First Draft - Football PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
79radiohead
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First Draft - Football PS

Postby 79radiohead » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:39 pm

One day, roughly ten years ago I fell asleep watching a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. If anyone close to me had been in the room, they might have panicked and called 911. While many people planned their Sundays around religious activities, I planned mine around what time the game was on. I ensured that I completed all work and school related activities during the week, so I could have three carefree hours of cheering and/or hurling snack food at the television come kick-off time. Needless to say, my taking a nap during a game was a sure reason for alarm. Once I awoke and realized what had happened, I had a sinking feeling that I knew what was wrong. I hurried over to the calendar and realized - I was pregnant.

To put this pregnancy in context, I had recently ended a relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years. The dynamic between us was quite unhealthy, so sharing a child with this man was not exactly an idea that filled me with jubilation. In fact, my first trimester memories are a blur of quasi panic attacks and several variations of frozen confectionary treats. The next two trimesters were not much easier. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and could not walk around much without getting winded. I won't say that this was a painless time in my life, but I got through it by keeping my thoughts focused on my child. Before I knew it, I was the mother of a bouncing baby girl and all of my discomfort and doubt was gone.

Being "with child" is very different than actually having a child. Parenthood forces you to mature and it also compels you to be introspective in ways you never thought possible. In the years since my daughter was born, my initial bleak outlook has changed significantly and I see things in a strangely different way. Instead of concentrating on the fact that my daughter's father has not seen her in nine years, I focus on proving that I need not be a victim of circumstance. I did not have the means to pay for childcare when my daughter was younger, so I spent hours on the internet searching for legitimate work that I could do from home. Eventually my efforts turned into a long-term career in real estate. It took quite a bit of discipline and an exorbitant amount of patience, but nine years later I am applying to law school. I have had many friends and family members show their obvious doubt in my ability to succeed. In their opinion, I have a better chance of becoming the new coach of the Buccaneers than I do at becoming a lawyer. Sometimes this bothers me, but not enough for me to stop pursuing what I feel is right for my daughter and myself.

In a strange way, the characteristics I value in my beloved football players are the same ones that I see in myself since I became a mother. Football is a game of passion, discipline and perseverance. These players are only successful if they are truly devoted to their game. They must condition themselves mentally and physically in order to handle the rigors that come with 60 minutes on a football field. They need tenacity to be able to play their best when it appears there is no way to win the game. When it comes to being a parent, I am passionate about leading by example and showing my daughter that her future is limitless. I also ensure that I have enough self-control to make sure that my goals and decisions in life are not just about pleasing myself, but are also going to be in her best interest. My resolve does not waver when it comes to guaranteeing that my daughter is always in a nurturing and caring environment.

A decade ago I was sure that the story of my life would be appropriate fodder for a daytime talk show episode. I felt somewhat disappointed in myself and was guilty of wallowing around in self-pity for a bit too long. In retrospect, becoming a single parent was the best thing that ever happened to me. It has inspired in me a strong sense of responsibility that was lacking in my youth. It is all about balance. My ultimate goals have not changed, I just altered the game plan. Now when I watch the Buccaneers on Sundays, my daughter is there throwing Cheetos with me.

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GATORTIM
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby GATORTIM » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:55 pm

most people watching the Bucs at home probably fall asleep before halftime

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Lock74
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby Lock74 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:00 pm

Awesome. I like it. I may be baised since I am a college football player but overall it looks good for a first draft and I think it will catch a admissions officers eye and make them laugh.

IsTheFatLadySinging
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby IsTheFatLadySinging » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:01 pm

GATORTIM wrote:most people watching the Bucs at home probably fall asleep before halftime


hahahahahaha

79radiohead
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby 79radiohead » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:14 pm

GATORTIM wrote:most people watching the Bucs at home probably fall asleep before halftime


Geez - I knew something like that was coming. Care to comment on the content?

79radiohead
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby 79radiohead » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:03 am

Seriously, no one has anything for me besides the Bucs suck...C'mon! :roll:

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06102016
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby 06102016 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:26 pm

..

79radiohead
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby 79radiohead » Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:37 pm

slack_academic wrote:I like this for the most part. Try to cut out anything that isn't necessary. An example is when you say the relationship with your ex was "quite unhealthy." Unhealthy would probably suffice.

I also think you should consider talking about how your new-found sense of responsibility has aided you to this point. It's plausible to someone reading it that you've made the best of a tough situation, but how does that serve you as a professional moving forward? Give some specifics.

Strong overall, most of the work now is just finishing touches. Best of luck to you!


Good point, thanks for the feedback :)

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CorkBoard
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby CorkBoard » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:47 pm

Overview:
Honestly, your football analogy seems SUPER random because it is haphazardly placed in the beginning then only mentioned later on. I'm leaving it in the edits for the most part, but it needs to be reorganized in here somehow if you want to keep it at all.



Edits in strike/bold.

One day, roughlyTen years ago I fell asleep watching a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. If anyone close to me had been in the room, they might have panicked and called 911What? Why? Because you loved football so much? VAGUE.. While many people planned their Sundays around religious activities, I planned mine around what time the game was on. I ensured that I completed all work and school related activities during the week, so I could have three carefree hours of cheering and/or hurling snack food at the television come kick-off time. Needless to say, my taking a nap during a game was a sure reason for alarm. Once I awoke and realized what had happened, I had a sinking feeling that I knew what was wrong. I hurried over to the calendar and realized - I was pregnant. This makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. You fell asleep because you were pregnant?

To put this pregnancy in context,I had recently ended a relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years. The dynamic between us was quite unhealthy, so sharing a child with this man was not exactly an idea that filled me with jubilation. In fact, my first trimester memories are a blur of quasi panic attacks and several variations of frozen confectionary treats. The next two trimesters were not much easier. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and could not walk around much without getting winded. I won't say that this was a painless time in my life, but I got through it by keeping my thoughts focused on my child. Before I knew it, I was the mother of a bouncing baby girl and all of my discomfort and doubt was gone.
Wow, easy resolution. This paragraph isn't compelling at all though. Cut it and start over.

Being "with child" is very different than actually having a child The process of having a child, or of being a parent? Be careful with your word choice. Parenthood forces you to mature. and It also compels you to be introspective introspection in ways youavoid second person never thought possible. In the years since my daughter was born, my initial bleak outlook What bleak outlook? The one w/ your old boyfriend? Or life in general? You don't mention this at all, until the next sentence has changed significantly and I see things in a strangely different way. Instead of concentrating on the fact that my daughter's father has not seen her in nine years, I focus on proving that I need not be a victim of circumstance. I did not have the means to pay for childcare when my daughter was younger, so I spent hours on the internet searching for legitimate work that I could do from home. Reword this. Maybe something like..."Because I did not have the means to pay for childcare, I researched ways to work from home Eventually, my efforts turned into a long-term career in real estate.

It took quite a bit of discipline and an exorbitant amount of patience, butNine years later, I am applying to law school. I have had many friends and family members show their obvious doubt in my ability to succeed. In their opinion, I have a better chance of becoming the new coach of the Buccaneers than I do at becoming a lawyer. Sometimes this bothers me, but not enough for me to stop pursuing what I feel is right for my daughter and myself. Okay, I see the analogy...sort of.

In a strange way, the characteristics I value in my beloved football players are the same ones that I see in myself since I became a mother. Football is a game of passion, discipline and perseverance. These players are only successful if they are truly devoted to their game. They must condition themselves mentally and physically in order to handle the rigors that come with 60 minutes on a football field. They need tenacity to be able to play their best when it appears there is no way to win the game.

When it comes to being a parent, I am passionate about leading by example and showing my daughter that her future is limitless. I also ensure that I have enough self-control to make sure that my goals and decisions in life are not just about pleasing myself, but are also going to be in her best interest. My resolve does not waver when it comes to guaranteeing that my daughter is always in a nurturing and caring environment.

A decade ago, I was sure that the story of my life would be appropriate fodder for a daytime talk show episode. I felt somewhat disappointed in myself and was guilty of wallowing around in self-pity for a bit too long. Again, I didn't really get a sense of this at all earlier on, as it was only briefly mentioned In retrospect, becoming a single parent was the best thing that ever happened to me. It has inspired in me a strong sense of responsibility that was lacking in my youth inspired me to be responsible and balanced. It is all about balance.

My ultimate goals have not changedI just altered the game plan. Now when I watch the Buccaneers on Sundays, my daughter is there throwing Cheetos with me. Cool ending, still a little random. I think the analogy could be kept but integrated a little better in your PS.

tigershark
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby tigershark » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:55 pm

79radiohead wrote:To put this pregnancy in context, I had recently ended a relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years. The dynamic between us was quite unhealthy, so sharing a child with this man was not exactly an idea that filled me with jubilation. In fact, my first trimester memories are a blur of quasi panic attacks and several variations of frozen confectionary treats. The next two trimesters were not much easier. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and could not walk around much without getting winded. I won't say that this was a painless time in my life, but I got through it by keeping my thoughts focused on my child. Before I knew it, I was the mother of a bouncing baby girl and all of my discomfort and doubt was gone.


Not trying to be rude, but the way this is written comes off as "victim" to me--you were victim of an unplanned pregnancy with a lousy guy, you were the victim of a tough pregnancy, etc.

I tend to believe that adcomms don't want to feel like personal statements are a pity party in which they are expected to grant applicants admittance just because they had a tough road, which is why I'm generally against talking about issues like unplanned pregnancy, domestic abuse, or anything TOO personal.

That said, I think there are some strong elements to your story, specifically the second to last paragraph.

79radiohead
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby 79radiohead » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:14 pm

tigershark wrote:
79radiohead wrote:To put this pregnancy in context, I had recently ended a relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years. The dynamic between us was quite unhealthy, so sharing a child with this man was not exactly an idea that filled me with jubilation. In fact, my first trimester memories are a blur of quasi panic attacks and several variations of frozen confectionary treats. The next two trimesters were not much easier. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and could not walk around much without getting winded. I won't say that this was a painless time in my life, but I got through it by keeping my thoughts focused on my child. Before I knew it, I was the mother of a bouncing baby girl and all of my discomfort and doubt was gone.


Not trying to be rude, but the way this is written comes off as "victim" to me--you were victim of an unplanned pregnancy with a lousy guy, you were the victim of a tough pregnancy, etc.

I tend to believe that adcomms don't want to feel like personal statements are a pity party in which they are expected to grant applicants admittance just because they had a tough road, which is why I'm generally against talking about issues like unplanned pregnancy, domestic abuse, or anything TOO personal.

That said, I think there are some strong elements to your story, specifically the second to last paragraph.


Thanks for your input, I also am leary about the victim aspect so I tried to follow it up with the paragraph you spoke of. I am not sure how to explain the situation without sounding like a victim - in all honesty that period in my life sucked badly.

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IHeartPhilly
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby IHeartPhilly » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:31 pm

79radiohead wrote: I have had many friends and family members show their obvious doubt in my ability to succeed. In their opinion, I have a better chance of becoming the new coach of the Buccaneers than I do at becoming a lawyer.


Definitley take this little tid bit out.

dixon02
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby dixon02 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:50 pm

Didn't want to quote corkboard's edits, but I disagree about both the first paragraph edits. I don't think there's anything confusing about the exaggerated/sarcastic idea that they would call 911. It was immediately obvious to me that you were saying you are a huge Bucs fan (my condolences btw). It reads fine. And as you know, yes, being pregnant causes fatigue. I don't think that requires further explanation either.

Don't have any qualms with the other edits suggested.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby thelawschoolproject » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:11 pm

So I read your PS three times. Here are some thoughts:

1). I don't understand why you are aligning yourself with a football player. I think it's a bit risky. First of all, a lot of people would say that being a single mother is far more difficult than being a football player and by you comparing your experience to that of a recreational activity you sort of belittle your experience in a way. If your goal is to show the adcomm that you experienced something incredibly challenging, I think you're doing yourself a disservice by choosing to compare single motherhood with football. With that said, I have no idea why you chose football as the analogy in the first place.

2). I feel like if you're going to talk about being a single mother you should really exploit that experience. Undoubtedly, you have faced many challenges. You probably have a wealth of information to write about. I'd pick one of those very specific experiences that's the clearest in you mind and write about it. Don't waste your two pages of space on football analogies. Let the adcomm see who you really are. Let them experience your challenges as best they can through your writing. And, as always, don't just tell us how you've changed. It is far more effective to show us.

3). To some degree I feel like you focus on too many things. You mention the football, the real estate, the raising of the child, the troubles with the father. Obviously, you've had a lot of difficult situations in your life and the natural reaction is to try and include all of it, but it is much more effective to focus one one thing as much as you can. There simply isn't enough time to explore all the different complexities of your life in only 2 pages. It's much more advantageous for you as the applicant to choose one or two things to focus on.

Best of luck!

kublaikahn
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:26 pm

You should toss this and start over. Tell us a story about being a successful business person. The others' comments are correct in saying this is a confusing start and you sound too much like a victim. In addition, you paint yourself negatively in a number of places (e.g. "The dynamic between us was quite unhealthy" and "the story of my life would be appropriate fodder for a daytime talk show episode".)


Sell the story about building a career as a single mother.

seacow
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby seacow » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:22 am

I also think you should scrap it and start over. Most fundamentally, a PS should explain why you'll be a great lawyer. This only says you are a responsible and decent person. These traits suggest you'll be a good lawyer, but only implicitly.

Perhaps a shortened version of this could serve as a good DS?

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SilverE2
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby SilverE2 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:51 am

seacow wrote:I also think you should scrap it and start over. Most fundamentally, a PS should explain why you'll be a great lawyer. This only says you are a responsible and decent person. These traits suggest you'll be a good lawyer, but only implicitly.

Perhaps a shortened version of this could serve as a good DS?


No.

seacow
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby seacow » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:06 am

SilverE2 wrote:
seacow wrote:I also think you should scrap it and start over. Most fundamentally, a PS should explain why you'll be a great <a class="inlineAdmedialink" href="#">lawyer</a>. This only says you are a responsible and decent person. These traits suggest you'll be a good lawyer, but only implicitly.

Perhaps a shortened version of this could serve as a good DS?


No.



OK. So?

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kwais
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby kwais » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:32 am

SilverE2 wrote:
seacow wrote:I also think you should scrap it and start over. Most fundamentally, a PS should explain why you'll be a great lawyer. This only says you are a responsible and decent person. These traits suggest you'll be a good lawyer, but only implicitly.

Perhaps a shortened version of this could serve as a good DS?


No.


+1 In fact, one of the top contributing factors to why most PSs suck

seacow
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby seacow » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:36 am

kwais wrote:
SilverE2 wrote:
seacow wrote:I also think you should scrap it and start over. Most fundamentally, a PS should explain why you'll be a great lawyer. This only says you are a responsible and decent person. These traits suggest you'll be a good lawyer, but only implicitly.

Perhaps a shortened version of this could serve as a good DS?


No.


+1 In fact, one of the top contributing factors to why most PSs suck


Seriously, guys, why stop right when you could make a very constructive point?

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kwais
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby kwais » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:04 am

Ok, I'll bite. Your application is made up of half a dozen or so parts. Almost all of these are designed to indicate your fitness for a graduate program (Resume, transcript, LSAT, and a few LORs). You have one chance to show qualities that simply cannot come through in those other places. In my opinion, those qualities should be things like, humility, self-awareness, curiosity, humor, kindness. The qualities that people push in the typical "why I'd make a great lawyer" are aptitude, large vocabularies, confidence and such. These are not bad, but they are less likely to make an adcomm say "there is something about this kid that I like." Adcomms are people, and yet many think of them as computers. Yes, numbers are 90% of the game (maybe more), but why not make use of that remaining portion by writing an honest, personable, and interesting essay about who you are?

Now, there is a caveat. If you can pull out those former qualities with an essay that focuses on academic or professional pursuits, that's even better. But I have rarely seen it done well.

79radiohead
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby 79radiohead » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:27 pm

Hmm ok - getting some conflicting critiques here. I received a PM from someone who that it was awesome, and I also submitted it to some Ivy League writing critique service and they liked it for the most part but suggested some edits that make sense. With regard to concentrating on the single mom thing, I would like to do this but when I have tried it comes across as me tooting my own horn about how wonderful I am. The football reference is in there because it is something I am very passionate about - yes even though its the Bucs so I wanted to include something personal about me specifically. Doesn't single mom kind of seem a better approach for a diversity statement or no??

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CorkBoard
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby CorkBoard » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:27 pm

79radiohead wrote:Hmm ok - getting some conflicting critiques here. I received a PM from someone who that it was awesome, and I also submitted it to some Ivy League writing critique service and they liked it for the most part but suggested some edits that make sense. With regard to concentrating on the single mom thing, I would like to do this but when I have tried it comes across as me tooting my own horn about how wonderful I am. The football reference is in there because it is something I am very passionate about - yes even though its the Bucs so I wanted to include something personal about me specifically. Doesn't single mom kind of seem a better approach for a diversity statement or no??

If you (and the Ivy League writing critique) think it's great, don't ask for criticism here. Honestly, your PS is messy and needs to be rewritten. I think you have SOMETHING here, but it's not conveyed properly.

That being said, I think your single mom story could potentially work as a great PS topic versus a diversity statement.

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IHeartPhilly
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby IHeartPhilly » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:02 pm

CorkBoard wrote:
79radiohead wrote:Hmm ok - getting some conflicting critiques here. I received a PM from someone who that it was awesome, and I also submitted it to some Ivy League writing critique service and they liked it for the most part but suggested some edits that make sense. With regard to concentrating on the single mom thing, I would like to do this but when I have tried it comes across as me tooting my own horn about how wonderful I am. The football reference is in there because it is something I am very passionate about - yes even though its the Bucs so I wanted to include something personal about me specifically. Doesn't single mom kind of seem a better approach for a diversity statement or no??

If you (and the Ivy League writing critique) think it's great, don't ask for criticism here. Honestly, your PS is messy and needs to be rewritten. I think you have SOMETHING here, but it's not conveyed properly.

That being said, I think your single mom story could potentially work as a great PS topic versus a diversity statement.


Agreed w/ above poster. There are compelling points in your statement that I think you should have delved into further: i/e carving out a career in real estate from scratch while balancing maternal duties (as a single mother).

"With regard to concentrating on the single mom thing, I would like to do this but when I have tried it comes across as me tooting my own horn about how wonderful I am. The football reference is in there because it is something I am very passionate about"

Go ahead and toot that horn, but do it in a humble way. Explaining your successful experiences as a single mother, and how you are better for them, would not strike an adcomm as braggadocio. Self-promotion is implicit within most (all) personal statements.

Also, the football reference is arbitrary. I would personally nix it all together, it has no bearing on the message you're trying to convey.

You have a great statement topic, and I think your off to a good start. Fwiw, I re-edited my P.S about 5 times, and each edit was markedly different then the last but the essence of my statement remained intact. Just keep editing and you'll find your stride. Dont forget to lose the Bucs allusion, you don't want to align yourself with Josh Freeman anyway: he's an inconsistent jabroni.

seacow
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Re: First Draft - Football PS

Postby seacow » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:11 pm

kwais wrote:Ok, I'll bite. Your application is made up of half a dozen or so parts. Almost all of these are designed to indicate your fitness for a graduate program (Resume, transcript, LSAT, and a few LORs). You have one chance to show qualities that simply cannot come through in those other places. In my opinion, those qualities should be things like, humility, self-awareness, curiosity, humor, kindness. The qualities that people push in the typical "why I'd make a great <a class="inlineAdmedialink" href="#">lawyer</a>" are aptitude, large vocabularies, confidence and such. These are not bad, but they are less likely to make an adcomm say "there is something about this kid that I like." Adcomms are people, and yet many think of them as <a class="inlineAdmedialink" href="#">computers</a>. Yes, numbers are 90% of the game (maybe more), but why not make use of that remaining portion by writing an honest, personable, and interesting essay about who you are?

Now, there is a caveat. If you can pull out those former qualities with an essay that focuses on academic or professional pursuits, that's even better. But I have rarely seen it done well.



Kwais, SilverE2, I'm going to have to push back here.

Of course you want to show that you're kind, that you're curious, that you're self-aware, but those qualities can become known much, much better on CVs and LORs. What CVs and LORs rarely do is explain your interest in law and why you will not have a sudden change of heart and drop out. Law schools do not want people to drop out.

Now, I will go back to my original point, most fundamentally, you need to show your interest in law in your PS. You could do so implicitly, en route to another point, but you need to explain your interest in law. You are going to law school, not a school where you learn how to be a good person. It would help to be nice. But you are a lawyer. Sorry to be so repetitive about that but I think its easy to lose sight of this.

OP, I think this is especially true in your case. For example, why law school if you have a career in real estate? Many questions are begging.




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