Just a humble Marine seeking advice....

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Just a humble Marine seeking advice....

Postby USMCMatt » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:03 am

New to this forum. Wow, such great information from some pretty impressive candidates/students/graduates.

I don't really have anyone I know who is all that qualified to critique an essay like this....

It's my first draft of the "short essay" that's going to just a couple of schools.

I'm a 159/3.79 Not planning on going crazy with T14 school applications so please keep that in mind

Few things will change a person as much as facing his or her own death. In my case, I didn’t actually face it, I drove over it.
My platoon was assigned as a security escort for the new commanding officer of Regimental Combat Team 7 in the Anbar Province of Iraq. On the way out to survey several major checkpoints along the Syria/Iraq border we encountered sporadic small arms fire from a distance and one of our Humvees was slightly damaged by a small IED (improvised explosive device). We pressed on and finished the area tour with relative ease and no further resistance. On our way out of a village cluster along the Euphrates River, the lead vehicle slowed and reported a suspicious depression in the road ahead that had not been there in the morning.
Before the lead vehicle commander could finish his second sentence, his vehicle disappeared in a cloud of dust and flame. I barely had time to say “Holy Sh..!” before my own vehicle, the second in the convoy, was also engulfed in a ball of fire and road debris from another IED we had rolled over. The heat from the explosion was so intense for that split second, my eyebrows, lashes, and mustache singed, and the acrid odor of burnt hair mixed with the pungent smell of sulfur and diesel. The concussion of the blast felt like a punch in the chest from a boxer and the deafening boom seemed to reverberate forever. In reality, the explosion took place in just a split second, like the six subsequent explosions down the line of vehicles in our convoy.
The dust cleared quickly in the light breeze and we thankfully discovered there would be no ambush to accompany the IED’s. Despite the destructive force produced by those immense blasts, not more than a few light shrapnel injuries and some cases of mild tinnitus were endured by any member of the mission. After investigating the blast craters and debris area, our explosive ordnance disposal expert concluded that the blasts would have been fatal if the charges had been buried just a few more feet toward the center of the road. As the deployment continued, we encountered many more properly placed IEDs and tragically lost many good men.
Besides inducing stress, I can’t imagine law school and roadside bombings have much in common, but learning to handle stressful situations with grace and coolness was one of the greatest benefits of my time in Iraq. That deployment, and my service in the Marines as a whole, helped put some things in perspective, career wise. I returned from that deployment with a different attitude. I no longer felt invincible and I realized that my family needed me more than the infantry did. I saw firsthand that life can be cut short in an instant and not making the most of it is an incredible waste.
I took those ideas with me to school and my civilian employment and made it a point to give everything I had to both. The initiative and time management skills I developed over the previous decade allowed me to balance work and school successfully and will continue to aid me in the study of law. I am aware that the demands placed on law students are great and can be overwhelming, but I am well prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

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Re: Just a humble Marine seeking advice....

Postby nsbane » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:24 am

Last edited by nsbane on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just a humble Marine seeking advice....

Postby Master Tofu » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:36 am

You did a good job describing what happened but less good of a job tying it together and making it meaningful.

Also, I get what you're getting at (law school can be stressful) but your comparison of IEDs to law schools needs to go. It is a tenuous segue at best. Such a negative comparison may also lead the reader to think you don't really understand what law school entails or to question why you want to go to law school.

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Re: Just a humble Marine seeking advice....

Postby WWAD » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:39 am

I agree. Most of what was said by nsbane is what I was thinking when I read it. You have to tie the well stated and impactful story to what you have learned from it. Do not tell a story like that and then disregard it by saying it really has no connection to law school. Think deeply how you got from there to here and how it has effected you. Try and state it in a way that someone who is not pro-military could understand how it would make you a better student. One of the lawyers I worked for told me that a former Navy pilot told her that the reason he does not get nervous in court is because no one dies in court because of the trial. I would not steal that, but if you can put it in perspective it would help. I take it you were enlisted. I am very glad that there are a number of former enlisted service members at my school and as a retired Marine- I pull for the Marines a little more. Good luck.

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Re: Just a humble Marine seeking advice....

Postby USMCMatt » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:34 pm

Thank you for the advice. I see what you mean.

WWAD-Yes, I am enlisted...not sure what you are getting at though. That wasn't a slight, was it?

I have a technical question about the essay: Citation. I am pulling a short sentence from a book with a long title...do I need anything more than the author's name or would a formal parenthetical citation be necessary?

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