My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
rasputin85
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:35 pm

My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby rasputin85 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:34 pm

I became very strong under Manuel’s mentorship. His approach to teaching me golf was undoubtedly inspired by his many years with the Colombian National Army. He was my father’s age, but his role in my life was more like of an older brother. On most summer and weekend days, he would pick me up in his old Fiat before sunrise. We would spend entire days at Campo de Golf La Florida where he would make me do 10 pushups for every bad shot I made or for any golf protocol I violated. Besides swing mechanics, our time together included lessons on how to psychologically disarm an opponent during a match play, and he would tell me stories, often inappropriate, of violent wars and sexual conquests. At 14, I was the best amateur player at the golf club where I was given honorary membership, and I was also considered one of the best junior golfers in the region. I was 15 the day that my sister and I boarded a plane to come live with our mother in the United States. It was the only time I ever saw Manuel cry.

Initially, Diana and I didn’t realize the real reasons behind our father’s sudden decision to send us to Miami to live with our mother, who had been living in the U.S. for a couple of years. He had always admired and even venerated American culture, and we believed that the change was meant solely to broaden our horizons and for us to learn English. Even though those things were some of the positive outcomes of our immigration, I soon learned that the real reason for our departure from Colombia was that my father had lost his job and was then suffering financial hardship. After having had a very comfortable childhood of country clubs, housemaids and private schools, my sister and I were both abruptly challenged by need. My after-school golf practices were replaced by my new job as a janitor; on the weekends I would help a truck driver friend of my mom do his deliveries. The classical guitar provided my strongest connection with the past, as I had taken lessons from a very young age. I spent most of my free time immersed in the works of Albeniz, Barrueco, Bach and other masters, that was a luxury that even a poor immigrant kid could afford.

College wasn’t an option at the time I graduated High School. Tensions at home had made me anxious to leave the house and for that I needed full-time work. Additionally, I had also learned to associate academic environment with constant bullying and tedious curricula that seemed designed more to keep me busy than to teach me. I spent the next five years in a learning process that included starting a successful commercial cleaning business, an unsuccessful trucking operation, several odd jobs such as bartending, driving an 18-wheel truck across the country, and eventually an office job for a fresh cut flower importer which paid well enough and had a schedule flexible enough that I could start college. The time away from school allowed me to grow emotionally, see new places, and meet very interesting people. The challenges that I faced, some of which appeared to be insurmountable at their time, had the fortunate outcome of ingraining in me a strong internal locus of control and the ability of being able to shift paradigms in order to solve difficult situations. Toughness proved necessary while not sufficient.

Although I was grateful for my job and my side projects, all of which afforded me a very good living, I was motivated to start college by the lack of purpose and significance that I felt behind my contributions to society as a business owner and employee. Academics hadn’t come easily to me before, so returning to school and applying myself to my studies required profound changes in my self-image and habits of thought and action. Making these changes required, I found, the same type of introspection and mental re-wiring required of learning a new golf shot or overcoming a technically very difficult phrase when learning a classical piece for the guitar: one must re-train one’s mind and body to reject unhelpful actions and thoughts and replace them with successful ones. This psychological process requires intense self-discipline and honesty down to the most microcosmic level, wherein even the subtleties of internal communication can make a significant difference in achieving the intellectual equivalent of muscle memory. Internal communication became an important focus point in my effort to adopt this new paradigm. The nearly obsessive determination that I felt during this time brought me back to the driving-range at La Florida when Manuel would carefully monitor and correct my moves. I was now an adult, and I had to become my own Manuel.

My newfound love for academia and the encouragement of inspiring professors steered me towards an interest in studying law. The idea went on a positive feedback loop between my desire to follow a path of advocacy that would be meaningful and rewarding to others as well as to myself, and the great support that I receive from friends and family. I feel that my abilities, the same skills that helped me turn my life around: to reframe situations through language and careful analysis, can be of great value to society and to my future clients. Law school is the next great challenge in my life, and I will meet it with the same intellectual rigor and flexibility with which I have met all the others before.


Julian

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:58 am

I became very strong under Manuel’s mentorship. [Not sure if I love or hate this opening line.] His approach to teaching me golf was undoubtedly inspired by his many years with the Colombian National Army. He was my father’s age, but his role in my life was more like of an older brother. On most summer and weekend days, he would pick me up in his old Fiat before sunrise. We would spend entire days at Campo de Golf La Florida where he would make me do 10 pushups for every bad shot I made or for any golf protocol I violated. Besides swing mechanics, our time together included lessons on how to psychologically disarm an opponent during a match play, and he would tell me stories, often inappropriate, of violent wars and sexual conquests. At 14, I was the best amateur player at the golf club where I was given honorary membership, and I was also considered one of the best junior golfers in the region. [When I was 15...] my sister and I boarded a plane to come live with our mother in the United States. It was the only time I ever saw Manuel cry. [I like this paragraph, but it doesn't connect with the rest of the story. It's interesting, but I would lose it unless you intend to work Manuel/Golf into your statement more. Or at the VERY LEAST, bring this opening back into your conclusion in a more significant way than "I had to become my own Manuel." Maybe your conclusion instead of the more generic one now could explain how you HAVE become your own Manuel and why that makes you a good law candidate?]

Initially, Diana and I didn’t realize the real reasons behind our father’s sudden decision to send us to Miami to live with our mother, who had been living in the U.S. for a couple of years. He had always admired and even venerated American culture, and we believed that the change was meant solely to broaden our horizons and for us to learn English. Even though those things were some of the positive outcomes of our immigration, I soon learned that the real reason for our departure from Colombia was that my father had lost his job and was then suffering financial hardship. After having had a very comfortable childhood of country clubs, housemaids and private schools, my sister and I were both abruptly challenged by need. My after-school golf practices were replaced by my new job as a janitor; on the weekends I would help a truck driver friend of my mom do his deliveries. The classical guitar provided my strongest connection with the past, as I had taken lessons from a very young age. I spent most of my free time immersed in the works of Albeniz, Barrueco, Bach and other masters, that was a luxury that even a poor immigrant kid could afford. [There's a lot of interesting info in here. I think you should slow it down a bit. I would like to hear more about the shift from golf to janitor (Was someone telling you about their sexual conquests at your new position?). I also think the bit about classical guitar is a very nice personal touch. I would spend a little more time on it. Should you decide to lose the opening paragraph about Manuel, I think starting with how you feel connected to your past through the guitar would make a very good opener to the PS.]

College wasn’t an option at the time I graduated High School. Tensions at home had made me anxious to leave the house and for that I needed full-time work. [hmmm I might not bring this up.] Additionally, I had learned to associate academic environment with constant bullying and tedious curricula that seemed designed more to keep me busy than to teach me. I spent the next five years in a learning process [I like this connection between your problems with the academic environment, and your employment being its own learning process. ] that included starting a successful commercial cleaning business, an unsuccessful trucking operation, several odd jobs such as bartending, driving an 18-wheel truck across the country, and eventually an office job for a fresh cut flower importer which paid well enough and had a schedule flexible enough that I could start college. The time away from school allowed me to grow emotionally, see new places, and meet very interesting people. The challenges that I faced, some of which appeared to be insurmountable at their time, had the fortunate outcome of ingraining in me a strong internal locus of control and the ability of being able to shift paradigms in order to solve difficult situations. Toughness proved necessary while not sufficient. [I'm not sure these last couple sentences are completely necessary. Think about how you can SHOW these qualities rather than TELL them. (hint: you have already shown many of them in this statement)]

Although I was grateful for my job and my side projects, all of which afforded me a very good living, I was motivated to start college by the lack of purpose and significance that I felt behind my contributions to society as a business owner and employee. Academics hadn’t come easily to me before, so returning to school and applying myself to my studies required profound changes in my self-image and habits of thought and action. Making these changes required, I found, the same type of introspection and mental re-wiring required of learning a new golf shot or overcoming a technically very difficult phrase when learning a classical piece for the guitar: one must re-train one’s mind and body to reject unhelpful actions and thoughts and replace them with successful ones. [I like this bit again with the guitar! Open with the guitar!] This psychological process requires intense self-discipline and honesty down to the most microcosmic level, wherein even the subtleties of internal communication can make a significant difference in achieving the intellectual equivalent of muscle memory. Internal communication became an important focus point in my effort to adopt this new paradigm. The nearly obsessive determination that I felt during this time brought me back to the driving-range at La Florida when Manuel would carefully monitor and correct my moves. I was now an adult, and I had to become my own Manuel.

My newfound love for academia and the encouragement of inspiring professors steered me towards an interest in studying law. The idea went on a positive feedback loop [awk. wording] between my desire to follow a path of advocacy that would be meaningful and rewarding to others as well as to myself, and the great support that I receive from friends and family. I feel that my abilities, the same skills that helped me turn my life around: to reframe situations through language and careful analysis, can be of great value to society and to my future clients. Law school is the next great challenge in my life, and I will meet it with the same intellectual rigor and flexibility with which I have met all the others before. [This paragraph is fine. Could be punched up a bit.]

Let me know if you have any questions on my notes! I think you have a compelling life story, and I can see the path you made to get to law school & how that would make you a unique candidate. Because this is an essay that follows through many years of your biography, I think it would be helpful to think of a central theme or thread to keep it together. You open with Manuel, your golf instructor, but he doesn't factor back into the story until the very end, and only briefly. If you keep that opening paragraph, I would try to work in golf, manuel or his teachings more significantly into your narrative.

Another potential theme I see is your connection to the guitar as your connection to Colombia, as well as something that helped you make the transition to academia. But both of these statements are buried in the middle of paragraphs. I think a little about your love of guitar would make a nice opening paragraph that would connect back through to themes in your narrative.

The other idea for a theme for this narrative could be traditional education vs. learning from experience. One of the central tensions in your narrative is the decision of whether to go to college and the implications of deciding to go a while after graduating high school. I think it might be interesting to talk more about your difficulties in high school (you hinted that there were), what you learned through on the job experience, and what made college different for you - what about your college education finally won you over to academia?

I see a lot of potential in this essay. I felt like I got to know you through your statement and could really see what you would bring to a law school in terms of your experience and character. Good Luck!

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:00 am

Oh and if you're interested in editing someone else's essay, PM me and I'll send you mine. :D

rasputin85
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:35 pm

Re: My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby rasputin85 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:34 pm

canarykb wrote:Oh and if you're interested in editing someone else's essay, PM me and I'll send you mine. :D


That was so much more than I was expecting! Thank you very much!!

I am definitely interested in reading yours, send it to me.

Julian

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:10 pm

Thankss!!!

OOPS! Meant to PM This!
Last edited by canarykb on Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rasputin85
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:35 pm

Re: My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby rasputin85 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:45 pm

done
Last edited by rasputin85 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: My Personal Statement! Please Destroy,

Postby canarykb » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:22 pm

Ack, thanks for the comments, but I meant to PM, rather than post publicly. Can you take this down from the forum please? Thanks!!




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