Brick wall...

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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NoodleyOne
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Brick wall...

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:03 am

Alright, my previous attempts were probably too heavy on the sob story. This isn't a full draft but just the first paragraph and a half. I'm just curious if the tone is better and if it is working.

Edit: Alright, here's my next attempt. It's a particular event that happened that answers the "Why Law" and I think is pretty personal. It doesn't have the "hard hitting" elements of my previous attempts, but I think it's probably the best attempt so far. Once again, rip it apart.


My brother was 15 when he was arrested for shoplifting at a local convenience store in the small town I lived in. He was a known trouble-maker around town, doing pranks and getting into small scale trouble, but this is the first time he had been charged with anything. When the officers arrested him, they were rough with him and he ended up with a black eye after “resisting arrest”
“The kid is just bad news, like his brother,” the officer said to my mother as she cried about the treatment my brother had received. The officer was referring to my other older brother who had spent the majority of his teenage years in juvenile hall, and then almost all of his adult life in prison. I was just a little kid, and didn’t understand what was going on and why my brother was in handcuffs, but I knew I didn’t like the way he was being treated.
He was going to end up before the judge, and considering his known penchant for trouble making, he was probably going to go to juvenile hall. My mother wanted to get a good lawyer, but my family was on welfare and simply didn’t have the money to afford one. She went to meet with one particular local lawyer anyway, just to see how much it would cost to keep another of her sons out of prison.
I wasn’t there for the meeting, and I don’t know exactly what she told him, but whatever it was, it resonated, because he agreed to take my brother’s case pro bono. As a ten year old, I didn’t have a clue about what was going on, but I do remember my brother’s day in court. A lot of legalese was thrown around, and my brother’s lawyer spoke at length about illegal search and brutality, and the judge ended up dismissing the case. The image that stands out for me on that day was my brother hugging the lawyer, my mom in tears, thanking him profusely, and the lawyer seeming almost embarrassed with the thanks he was receiving.
When you’re ten, your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars. I added a new one to the list. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said lawyer, because I wanted to help people like my family was helped. As I grew up, my dreams changed a bit here and there. My goals went from professional skateboarder to video game programmer to historian, until my early twenties when they finally settled on “I have no clue”. I had worked hard to get out of my small town, and was working even harder to be able to afford to go to college, when I realized I had to start making serious decisions.
One of the drawbacks to growing up in a small town like the one I did is that, when you have an ambition but you’re not surrounded by anyone else with similar goals, you start thinking your own goals are unrealistic. I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the end that was just crazy. People where I come from don’t become lawyers, they become carpenters or mechanics or maybe a manager at a local store. Lawyer? Not a chance. That type of thinking began to poison my mind, so while I was undoubtedly gifted and did well in school, I began viewing my ceiling as something more mundane.
While I was in college, though, after working so hard to get there in the first place, and then working even harder to make sure I didn’t squander my opportunity, I began to seriously think about my future. My mind wandered from one career to the other, until one day I was talking to my brother on the phone. He turned out to not be bad news, and was doing well in the Army. We were reminiscing when he told me about what straightened his life out, and that was his brush with the law and the help his lawyer gave him to avoid a much more dismal fate. I replied that the encounter had made me want to become a lawyer.
My brother’s reply was brilliant in its brevity. “Well why don’t you?” I had convinced myself that something so respectable, so high was out of the reach of a poor country boy. But then I started thinking. Why not? I was smart. I was a hard worker. And most importantly, I wanted to help people in the same way my family had been helped. Any ceiling I felt was keeping me from doing what I really wanted to do was imaginary. The only limits that I have are the ones I place on myself.
Last edited by NoodleyOne on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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semigloss
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby semigloss » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:30 am

The intro reminds me of an old movie, cat on a hot tin roof. Also, of a Bruce Springsteen lyric. What Im trying to say that the trope of a small-town football player who has seen his best days (dare I say Glory Days) is one that is familiar, and may be hindering you as opposed to helping, esp. since this person is not you. Actually, re-reading it you might be refering to yourself in 3rd person, but I don't think 'I got wedgies' guy and HS QB are the same. Are there any small Appalacian town stories that have you as a main character that you could relate? I just feel from experience that there are much more poignant stories that you may be hesitating to use because thier main characters are not as embedded in the cultural lexicon as 'washed up qb'. I would recommend using those instead.

Have you tried brainstorming various small stories without thinking out them as intro, support, ect?

hope some of this helps, I know I tend to get a little long winded..

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:41 pm

Bumping for edited OP.

Edit: And I love Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by the way. Paul Newman was amazing in it.

rebexness
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby rebexness » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:51 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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99.9luft
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby 99.9luft » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:48 pm

agree. the writing needs a tune up, but the content, theme, and the overall message is great. Best draft to date!

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:15 pm

Alright, now I feel like I'm finally getting somewhere. Will probably clean this up a bit more over the next week, but thanks a lot for all of the input.

drive4showLSAT4dough
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:27 pm

Another suggestion: you could substitute a relevant example for each time you use the phrase "hard work" to strengthen your point and give some detail on what has made the transformation difficult.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Brick wall...

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:36 pm

drive4showLSAT4dough wrote:Another suggestion: you could substitute a relevant example for each time you use the phrase "hard work" to strengthen your point and give some detail on what has made the transformation difficult.


Good point. This thing is definitely still raw, so any stylistic suggestions would be wonderful. Also, I'm a little concerned with the rather abrupt ending. Is it in my head or is there some way to tie it all up?




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