Personal Statement Draft

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

Personal Statement Draft

Postby MAHamlin » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:05 pm

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Five years ago my father gifted me Norton’s Anthology of Poetry. I had been dabbling in poetry at the time and he thought it would be a great source of insight into the art. I doubt he believed it would change my life. Truthfully it wasn’t the book itself, but a poem within by W. H. Auden: “Leap Before You Look.” I’m not an English major, so I can’t tell you the exactly meaning Auden intended to convey with this poem, but I can tell you what it meant to me. I needed to take control of my life.

For eight years immediately after high school I wandered through life, never committed to any single path. Despite the lack of ambition, these weren’t wasted years. My experience as a hotel manager taught me to work effectively 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 in failure taught me compromise and humility. Each of these experiences had an immense impact on me, yet none of them were being applied in any meaningful way to my life.

I saw each of the previous experiences as individual events rather than as a series of steps towards a goal. I believed I had great potential, but rather than seek to apply it I passively waiting for that potential to pan out. A rock high on a cliff’s ledge also has great potential energy, but no amount of waiting will convert that potential into reality. It needs to be pushed over the ledge. So did I. I needed to leap. Fantasies of my future wouldn’t come true of their own accord anymore than a rock’s potential energy would spontaneously propel it over a ledge. “Look if you like, but you will have to leap.” I had done enough looking; it was time to leap.

I enrolled in college shortly thereafter without any clear path or vision, but with a clear sense of drive. I wasn’t sure where I was headed, but I was determined to get there with the full force of my potential behind me. I enrolled as a History major, but very quickly I discovered my interests lay in the legal world. For the first two years of my return to college I worked as a housing coordinator for Indianapolis’ Section 8 program. It was there, reviewing rental agreements for compliance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s requirements, that I discovered my passion for the law and how it interacts with our lives. 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 in several law-related courses. The legal field offered an opportunity to turn my love of analysis and problem solving into a career. It gave my blind leap direction.

James A Froude asserted “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” For the last two years I have done just that, relentlessly working towards the pursuing my goal of attending law school. Law school isn’t my only dream, though. As I work towards reshaping myself, it isn’t in the mold of a lawyer or legal scholar, but instead, as Auden put it, as one who can “rejoice when no else is there.” By leaping into the unknown I haven’t just given myself a career preference, I’ve created a sense of self and personal accountability with which I have improved the entirety of my life. I’m a better husband, father, son, brother, and friend for it. Four years ago an insecure man took a leap of faith. I have never regretted it since.

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

Re: Personal Statement Draft

Postby fruitoftheloom » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:24 pm

MAHamlin wrote:Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Five years ago my father gifted me Norton’s Anthology of Poetry. I had been dabbling in poetry at the time and he thought it would be a great source of insight into the art. I doubt he believed it would change my life. Truthfully it wasn’t the book itself, but a poem within by W. H. Auden: “Leap Before You Look.” I’m not an English major, so I can’t tell you the exactly meaning Auden intended to convey with this poem, but I can tell you what it meant to me. Omit this sentence. Don't qualify your statement - you can just say, this poem spoke to me and I realized that.. I needed to take control of my life.

For eight years immediately after high school I wandered through life, never committed to any single path. Despite the lack of ambition, these weren’t wasted years. My experience as a hotel manager taught me to work effectively 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 in failure taught me compromise and humility. "my experience in failure" is that explained in another statement or your resume? otherwise I would omit Each of these experiences had an immense impact on me, yet none of them were being applied in any meaningful way to my life.

I saw each of the previous experiences as individual events rather than as a series of steps towards a goal. I believed I had great potential, but rather than seek to apply it I passively waiting tense!! waited for that potential to pan out. A rock high on a cliff’s ledge also has great potential energy, but no amount of waiting will convert that potential into reality. It needs to be pushed over the ledge. So did I. I needed to leap. Fantasies of my future wouldn’t come true of their own accord anymore than a rock’s potential energy would spontaneously propel it over a ledge. “Look if you like, but you will have to leap.” I had done enough looking; it was time to leap.

I enrolled in college shortly thereafter without any clear path or vision, but with a clear sense of drive. I wasn’t sure where I was headed, but I was determined to get there with the full force of my potential behind me. I enrolled as a History major, but very quickly I discovered my interests lay in the legal world. For the first two years of my return to college I worked as a housing coordinator for Indianapolis’ Section 8 program. It was there, reviewing rental agreements for compliance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s requirements, that I discovered my passion for the law and how it interacts with our lives. 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 in several law-related courses. The legal field offered an opportunity to turn my love of analysis and problem solving into a career. It gave my blind leap direction.

James A Froude asserted “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” For the last two years I have done just that, relentlessly working towards the pursuing my goal of attending law school. Law school isn’t my only dream, though. As I work towards reshaping myself, it isn’t in the mold of a lawyer or legal scholar, but instead, as Auden put it, as one who can “rejoice when no else is there.” By leaping into the unknown I haven’t just given myself a career preference, I’ve created a sense of self and personal accountability with which I have improved the entirety of my life. I’m a better husband, father, son, brother, and friend for it. Four years ago an insecure man took a leap of faith. I have never regretted it since.


I think I read this before. Huge improvement.

My only concern is that I think that you're repeating your resume a lot still. That being said, I think it works out because you're explaining what you learned from them rather than what you did DURING them. I like your statement - it gives me a sense of "you" and it made me want to look up the poem you reference.

Good luck!!

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atcushman
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Re: Personal Statement Draft

Postby atcushman » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:57 pm

You may have a stronger statement if you focus on the work you did on section 8 housing and maybe tell a story about a specific project or family you helped...right now your statement reads like I worked a bunch of dead end jobs and then went to college because my dad was on my case and kinda happened to fall into this internship so what the heck i might as well go to law school now...

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

Re: Personal Statement Draft

Postby MAHamlin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:23 pm

Thank you for the advice fruitoftheloom. I think I will change the failure you highlighted to marriage. That sentence originally read something like, "my experience with divorce taught me compromise and humility." I switched to failure for reasons which I cannot recall. I feel like "My experience in marriage taught me humility and compromise" conveys what I had intended without need for further explanation and an unnecessary focus on a negative.

I agree that it covers some of the same ground as a resume, but I tried to include those examples of how they changed me as a person, not what I did in the job. Those experiences and lessons are a huge part if who I am and I felt like they belonged there.

I would be curious to know if others got the same impression as atcushman. In no way was I trying to imply my father got on me and that's why I enrolled. He's been incredibly supportive of me, and never encouraged me to do anything other than what I believed what best for me. He gave me a book of poetry because I was interested in the subject, that's all I was trying to convey here. It was the poem that sparked my action, not paternal influence.

I do understand the desire to highlight a specific event, but there was no single event I could relate that seemed to genuinely convey who I am and what I want. Every attempt to focus on a specific event felt contrived and disingenuous so I stopped trying to force it. The process was an evolution for me, not a flip of the switch.

Any other thoughts or comment?

(This was typed on my phone; please excuse any grammatical errors or autocorrect issues)

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Personal Statement Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:41 am

I agree with fruitoftheloom's comments. Additionally, however, your closing paragraph is weak.

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

Re: Personal Statement Draft

Postby MAHamlin » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:15 pm

CanadianWolf wrote: Additionally, however, your closing paragraph is weak.


Can you elaborate on this? I'm not disagreeing with you, just trying to see where the weakness lies and how it might be addressed. I had been fairly comfortable with the closing paragraph, but I'm open to change given workable suggestions.




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