Final? Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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NoodleyOne
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Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:29 pm

Edit: Final Draft. I think I have all of the grammatical mistakes, and I like the word choice for the most part. Changed it to a more active voice, and I also cut out that god awful sentence at the end of the second to last paragraph. Any final thoughts?



When you are ten your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars, and at that age I was no different. But when my 15-year-old brother was arrested for shoplifting, the experience led me to add lawyers to my list of heroes. He faced juvenile hall, and with my mother on welfare, there was no way my family could afford a good lawyer to help him with his case. My mother was desperate, though, having already had one son end up in prison after trouble in his youth, so she sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from going down that path.

I was not there for the meeting, and I do not know exactly what she told him, but whatever it was resonated because he agreed to take my brother’s case pro bono. What stands out most to me about my brother’s day in court and is not the objections, the evidence, or the dozens of other things my ten-year-old brain could not understand The image that stands out for me on that day is my brother hugging the lawyer, my mom in tears thanking him profusely, and the lawyer seeming almost embarrassed with the thanks he was receiving.

From that day forward, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “a lawyer” without hesitation because I knew I wanted to help other people like someone had helped my family. While was not always the perfect student, my goal drove me to succeed in school. My path was not one without challenges, though. The town I grew up in was way back in the mountains and very poor. I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the small town environment, that seemed as out of reach as becoming a movie star or a professional football player. People where I come from do not 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, and that led me to fear that my goals were out of reach.

My brother, the same one whose troubles indirectly set me on the path to becoming a lawyer, was now a decorated soldier in the Army, and he would not let that mindset hold me back. He knew that becoming a lawyer had my dream since I was a child, and when he heard of my uncertainty, he encouraged me in the way only an older brother can− he threatened to beat me up if I did not go to law school. While I did not take the threat seriously, I did take what was behind it with all the gravity it deserved. My upbringing, while undeniably difficult, was not something that I would allow to slow me down.

Even with the finish line in sight, the path was still fraught with challenges. My mother was unable to help me with my school expenses, so I had to work two 30-hour-a-week jobs just to support myself. I would find time to study when I could, whether while walking to work or on my breaks, but I never let my financial circumstances, or my lack of sleep, for that matter, keep me from realizing my goal. My academic success provided me with the opportunity for an academic research fellowship, which led to even less sleep, but also gave me an invaluable experience into the realities of academic research. More importantly, I proved to myself that I had the talent and ability to perform well in a competitive academic environment.

When the resolve sets in to pursue your dream no matter what, everything after that becomes easy. Tasks in school that many found arduous I tackled with relish because I knew that every step of my journey was crucial to my becoming a lawyer. That ten year old kid, so hopeful, is now a twenty-eight year old man with a goal and the drive to succeed. That lawyer, the hero from my childhood, surely did not know when he took that case that he would have such an impact on my life. He probably thought he was just keeping a stupid kid from juvenile hall. What he actually did was keep me, a kid from the middle of nowhere, from becoming trapped by his circumstances.
Last edited by NoodleyOne on Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paratactical
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:37 pm

I like this statement, but you should try to get rid of the passive voice. Print out a copy of this and highlight every instance of "was" and "were" and see if you can remove it. Some of them will need to stay, but lots should be able to go. Here's how I would do the first paragraph:

NoodleyOne wrote:When you’re ten, your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars. I was no different. But when my brother was arrested for shoplifting when he was fifteen, the experience added lawyers to my list of heroes. He faced juvenile hall. With my mother collecting welfare, my family could not afford a lawyer to help him. Desperate, my mother sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from being incarcerated.

Nothing major, just trying to get out the passivity. Feel free to reject/keep any of these changes, but definitely look through the whole shebang and try to be less passive.


NoodleyOne wrote:A personal note: I don't know how crazy I am with the last sentence in the second to last paragraph. Any suggestions there especially, or even a thumbs up, would be appreciated.

I don't think you need the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph. You can end that paragraph with the bit about your ability to perform in a competitive academic environment.

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wert3813
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby wert3813 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:58 pm

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Last edited by wert3813 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nygrrrl
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:59 pm

paratactical wrote:I like this statement, but you should try to get rid of the passive voice. Print out a copy of this and highlight every instance of "was" and "were" and see if you can remove it. Some of them will need to stay, but lots should be able to go. Here's how I would do the first paragraph:

NoodleyOne wrote:When you’re ten, your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars. I was no different. But when my brother was arrested for shoplifting when he was fifteen, the experience added lawyers to my list of heroes. He faced juvenile hall. With my mother collecting welfare, my family could not afford a lawyer to help him. Desperate, my mother sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from being incarcerated.

Nothing major, just trying to get out the passivity. Feel free to reject/keep any of these changes, but definitely look through the whole shebang and try to be less passive.


NoodleyOne wrote:A personal note: I don't know how crazy I am with the last sentence in the second to last paragraph. Any suggestions there especially, or even a thumbs up, would be appreciated.

I don't think you need the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph. You can end that paragraph with the bit about your ability to perform in a competitive academic environment.

Agree with all of this. (And I really like this PS, too.)

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wert3813
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby wert3813 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:01 pm

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Last edited by wert3813 on Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Cobretti
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby Cobretti » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:32 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Alright, first I have to thank all of you that read over and critiqued my work over the past week or so. I know it's probably getting annoying seeing a topic with my name as creator, but hopefully this is the last one. I took a lot of your guys' advice to heart, and hope what I have left is a compelling personal statement. Once again, be brutal, point out the smallest error in word choice or grammar, and thanks again for all of your help.





When you’re ten your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars, and at that age I was no different. But when my brother was arrested for shoplifting when he was fifteen, the experience led to me adding lawyers to my list of heroes. He was facing juvenile hall, and with my mother on welfare, there was no way my family was going to be able to afford a good lawyer to help him with his case. My mother was desperate, though, and having already had one son end up in prison after trouble in his youth, so she sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from going down that path.

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. The image that stands out most to me about my brother’s day in court wasn’t the objections, the evidence, or the dozens of other things my ten year old brain couldn’t understand that took place in that courtroom that led to my brother’s case being dismissed. 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. (the second to last sentence seems overly wordy, I'd cut out the parts I striked through, and add that the case was dismissed to the last sentence.)

From that day forward when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “a lawyer” without hesitation because I knew I wanted to help other people like someone had helped my family. While I wasn’t always the perfect student, my goal drove me to succeed in school. My path wasn’t one without challenges, though. The town I grew up in was way back in the mountains and very poor. I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the small town environment, that seemed just as out of reach as becoming a movie star or a professional football player. (I like this subtle change from the last draft) 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, which led me to fear that my goals were out of reach.

My brother, the same one that ended up in the trouble that indirectly set me onto the path to become a lawyer, was now a decorated soldier in the Army, and he wouldn’t let that mindset hold me back. He knew that being a lawyer was my dream since I was a child, and when he heard my uncertainty due to the circumstances we grew up in, he encouraged me in the way only an older brother can; he threatened to beat me up if I didn’t go to law school. While I didn’t take the threat of violence seriously, I did take what was behind it with all the gravity it deserved. My upbringing, while undeniably difficult, was not something that I would allow to slow me down.

Even with the finish line in sight, the path was still fraught with challenges. My mother was unable to help me with my expenses with school, so I had to work two 30 hour a week jobs just to support myself. I would find time to study when I could, whether while walking to work or on my breaks, but I never let my financial circumstances, or my lack of sleep for that matter, keep me from realizing my goal. My academic success provided me with the opportunity for a research fellowship at my school, which led to even less sleep, but also gave me an invaluable experience into the realities of academic research. More importantly, I proved to myself that I had the talent and ability to perform well in a competitive academic environment. I finally realized that I had all of the skills necessary to compete and succeed at even the most exclusive law schools.(Nice)

When the resolve sets in to pursue your dream no matter what, everything after that becomes easy. Tasks in school that many found arduous I tackled with relish because I knew that every step of my journey was crucial to me becoming a lawyer. That ten year old kid, so hopeful, is now a twenty-eight year old man with a goal and the drive to succeed. That lawyer, the hero from my childhood, surely didn’t know when he took that case that he would have such an impact on my life. He probably thought he was just keeping a stupid kid from juvenile hall. What he actually did was keep me, a kid from the middle of nowhere from becoming trapped by his circumstances.


A personal note: I don't know how crazy I am with the last sentence in the second to last paragraph. Any suggestions there especially, or even a thumbs up, would be appreciated.


I really like the closing but I think it could be tweaked slightly. First, he still kept your brother from juvenile hall, so it should probably read "He also kept me, a kid from...". Also, you need a comma after "nowhere"

Coming together really nice though, you're 99% there.

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wert3813
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby wert3813 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:35 pm

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Last edited by wert3813 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:49 pm

Delete the last sentence of the next to last paragraph. Otherwise, this is a sincere, powerful & effective PS, in my opinion.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:01 pm

wert3813 wrote:At a minimum change exclusive to challenging.

Yeah i wasn't crazy about that sentence myself. Thanks for all the help and after my nap I'll tighten this up.

LargeNinCharge
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby LargeNinCharge » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:09 pm

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Last edited by LargeNinCharge on Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paratactical
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:13 pm

LargeNinCharge wrote:Second sentence should be more active, as in "I added lawyers to my list."

My mother was desperate - her older son had ended up in prison after trouble in his youth. She found a local attorney to see if she could prevent another one from going down that path. This is a cliche and you should consider adding another metaphor - something like a train maybe. "prevent another train from going down that track" or something.

Good stuff!

The "train down a track" thing is a terrible idea and just as cliche as what was previously there.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:16 pm

Err... I don't see how it is a big cliche, really. It's not excessively dramatic or anytying' and I feel it is rather pertinent considering family history. Anyone else feel that way?

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Cobretti
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby Cobretti » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:17 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Err... I don't see how it is a big cliche, really. It's not excessively dramatic or anytying' and I feel it is rather pertinent considering family history. Anyone else feel that way?


I think its fine. I also don't understand how using a metaphor to describe a cliche isn't a cliche itself...

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wert3813
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby wert3813 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:27 pm

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Last edited by wert3813 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paratactical
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:28 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Err... I don't see how it is a big cliche, really. It's not excessively dramatic or anytying' and I feel it is rather pertinent considering family history. Anyone else feel that way?

The only reason I changed it in my edit of your first paragraph was that I thought it eliminated the need for the previous sentence.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:40 pm

Bump for final draft in OP.

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wert3813
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby wert3813 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:59 pm

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Last edited by wert3813 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:00 pm

Awesome. Thanks a ton for all of your help.

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CardozoLaw09
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby CardozoLaw09 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:05 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Edit: Final Draft. I think I have all of the grammatical mistakes, and I like the word choice for the most part. Changed it to a more active voice, and I also cut out that god awful sentence at the end of the second to last paragraph. Any final thoughts?



When you are ten your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars, and at that age I was no different. But when my 15-year-old brother was arrested for shoplifting, the experience led me to add lawyers to my list of heroes. He faced juvenile hall, and with my mother on welfare, there was no way my family could afford a good lawyer to help him with his case. My mother was desperate, though, having already had one son end up in prison after trouble in his youth, so she sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from going down that path.

I was not there for the meeting, and I do not know exactly what she told him, but whatever it was resonated because he agreed to take my brother’s case pro bono. What stands out most to me about my brother’s day in court and it's not the objections, the evidence, or the dozens of other things my ten-year-old brain could not understand. The image that stands out for me on that day is my brother hugging the lawyer, my mom in tears thanking him profusely, and the lawyer seeming almost embarrassed with the thanks he was receiving.

From that day forward, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “a lawyer” without hesitation because I knew I wanted to help other people like someone had helped my family. While was not always the perfect student, my goal drove me to succeed in school. My path was not one without challenges, though. The town I grew up in was way back in the mountains and very poor. I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the small town environment, that seemed as out of reach as becoming a movie star or a professional football player. People where I come from do not 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, and that led me to fear that my goals were out of reach.

My brother, the same one whose troubles indirectly set me on the path to becoming a lawyer, was now a decorated soldier in the Army, and he would not let that mindset hold me back. He knew that becoming a lawyer had my dream since I was a child, and when he heard of my uncertainty, he encouraged me in the way only an older brother can− he threatened to beat me up if I did not go to law school. While I did not take the threat seriously, I did take what was behind it with all the gravity it deserved. My upbringing, while undeniably difficult, was not something that I would allow to slow me down.

Even with the finish line in sight, the path was still fraught with challenges. My mother was unable to help me with my school expenses, so I had to work two 30-hour-a-week jobs just to support myself. I would find time to study when I could, whether it be while walking to work or on my breaks, but I never let my financial circumstances, or my lack of sleep, for that matter, keep me from realizing my goal. My academic success provided me with the opportunity for an academic research fellowship, which led to even less sleep, but also gave me an invaluable experience into the realities of academic research. More importantly, I proved to myself that I had the talent and ability to perform well in a competitive academic environment.

When the resolve sets in to pursue your dream no matter what, everything after that becomes easy. Tasks in school that many found arduous I tackled with relish because I knew that every step of my journey was crucial to my becoming a lawyer. That ten year old kid, so hopeful, is now a twenty-eight year old man with a goal and the drive to succeed. That lawyer, the hero from my childhood, surely did not know when he took that case that he would have such an impact on my life. He probably thought he was just keeping a stupid kid from juvenile hall. What he actually did was keep me, a kid from the middle of nowhere, from becoming trapped by his circumstances.


I think we have a winner, Noodley. Care to return the favour and read mine? Let me know.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:09 pm

Of course. Send it my way. Studying for a midterm tonight and tomorrow, but I'll do my best.

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paratactical
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:13 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Awesome. Thanks a ton for all of your help.

Please put a comma after "When you are ten".

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wert3813
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby wert3813 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:22 pm

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Last edited by wert3813 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:29 pm

Dude, I want this to be perfect. Be a dick, I insist. I'm going to sit on it a few days. I may end up making that change, but I don't think I can look at it right now after all the work I've put into it over the past week.

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Honey_Badger
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby Honey_Badger » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:41 pm

paratactical wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Awesome. Thanks a ton for all of your help.

Please put a comma after "When you are ten".

This.
Or begin with "At ten years old,..."
I was caught up on the first sentence, but loved the rest for the most part. I can nitpick tomorrow too.

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eyescream
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Re: Final? Draft

Postby eyescream » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:45 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Edit: Final Draft. I think I have all of the grammatical mistakes, and I like the word choice for the most part. Changed it to a more active voice, and I also cut out that god awful sentence at the end of the second to last paragraph. Any final thoughts?



When you are ten, your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars, and at that age I was no different. But when my 15-year-old brother was arrested for shoplifting, the experience led me to add lawyers to my list of heroes. He faced juvenile hall, and with my mother on welfare, there was no way my family could afford a good lawyer to help him with his case. My mother was desperate, though, having already had one son end up in prison after trouble in his youth, so she sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from going down that path.

I was not there for the meeting, and I do not know exactly what she told him, but whatever it was resonated because he agreed to take my brother’s case pro bono. What stands out most to me about my brother’s day in court and is not the objections, the evidence, or the dozens of other things my ten-year-old brain could not understand. The image that stands out for me on that day is my brother hugging the lawyer, my mom in tears thanking him profusely, and the lawyer seeming almost embarrassed with the thanks he was receiving.

From that day forward, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “a lawyer” without hesitation because I knew I wanted to help other people like someone had helped my family. While I was not always the perfect student, my goal drove me to succeed in school. My path was not one without challenges, though. The town I grew up in was way back in the mountains and very poor. I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the small town environment, that seemed as out of reach as becoming a movie star or a professional football player. People where I come from do not 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, and that led me to fear that my goals were out of reach. That type of thinking poisoned my mind and led me to fear that my goals were out of reach. (Was it the poison that led you, or the beginning of being poisoned that led you? I assumed the former)

My brother, the same one whose troubles indirectly set me on the path to becoming a lawyer, was now a decorated soldier in the Army, and he would not let that mindset hold me back. He knew that becoming a lawyer had been my dream since I was a child(Maybe end sentence here and begin the next with when), and when he heard of my uncertainty, he encouraged me in the way only an older brother can− he threatened to beat me up if I did not go to law school. While I did not take the threat seriously, I did take what was behind it with all the gravity it deserved. My upbringing, while undeniably difficult, was not something that I would allow to slow me down.

Even with the finish line in sight, the path was still fraught with challenges. My mother was unable to help me with my school expenses, so I had to work two 30-hour-a-week jobs just to support myself. I would find time to study when I could, whether while walking to work (maybe "whether during walks to work", unless you want to alliterate)or on my breaks, but I never let my financial circumstances, or my lack of sleep, for that matter, keep me from realizing my goal. My academic success provided me with the opportunity for an academic research fellowship, which led to even less sleep, but also gave me an invaluable experience into the realities of academic research. More importantly, I proved to myself that I had the talent and ability to perform well in a competitive academic environment.

When the resolve sets in to pursue your dream no matter what, everything after that becomes easy. Tasks in school that many found arduous I tackled with relish because I knew that every step of my journey was crucial to my becoming a lawyer. That ten year old kid, so hopeful, is now a twenty-eight year old man with a goal and the drive to succeed. That lawyer, the hero from my childhood, surely did not know when he took that case that he would have such an impact on my life. He probably thought he was just keeping a stupid kid from juvenile hall. What he actually did was keep me, a kid from the middle of nowhere, from becoming trapped by his circumstances.


Editing on here is tough. You were really helpful with my personal statement, and I'd like to return the favor. If you want, upload this onto Google docs and shoot me an invite to the document. I'll go through it and do some lower-order editing (word choice, structure, grammar, etc).




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