiers receiving orders to find the escaped detainee. During the search, I ended up with a high grade sprained ankle. The moment I heard I would need bed rest, I dismissed it. The training I received from the Army instilled in me the will to continue on no matter how battered, bruised I was. I was not going to quit on my fellow Joes. I now have a bone in my ankle which doctors say was broken off as part of a fracture from that incident. They were amazed I have no pain when seeing my x-rays. Knowing what condition my ankle is in, I would never change my mind on quitting on the Joes. I believe my stance on the injury led to other soldiers shaking off minor injuries to continue their duty and work to complete our mission.

Serving in a combat zone and working with those soldiers has been the greatest adventure in my life. Nothing can compare to it. Not only did I gain insight on how far I could push myself but I also knew I was capable of being in a high paced environment while keeping a cool head. The study of law reminds me of my experience overseas. Law is always constantly changing. Whether it be environmental law, litigation, or corporate law, lawyers are thrown into a battlefield fighting for what they believe in to complete their mission. The abilities nurtured within me through the Army instill within me a sense of confidence because I know I am disciplined, have the ability to be organized and come up with a plan, and most importantly, go that extra mile, through thick and thin, to complete the mission.

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Re: first draft. please critique. personal statement(military)

Postby smokemonsterfromLOST » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:37 am

Thanks for sharing your statement. A few quick impressions off the bat:

1. There's a lot of passive voice - even in the first sentence. 'was greeted'...'had changed'...if you try to use the active voice, your statement will pack more of a punch.

2. Some of your transitions are pretty rough - you jump from a storm of emotion to explaining that it was the best choice you've ever made. It's not clear to the reader how you made this leap.

3. The angry drill sergeant, while obviously real, is sort of a cliche. They don't really seem 'alive' to me.

4. Good detail in the second paragraph, though you may want to drop the brand name of the sunglasses.

5. What's a 'schnunk?'

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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:05 pm

Re: first draft. please critique. personal statement(military)

Postby stevepark309 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:47 pm

Thank you for your input. Sorry for the late response. I 've been away for some training.

I will work on the passive voice and my transitions and post here.

a Schnunk is a type of helicopter. :D

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Re: first draft. please critique. personal statement(military)

Postby alevin » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:52 pm

Is it different from a Chinook? This is just for my own knowledge haha

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