PS First Attempt

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
tnjohns
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:09 am

PS First Attempt

Postby tnjohns » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:48 am

I feel like I'm stuck against a brick wall in writing this thing. Here's what I have so far, feel free to be harsh. I've got thick skin.

As I stood there, the sun beating down on the exposed back of my neck as the gentle warm breeze blew dust gingerly by me, my eyes began to water. Each note of the bugle announced what I was having a hard time accepting. Yet, I could not deny the finality I felt as the flag was draped across yet another friend’s coffin, another life taken far too early. The veteran inside the coffin, like so many others I have known, could no longer deal with the guilt and pain that he had suffered for his actions. The same pain and guilt I have felt everyday for so many years. As I stood there realizing that I began to wonder what had made me so different from all of them.

My self-reflection was quickly broken by the gentle nudging of a hand on my shoulder. It was another veteran, an old friend of mine, with the same question that I had been wondering written on his face. I will never forget the uneasiness in his voice as he asked me if we could take a walk. Given the circumstances I could never have said no. He confided in me that he had been contemplating suicide lately due to a number of personal struggles. Then what he told me sent a shiver down my spine, the only reason he had not done it yet was because he knew if I could keep going with the past that I have had, then so could he. He continued on telling me that he was not the only veteran that looked up to me, countless others did as well. In the pause he gave trying to calm down, I realized why I was different.

I was different because veterans saw me as a leader. Without realizing it my drive, ambition, and potential had caused me to be a beacon of hope in a world that always seemed so dark. By being myself and persevering I had become a leader among some of the greatest, finest leaders in the world. The veterans that looked to me for guidance saw in me not only who I was, but who I was capable of becoming. They did not look to me for weakness or failure, but rather success in endeavors that seemed impossible to many of them. In their often silent support they encouraged me to be so much more than myself.

They knew the struggles I had faced in my life. I had never hidden my poverty ridden past, which was only highlighted by the story I often shared of the only toy I owned until I was six, a handkerchief made to look like a ghost. That was a detail that only paled to the time when I was kidnapped, abused, molested, neglected, locked in trunks for days, and then finally recovered over a year later. My rough life had not stopped there though, by the time I was 18 I had spent over seven years at a children’s home where my mother abandoned me, which I will admit was an improvement over the time I spent being homeless prior to that. By the time I was 25 I had become an alcoholic in an attempt to stop my combat related nightmares. During my recovery from that my first wife committed suicide, a year later her sister did the same. In the middle of all of that chaos I also had to deal with the rape of two girls that were like my daughters by a young man I almost adopted. Yet, regardless of that past, I stood before so many veterans as a good father, husband, and mentor. I stood a man who was able to proudly look at where my life had once been, and know that because of that I could help so many others.

I have not forgotten for even a moment since the funeral why I strive so hard in my life to help others and to succeed. I do it for myself to some degree, but I am more than myself. I am hope to many veterans who lack the ability to see beyond today. I am a leader of some of the finest trained and most effective leaders I have ever met. I am an inspiration to anyone who has ever known me. It is for those reasons I cannot morally stand by and do nothing with my life! So it is that I strive in my life to excel at everything I put my mind towards. It is with a heavy mind and heart that I knowingly, graciously, and proudly assume the proverbial mantle thrust upon me by so many, and it is with a humble hope that I will someday be worthy of it.

Nicolena
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:49 pm

Re: PS First Attempt

Postby Nicolena » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:15 am

tnjohns wrote:I feel like I'm stuck against a brick wall in writing this thing. Here's what I have so far, feel free to be harsh. I've got thick skin.

As I stood there, the sun beating down on the exposed back of my neck as the gentle warm breeze blew dust gingerly by me, my eyes began to water. Each note of the bugle announced what I was having a hard time accepting. Yet, I could not deny the finality I felt as the flag was draped across yet another friend’s coffin, another life taken far too early. The veteran inside the coffin, like so many others I have known, could no longer deal with the guilt and pain that he had suffered for his actions. The same pain and guilt I have felt everyday for so many years. As I stood there realizing that I began to wonder what had made me so different from all of them.

My self-reflection was quickly broken by the gentle nudging of a hand on my shoulder. It was another veteran, an old friend of mine, with the same question that I had been wondering written on his face. I will never forget the uneasiness in his voice as he asked me if we could take a walk. Given the circumstances I could never have said no. He confided in me that he had been contemplating suicide lately due to a number of personal struggles. Then what he told me sent a shiver down my spine, the only reason he had not done it yet was because he knew if I could keep going with the past that I have had, then so could he. He continued on telling me that he was not the only veteran that looked up to me, countless others did as well. In the pause he gave trying to calm down, I realized why I was different.

I was different because veterans saw me as a leader. Without realizing it my drive, ambition, and potential had caused me to be a beacon of hope in a world that always seemed so dark. By being myself and persevering I had become a leader among some of the greatest, finest leaders in the world. The veterans that looked to me for guidance saw in me not only who I was, but who I was capable of becoming. They did not look to me for weakness or failure, but rather success in endeavors that seemed impossible to many of them. In their often silent support they encouraged me to be so much more than myself.

They knew the struggles I had faced in my life. I had never hidden my poverty ridden past, which was only highlighted by the story I often shared of the only toy I owned until I was six, a handkerchief made to look like a ghost. That was a detail that only paled to the time when I was kidnapped, abused, molested, neglected, locked in trunks for days, and then finally recovered over a year later. My rough life had not stopped there though, by the time I was 18 I had spent over seven years at a children’s home where my mother abandoned me, which I will admit was an improvement over the time I spent being homeless prior to that. By the time I was 25 I had become an alcoholic in an attempt to stop my combat related nightmares. During my recovery from that my first wife committed suicide, a year later her sister did the same. In the middle of all of that chaos I also had to deal with the rape of two girls that were like my daughters by a young man I almost adopted. Yet, regardless of that past, I stood before so many veterans as a good father, husband, and mentor. I stood a man who was able to proudly look at where my life had once been, and know that because of that I could help so many others.

I have not forgotten for even a moment since the funeral why I strive so hard in my life to help others and to succeed. I do it for myself to some degree, but I am more than myself. I am hope to many veterans who lack the ability to see beyond today. I am a leader of some of the finest trained and most effective leaders I have ever met. I am an inspiration to anyone who has ever known me. It is for those reasons I cannot morally stand by and do nothing with my life! So it is that I strive in my life to excel at everything I put my mind towards. It is with a heavy mind and heart that I knowingly, graciously, and proudly assume the proverbial mantle thrust upon me by so many, and it is with a humble hope that I will someday be worthy of it.


I feel like you're saying a lot of stuff that happened you, but nothing about how it effected your life. Maybe you could go into detail about a nightmare you once had that changed your outlook. Or summarize as a whole how your hardship changed you. The whole thing seems very melancholy and it almost doesn't give you any presence. Like yeah you sound like a great guy, and strong too with everything you've been through, but it's missing a hook and its missing why you want to go to law school. I hope this helped. I'm still very much struggling with my PS.

tnjohns
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:09 am

Re: PS First Attempt

Postby tnjohns » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:41 am

First off, thanks for you input. I chose not to put the "here's why I want law school" jargon into my PS. The reasoning for me is that my resume and application itself is ridden with my volunteer work in veteran's rights. I think the admission staff should be intelligent enough to pick that up. Secondly, I think that the admission's staff have to get tired of people stating why they are interested in law. I wanted a different approach. That being stated here's my first revision with some input from individuals in the forum. Thank you again everyone!

As I stood there, the sun beating down on the exposed back of my neck as the gentle breeze blew dust by me, my eyes began to water. Each note of the bugle announced what I was having a hard time accepting. Yet, I could not deny the finality I felt as the flag was draped across yet another friend’s coffin, another life taken far too early. The veteran inside the coffin, like so many others I have known, could no longer deal with the guilt and pain that he had suffered for his actions. The same pain and guilt I have felt everyday for so many years. As I stood there, internalizing the whole scenario, I began to wonder what had made me so different from all of them.

A few minutes later I was startled out of my self-reflection by a gentle nudge. It was another veteran, an old friend of mine, with a familiar loneliness in his eyes. I will never forget the uneasiness in his voice as he asked me if we could take a walk. Given the circumstances I could never have said no. He confided in me that he had been contemplating suicide lately due to a number of personal struggles. Then what he told me sent a shiver down my spine, the only reason he had not done it yet was because he knew if I could keep going with the past that I have had, then so could he. He continued on, telling me that he my name had begun to come up in his conversations with numerous other veterans, each time it was in a positive reference. It was in then that a look of realization spread across my face.

I was different because veterans saw me as a leader. The difficulties I had faced in my personal life, as well as combat had led to my reputation among veterans as being resilient, kind, and ambitious. They knew the struggles I had faced in my life. I had never hidden from them my poverty-ridden past, which was only highlighted by the story I often shared of the only toy I owned until I was six, a worn white handkerchief made to look like a ghost. That was the same ghost that I had held tight and cried upon for over a year when I was kidnapped, abused, neglected, and locked away in a trunk for days. My rough life had not stopped there though, when I was 12 I had to stand in the doorway of a strange dorm at a children’s home and watch the dust trail left by my mother as she drove away. The six years that followed though were the most stable years of my life, it was the first time I could count on my next meal and the first time I didn’t have to worry about where I would sleep that night. Yet, like all things, my time in the home came to pass. My solution to leaving the home was to join the military, an endeavor that led me to over a year of combat, numerous overseas deployments, and the worst personal demons I will ever deal with. By the time I was 25 I had become an alcoholic in an attempt to stop my guilt and pain. About a year into my recovery I woke up to find that my first wife had overdosed on Morphine in the middle of the night. One year later her younger sister committed suicide the same way. Her suicide note was written to me personally. Somehow, in the middle of all of that chaos I also had to deal with the rape of my two nieces by a young man I almost adopted. Yet, regardless of that adversity, I stood before so many veterans as a good father, husband, and mentor. I stood a man who was able to proudly look at where my life had once been, and realize the effort it took to overcome that.

Due to my past it came to be that by being myself and persevering I had become a leader among some of the greatest, finest leaders in the world. The veterans that looked to me for guidance saw in me not only who I was, but who I was capable of becoming. They did not look to me for weakness or failure, but rather success in endeavors that seemed impossible to many of them, an opinion that is only increased by success in school and my personal recovery. In their often silent support they encouraged me to be so much more than myself.

I have not forgotten for even a moment since the funeral why I strive so hard in my life to help others and to succeed. I do it for myself to some degree, but I am more than myself. I am a person that has overcome poverty, adversity, and extreme personal tragedy. It is also because of that past that I have been able to help so many others in my life, and why I look forward to helping so many more. I have come too far in my life to let any opposition stop me. Some of the finest leaders in the world look to me when they need to remind themselves of what it means to face the challenges that life may deal.

meg2good4u
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:47 pm

Re: PS First Attempt

Postby meg2good4u » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:30 pm

I'm certainly no professional editor, but here's my two cents:


"As I stood there, the sun beating down on the exposed back of my neck as the gentle breeze blew..."

If the sun is beating down on the back of your neck, it is clearly exposed. Sounds redundant...to me.


"I was different because veterans saw me as a leader. "

No, they saw you as a leader because you were different.

"My rough life had not stopped there though, when I was 12 I had to stand in the doorway of a strange dorm at a children’s home and watch the dust trail left by my mother as she drove away. "

End the first sentence after though. Make the rest a separate sentence.

"The six years that followed though were the most stable years of my life, it was the first time I could count on my next meal and the first time I didn’t have to worry about where I would sleep that night."

You're referring to the six years as "it." Should be they...or perhaps "they were the first years" rather than first time. This should also be split into two sentences, a period after "life" .

"About a year into my recovery I woke up to find that my first wife had overdosed on Morphine in the middle of the night. "

For such a tragic event, "about" seems vague. "One year into my recovery..." just sounds.....better. To me.

"Some of the finest leaders in the world look to me when they need to remind themselves of what it means to face the challenges that life may deal."

I think they know what it means to face the challenges without looking to you. Some of the finest leaders in the world look to you when they need to remind themselves that overcoming those challenges is possible and worth it. I see a big difference.


And may I add: thank you for your service, sir.

tnjohns
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:09 am

Re: PS First Attempt

Postby tnjohns » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:37 pm

First, thank you for your appreciation. My service was/is both my pride and pleasure. That being stated, thank you for your input. I'll be making changes here in a few minutes. You had some very valid points. The only one I disagree with is the difference between the sun beating on your neck, and the sun beating on your exposed neck. When you live in a desert, i.e. Arizona, there is a huge difference between the two. However, I will concede the change as the individuals reading it will likely never have lived in such a place.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.