XLogic wrote:The Bad: You do not go deep. You talk about your family members and their negative behavior, but you do not go into detail about how you felt about this, why were you different from them? what drove you to excellence? I was looking for the crescendo -- not required but it would make sense -- i.e., "this one incident (huge event) made me decide to leave, and I never looked back..." or "I will take this experience with me on my law school journey" etc...
I really took this advice to heart. There was something, pretty hurtful, that I was holding back from revealing - partly because I didn't know if it would sound to much like a sob story and partly because I just didn't know if I could go there emotionally. But I did. I went back and re-wrote a good bit of it. I would love to hear what you think.
Vexed wrote:Your best lines to answer that question are the paragraph following the U-Haul bit ("I left, because..."), yet, given the structure of the paper up to that point, I have zero idea how you got to that point. The first 50% of your paper is spent outlining all of the people in your life and their poor world views (which may be problematic in its own right, focus more of your PS on YOU), and then you abruptly tell me why you didn't like those views and wanted to leave. But how did you get there? What set you apart from the world you grew up in? Did you have a moment of revelation which caused you to distance yourself from their views? Did somebody with a different view of the world come into your life? As it stands right now, it seems as if either A) You always held different views than them, or, B) You just up and decided some day. And by the way the paper is structured now, I'd have a hard time picking between those two.
I also think that there should be a little bit more in terms of why you want to go to law school.
It's hard to explain how I just innately held different views, but I truly remember being six years old and knowing that my parents weren't good people. It's hard to put that into writing, but I did add something to the second paragraph that I hope helps that point stand out a little more. Additionally, I agree with you, and several others, who suggested that it may be a good idea to at least superficially mention why I want to go to law school. I added that in, and I think it works. I kind of stayed away from it because I didn't want it to seem all "I want to save the world," but that is kind of what I want to do, so...
Here is the revised draft. I completely took out one of the stories, deleted some lines and of course added a couple of things... I bolded the things that were added. (I still have a handful of schools I haven't submitted to yet.. I KNOW IT'S LATE... point is, changing my PS still matters)
“Hide in the bathroom” he said. I was eight years old and the man talking to me was my mother’s boyfriend. We were in his motor home, pulling into the race track and he didn’t want to pay admission for the children. My brother and I squished into the tiny motor home bathroom and held our breath so that we didn’t make a peep. “You have to screw the world before it screws you” he said.
I grew up in a household where I was taught that everyone who had more than you didn’t deserve it, that stealing from them wasn’t wrong because it made things equal, that if you didn’t take, you would get taken. I knew that I needed to escape, that if I stayed I would run the risk of being trapped in the cycle of entitlement, that the greatness inside of me that somehow
knew at eight years old that my parents were wrong about life, that this wasn’t the person I wanted to be,
would be massacred.
“Capitalism is evil” she said. I was twelve years old and my aunt was driving me to school because my mother was too depressed to get out of bed. She had all the windows rolled down and the joint burning at the tips of her fingers was blowing in the wind, casting the smell of burning earth into the backseat. Her disability check for the mental condition she didn’t actually have kept her pot dealer in business. “It forces us to compete against each other instead of living in harmony” she said.
I was taught to believe that laziness and ineptitude were never the fault of the lazy or inept, but that the determined and capable brought them down with greed. I was taught that you had a right to be taken care of, that the world owed you something.
“I just can’t handle stress” she said. I was seventeen years old and the blubbering, half coherent woman who I was picking up off the bathroom floor was my mother. Earlier that night, I had walked into the house to see her huddled, shivering and crying in a corner with her boyfriend screaming at her at the top of his lungs, his face purple with anger. I had stepped in to shield her, but ended up being thrown through a glass table.
“You are stronger than me. You have to take care of me” she said. This was one of her worst nights. I had found an empty bottle of Oxycotin, but I had no idea how much she had taken. I stayed up all night watching her, holding her, making sure she was breathing and contemplating calling an ambulance. As the sun came up, I finally gave in to exhaustion. The jarring sensation of being shaken woke me up. “He is being released from jail and won’t come back if you’re here” she said. “You have to leave.” I was taught that because I was strong, that my feelings, my thoughts, my well-being, shouldn’t be considered
. I was taught that I should sacrifice myself for the good of others, that my happiness came last. I was taught that I didn’t matter.
“I can’t believe you’re leaving” he said. I was eighteen and my brother was standing in front of the U-Haul that housed everything I owned. Over the last few months, I had been staying with him while I finished high school.
I had told my family three weeks earlier that I would be moving 1800 miles away. No one had believed me until they saw the 5000 pound declaration of independence parked in the driveway. “But, we need you” he said.
I left because I [b]needed
[/b]to discover the people who had more than me and deserved it, the people who never wanted to take anything from anyone, but wanted to earn it. I left because I knew that there had to be a world out there, people out there, that didn’t think I owed them my life, simply because I existed.
“You’re a tough cookie” she said. I was 22 years old and my co-worker and I were standing on a scaffold, scrubbing the grease stained ceiling of a fast food restaurant’s kitchen. I had picked up a second job overnight to save more money for college. The woman speaking to me was a single mother of three who worked eighty hours a week so that her children wouldn’t have to go without. I had never once heard her complain. “I’ve never seen another woman do this job” she said. I discovered the people who could inspire me, the people who taught me
that I could take joy in any work, even in painstakingly scrubbing those ceiling tiles, because it was the product of my effort. I discovered that no matter what task I was undertaking, I wanted to do it to the best of my ability, that anything less was untrue to the person I wanted to be.
“Please take a seat here” he said. I was 26 years old and the Dean of my college was eagerly pointing to a chair next to the President of the university. I was being inducted as an officer of the highest ranking honor society at my school. Our guest speaker was a 58 year old professor of oceanography who had decided at 38, in the middle of a successful marketing career, that she was going to start all over, go back to school, earn her bachelors, masters and then
doctorate, and teach. She had decided that she wanted her life to be different, and she changed it. “Congratulations. You should be proud” he said.
And, I was. I had discovered the people who took ownership of their own lives, that knew that they had the power to make themselves happy, the power to give themselves a purpose.
I had learned that my drive, my ambition, my strength, these were values that made me a more moral person, not an intangible noose held over me as a threat of imprisonment.
“Yes, I am still going to go to law school” I said. I was 28 years old and the director of my department had asked me to come to his office to offer me a promotion. When I had started five years earlier, I had been open with my intentions to leave for law school before I turned thirty. I had explained that I wanted to work in politics, that I wanted to contribute to shaping the world around me.
“Thank you, but I think I will be even luckier to have them” I said.
I’ve learned that my future is one without excuses, without laziness, one above mediocrity, one where I can try to get the best out of myself and be proud of it. I have learned that I would rather produce than take, that I would rather have self-worth than self-pity, that I would rather live than merely prevent death. I have learned that I matter.