Critique my PS Pretty Please?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ThickaThanASnicka
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:02 am

Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby ThickaThanASnicka » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:05 am

So I wrote the first draft of my personal statement yesterday, and I'd love some completely honest feedbacks/thoughts about it?

Feel free to keep it 100! Appreciate it :lol:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” –South African President Nelson Mandela

I first heard this quote while watching the movie “Coach Carter.” It’s spoken by the coach of a super talented, but undisciplined basketball team struggling to survive in the ghetto. He asks the players on the team, “What is you deepest fear?” They scoff at him at first; but in later scenes, as they mature and develop, one player quotes this famous line said by Nelson Mandela in his inauguration speech to become the first black president of South Africa.
I did not grow up in the ghetto, in fact, my parents did everything they could to provide us a loving home in safe neighborhoods and good schools. They did not want us to be subjected to the tyranny and struggles that they lived through while growing up in the projects. I did, however, grapple with being frightened of my own light. I was a black girl in AP classes full of white students, and once I left classroom of the AP classes, I was still the black girl who was in the “AP classes” to my black friends. What I mean by that is because I did not speak or dress like the other black kids in my grade, I felt distant and that I could not truly relate to them. From a young age, starting in my elementary years, I always sensed some sort of “otherness” about myself even amongst all of my black friends. So I would intentionally “dim” my light. I continued to excel in school, but I pretended that I didn’t care about my grades or brushed off the A’s and B’s that I received. My parents instilled a deep love of education in my brother and me from the time we were young kids. They expected nothing but excellence and our best efforts academically and because of this absolute confidence in our abilities, we excelled. It was a different matter once I left the cocoon of our home, however; I felt that I had to blur my light a to fit in with the other kids in my grade. Needless to say, as a kid I felt confused and angry as competing desires warred within me. I was angry at my parents for expecting so much out of me, I would often think why can’t they be like some of my friends parents who were okay with their children getting C’s and D’s on their report cards. I was angry at my friends and classmates for not valuing education as much as I did.

It was not until the summer after freshmen year, however, that I began to let my light begin to shine again. That summer I watched Coach Carter. I heard the above quote, and it opened my eyes again; as the quote goes on to say “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” Not to say there have not been bumps in the road, there was that rough patch in which I majored in a subject that was not my calling. I felt lost in a sea of faces my freshmen year at the University of Texas; depression hit amongst other issues, I felt my guiding light begin to blur once again, it was cold, harsh, dry. I isolated myself, lost interest in things that had once ignited me, and felt as if everyone was staying afloat while I was suffocating under stifling pressure. I should not have chosen my first major, I chose it for the wrong reasons and the price I paid was severe. Still, my light continued to flicker ever so often. I took a Roman History class, in which, we extensively studied ancient Roman Law s, it astonished me how much the American and European Legal systems have been so influenced by the legal system of ancient Rome.

It’s taken me awhile to come full circle in realizing that studying the law and implementing legal change for the disadvantaged is my true calling. I believe I will excel as a law student because I refuse to let my light waver again. I know law school is a challenge, it’s tough, but I have absolute confidence in my ability to get through the tough times. I’ve learned that “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

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

Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby canarykb » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:59 am

I like the paragraph on your sense of otherness in high school, but I really dislike the use of a quote you heard from a movie as a way to guide your essay. It comes across as silly.

ThickaThanASnicka
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:02 am

Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby ThickaThanASnicka » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:25 pm

Okay, thanks for the feedback!

I had heard of the quote before I watched that movie from Nelson Mandela's inauguration speech and it continues to be my favorite quote, so I would like to use it. Or should I just scrap the quote entirely, and focus on the "otherness"?

Mister Gold
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:54 pm

Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby Mister Gold » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:56 pm

I really like your first paragraph. I think that you gave a strong sense of who you are by detailing your background and your surroundings, and how you felt the need to balance your public image with your inner ambition. The reference to the quote is strong, although I think you should consider removing the bit about the movie. As the previous poster mentioned, it does make it sound "silly".

I get the feeling that you rushed through your second and third paragraphs. The second paragraph sounds like you're trying to explain away some poor performances. It's fine to detail the struggles that you endured, but you want to provide a resolution in the end, and focus on the lessons that you learned from those struggles. In order to strengthen the PS, your third paragraph should resolve the problems that are outlined in the second.

There's a lot to work with here, you're on a good start. Just try to refocus your efforts and maintain flow and consistency throughout the entirety of the PS.

I hope this helps, best of luck to you.

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ChikaBoom
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Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby ChikaBoom » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:41 am

I really like your theme. I think for the most part it is very well executed. That said, please get rid of all references to the movie Coach Carter. I like the quote, although I'm aware that in most cases one should not use them. In this case, I think I'd keep it. I'm a 0L though, so what do I know? :mrgreen:

The second paragraph does verge on making excuses though. You have the 'light dimming' a couple times there. If you're writing a GPA addendum, I'd keep any explanations for poor grades there. After you finish the first paragraph on a lower note, use the second paragraph to show how you kicked ass in college.

If you're going to talk about Nelson Mandela, please at least read a book about him. That way when you reference the quote not only do you have a good amount of background knowledge, but you can incorporate the quote with something other than a movie. (Not that you have not read, or don't already have the knowledge, but the way it's written here it makes it sound like you don't)

Good luck!

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

Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby canarykb » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:54 am

ChikaBoom wrote:If you're going to talk about Nelson Mandela, please at least read a book about him. That way when you reference the quote not only do you have a good amount of background knowledge, but you can incorporate the quote with something other than a movie. (Not that you have not read, or don't already have the knowledge, but the way it's written here it makes it sound like you don't)

Long Walk to Freedom is a great read.

ThickaThanASnicka
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:02 am

Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby ThickaThanASnicka » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:33 pm

ChikaBoom wrote:I really like your theme. I think for the most part it is very well executed. That said, please get rid of all references to the movie Coach Carter. I like the quote, although I'm aware that in most cases one should not use them. In this case, I think I'd keep it. I'm a 0L though, so what do I know? :mrgreen:

The second paragraph does verge on making excuses though. You have the 'light dimming' a couple times there. If you're writing a GPA addendum, I'd keep any explanations for poor grades there. After you finish the first paragraph on a lower note, use the second paragraph to show how you kicked ass in college.

If you're going to talk about Nelson Mandela, please at least read a book about him. That way when you reference the quote not only do you have a good amount of background knowledge, but you can incorporate the quote with something other than a movie. (Not that you have not read, or don't already have the knowledge, but the way it's written here it makes it sound like you don't)



Good luck!


Chikaboom, thanks so much for the great advice. I did have trouble my freshman year (was a chemical engineering major and hated it), my grades suffered terribly. I will be writing an addendenum to explain that situation, I'll graduate this December and if everything goes well, I should end up graduating with a 3.3. That is low for law school applications, but I'm quite proud of where I've come from. I think I'll take your advice and just mention how I did we'll in my new majors and my accomplishments.

It seems the consensus is to not quote from the movie lol, so I'll see how I can incorporate the quote into my PS without mentioning any movies. I have read his autobiography, so I will use that instead perhaps.

Oh, and congrats on getting into law school, and good luck on your first year! :)

ThickaThanASnicka
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:02 am

Re: Critique my PS Pretty Please?

Postby ThickaThanASnicka » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:35 pm

Thanks Mister Gold!

To be honest, I did rush the last third of the statement lol. I just wanted to get some words written down on paper. I've actually revised it completely and have taken out most of the last paragraph at the advice of my friend. I'll repost my new copy once I'm on a computer and not my phone. Appreciate the advice :D




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