My PS So Far

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:04 pm

1/18/13

“Your dad is a drug addict!” Those were the first words my mom screamed at me when I got home from school. It was apparent they had been arguing for hours evidenced by the tear streaked cushion my mother was clutching. As I stood there listening to them scream obscenities at each other it dawned on me that I could change what was happening. I did not have to be pawn in their fight, forced to take one parents’ side over the other. This was just one fight out of many in an otherwise happy marriage. Helping them was an option; I just needed to be proactive. Between the pauses in screaming I convinced them to let me help them. They had their doubts; any parent would at the idea of a 15 year old trying to tell them what to do. I made it clear that I was not going to tell them what to do but merely try to guide them in the right direction to the best of my ability. The plan was to figure out what started the argument, what continued it, and finally how to resolve it.

It is hard to admit you suffer from depression but even harder to tell your children. It was something my dad had battled his whole life and something I had never noticed. For certain people prescription medication is ineffective so they turn to other solutions. Living with it was something he had tried and could not bear hence the use of drugs. My mom could not comprehend the severity of his depression and as result could not sympathize. The drugs he claimed made him feel better while allowing him to tolerate day to day activities. It was medicinal to him rather than recreational. This reasoning was still not suitable to my mom. Aside from the use of the drugs themselves, their questionable legality was an additional point of contempt. From her point of view the reasoning was sound given an incident which had happened 2-3 months prior. I had walked into our living room one evening to find my dad mostly unresponsive to verbal stimuli and lacked coordination. A trip to the hospital ensued and an allergy to flu medicine was offered by mom as the explanation. I only realized during this argument that what I had witnessed was an overdose to something obtained illegally.

I began to think of a solution, a way in which my dad could manage his depression without upsetting my mom. In order to reach a compromise I had to assess what each parent was willing to commit to. My dad was not going to stop using the drugs but he was open to the option of trying others obtained through legal means. My mom was opposed to him using drugs at all; however she agreed on the terms that he visit a psychiatrist. Something he was vehemently opposed to. I reasoned with him citing all the things he stood to lose should this not prove to be a suitable fix. Reluctantly he agreed. After about 1-2 months and trial and error my dad had finally been prescribed something worked. While it did not mitigate his depression to the same extent as the previous substances it enabled him to keep a family he loved.

What I gained from this experience and the many fights that would follow was the knowledge that a 3rd party can be effective in resolving disputes. In a way this was my first introduction to mediation, just one facet of the legal system. There are many avenues to take once admitted to law school but I believe that Alternative Dispute Resolution suits me, specifically arbitration and mediation. The ability to remain impartial and weigh every side to an argument is what allows fair decisions to be made. Law school will provide me with the foundation to refine these skills.
Last edited by sdonn613 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:33 am, edited 4 times in total.

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BlueJeanBaby
Posts: 630
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:34 pm

I am less concerned with your writing skills and more with the point of your story. Why are you telling me this story about your rebuilding a bike? Does it end in you starting a successful company refurbishing and selling bikes? That would probably work. I worry that you spend more time telling me negative things about you than positive. You told me your parents don't think you can finish a project. You told me you have often done things "haphazardly".. I am just curious as to where you are going with it all.

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:52 pm

I guess thats still my main problem with writing a PS. I havent been able to figure out an overarching theme.

i figured the whole bike thing would be related to how i go about completing my work which would show some desirable characteristic. Ive read as many of the sample statements on this site i can find and I have nothing even close to what people come up with. i was an underacheiver in college so i dont have any extra curriculars to brag about and ive never held any internships. ive always done as little as possible to get by so i screwed myself over

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TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: My PS So Far

Postby TripTrip » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:46 am

"Usually I don't finish the things I start and I don't really like school."

Sorry bud. Looks like you need to rewrite.

eerie_erie
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby eerie_erie » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:49 am

Try to take out the negativity in your personal statement, or at least have it gradually develop into a positive story. I suggest that you talk to people that know you really well and see if they can help you bring out the best in your character and work ethic. Then take these thoughts and write a statement about how this relates to why you want to go to law school and become an attorney (not everyone uses their legal degree to become an attorney, but most do).

One thing that really helped me is to write like there are no word limits, because usually I'll write myself into some sort of worthwhile theme that was hiding behind a lot of other random thoughts. Good luck.

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:02 pm

TripTrip wrote:"Usually I don't finish the things I start and I don't really like school."

Sorry bud. Looks like you need to rewrite.



haha youre right thats actually exactly how it sounds

PRgradBYU
Posts: 1419
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:04 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby PRgradBYU » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:39 pm

... but in the end I was successful albeit not in the long run.


They did not like the idea at first, a 15 year old trying to tell them what to do but I made it clear that I was not going to tell them what to do but merely try to guide them in the right direction to the best of my ability.


Sentences like these make me cringe a little bit... definitely consider breaking more of your sentences up. A lot of people think commas and semi-colons detract from the fluidity of a piece of prose, but I think run-on sentences and seemingly rambling thoughts detract even more.

That being said, I for one actually enjoyed the content of your PS. It's a great start. Personal statements are incredibly subjective content-wise, so don't let anyone dictate what you should or shouldn't write about. Make sure you find yourself a good editor and keep up the good work!

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:45 pm

thanks PR. ill keep that in mind and make some edits

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:26 pm

edited and made some progress. any thoughts?

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bluepenguin
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby bluepenguin » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:19 pm

-I wouldn't go in medias res with that
-It's not clear what your mediation really was. Maybe the details are irrelevant, but as it is the whole story seems hollow.
-Do you have any familiarity with *actual* ADR/mediation? Not sure you should pigeonhole yourself like this with a PS

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:09 pm

updated 1/17/13

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:33 am

anyone?

drive4showLSAT4dough
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 10:19 am

Re: My PS So Far

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:53 am

sdonn613 wrote:1/18/13

“Your dad is a drug addict!” Those were the first words my mom screamed at me when I got home from school. It was apparent they had been arguing for hours evidenced by the tear streaked cushion my mother was clutching. As I stood there listening to them scream obscenities at each other it dawned on me that I could change what was happening. I did not have to be pawn in their fight, forced to take one parents’ side over the other. This was just one fight out of many in an otherwise happy marriage. Helping them was an option; I just needed to be proactive.(Awkward sentence) Between the pauses in screaming I convinced them to let me help them. They had their doubts (How would you know their thoughts/doubts?); any parent would at the idea of a 15 year old trying to tell them what to do. I made it clear that I was not going to tell them what to do but merely try to guide them in the right direction to the best of my ability. The plan was to figure out what started the argument, what continued it, and finally how to resolve it.

It is hard to admit you suffer from depression but even harder to tell your children. (again, you're telling us how your dad feels -- which detracts from your compelling story) It was something my dad had battled his whole life and something I had never noticed. For certain people prescription medication is ineffective so they turn to other solutions. Living with it was something he had tried and could not bear hence the use of drugs. My mom could not comprehend the severity of his depression and as result could not sympathize. The drugs he claimed made him feel better while allowing him to tolerate day to day activities. It was medicinal to him rather than recreational. This reasoning was still not suitable to my mom (was it really the reasoning??). Aside from the use of the drugs themselves, their questionable legality was an additional point of contempt. From her point of view the reasoning was sound given an incident which had happened 2-3 months prior. I had walked into our living room one evening to find my dad mostly unresponsive to verbal stimuli and lacked coordination. A trip to the hospital ensued and an allergy to flu medicine was offered by mom as the explanation. I only realized during this argument that what I had witnessed was an overdose to something obtained illegally.

I began to think of a solution, a way in which my dad could manage his depression without upsetting my mom. In order to reach a compromise I had to assess what each parent was willing to commit to. My dad was not going to stop using the drugs but he was open to the option of trying others obtained through legal means. My mom was opposed to him using drugs at all; however she agreed on the terms that he visit a psychiatrist. Something he was vehemently opposed to. I reasoned with him citing all the things he stood to lose should this not prove to be a suitable fix. Reluctantly he agreed. After about 1-2 (use words not numbers) months and trial and error my dad had finally been prescribed something worked. While it did not mitigate his depression to the same extent as the previous substances it enabled him to keep a family he loved.

What I gained from this experience and the many fights that would follow was the knowledge that a 3rd party can be effective in resolving disputes. In a way this was my first introduction to mediation, just one facet of the legal system. There are many avenues to take once admitted to law school but I believe that Alternative Dispute Resolution suits me, specifically arbitration and mediation. The ability to remain impartial and weigh every side to an argument is what allows fair decisions to be made. Law school will provide me with the foundation to refine these skills.


I think its a compelling and genuine story. But, I think the quality of the writing needs improvement. You use the passive voice a number of times. You often try to "write like a lawyer" when you're describing your actions and thoughts as a 15 year old. Surely, as a 15 year old, you didn't think like a lawyer writes (and you shouldn't write like that as a 0L, anyway). I've highlighted some examples of what I mean.

sdonn613
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: My PS So Far

Postby sdonn613 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:02 pm

My writing ability has never been very strong so i appreciate the advice. Thanks

drive4showLSAT4dough
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 10:19 am

Re: My PS So Far

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:54 pm

sdonn613 wrote:My writing ability has never been very strong so i appreciate the advice. Thanks


It can be improved. A few suggestions:

1. Rule of thumb: Shorter, simpler sentences are usually better than longer, overblown ones
2. Read your PS aloud slowly. This will make awkward sentence structure more evident
3. Make friends read your writing and find out what parts they want clarified




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