Is this too intense of an anecdote?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
yong1ekim
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:36 pm

Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby yong1ekim » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:52 pm

deleted
Last edited by yong1ekim on Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
emkay625
Posts: 1835
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:58 pm

yong1ekim wrote:I feverishly ran into the gymnasium only to find it empty. A few minutes earlier I had received a call from one of the mothers. She was frantically looking for Jonathan’s parents. As I began looking for my brother I heard a great commotion coming from the gym’s annex. There was a large crowd of sweaty preteen athletes and their parents circled around the basketball court. Their eyes were fixed on my brother, who lay vulnerably in the middle of the court, still convulsing from his seizure. This was the first time he had a seizure in public, in front of people other than my immediate family. Instinctually, I ran through the crowd of concerned onlookers and covered my shaking brother with my small frame. We sat like that, shaking, until the paramedics finally arrived.


In the rest of the personal statement I address how my brother has shaped me into the person I am today...How growing up with a brother with epilepsy and HCM has taught me many invaluable life lessons and helped me hone skills I believe are pertinent to a lawyer.

I am just concerned that this anecdote might be too visual and too intense for the adcomm. Would you be turned off or feel uncomfortable if you were an adcomm reading this or would you want to continue to read?

Thanks for your input.

Cheers!


I don't think the story itself is too intense, but I do think the way it's written is. In some ways, I think you are TOO descriptive. 3 adjectives in one sentence is a lot. You want to blur some details so you can REALLY emphasize others. My revision:

I ran into the gymnasium only to find it empty. A few minutes earlier I had received a call from a woman frantically looking for Jonathan’s parents. As I began looking for my brother, I heard a commotion coming from the gym’s annex. There was a large crowd of athletes and their parents circled around the basketball court, their eyes fixed on my brother. He lay in the middle of the court, still convulsing from his seizure - the first one he had ever had in public. Instinctually, I ran through the crowd of onlookers and covered my brother with my small frame. We sat like that, shaking, until the paramedics finally arrived.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:02 am

Too many adverbs. Feverishly running, frantically looking, vulnerably laying, instinctually running (I think you meant 'instinctively'). It's too pearl-clutchingly dramatic. The material is sufficiently intense that if you describe it more plainly, the emotion will still come across to the reader.

Swimp
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:32 am

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby Swimp » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:06 am

rinkrat19 wrote:Too many adverbs. Feverishly running, frantically looking, vulnerably laying, instinctually running (I think you meant 'instinctively'). It's too pearl-clutchingly dramatic. The material is sufficiently intense that if you describe it more plainly, the emotion will still come across to the reader.


Yeah, "show, don't tell" right?

I think it's a good policy in general to think hard before you use an adverb. They're kind of a cheap shortcut to dramatize something. You want your reader to have no choice but to feel something because of the action you're describing. Adverbs too often tell the reader how you'd like them to feel about something that's happening.

yong1ekim
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:36 pm

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby yong1ekim » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:07 am

Thanks for the quick and helpful replies!

User avatar
jcm043
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:28 pm

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby jcm043 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:38 pm

Sweaty preteens, gymnasium... only one thing came to mind....


--ImageRemoved--

User avatar
Sounder89
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:32 pm

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby Sounder89 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:05 pm

I think it might be too intense. Obviously you need an attention grabbing opener, but opening anecdotes are fairly commonplace, and they can run the risk of being seen as gimmicky. I'm working on my own PS right now, but a lot of what I've read implies that it's better to start out with a traditional introductory paragraph and weave the anecdotes in later. On Berkeley's PS advice page (about midway down the page) they advise against starting like this:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/5188.htm
“I felt the cold, sharp edge of a knife at my neck.” “ ‘You rich Americans are all alike,’ she screamed.” “I’ve never been so scared in my life.” “The child’s belly was swollen and scabbed.” You get the picture. Starting the essay with a dramatic, unexplained sentence designed to grab the startled reader’s attention. (In fact, what it does to the reader is produce a dismayed feeling of, “Oh no, not another one of these.”)."

So If you're applying to Berkeley, I would definitely advise against an intense opening anecdote. But for other schools, who knows.

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

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:52 am

Sounder89 wrote:I think it might be too intense. Obviously you need an attention grabbing opener, but opening anecdotes are fairly commonplace, and they can run the risk of being seen as gimmicky. I'm working on my own PS right now, but a lot of what I've read implies that it's better to start out with a traditional introductory paragraph and weave the anecdotes in later. On Berkeley's PS advice page (about midway down the page) they advise against starting like this:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/5188.htm
“I felt the cold, sharp edge of a knife at my neck.” “ ‘You rich Americans are all alike,’ she screamed.” “I’ve never been so scared in my life.” “The child’s belly was swollen and scabbed.” You get the picture. Starting the essay with a dramatic, unexplained sentence designed to grab the startled reader’s attention. (In fact, what it does to the reader is produce a dismayed feeling of, “Oh no, not another one of these.”)."

So If you're applying to Berkeley, I would definitely advise against an intense opening anecdote. But for other schools, who knows.


I just read that too! I've reshaped my essay (at least for Berk) so that the opening paragraph has a less gimmicky, though still compelling (hopefully!) intro into my narrative. I read the advice there and was like "oh crap..."

yong1ekim
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:36 pm

Re: Is this too intense of an anecdote?

Postby yong1ekim » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:07 pm

Just finished two versions of PS...1st version with the anecdote and the other without.

Anyone willing and able to read and comment (especially which one you like better)?
I'll send it via PM, LMK

Thank you so much!




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.