PS Rough Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:58 am

PS Rough Draft

Postby MAHamlin » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:29 pm

I've attached a copy of my first Personal Statement draft. It's still very much a rough draft, but any input regarding its content, structure, and/or grammar would be greatly appreciated!


Mark Hamlin

My earliest school age memory revolves around building walls out of cardboard building blocks in kindergarten. I am not sure why this seemingly mundane memory stays with me, but I remember it in vivid detail. In many ways this action of stacking blocks is similar to life: it is built up one block at a time. Unlike that wall of cardboard blocks, however, life’s building blocks are not always uniformly shaped and often do not fit neatly together. The result is a life that, at first blush, is made up of spontaneous decisions, circumstance, and coincidence; a life that wanders through time in anything but a straight line from point A to point B. Hindsight does have its advantages, though, and closer retrospection often reveals a pervasive theme to what individually had felt chaotic. The wall I have built with my life does not look neat and tidy, neither does it look like what I expected when younger, but it has brought me to where I am today and for that I am grateful.
Yet, the past twelve years of my life have often felt like a source of embarrassment. Five years ago I looked back on my life and what I saw left me with little hope looking forward. I was a divorced father of one working in a home restoration market that had been decimated by the national economic downturn. The pervasive theme in my life seemed to be one of failure. A theme seemingly reinforced when the only new employment position offered to me after an extensive job hunt was a temporary job working in the call center of the Indianapolis’ Section 8 department. Despite it falling far short of meeting my cost of living, I had no other options; I took the position, moved out of my home and into my parents’ guest room at twenty-six years old. It felt like an enormous step in the wrong direction.
However, what had seemed like a series of uncoordinated missteps evolved into invaluable assets. My experience as a hotel general manager taught me to see an operation’s big picture and effectively work within a collaborative setting. My time as a self-employed construction worker taught me the value of self-motivation and hard work. My experience as a father taught me patience and compassion. My experience moving back into my parents’ home taught me humility and gratefulness. What had seemed like nearly a decade of failure now became a solid foundation upon which I could envision a better future for my family and myself. Throughout each of these roles, what I valued most upon retrospection was the opportunity they offered for solving unique problems and leaving my personal imprint on their solutions. Whether it be improving a customer’s stay, brining a homeowner’s dream bookshelves to life, providing affordable and safe housing for the needy, or potty-training my daughter, I fell in love with the challenges presented and the opportunity to tackle them head-on.
Determined not to lose momentum on my journey towards self-improvement, I reenrolled in college after an eight-year hiatus. The analytical thinking and problem-solving skills I had nurtured in the previous decade translated into academic success. Additional experience with Indianapolis’ Section 8 program and a successful internship with the Indiana House of Representatives furthered my interest in legislation and litigation, an interest nurtured by several incredible adjunct professors who served as my instructors. The legal field offered an opportunity to turn my love of analysis and problem solving into a career.
Thus, what felt like a failure and embarrassment five years ago has become the foundation upon which I intend to build my future. Each unique experience serves as one more block in my foundation, creating a more complete and self-aware person in the process. My past is not something to apologize for; it is something to build on. As I look forward to law school I do so with a maturity and drive I could not have possessed were it not for the path I chose; a path at times rocky, but one that I am ultimately grateful for.

User avatar
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:38 pm

Re: PS Rough Draft

Postby fruitoftheloom » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:54 pm

Your personal statement summarizes your resume (minus the part about being a father and moving back in with your parents). Your personal statement doesn't do a good job of showing your characteristics. Instead it says, "here are a bunch of things that happened to me. Let me tell you what I learned from thing 1, 2, and 3. Now I want to go to law school". It's all over the place.

I suggest, instead, that you more narrowly focus your statement to show the reader an awesome characteristic of yours. You have a resume to discuss the jobs you've taken. The resume for law schools can exceed 1 page in most schools, so you can even add a part where you explain what you learned and why the position mattered. I like the image of school / bricks - I suggest that you make that your daughter's school instead of your own kindergarten.

Suggestions for narrower topics:
-How was attending college and being a parent?
-How did you overcome the bad economy and how did you grow from it?
-What is your experience with section 8 housing?

You can use another topic (feel free to PM me if you have other ides), but this one is so broad that it doesn't say anything about you.

Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:47 am

Re: PS Rough Draft

Postby mmbt123 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:09 am

i agree w/ the above poster but i also think you come off as very genuine/a good writer so i think the rewrite could be a really good ps!

Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:58 am

Re: PS Rough Draft

Postby MAHamlin » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:36 am

Thank you both for the input. Tinkering with the draft this evening led me to the same conclusion as already noted: the focus is too broad and fails to establish a personal link between reader and writer. I'm hoping to have a significantly revised version posted tomorrow evening for review.

Any further input regarding the first draft would still be greatly appreciated as I work on my revisions.



Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.