10th (Final ?) Draft, Any advice apprecitated

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
wwUSMC84
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:56 pm

10th (Final ?) Draft, Any advice apprecitated

Postby wwUSMC84 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:01 am

Any advice/criticsm to make this better is welcome. I've stripped and rewritten this thing over and over again. Im still a little concearned about the conclusion. Any Suggestions?

I am a Marine Officer, and I intend to remain one as long as the Marine Corps will have me. However, I never would have imagined that I would actually end up here. After all, obese young men don’t become Marine Officers.

In 2005, I was a 21 year old junior at the University of North Texas studying for a career in the film industry. The combination of long hours studying, working in a darkroom or editing lab, tendencies to stress eat, and a lack of exercise quickly took their toll. I gained 150 pounds in my first two years at school, negatively impacting my confidence and causing to be very insecure. I made several half-hearted attempts at weight loss, which I quickly abandoned when they became difficult or inconvenient. However, it was not until a yearly physical revealed warning signs of diabetes and hypertension, conditions I have seen family members struggle with, that I finally realized that I had to stop my self-destructive habits. The prospect of a shortened life tethered to syringes and pills frightened me to my core.

Concurrently, I began to doubt the suitability of the path I had chosen for my life. Having grown up in a family where all but one male in three paternal generations has served in the military, I had been regaled with stories of military life and values since birth. Lessons learned in the service trickled down; and hard work, honesty, sacrifice, and service to others above personal gain became the measure of right and proper conduct in my mind. Despite living in a world that provided constant reminders of those lessons resonating in news stories from the streets of Iraq or the deserts and mountains passes of Afghanistan, I had been ensnared by the prospect of making a lot of money in the film industry, ultimately losing sight of those values. Although monetary security would be nice; I discovered that the feeling of positively affecting the world, and leading others who shared those values, is what I truly desired. Thus, coupled with the fact that in the military I would be responsible to my comrades for remaining physically fit, I decided to seek a new direction for my life at a recruiting office.

In my first meeting with the Officer Selection Officer (OSO) he literally laughed in my longhaired, rotund, film student face. “Son, you’re in the wrong place. You will never be a Marine Officer.”, he quipped as I sat my 6 foot 2, 350-pound frame uncomfortably in his office. I had chosen the Marines because they were everything I wanted to be, but was not. They were confident, physically hard, mentally tough, and completely disciplined. Most importantly they, as President Regan once said, did not have to wonder if they had made a difference in the world. The OSO’s statement confirmed that I was exactly where I needed to be. Some might consider his statements to be inconsiderate and crass; however in the war fighting business there is no room for procedural niceties when it comes to those who might be responsible for the lives of others. Despite his efforts to the contrary, he had me hooked. I decided right then and there that I would do whatever it took earn a place amongst them. I would pay any price; suffer any inconvenience, in order to achieve my new goal.
I changed my diet and started an intense exercise regimen; little did I know that would prove to be a catalyst for a more substantial transformation. Meticulous attention to detail, discipline, and unwavering determination were developed and etched into my being by every french fry forgone; every bead of sweat shed; and every aching muscle endured. I learned what it meant to set goals, to be disciplined in their pursuit, and to see them through to fruition. Two years later, I had lost 165 pounds. It was, at the time, the hardest thing I had ever done. The lessons I learned laid the foundations for success. I applied to and was selected for Officer Candidate School. The same man, who dismissed me 24 months earlier, shook my hand as I signed my contract. He couldn’t believe it.

Six years later, I am a completely different person than that man who initially sat in the OSO’s office. I am in great physical condition, no longer constructing a personal gallows with pizza boxes and soda cans. I have been reared in the unforgiving school of a Marine Corps that has been at war for eleven years. I have prepared Marines for, led them in, and seen them safely home from combat situations in Afghanistan. As a result, I possess a confidence that is difficult to explain to those who have not shared in that burden. Gone forever is that overweight, insecure individual, and in his place is a self- disciplined, determined, and capable leader. I have set a new goal, once again redirecting the course of my life. I believe the study law will allow me further opportunities to serve others, improve this nation, and develop my leadership skills; for my reaming time in the Marine Corps and following my departure from its ranks. I will do whatever it takes to achieve it.
Last edited by wwUSMC84 on Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: 3rd Draft, Any advice apprecitated

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:26 pm

Great PS. The topic suits your purposes very well. Adcoms will love to see that you rised to the challenge despite the odds being stacked against you and you succeeded. For the most part, I think your substantive content is solid, but some stylistic adjustments could really benefit you. The statement comes off as very matter-of-fact and plainly informative, surely a nod to your military background. I recommend you try your hand at a bit of flourish to add more sense of conflict and resolution for your reader. Give it some drama.

For example, I would consider starting off with this Paragraph.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
In my first meeting with my Officer Selection Officer he literally laughed in my longhaired, rotund, film student face. “Son you’re in the wrong place, you’ll never be a Marine Officer.”, he told me as I sat my 6 foot 2, 350-pound frame uncomfortably in his office. I had chosen the Marines because they were everything I wanted to be, but was not. They were confident, physically hard, mentally tough, and completely disciplined. Most importantly they, as President Regan once said, did not have to wonder if they had made a difference in the world. The OSO’s statement confirmed that I was exactly where I needed to be. Despite his efforts to the contrary, he had me hooked
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the best written paragraph in your statement and it immediately grabs the readers attention. It incites initial laughter, while also immersing your reader in the challenge that your statement shows you overcome. It draws your audience into your journey on a more personal level. Add an additional thesis-type sentence to the end of that about your determination to become an officer despite these setbacks. Something along the lines of "I would become a military officer or I would die trying" sort of statement. You know what I mean.

Slight tweaks here and there will turn a strong personal statement into an incredibly powerful and moving one.

Thats my 2 cents.

ns2675
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: 3rd Draft, Any advice apprecitated

Postby ns2675 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:42 pm

Just to add a counterpoint to WhiskeynCoke, I actually like your introduction a lot. After reading a lot of PS's on here, it's kind of refreshing to see one that doesn't lead in with a dramatic anecdote. Moreover, I really appreciated the subtlety with which you introduced your main point: You overcame your obesity in order to become an officer. I'm glad that you didn't lead in with this; instead, you led with your accomplishment, and then let the reader know, in a modest way, that this was not exactly a natural accomplishment for you. Then again, I was in the Marine Corps (enlisted), so I know what you must have endured. :D

I think that your PS is strong, though there are a number of stylistic changes I would make. Most of these concern phrasing; I'm not as concerned about making it more dramatic, though I do think that you would be better served with specific details in some places. I don't have time right now to break down your entire PS, but let me give you an indication of the changes I would make by illustrating with the first two paragraphs. Text in red is what I would suggest you remove, text in orange is what I suggest you change, and text in green is what I suggest you add.

wwUSMC84 wrote:I am a Marine Officer., and I intend to remain one as long as the Marine Corps will have me. However, I never would have imagined that I would actually end up here. After all, obese young men don’t become Marine Officers. I owe my life to my decision to join the Marine Corps.


The last sentence doesn't add much, is a bit dramatic, and is not very well supported by evidence in the rest of your statement. More importantly, the fourth sentence (about obesity) is extremely important to your personal statement, and would be better emphasized without the fifth. As far as joining the first two sentences is concerned, this is less important, but these sentences do belong together. I suggest adding "However" to what is now the third sentence because without it there is no clear indication that a transition is being made. You are abruptly changing your tone from forceful to retrospective and incredulous, and you ought to signal to your reader that you are doing so intentionally.

In 2005, I was a 21 year old college junior at the University of North Texas studying for an anticipated a career in the film industry. The combination of long hours studying, tendencies to stress eat, and a lack of exercise compounded quickly. I gained 150 pounds in my first two years of college. A yearly physical with my family doctor revealed the warning signs of diabetes, at which point I knew that I had to change my life. I knew that a simple desire to lose weight would fail, as it often had before. I needed to take a radical step towards a healthier life.


The first suggestion is pretty self-explanatory; the word "anticipated" is redundant (or at least unnecessary) in that context. The sentence I marked in orange should be changed because I don't think that you are using the verb "compounded" correctly. To compound, in this context, means to worsen, or to "intensify the negative aspects of." For example, it makes sense to say that lack of exercise compounds an already severe weight problem, but not to say that lack of exercise simply compounds. Instead of what you have now, you might say something like, "My X, Y, and Z combined to..." Finally, in your penultimate sentence, you ought to change the word "fail." What you are saying is that desire alone is not sufficient to achieve weight loss. You might say that simple desire would fail to produce results, but, in my opinion, to say only that "a simple desire would fail" is awkward at best.

That's all that I have time for right now. Best of luck, and Semper Fi!

wwUSMC84
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:56 pm

Re: 3rd Draft, Any advice apprecitated

Postby wwUSMC84 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:03 am

I owe thanks to both of you for your help and suggestions. I will most definatly take them under advisment as I work on the next revision.

I've been quite busy the last few days, just picked up a new group of recruits here at the Depot, but will be working on the next draft this afternoon.

Anyone else have any suggestions?

wwUSMC84
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:56 pm

Re: 10th (Final ?) Draft, Any advice apprecitated

Postby wwUSMC84 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:51 pm

Edited the OP with new version.

User avatar
Cobretti
Posts: 2560
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:45 am

Re: 10th (Final ?) Draft, Any advice apprecitated

Postby Cobretti » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:06 pm

wwUSMC84 wrote:Any advice/criticsm to make this better is welcome. I've stripped and rewritten this thing over and over again. Im still a little concearned about the conclusion. Any Suggestions?

I am a Marine Officer, and I intend to remain one as long as the Marine Corps will have me. However, I never would have imagined that I would actually end up here. After all, obese young men don’t become Marine Officers.

In 2005, I was a 21 year old junior at the University of North Texas studying for a career in the film industry. The combination of long hours studying, working in a darkroom or editing lab, tendencies to stress eat, and a lack of exercise quickly took their toll. I gained 150 pounds in my first two years at school, negatively impacting my confidence and causing meto be very insecure. I made several half-hearted attempts at weight loss, which I quickly abandoned when they became difficult or inconvenient. However, it was not until a yearly physical revealed warning signs of diabetes and hypertension, conditions I have seen family members struggle with, that I finally realized that I had to stop my self-destructive habits. The prospect of a shortened life tethered to syringes and pills frightened me to my core.

Concurrently, I began to doubt the suitability of the path I had chosen for my life. Having grown up in a family where all but one male in three paternal generations has served in the military, I had been regaled with stories of military life and values since birth. Lessons learned in the service trickled down; and hard work, honesty, sacrifice, and service to others above personal gain became the measure of right and proper conduct in my mind. Despite living in a world that provided constant reminders of those lessons resonating in news stories from the streets of Iraq or the deserts and mountains passes of Afghanistan, I had been ensnared by the prospect of making a lot of money in the film industry, ultimately losing sight of those values. Although monetary security would be nice; I discovered that the feeling of positively affecting the world, and leading others who shared those values, is what I truly desired. Thus, coupled with the fact that in the military I would be responsible to my comrades for remaining physically fit, I decided to seek a new direction for my life at a recruiting office.

In my first meeting with the Officer Selection Officer (OSO) he literally laughed in my longhaired, rotund, film student face. “Son, you’re in the wrong place. You will never be a Marine Officer.”, he quipped as I sat my 6 foot 2, 350-pound frame uncomfortably in his office. I had chosen the Marines because they were everything I wanted to be, but was not. They were confident, physically hard, mentally tough, and completelydisciplined. Most importantly they, as President Regan once said, did not have to wonder if they had made a difference in the world. The OSO’s statement confirmed that I was exactly where I needed to be. Some might consider his statements to be inconsiderate and crass; however in the war fighting business there is no room for procedural niceties when it comes to those who might be responsible for the lives of others. Despite his efforts to the contrary, he had me hooked. I decided right then and there that I would do whatever it took earn a place amongst them. I would pay any price; suffer any inconvenience, in order to achieve my new goal.
I changed my diet and started an intense exercise regimen; little did I know that would prove to be a catalyst for a more substantial transformation. Meticulous attention to detail, discipline, and unwavering determination were developed and etched into my being by every french fry forgone; every bead of sweat shed; and every aching muscle endured. I learned what it meant to set goals, to be disciplined in their pursuit, and to see them through to fruition. Two years later, I had lost 165 pounds. It was, at the time, the hardest thing I had ever done. The lessons I learned laid the foundations for success. I applied to and was selected for Officer Candidate School. The same man, who dismissed me 24 months earlier, shook my hand as I signed my contract. He couldn’t believe it.

Six years later, I am a completely different person than that man who initially sat in the OSO’s office. I am in great physical condition, no longer constructing a personal gallows with pizza boxes and soda cans. I have been reared in the unforgiving school of a Marine Corps that has been at war for eleven years. I have prepared Marines for, led them in, and seen them safely home from combat situations in Afghanistan. As a result, I possess a confidence that is difficult to explain to those who have not shared in that burden. Gone forever is that overweight, insecure individual, and in his place is a self- disciplined, determined, and capable leader. I have set a new goal, once again redirecting the course of my life. I believe the study of law will allow me further opportunities to serve others, improve this nation, and develop my leadership skills; for my reaming(remaining?) time in the Marine Corps and following my departure from its ranks. I will do whatever it takes to achieve it.


This is really good, one of the best PS topics I've seen. I wonder if you could condense the first part and add in a little more about your service though? Not much, but I know as I was reading this I wanted to hear more about your exploits as an officer. As it stands I think its excellent though, so it will really just come down to how you feel more comfortable balancing the weight of the conclusion.




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