FIRST DRAFT PLEASE HELP!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
PosterNutbag
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:58 pm

FIRST DRAFT PLEASE HELP!!

Postby PosterNutbag » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:23 pm

I'm open to any and all suggestions/changes/corrections/additions/etc. other than changing my (controversial) topic.
Also I have no idea how to conclude this thing.

PLEASE HELP!!!!

My name is _________, and I am an addict. I used to only associate those words with the street urchins and degenerates depicted in movies and literature. I have a new comprehension of the meaning of the word “addict” and use it not as a handicap or as means to pass judgment, but as recognition of my strength and ability to overcome.

To contend with my fear of failure and to offset what I falsely considered to be a mediocre existence, I dabbled with alcohol in high school. I further experimented in college and senior year I met the first love of my life; it came in a bag. My initially infrequent and social habit rapidly progressed into consistent daily use, and consistent daily use shifted into full-blown active addiction. I dispensed with any goals and aspirations I had once possessed, and I lacked any semblance of self-esteem. One and a half years later, on December 13, 2008, I almost died.

I can remember hearing the voices of doctors and emergency medical staff frantically checking my vitals as I slipped in and out of consciousness. I awoke in a cold and sterile hospital room with my parents, eyes red and swollen from crying, standing over me. I didn’t have an epiphany or sudden moment of clarity, but for the first time in a long time I stopped thinking that I had all the answers and I asked for help.

I checked myself into the hospital and subsequent to my discharge I completed an outpatient program. Wholly devoted to my recovery, I began attending 12 step meetings where I emerged as a natural leader. My peers consistently elect me to numerous executive positions, and I am frequently asked to speak at meetings and conventions. I dedicate my time to helping others by volunteering weekly in an inpatient drug rehabilitation program. I have even come to sponsor women who admire my courage, strength and hope; those attributes have enabled me to overcome tremendous obstacles.

Shortly after my discharge from the hospital my parents divorced. Throughout that two-year process each played me against the other. At age 25 I survived a cancer scare, enduring countless biopsies and painful surgeries that rendered me unable to bear children. Despite emotionally trying circumstances such as these I continued to thrive.

I sought out and obtained my first career-oriented job, a legal assistant position at a law firm specializing in real estate law. Eight months later and eager for a new challenge, I accepted my current position working as a paralegal for a litigator in New York City. The experience and insight that I have gained affirm for me my desire to pursue a career in law.

More important than my exterior successes is the sense of self-worth I have regained. Today I act out of confidence instead of fear. I no longer feel obligated to make choices to appease others at the expense of my own fulfillment. I do not question or regret my prior choices, but instead recognize each day as an opportunity for personal growth. My path in life has not been easy and it has taken twists and turns of which I am not proud. However, I am proud of the person that I have become despite the trials and tribulations of my past.

A dedicated daughter, I spend sleepless nights with my mother, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1997, while she receives IV steroid treatments. I am available to accompany my father who suffers from advanced kidney disease to his numerous doctors’ appointments. I am an ally and friend to my sister who once again seeks my counsel and company. I form healthy relationships with friends who trust and respect me, and I am a valued and diligent employee.

I received a second chance at the life I almost squandered, and I am determined not to let such a significant bestowal go to waste. I do not know what encumbrances await me, but I am confident that my maturity, perseverance and dedication will enable me to achieve success and to actualize my goals even in the face of adversity. I am motivated and prepared to take on the rigors of my next challenge – law school.

afa_brandon
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: FIRST DRAFT PLEASE HELP!!

Postby afa_brandon » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:41 pm

It seems like you suffer from a problem that afflicts a lot of essay writers: you use essay English.

What comparative advantage does the sentence:
"To contend with my fear of failure and to offset what I falsely considered to be a mediocre existence"

offer over:
"To feel better about myself" ?


Not to say you can't be eloquent, but I think a lot of people conflate eloquence and wordiness. ESPECIALLY in an essay meant to convey something so personal.


Second, parts like

"Shortly after my discharge from the hospital my parents divorced. Throughout that two-year process each played me against the other. At age 25 I survived a cancer scare, enduring countless biopsies and painful surgeries that rendered me unable to bear children. Despite emotionally trying circumstances such as these I continued to thrive."

Don't tell me anything about you except that you've endured hardship. I think this essay just covers too much ground. It's like a bulleted list of your life's events with occasional commentary on what kind of person that makes you today, when the ratio of those two things should be reversed. Depth over breadth, imho.

Finally, the last paragraph is a lot of horn tooting. Those are all laudable things you list, but you should figure out how to convey them (and if you ought to in the first place) in a way that lets the reader infer what you mean to tell them without explicitly telling them.

I know none of this was the prescriptive kind of feedback I think people seek in these situations, but, there it is.

ETA: I think you should pick one or two of these events and discuss it at length, addressing the key points: who you were before hand, how adversity changed you and who you are now. Classic story telling techniques have a place in these mediums, I think.

User avatar
ix88
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:24 pm

Re: FIRST DRAFT PLEASE HELP!!

Postby ix88 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:33 am

I'm not going to comment on grammar or small syntax issues b/c I'm not going to copy-edit text.

However, overall I think this is a pretty good PS. It's the best one I've read on these boards in the past week (and if you read my numerous comments, I'm active on the Law School PS boards).

The PS is not boring. It kept me engaged. It shows how you overcame adversity and how you are now confident, instead of fearful. It shows diversity, "why law?" and how you are a transformed woman from your earlier years.

I suggest you remove this extraneous paragraph from your PS. It makes your PS unfocused and betrays your PS's theme. "A dedicated daughter, I spend sleepless nights with my mother, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1997, while she receives IV steroid treatments. I am available to accompany my father who suffers from advanced kidney disease to his numerous doctors’ appointments. I am an ally and friend to my sister who once again seeks my counsel and company. I form healthy relationships with friends who trust and respect me, and I am a valued and diligent employee."

Regarding the conclusion, I would write something specific you like about the school you are applying to. ie: a particular clinic, professor or externship program that interests you.




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