Close to submitting, critiques much appreciated

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:26 pm

Close to submitting, critiques much appreciated

Postby jamrclap » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:16 pm

A few concerns; too long, too descriptive, not enough about law? Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

On any given day you can always find me in the same place. As the first one to arrive in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant which I have helped open and run an expansion to, it is up to me to bring the kitchen to life. I navigate the darkened space, trying not to run into food prep tables, soy sauce buckets, or other numerous obstacles as I fumble for the light switch at the back of the kitchen. The ventilation fan above the woks starts up with a groan and provides some circulation, a much appreciated breeze especially during Memphis’ sweltering summer months. Garlic needs to be chopped, sauces are to be made, and I quickly divide up the responsibilities of an employee who has not shown up for work.

Fifteen minutes after the doors open, the kitchen printer starts humming with the first order of the day. The sound that a kitchen printer makes is one that always brings anticipation of the challenge ahead. After the order is finished, the ticket can be checked off and moved aside but not before the printer starts humming again and I have to wonder, what is next?

What is next is the constant uncertainty of the challenges that come with running a restaurant and the always present need to think fast. A seafood distributor fails to deliver tuna used in one my popular dishes and I must find it from somewhere else or decided to take it off the menu for the night. I am told that a food critic is in the restaurant and the pressure to ensure that their order comes out correct while making the presentations immaculate becomes my current focus. The grease trap that collects the waste water and grease from the kitchen suddenly backs up and I have to rush to rent a machine to unclog the sewage lines. In getting large orders out, I have to delegate some of the dishes to my Chinese counterpart and the line cooks, often using my broken Chinese and Spanish to get a point across.

When I am not in the kitchen, what is next are matters pertaining to the running of a small business. Employee turnover in the restaurant industry is a common and constant concern for which the correct process of hiring and firing employees needs to be followed. Taxation laws on alcohol sales in Tennessee have recently been restructured to the benefit of restaurants but sound book keeping remains a must in order to keep up with our tax liability. (Need to reword this next sentence but how) Through the sale of a separate restaurant and the faulty contract allowing the continued use of the restaurant’s name; I have witnessed the importance of properly constructed contracts. In a business where many of the day to day activities are controlled by various codes and statutes, such as health codes, fire codes, codes related to alcohol sales, etc., learning and complying with these rules is an always present challenge.

For all of the challenges of running a restaurant and the long hours required, there are an equal number of experiences that make it worthwhile. For example it is the look of enjoyment a customer has as they taste a dish that I have worked hard to create. Another time it is a group of friends in a corner booth laughing while surrounded by the décor and the furnishings that I designed and built. Sometimes it is the view of a full house from the parking lot looking through the front windows on a cool fall evening. It is the opportunity to hire someone that needs a job and a chance. These feelings of tangible accomplishment, giving opportunities to others, and having a positive impact on those around me are effects that I strive for all my endeavors to have.

Before working in the restaurant industry, I did not understand the intricacies and work behind every order that came out of the kitchen. This same type of revelation has also been true of my understanding of the legal aspects and challenges of running a small business. Working in the restaurant industry has inadvertently turned an interest of law into a lifelong commitment to the study and practice of it. The previously mentioned legal issues with employee management, compliance with ordinances, contracts, and taxes have been challenging and at times difficult to navigate. These challenges are not unique to my experience and are faced by those running businesses, small or large, every day.

My experience in the restaurant industry underscores the need for great, well trained attorneys while also providing me with the scope and motivation to see the next three years through to the end to become that great and well trained attorney. Much like the piece of paper that the kitchen printer prints an order onto; the experience of running a restaurant has left an indelible mark on me and brings anticipation for the challenge ahead. I have chosen ____________ to pursue this challenge because………..
What’s now next is a challenging three years that I am well prepared for and a career that I am committed to and eager to start working towards.

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Re: Close to submitting, critiques much appreciated

Postby kublaikahn » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:49 pm

Do you own the restaurant? The first paragraph is confusing. You work in the original restaurant, but helped start a second?

Rewrite the last two paragraphs. A lifelong committment requires a lifetime. You can say you will have a lifelong commitment to the law, but not that you do. You introduce new concepts, like how running a rest. has formed a legal interest, but this is not supported. How so?

I would alter the approach slightly to say, everyday starts the same, but everyday is different (new challenges, customers, etc.)

The part about it being worthwhile is good, but not well written. You should state the thesis more succinctly (e.g. The stress and hard work of running a restaurant begins anew each day, but it is rewarded with great satisfaction.) Don't using the "another time..." construction. instead, "When I stand in the parking lot and see the smiling conversations in the full, warmly lit dining room I know I am providing more than a meal."

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Re: Close to submitting, critiques much appreciated

Postby cutecarmel » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:34 pm

I learned more about your restaurant than about you in this PERSONAL statement. I feel that the first 3 paragraphs add nothing to your overall statement. It actually takes away from the statement because it feels more like I'm reading a kitchen manual than a personal statement.

I like the bit about the connection between your business and the law. I would focus on what aspects caused you to want to study law, and maybe more about how working in the restaurant has shaped you into the person you are.

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Re: Close to submitting, critiques much appreciated

Postby jamrclap » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:54 am

Thanks for the advice, I rewrote the paragraphs in question and just deleted the whole fourth paragraph so I can add more about the restaurant-legal connection and how its shaped me.

I used to be in politics and its been interesting to see the effect legislation I campaigned for and elected officials I campaigned along side have had on small business. It has really changed me and casued a shift in my perspective but I feel that wading into that arena would cause more problems and raise more questions from the AdCom. Any thoughts on this?

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