General PS review (round two!)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
toothbrush
Posts: 2388
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:21 pm

General PS review (round two!)

Postby toothbrush » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:48 pm

A few months ago I made my first post on TLS with the first draft of my PS. Long story short, it was a train wreck and needed much work. I ended up putting it aside until recently when my LoR writers requested a copy. I polished it a bit, addressing obvious tonal issues, and am now really trying to hammer to home, sort to speak.

I would love for you guys to read it over. I've tried to address some issues cited in the last thread which is linked below, and also focused the theme a bit more?

This is no way grammatically sound so don't waste efforts looking at that, for I haven't yet. Please, please, please tell me if you think the tone / theme are better, and how they may be improved. Also, I personally feel the story drags toward the last few paragraphs - do you agree? What should be removed/ condensed/ etc ?

Thanks!

(link to first draft / comments if interested) viewtopic.php?f=18&t=188668

I grew with my parents and three siblings who worked, and went to school respectively. This pattern was halted upon turning fifteen, however. That summer, fifteen years of adolescent lethargy was put to an end. I began to work in a bakery-café restaurant. You know, the ones that serve pastries in the morning and sandwiches and salads during the day?
I started working only a few hours each day and quickly moved up to working full time. I was good at what I did, and gravitated from working directly with the customers to working behind the scenes. Once a boy who hated to wash the dishes in his own house, I came to prefer to wash others at work. Cleaning dishes, preparing food - you name it. As long as I got to stay in the “back of the house”, with people with stories far more interesting than my own, I would do anything.
I have to be honest and admit that most people working in the back of restaurants do not speak English. The foremost problem that I had to surmount was the dreaded language barrier. Spanish was the language of the land. If I wanted to get to know my co-workers, I had to apply every ounce of the past years of Spanish education that I had in my life. And yet – that was not enough.
Throughout my youth I did not really relate my heritage. While Cuban by blood, the predominant culture in my life tended stray away from that aspect. It was not until working with immigrants did I identify myself as the son of one. My marks in Spanish class quickly shot up and I went from being disinterested and struggling to get by, to a “genius” by my classmates standards. It was somewhere during these few years that I began to truly identify with my heritage.
At work, there were Spanish people who spoke English and could translate, but the ability to have a true proficiency in English first and Spanish second carried a different significance – namely, that I knew the system. I understood how certain things worked better than others, namely English itself, and matters of American society. I became a gateway of information. Everything from “how to apply for a learners permit” to “how to apply for health care” suddenly became topics I familiarized myself with. I had to – right? There was a whole percent of my friends who were not familiar with things that I took for granted. And so researched, translated, and advised. I was the catalyst for many opportunities for my friend.
Beginning to embrace my heritage and the Spanish culture as a whole bore an epiphany. The naïve fifteen year old that I was soon realized that of my ten or so great Spanish speaking friends, each had another fifty Spanish-speaking friends. I now realize that my efforts to help my friends were futile in the grand scheme of things. Plenty of issues were beyond my scope, regardless of how much passion I put in. Further, the small number I helped was only a fraction of the percent of people like my friends who needed such help. Fifty million people live in the United States who speak Spanish and want to buy a house, get married, file for divorce, own a business, or obtain a patent. Fifty million people require the same services that my close friends do, many whom cannot obtain them.
Going to law school was always a goal of mine. But it was not until I worked in the back of a restaurant, did I begin to understand why it would help me to accomplish my goals. Some of the nicest, most sincere and lovable people that I have ever met were those that helped to teach me Spanish. There is a whole fraction of the population who need the same legal services that many Americans utilize. Going to law school will be the first step for me in being able to provide the array of aforementioned services to the ever growing population of Spanish speaking Americans.
The subsequent internships and legal experiences which I have had since the time working in a restaurant have provided me with a wealth of knowledge – none of which has impacted the conception of my goals as much as prepping hundreds of pounds of food each morning, while enjoying quality conversation and laughs in a then unfamiliar tongue.

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VUSisterRayVU
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: General PS review (round two!)

Postby VUSisterRayVU » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:53 pm

Eh, I'll do a basic review of it right now.

I think your theme is woven neatly throughout. It doesn't falter at the end though you can probably strengthen the final two paragraphs. At the same time, it's pretty clear what the conclusion was gonna be, so it's not like you have to do so much explaining. The main thing I would edit is just style and voice to make it more active. If you haven't really taken to editing it down with grammar yet, then it's no big deal. But you can probably chop off 10-20% of the PS just by altering sentence structure and eliminating some words which could give you more room to finish as strong as the beginning was. I would maybe also try to weave in your family a bit more, or if they aren't as relevant, to really bring out the ways in which your friends and their friends were either ignorant of or unable to navigate the system.

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VUSisterRayVU
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: General PS review (round two!)

Postby VUSisterRayVU » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:57 pm

VUSisterRayVU wrote:Eh, I'll do a basic review of it right now.

I think your theme is woven neatly throughout. It doesn't falter at the end though you can probably strengthen the final two paragraphs. At the same time, it's pretty clear what the conclusion was gonna be, so it's not like you have to do so much explaining. The main thing I would edit is just style and voice to make it more active. If you haven't really taken to editing it down with grammar yet, then it's no big deal. But you can probably chop off 10-20% of the PS just by altering sentence structure and eliminating some words which could give you more room to finish as strong as the beginning was. I would maybe also try to weave in your family a bit more, or if they aren't as relevant, to really bring out the ways in which your friends and their friends were either ignorant of or unable to navigate the system.


Oh also, the reason why it falls a bit flat at the end is because you mention LS being your goal, but you don't explain WHY it was your goal. You explain that it will help etc etc, but why were you looking into it before working at a restaurant? Maybe bring out more the process of your decision-making and realization that yeah, LS will be the best way for you to do x, y, and z. You do that with the narrative and progression already, but I think it could maybe be more explicit?

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Mce252
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Re: General PS review (round two!)

Postby Mce252 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:40 pm

1.) It is boring. I did not want to finish reading it.

2.) Have someone edit substantively for syntax and word choice. For example, the first sentence of the PS had me scratching my head a bit.

3.) I don't believe you. Really, you would do anything to stay in the back washing dishes with people who didn't speak your language? This seems like a stretch to begin your explanation of the relationship you had with these individuals. You should be honest and really describe what it was like to work with someone who you couldn't talk to and probably had nothing in common with you. It will be very difficult to give this the depth it needs--but can be very good if you do a lot of work.

4.) If you really became a counselor for these disadvantaged workers, my recommendation would be to describe very specific instances of how this occurred with a person, and how this tangibly affected them. This would be good stuff. Also, get rid of weird fragments like this: "I had to – right?"

5.) Your PS doesn't lead to an understanding of why you want to go to law school. It leads to an understanding of why you want to learn Spanish. None of the things mentioned require a law degree. It just sounds like you want to be a community activist or "organizer".




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