First Draft - Please Critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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First Draft - Please Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:27 pm

Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Draft - Please Critique

Postby CorkBoard » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Please help me out. I'm wanting to submit soon, so any quick feedback is appreciated.

“Where’s Dad?” I asked my mother. “He has to go away for a while,” she replied, “because he broke the law.” I was around three years old at the time this conversation took place, and I was very curious as to what “the law” was and why breaking it was so significant. Admittedly, my first thought was that the law was something that he had physically broken, like a vase or something of that sort. Over the course of many years, I would come to understand what the law was and realize the profound impact it had on my life.

My mother and father spent almost all of my childhood incarcerated because of drug convictions. For my mother, drugs were a crutch she used to cope with mental illness. My father followed in the footsteps of his father, who had spent the majority of his life in prison because of drugs. I grew up in severe poverty because of my parents’ choices. My grandmother was the closest family I had and the only person who was capable of taking care of me. Bring this in in the next paragraph, it would flow better. Put it after the first sentence in the next paragraph:

Much of my childhood was spent wondering why I lived with my grandmother and not my parents. As I grew older, the generalities and subtle, dismissive comments that my grandmother used as a way to avoid telling me the full story about my parents slowly gave way to a fuller explanation. Learning the reason why my parents were absent and why my disabled grandmother and I were forced to live on a small, fixed income led to a lot of anger and resentment.

Working through the difficulties of accepting my parents’ situations took a long time. My first reaction was to blame them; after all, they had broken the law. They were drug addicts—criminals, just like the murderers and thieves I saw on television, ruining the lives of those around them. Prison was an appropriate punishment for their crimes and they deserved to be locked away for as long as the law prescribed. I held this view for quite some time. Eventually, I learned some context about my parents and their drug use. My mother and two her sisters grew up in many different foster homes, the best being livable and the worst extremely abusive. The three of them all turned out to have mental and emotional problems, my mother being bipolar. My father grew up in a household in which drug use was an ever-present phenomenon. Could I really blame them for how they turned out? In time, my answer to that question would be “no.”

I eventually came to believe that drug abuse is properly viewed as a sickness and should be dealt with in hospitals and clinics, not in courtrooms and prison cells. To be sure, the fact that my parents became drug users is one cause of their long incarcerations, but the legal system itself played a large role as well. The drug laws that we have in place today do more damage to people like my parents than the drugs themselves. Realizing this helped me to view my parents not as bad people that should be separated from society, but people in need of help that the status quo would not provide them. I wouldn't get too into the politics of this, IMO

During the time that I resented my parents for being criminals, I really had no more of an idea of what the law’s role in society is than I did when I was three years old and wondering what it even was for someone to break the law. Coming to terms with my parents’ drug use and long prison sentences helped me understand the importance of the human element in the law. While my parents are drug addicts and lawbreakers, they are also people, and I think that is something easily overlooked. This is something that is better than your previous paragraph.

My struggle to understand and accept my parents inspired me to pursue a legal education. The law can do great things for society and is necessary for it society? to function. Laws can also have great human cost, though. It is my hope that, through becoming a lawyer, I can uphold and respect the law, while also working to reduce its human costs. As someone whose life has been tremendously affected by the law, my experiences give me a unique perspective to contribute to a class of law students and, eventually, to the legal community as well.

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Re: First Draft - Please Critique

Postby VeeD101 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:27 am

Good first draft. Your story holds and the it flows. You writing style is also very easy to follow and the reader is never confused about your message.

The following sentence doesn't sound right to me. I don't think you can learn context, try using acquire or 'gained some perspective'

Eventually, I learned some context about my parents and their drug use.

Also as Cork mentioned above, cut down on the politics. You don't know the views of the person reading it and you want them to focus on empathizing with you rather than thinking about their own political views on the subject.

Good work overall :)

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Re: First Draft - Please Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:48 pm

In the midst of taking these suggestions into account. In the mean time, more perspectives are welcomed :)

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Re: First Draft - Please Critique

Postby thelawschoolproject » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:30 am

I actually like your PS.

It's hard to talk about a serious/emotional situation without coming across as "feel sorry for me," but I think you balance it really well. One thing you definitely need to clean up is your language. Don't use passive voice. "Was" appears in your sentences far too often. Also, there are other general grammatical/syntax errors. If your UG has a writing center, I suggest that you bring this to them and have them carefully edit it for you.

Other than that, I think this one is pretty strong. Good job.

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