Final Draft of PS. Please read/ Critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:35 pm

Final Draft of PS. Please read/ Critique

Postby lsatobsess » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:40 pm

I am considering a final paragraph discussing how this led me to pursue law. Let me know what you think.

Personal Statement

Sweat pouring, the flip of a card in the spokes, the wind hitting my face, I willed myself up that bridge. I had to build up speed to avoid encountering the shame of pushing my bike uphill. Finally, I was at the top – relief, and then my life changed forever. I obliviously rode my bike directly into a grade change in the side walk and then through an inconveniently placed hole in the fence. Almost thirty feet later, I hit the ground. When I regained consciousness, I knew something was wrong. I lifted my battered and bleeding nine-year-old body and walked as far as I could and blacked out again. Almost twenty years later, one would never know that because of the fall, I have spent the majority of my life battling epilepsy.

The battles were hard and many times I considered giving in because I felt like I was at war with myself—constantly battling something that was a physical part of me. My civil war began in 2001, my junior year in high school. Before then my seizures were few and far between - small skirmishes that eventually evolved into an all-out war. The fall of 2001 marked the first onslaught of my internal invader. Embarrassment, fear, pain and insecurity plagued me. The stigma of epilepsy shrouded the understanding of people around me; my closest friends disappeared, and I was forced to take home bound classes because my episodes were “too much of a distraction.” After nine months of a home education, medication, and doctor visits, my seizures subsided, and I was able to return to school. My invader slowly retreated but sporadically employed guerilla tactics striking at the most inopportune moments. Despite the continuing seizures, I earned a choir scholarship, received Pell grants and took out loans to finance my undergraduate degree. I worked two jobs, attended school full time, contained my disease and became a first generation college graduate. After three and half years of hard work, my dedication and hours of studying paid off.

Following graduation, I worked as a teacher and began attending graduate school. I knew in the back of my mind the disease was slowly gaining ground, but I could not deal with the encroaching reality; my epilepsy was waging war once again. That denial culminated in an epileptic assault on my body and mind that completely altered my life. I experienced multiple seizures a day for months. Countless hospitalizations followed, including an eight day stint due to an extremely long seizure that resulted in my heart rate dropping to 28 beats per minute. The guerrilla tactics were over, and I was once again in the throes of a full scale civil war. I had to fight, call in reinforcements, and utilize every avenue at my disposal. I accepted indigent care, applied for and received social security disability, and lobbied a company on the cutting edge of epilepsy care to donate what would become my secret weapon. Cyberonics donated a state of the art Vagus Nerve Stimulator, and a local surgeon installed the device for free. The device worked; a slow and steady reduction in seizures occurred over a two year period. As the seizures subsided I began rebuilding myself, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. The battles savaged my body and mind; I had become a war torn waste land. My vision was constantly blurry, and I had to re-teach myself basic social and intellectual skills. I had to regenerate the courage to move forward with my life. My reconstruction was difficult, and I took painfully small steps to recover. It took months to regain my mental facilities; I could not work for over a year, and it took even longer to regain my confidence and fervor for life.

A scar the size of a pen tip ripped my life apart but made me who I am. I learned to persevere, accept help from others, and help those around me. Overcoming my disease was difficult, and I was admittedly extremely fortunate. The stars aligned for a poor, uninsured, epileptic from rural East Texas, and I survived because of help from others and personal determination.


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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:47 pm

Re: Final Draft of PS. Please read/ Critique

Postby steakandchicken » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:05 pm

This is a really unique PS and I think you're on the right track to distinguishing yourself. I have no doubt that with a little polish this will be viewed favorably by admissions committees.

lsatobsess wrote:I am considering a final paragraph discussing how this led me to pursue law. Let me know what you think.

You definitely need a final paragraph relating this to law. You've told us a lot about your struggles and the narrative makes sense, but you haven't shown us a lot about yourself and why you want to go to law school and why you would be a good lawyer.

In general, I found a lot of your language to be cliche. For example, your first sentence, you are trying to set the scene, but so much of what you're saying is commonplace ("sweat pouring" "wind hitting my face" "willed myself up that bridge"). Your bike ride up the hill and fall are relayed with bland language so your reader doesn't get invested. You want us to struggle up the hill with you and feel your fall. Spend some time really setting the scene. Why were you going up that hill? What was your life like before this? We don't know you're 9 until you tell us. Up until that point you could have been any age. But if you add enough rich language you'll be able to give your reader a greater understanding of what is going on, and you won't have to write out every detail.

I like your idea of using an analogy of a civil war. I'm not sure if it is entirely effective in its current state but it might be helpful when you add that final paragraph. Use that analogy to tie everything together and paint a picture for what your future looks like and I think you'll be in good shape.

Good luck!


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Re: Final Draft of PS. Please read/ Critique

Postby B90 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:25 pm

You have an excellent framework here. My suggestion is to use it as a base, then add a final paragraph tailoring it to each school or relating it to the law. It is hard to give further advice without knowing which schools/what range you are aiming for.

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