PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

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SaintsTheMetal
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PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:16 pm

Just finished the first draft of my PS. Trying to have it ready for the beginning of september. Most of my writing in college has been technical, so any suggestions, comments, and especially grammar edits are all very much appreciated.


I struggle to stand up, only to be held down by a man I have never seen before in my life. All I can do is stare at him in bewilderment, trying to figure out what is happening. The next thing I remember, I am slightly more conscious of my surroundings, and I notice I am lying on the side of a four or five lane road under the blazing California Sun. A feeling of dread washes over me that I may have broken—or worse, knocked out—one of my teeth. As police and paramedics arrive, and I struggle to recall for them the current President of the United States, all I remember is asking them, "Are my teeth okay?" until an officer informs me my dad arrived and seems bit shaken up. The last thing I remember before arriving at the hospital is being loaded onto the ambulance and telling my dad that everything will be okay.

Football was the passion of my life since I was about 13 years old, although when I first picked it up I was far from a football prodigy. I spent my freshman year of high school riding the bench, only coming in during the second half of games for mop-up duty. Through constant training in all aspects of the game, I was able to reach what I thought would be my crowning achievement; signing to play college football. However, this was the only the beginning. Upon arrival at camp, I quickly realized no longer am I top dog; I was back to the exact same spot I was my freshman year of high school, only with a larger hurdle to overcome of many athletes much more gifted than myself.

It was the summer leading up to my Junior collegiate football season. I was in the middle of my daily bike ride from my house to the gym where I train in the off-seasons, when I got into an accident that put me through the most physically and mentally challenging ordeal of my life. After hours of surgery, an incredibly talented surgeon repaired four fractures in my jaw, and two fractures in my cheek bones. Unfortunately, I would also live the next couple months of my life with my jaw wired shut. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, or taking time off from football, I immediately turned my thoughts to what I will now have to do to earn a starting spot on the offensive line that upcoming season, which was just over a month away.

The next week, I headed back to the gym to pick up where I left off. I still explicitly remember my first real workout during this agonizing period—some easy, very light-weight speed squats. After the first set I set down the barbell and begin to exhale, since it is important to hold your breath during a lift. Then, I suddenly remembered that just breathing is a whole new endeavor. I felt as if I was breathing through a straw, and panic set in as I struggled to exhale my used air and inhale fresh oxygenated air. To force myself to calm down, I recalled why I put myself through this: to succeed in my collegiate football career. I finally knew first-hand what it meant to want something as bad as you want to breathe.

I continued my four day per week training sessions until the week before I was due to return to football camp. I knew all the while my teammates and every other teams' players in the conference were getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Meanwhile I was so hungry that I attempted to liquefy a McDonalds cheeseburger in the blender in my desperate struggle to gain the weight I needed play on the offensive line. But at the climax of the off-season, I gave myself one final test maxing out. While my body weight was still down, I hit an all-time personal record on both the bench press and squat.

Following that small personal victory, I unfortunately was not cleared to play until well into the regular season. Still, on the first day I was finally cleared to hit, I shocked everyone with the improvements I made over the summer.

Now, as I move onto my senior season, I am poised to become the team's starting tackle and fulfill my goal. However, along the way I have realized football will not last forever, and I have begun pursuing my next passion that I plan on lasting the rest of my life: law. As my goal has shifted from football to attending law school and eventually practicing as an attorney, I prepare to devote every ounce of my effort to achieving this next goal. I now want to succeed in law school as badly as I once wanted to breathe fresh air in the weight room one year ago.
Last edited by SaintsTheMetal on Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby bernaldiaz » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:29 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:Just finished the first draft of my PS. Trying to have it ready for the beginning of september. Most of my writing in college has been technical, so any suggestions, comments, and especially grammar edits are all very much appreciated.


I struggle to stand up, only to be held down by a man I have never seen before in my life. All I can do is stare at him in bewilderment, trying to figure out what is happening. The next thing I remember, I am slightly more conscious of my surroundings, and I notice I am lying on the side of a four or five lane road under the blazing California Sun. A feeling of dread washes over me that I may have broken—or worse, knocked out—one of my teeth. As police and paramedics arrive, and I struggle to recall for them the current President of the United States, all I remember is asking them, "Are my teeth okay?" until an officer informs me my dad arrived and seems bit shaken up. The last thing I remember before arriving at the hospital is being loaded onto the ambulance and telling my dad that everything will be okay.

Football was the passion of my life since I was about 13 years old, although when I first picked it up I was far from a football prodigy. I spent my freshman year of high school riding the bench, only coming in during the second half of games for mop-up duty. Through constant training in all aspects of the game, I was able to reach what I thought would be my crowning achievement; signing to play college football. However, this was the only the beginning. Upon arrival at camp, I quickly realize no longer am I top dogyou switched tenses there; I am back to the exact same spot I was my freshman year of high school, only with a larger hurdle to overcome of many athletes much more gifted than myself. here too

It was the summer leading up to my Junior football season would be nice to clarify that it is junior year of college, I was confused thinking you rewound back to high school. I was in the middle of my daily bike ride from my house to the gym where I train in the off-seasons, when I got into an accident that put me through the most physically and mentally challenging ordeal of my life. After hours of surgery, an incredibly talented surgeon repaired four fractures in my jaw, and two fractures in my cheek bones. Unfortunately, I would also live the next couple months of my life with my jaw wired shut. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, or taking time off from football, I immediately turned my thoughts to what I will now have to do to earn a starting spot on the offensive line that upcoming season, which was just over a month away.

The next week, I headed back to the gym to pick up where I left off. I still explicitly remember my first real workout during this agonizing period—some easy, very light-weight speed squats. After the first set, I racked people may be unfamiliar with this term my the barbell and begin to exhale since it is important to hold your breath during a lift.a bit of a run-on Then, I quickly remembered that simply breathing is a whole new endeavor I think you could think of better adjectives, or just leave these ones out, because I think it makes that sentence choppy and awkward. I felt as if I was breathing through a straw, and panic set in as I struggled to exhale my used air and inhale fresh oxygenated air. To force myself to calm down, I recallyou switched tenses again why I put myself through this: to succeed in my collegiate football career. I finally knew first-hand what it meant to want something as bad as you want to breathe.

I continued my four day per week training sessions until the week before I am due to return to football camp switched tenses again, you keep slipping into present tense when almost the entire thing is in the past tense. I knew all the while my teammates and every other team's should be teams' players in the conference were getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Meanwhile I was so hungry that I attempted to liquefy a McDonalds cheeseburger in the blender in my desperate struggle to gain the weight I needed play on the offensive line. But when push came to shove that's a bit weak, can you think of a stronger phrase? and the offseason was effectively over, I did one final test maxing out. While my body weight was still down, I hit an all-time personal record on both the bench press and squat.

Following that small personal victory, I unfortunately was not cleared to play until well into the regular season. Still, on the first day I was finally cleared to hit, I shocked everyone with the improvements I made over the summer. Now, as I move onto my senior season, I am poised to become the team's starting tackle and fulfill my goal. Ok here it actually makes sense to use the present tense but it's not done quite right, I think. At the minimum, the present tense should only start in a new paragraph. Switching in the middle like that is really confusing
However, along the way I realizedDamnit! If you're going to switch the present, commit to it! Keep it in the present from there on ouso you could say "I have realized" football will not last forever, and I began pursuing my next passion that I plan on lasting the rest of my life: law. this seems like a pretty abrupt transition and definitely not one that can just go unexplained As my goal has shifted from football to attending law school and eventually practicing as an attorney, I prepare to devote every ounce of my effort to achieving this next goal. I now want to succeed in law school But why do you want to succeed at law specifically? as badly as I once wanted to breathe fresh air in the weight room one year ago.

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:12 am

Thank you very much bernaldiaz! I've edited the OP for everything you said, except integrating the 'why law' part of the final paragraph better. I'm going to really have to think how to do that and I'll probably edit it in tomorrow.

Any more opinions greatly appreciated!

collegebum1989
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby collegebum1989 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:35 am

Personally, I think the why law part of your essay is very undeveloped. You need to relate football experiences to interests in law altogether or just drop the Why Law part. Right now, the connection is very superficial (working hard, wanting to succeed). You know its superficial because you could interest "I want to be _" and anything other than law would fit and still work in your current essay.

Condense the football experience, and maybe try to relate some of the bigger themes (dedication, worth ethic, etc) of your essay into your interests in law. Currently it seems very forced since you add it in the last 2-3 sentences.

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:12 pm

collegebum1989 wrote:Personally, I think the why law part of your essay is very undeveloped. You need to relate football experiences to interests in law altogether or just drop the Why Law part. Right now, the connection is very superficial (working hard, wanting to succeed). You know its superficial because you could interest "I want to be _" and anything other than law would fit and still work in your current essay.

Condense the football experience, and maybe try to relate some of the bigger themes (dedication, worth ethic, etc) of your essay into your interests in law. Currently it seems very forced since you add it in the last 2-3 sentences.


Any suggestions how to cut a decent portion of the narrative out? It's very hard for me to pinpoint myself, but I'm sure some parts of my story aren't actually that important. I'm right around that 2 page limit right now

Or would it be better just to remove the 'Why Law?' part completely? My only worry about that is then the PS will just kinda be like..so what?

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bernaldiaz
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby bernaldiaz » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:21 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:
collegebum1989 wrote:Personally, I think the why law part of your essay is very undeveloped. You need to relate football experiences to interests in law altogether or just drop the Why Law part. Right now, the connection is very superficial (working hard, wanting to succeed). You know its superficial because you could interest "I want to be _" and anything other than law would fit and still work in your current essay.

Condense the football experience, and maybe try to relate some of the bigger themes (dedication, worth ethic, etc) of your essay into your interests in law. Currently it seems very forced since you add it in the last 2-3 sentences.


Any suggestions how to cut a decent portion of the narrative out? It's very hard for me to pinpoint myself, but I'm sure some parts of my story aren't actually that important. I'm right around that 2 page limit right now

Or would it be better just to remove the 'Why Law?' part completely? My only worry about that is then the PS will just kinda be like..so what?


http://www.top-law-schools.com/chapter11.html

http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissi ... lly-part-i.


Ok so basically you are writing a standard (but good, heartfelt) overcoming adversity personal statement. I haven't actually gone through the entirety of these links (it ain't my PS!) but I think it might be useful to see what Asha (Yale lady) says about the Overcoming obstacles essat (I think there is a Part II of the post too). Then, I think you should read a few of the examples from the first link and see how they make that transition at the end from "look what I overcame!" to "this is how it will be useful in law school". If you need more examples, you could buy this book. Someone bought it for me so I read a few- and while the stories are obviously unique- if you look at the reasoning at the end of the essays and can help you refine your ideas.

collegebum1989
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby collegebum1989 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:22 am

is it ok if your DS is focused on overcoming adversity, while the PS is focused on career goals?

Seems like a story about adversity is always going to be read as being stronger than one about professional goals since its more receptive to a reader...so is it ok if a DS is technically stronger than a PS?

jdip514
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby jdip514 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:36 am

I think you have a good story about overcoming adversity....but you definately need to get into greater detail on this. Your story tells about how your a blue chip offensive linemen and you work hard. I think everyone who wants to go to law school works hard, and that part in the end about law is somewhat cliche. The story you tell is a sincere one that I think is a decent topic, but im not a fan of the style in which you compare overcoming adversity and relating it to practicing law in your future

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CorkBoard
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby CorkBoard » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:22 pm

Be careful of your tense changes. You go from past to present in your second paragraph. Stick with one or the other.

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manofjustice
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby manofjustice » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:39 pm

I usually tear up PSs posted here, but this was pretty good. But the ending is very bad. If you can just get the ending right, it's solid gold.

The last two paragraphs need to be replaced with something....you are talking about wanting to practice law, so maybe this will help. My critiques of another PS that took that angle. Just note that I like everything up to the last two paragraphs, so I am not suggesting a rewrite as I did for the other person...maybe just a rethink of the ending. Your main point will be in the ending, though, so it's not "just the ending."

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=191745

The only thing I can think of to help you rewrite the ending is: given all that you said before, why does the Admissions Committee therefore want to be in the law school/law profession business with SaintsTheMetal.

Other little things: I'd leave out the burger in the blender part...it's a bit icky.

edit: also, that one sentence where you say you made a big hit...that's actually crucial. The whole essay pivots on that sentence to your as-yet un-rewritten ending. It's important (we need to know the result of all your efforts, don't we?) So I'd say, sexy it up a bit. "People there were surprised by my progress" is lame. Say something like "My first hit hushed the crowd before our hometown fans roared."
Last edited by manofjustice on Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:40 pm

CorkBoard wrote:Be careful of your tense changes. You go from past to present in your second paragraph. Stick with one or the other.


Hmm I thought I got that problem cleared up, mind pointing out the specific sentance(s)? I can't seem to find anything in the 2nd paragraph that looks wrong :x

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:43 pm

manofjustice wrote:I usually tear up PSs posted here, but this was pretty good. But the ending is very bad. If you can just get the ending right, it's solid gold.

The last two paragraphs need to be replaced with something....you are talking about wanting to practice law, so maybe this will help. My critiques of another PS that took that angle. Just note that I like everything up to the last two paragraphs, so I am not suggesting a rewrite as I did for the other person...maybe just a rethink of the ending. Your main point will be in the ending, though, so it's not "just the ending."

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=191745

The only thing I can think of to help you rewrite the ending is: given all that you said before, why does the Admissions Committee therefore want to be in the law school/law profession business with SaintsTheMetal.

Other little things: I'd leave out the burger in the blender part...it's a bit icky.

edit: also, that one sentence where you say you made a big hit...that's actually crucial. The whole essay pivots on that sentence to your as-yet un-rewritten ending. It's important (we need to know the result of all your efforts, don't we?) So I'd say, sexy it up a bit. "People there were surprised by my progress" is lame. Say something like "My first hit hushed the crowd before our hometown fans roared."


Wow thanks for all this. It seems to be the common consensus that my ending sucks :D

I guess the main thing I've been struggling with is how to make the transition from football to law. Many of the PSs posted here for example (http://www.top-law-schools.com/chapter11.html) have law intertwined in the entire thing.. But I don't really see how I could do that here. I'll definitely spend some time on the ending and post up another draft once I come up with something

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CorkBoard
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby CorkBoard » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:07 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:Be careful of your tense changes. You go from past to present in your second paragraph. Stick with one or the other.


Hmm I thought I got that problem cleared up, mind pointing out the specific sentance(s)? I can't seem to find anything in the 2nd paragraph that looks wrong :x


Football was the passion of my life since I was about 13 years old, although when I first picked it up I was far from a football prodigy. I spent my freshman year of high school riding the bench, only coming in during the second half of games for mop-up duty. Through constant training in all aspects of the game, I was able to reach what I thought would be my crowning achievement; signing to play college football. However, this was the only the beginning. Upon arrival at camp, I quickly realized no longer amwas I top dog; I was back to the exact same spot I was my freshman year of high school, only with a larger hurdle to overcome of many athletes much more gifted than myself.

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: PS First Draft, seeking editing and all criticism

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:34 pm

CorkBoard wrote:
SaintsTheMetal wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:Be careful of your tense changes. You go from past to present in your second paragraph. Stick with one or the other.


Hmm I thought I got that problem cleared up, mind pointing out the specific sentance(s)? I can't seem to find anything in the 2nd paragraph that looks wrong :x


Football was the passion of my life since I was about 13 years old, although when I first picked it up I was far from a football prodigy. I spent my freshman year of high school riding the bench, only coming in during the second half of games for mop-up duty. Through constant training in all aspects of the game, I was able to reach what I thought would be my crowning achievement; signing to play college football. However, this was the only the beginning. Upon arrival at camp, I quickly realized no longer amwas I top dog; I was back to the exact same spot I was my freshman year of high school, only with a larger hurdle to overcome of many athletes much more gifted than myself.


Shit..thank you very much!




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