Version 4 - Near Death Experience - Come tear it apart...

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Version 4 - Near Death Experience - Come tear it apart...

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:47 pm

-- Here is my newest version -I tried to slim it down to fit a 2 page limit at size 10 font. it is still 1100 words, however.- Please critique, am i going in the right direction? Do you prefer older versions better? Any help is appreciated...

Thank you. --

It was April 27, 2011, and I remember waking up in an unfamiliar place. I did not know where I was, nor did I know why I was there, but out on the outskirts of the room I was in I saw my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and cousin. I was in the ICU at [named] Hospital. My heartbroken mother explained I had suffered a heart attack at the age of 21 and had been in a coma since April 20, 2011. The attending physician who confirmed these details further diagnosed me with anoxic encephalopathy. My brain was damaged, and I was told that I might never be able to walk, write, drive, or go to school ever again.

Up until that point in my life I had been a good person. I took care of my mother throughout my teenage years, as I did not grow up with a father, and had helped her get through a rough pregnancy after an initial miscarriage. Every day when I would get home from school, I took care of my little brother who was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. I took care of myself: I would work out, eat right, and stay away from drugs; all with the hopes of graduating college and starting a successful career. Yet there I was, in the hospital ICU getting the worst kind of news for an aspiring scholar, the kind that puts your future on a standstill, and makes you reevaluate your reason for living.

After a 3-month stint in physical, occupational, and cognitive rehabilitation, I was back at home, itching to get back any semblance of a normal life. My mother would ask me, “How do you feel?” My response would always be the same, “perfect.” She didn’t understand how I could say that when I just suffered a heart attack, but in my mind, I had a second chance at life. I now understood just how temporary life really was, and began to appreciate every minute of it. So I re-enrolled into university, initially with a light course load to get a feel for these things once again. I started going back to the gym, where I basically had to relearn how to lift because I still had a tenuous grasp on walking. I even practiced my driving; a task that my mother was so sure that I would never be able to do again, that she had sold my car.

I had always been considered a “smart” young man. According to my family, I was someone who never had to try very hard to do well; someone who could accomplish anything that he put his mind too, and I think because of these whispers that reassured me of my abilities. Once I had my accident, however, my mother wouldn’t say what I was capable of, she would just say what I was not capable of. The whispers quickly shifted to, “I don’t think he should go back to school, the classes will be too hard for him.” In that instant, I felt crippled, not by my brain damage, but by my families prognosis of my life. I now had something to prove. I could not allow what happened to me to dictate my future. I would not be defined by my disability.

With this determination, I concentrated my efforts on training for my first triathlon on September 23, 2012. I would wake up at 6:00 AM, run 3 miles, then eat a breakfast of ~1500 calories, followed by a 0.5 mile swim, and further followed by a ~2500 calorie meal. The eating was by far the most difficult thing about the transformation; I had lost over 40lbs since my accident, 180lbs to 138lbs, and with that I lost a lot of strength and endurance. After my swim meal, I would go to the weight room to ride the stationary bike for 13 miles. So many times, during my training, I can recall thinking to myself, “why the hell are you doing this? You don’t need to do this for anyone.” But when those thoughts came into my head, that was when I would push myself a little harder and go a little faster for a little longer, eventually allowing me to complete 6-mile runs, 1-mile swims, 26-mile bike rides, and ultimately weighing 192lbs again.

Six months later, after grueling training sessions and logging hundreds of hours of gym time, it was finally race day. I had just completed the swimming portion, a grueling 0.9-mile swim from an island to the mainland. My time was average, not spectacularly slow nor fast. The next portion was the bike ride, a 26.4-mile trek over some bridges and through some neighborhoods. Now since this was my first triathlon, I was not equipped with the first hand knowledge of how which kind of bike you have really affects your energy levels - I had incorrectly assumed that my mountain bike would suffice. I was being overtaken by roughly 450 out of 500 participants. My mother was waiting for me when I returned with an EMT because she had assumed the worst. When she saw I was okay, she had assumed that I would not complete the race because I was visibly spent, and I can only imagine that I looked like I was going to collapse. Yet, despite my horrid performance, and my outward appearance, I continued on to the third leg, the 6.4 mile run. While I may have started the run in ~450th place, my training regime had me focus most of my time on this portion. I was flying past people; I must have passed over 200 people. I finished the triathlon in ~225 place, and despite not winning a placing medal, I have kept the participants medal hanging on my mantel to everyday remind me that just because you have a difficult experience, it will pass, and sometimes, the events that follow it, will be what you have waited for your entire life.

I have accomplished so many things since that time. I completed my first triathlon, something that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do during my physical therapy sessions. I have overcome my fear of speaking in public by pushing myself to speak in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA at my newest school, something that I was assured would not be possible, no matter how hard I tried, due to my newly diminished brain capacity. I have grown immensely since this incident, and I feel that I am better capable of taking on the world now, than I was prior to it.

I have a new appreciation for things that I once took for granted, and while I do not know if that is because of my brain injury, I like to think that I am awake now, whereas before, I was sleepwalking through life. I know that this new outlook on life will do me well when it comes to law school. I have never met an obstacle that I could not overcome, and I will take that same mentality with me to all my future endeavors. While some say, “I’m so sorry to hear about you incident,” I can’t help but smile and think that I am not, because without this incident, I would not have had the drive to accomplish everything I have set out to. Now when my mother asks, “how are you feeling?” and I respond, “perfect,” she knows why.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:18 am, edited 9 times in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:54 pm

IDK if you can tell, but i dont really know the point of a PS... so guidance would be wonderful

ETA: yes i know its not formatted, but i just want a sense of am i going in the right direction... thanks

NYstate
Posts: 1566
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby NYstate » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:IDK if you can tell, but i dont really know the point of a PS... so guidance would be wonderful

ETA: yes i know its not formatted, but i just want a sense of am i going in the right direction... thanks


I think this is a good direction. Keep working on it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:01 pm

...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:14 am

-- Version 1 -- Which version do you guys prefer? What should I add? Where should I take this? It is currently 2 pages double spaced... how long should it be? Thanks --

It’s April 27, 2011, and I’m waking up in an unfamiliar place. I do not know where I am, nor do I know why I am there, but out of the corner of my eye I see my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and cousin. I’m in the ICU at [named] Hospital. I suffered a heart attack at the age of 21. I have been in a coma for the past 7 days. I am told all of this by my heartbroken mother, and confirmed this by the attending physician. I am told that I have suffered anoxic encephalopathy as well, which means I have brain damage. I am told that I may never be able to walk, write, drive, or go to school ever again.
Up until this point in my life I have been a good person. I took care of my mother throughout my teen years, as I did not grow up with a father, and helped her get through a rough pregnancy after an initial miscarriage. I took care of my little brother, who was diagnosed with PDD, everyday when I would get home from school. I took care of myself, I worked out, I ate right, and I stayed away from drugs. Yet here I was, in the hospital ICU getting the worst kind of news for an aspiring lawyer, the kind that puts your future on standstill, and makes you reevaluate your reason for living.
After a week in the ICU, I was transferred to the [named] Rehabilitation Unit, where I stayed for the next 3 months. They taught me how to put my clothes back on, how to walk, how to shower, etc, they even tried to help me with my cognitive abilities – this was the first place I came into contact with “logic games”. After my 3 months stint in rehab, I was back at home, itching to be able to get back into my normal life.
My mother would ask me, “How do you feel?” My response would always be the same, “perfect.” She didn’t understand how I could say that when I just suffered a heart attack, but in my mind, I had a second chance at life and why waste your life by not feeling perfect? So I reenrolled into university, initially with a light course load to get a feel for these things once again, but then eventually completing 5-6 classes over a summer term. I started going back to the gym, where I basically had to relearn how to lift because I still had a tenuous grasp on walking. I even practiced my driving, a task that my mother was so sure that I would never be able to do again that she had sold my car.
I have accomplished so many things since that time. I completed my first triathlon, I have overcome my fear of speaking in public, and I have maintained a 3.9 GPA at my newest school, something that I was assured would not be possible, no matter how hard I tried, due to my newly diminished brain capacity. I have grown immensely since this incident, and I feel that I am better capable of taking on the world now, than I was prior to it.
I have a new appreciation of things that I once took for granted. I do not know if I am experiencing things differently now as opposed to before suffering a brain injury, but I like to think that I am awake now, whereas before, I was sleepwalking through life. I know that this new outlook on life will do me well when it comes to law school. I have never met an obstacle that I could not overcome, and I will take that same mentality with me to all my future endeavors. Now when my mother asks, “how are you feeling?” and I respond, “perfect,” she knows why.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:09 pm

Any Critiques? Please be as rough as necessary.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:18 pm

...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:28 pm

...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

persimmon
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:21 pm

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby persimmon » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:10 pm

This is a really impressive story. Congrats to you on your recovery.

In your essay, I think you do a good, attention-capturing job of describing what happened, and what heroic efforts it took to get you were you are now. Yet I don't feel like I've really gotten into your head enough to truly understand the transformation that you went through. Apparently, you weren't motivated before and you are now. But what are you motivated to do exactly? I know you want to achieve, but I can't really tell what you want to achieve, or how you think about it, or why.

Those are abstract questions, but perhaps they could best be answered by adding another scene to your story. You mention post-accident accomplishments including public speaking, academic success, and running a triathlon. Which of these, do you think, best exemplifies your taking on something that would have been beyond your reach pre-accident? Maybe you could give us a scene from your success and in that way give us a better picture of the new you. Even better if you can also connect this scene to your future goals in life (i.e. why law).

Finally, a style note: While I like your beginning, I don't love your decision to start the essay in the present tense. It feels a bit gimmicky. Then of course you have to transition into past tense soon enough anyway. Why not just start in past tense in the first place? The content makes it feel immediate and dramatic enough.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:50 pm

...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:27 pm

--Version 2 - after taking into account your feedback. --

It was April 27, 2011, and I remember waking up in an unfamiliar place. I did not know where I was, nor did I know why I was there, but out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and cousin. I was in the ICU at [named] Hospital. I had suffered a heart attack at the age of 21. I have been in a coma since April 20, 2011. I was told all of this by my heartbroken mother, and confirmed this by the attending physician. In addition, I was told that I have suffered anoxic encephalopathy, which means I now have brain damage. I was told that I might never be able to walk, write, drive, or go to school ever again.
Up until this point in my life I have been a good person. I took care of my mother throughout my teen years, as I did not grow up with a father, and helped her get through a rough pregnancy after an initial miscarriage. I took care of my little brother, who was diagnosed with PDD, everyday when I would get home from school. I took care of myself, I worked out, I ate right, and I stayed away from drugs. Yet there I was, in the hospital ICU getting the worst kind of news for an aspiring lawyer, the kind that puts your future on standstill, and makes you reevaluate your reason for living.
After a week in the ICU, I was transferred to the [named] Rehabilitation Unit, where I stayed for the next 3 months. They taught me how to put my clothes back on, how to walk, how to shower, etc., they even tried to help me with my cognitive abilities – this was the first place I came into contact with “logic games”. After my 3 months stint in rehab, I was back at home, itching to get back any semblance of a normal life.
My mother would ask me, “How do you feel?” My response would always be the same, “perfect.” She didn’t understand how I could say that when I just suffered a heart attack, but in my mind, I had a second chance at life and why waste your life by not feeling perfect? So I reenrolled into university, initially with a light course load to get a feel for these things once again, but then eventually completing 5-6 courses over a summer term. I started going back to the gym, where I basically had to relearn how to lift because I still had a tenuous grasp on walking. I even practiced my driving; a task that my mother was so sure that I would never be able to do again, that she had sold my car.
I have always been considered a “smart” young man. According to my family, I was someone who never had to try very hard to do well; someone who could accomplish anything that he put his mind too, and I think because of these whispers that reassured me of my abilities, I started to slack off. I was so used to getting everything done easily that when I came to college, I was ill prepared for the challenge. Once I had my accident, however, my mother wouldn’t say what I was capable of, she would just say what I was not capable of. The whispers went from, “he can do anything he wants with his life,” to, “I don’t think he should go back to school, the classes will be too hard for him,” and like that I was crippled, not by my brain damage, but by my families prognosis of my life. I now had something to prove to everyone, but most of all, to myself. I could not allow what happened to me dictate my future. I would not be defined by my disability.
I have accomplished so many things since that time. I completed my first triathlon, something that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do during my physical therapy sessions. I have overcome my fear of speaking in public, by pushing myself to speak in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA at my newest school, something that I was assured would not be possible, no matter how hard I tried, due to my newly diminished brain capacity. I have grown immensely since this incident, and I feel that I am better capable of taking on the world now, than I was prior to it.
I have a new appreciation for things that I once took for granted. I do not know if I am experiencing things differently now as opposed to before suffering a brain injury, but I like to think that I am awake now, whereas before, I was sleepwalking through life. I know that this new outlook on life will do me well when it comes to law school. I have never met an obstacle that I could not overcome, and I will take that same mentality with me to all my future endeavors. While some say, “I’m so sorry to hear about you incident,” I can’t help but smile and think that I am not, because without this incident, I wouldn’t be here today. Now when my mother asks, “how are you feeling?” and I respond, “perfect,” she knows why.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

persimmon
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:21 pm

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby persimmon » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:33 pm

Just change the tenses and otherwise leave it basically the same. (On April 27, 2013, I woke up in an unfamiliar place. I did not know where I was...)

I think you're still missing my other point, so I will try to re-explain. In this draft, you have absolutely conveyed that you accomplished lots of awesome things that people told you that you couldn't do. I want you to identify one of those things that's especially in sync with your future direction in life (law), and show us how awesome you are at that thing specifically. This helps show that, not only do you have grit and determination, but you also have a desire to apply it in a specific direction--one that matches up well with law.

A non-serious example of the kind of thing I'm thinking of, as a second-last paragraph to work in: "On January 12, 2013, I stood in front of an expectant group of 80 pig farmers, a challenge I would never have taken on before the accident. Though I was nervous, I spoke out with new confidence. Just as my cognitive rehab therapist taught me, I imagined all my sentences as baby piglets so I could remember the whole speech. [More details/scene-setting if desired.] I dazzled the audience with my passion for an especially great variety of pig feed. This experience propelled me toward advocacy for ideas that I care about. [Bit more on why law.]" Then transition back to your last inspirational paragraph (which I think is lovely)!

Does that make sense as a structure? I think it will help make your personal statement feel more like a complete story that culminates with law school.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:58 pm

-- Version 2.5 --

It was April 27, 2011, and I remember waking up in an unfamiliar place. I did not know where I was, nor did I know why I was there, but out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and cousin. I was in the ICU at [named] Hospital. I had suffered a heart attack at the age of 21. I have been in a coma since April 20, 2011. I was told all of this by my heartbroken mother, and confirmed this by the attending physician. In addition, I was told that I have suffered anoxic encephalopathy, which means I now have brain damage. I was told that I might never be able to walk, write, drive, or go to school ever again.
Up until this point in my life I have been a good person. I took care of my mother throughout my teen years, as I did not grow up with a father, and helped her get through a rough pregnancy after an initial miscarriage. I took care of my little brother, who was diagnosed with PDD, everyday when I would get home from school. I took care of myself, I worked out, I ate right, and I stayed away from drugs. Yet there I was, in the hospital ICU getting the worst kind of news for an aspiring lawyer, the kind that puts your future on standstill, and makes you reevaluate your reason for living.
After a week in the ICU, I was transferred to the [named] Rehabilitation Unit, where I stayed for the next 3 months. They taught me how to put my clothes back on, how to walk, how to shower, etc., they even tried to help me with my cognitive abilities – this was the first place I came into contact with “logic games”. After my 3 months stint in rehab, I was back at home, itching to get back any semblance of a normal life.
My mother would ask me, “How do you feel?” My response would always be the same, “perfect.” She didn’t understand how I could say that when I just suffered a heart attack, but in my mind, I had a second chance at life and why waste your life by not feeling perfect? So I reenrolled into university, initially with a light course load to get a feel for these things once again, but then eventually completing 5-6 courses over a summer term. I started going back to the gym, where I basically had to relearn how to lift because I still had a tenuous grasp on walking. I even practiced my driving; a task that my mother was so sure that I would never be able to do again, that she had sold my car.
I have always been considered a “smart” young man. According to my family, I was someone who never had to try very hard to do well; someone who could accomplish anything that he put his mind too, and I think because of these whispers that reassured me of my abilities, I started to slack off. I was so used to getting everything done easily that when I came to college, I was ill prepared for the challenge. Once I had my accident, however, my mother wouldn’t say what I was capable of, she would just say what I was not capable of. The whispers went from, “he can do anything he wants with his life,” to, “I don’t think he should go back to school, the classes will be too hard for him,” and like that I was crippled, not by my brain damage, but by my families prognosis of my life. I now had something to prove to everyone, but most of all, to myself. I could not allow what happened to me dictate my future. I would not be defined by my disability.
I have accomplished so many things since that time. I completed my first triathlon, something that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do during my physical therapy sessions. I have overcome my fear of speaking in public by pushing myself to speak in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA at my newest school, something that I was assured would not be possible, no matter how hard I tried, due to my newly diminished brain capacity. I have grown immensely since this incident, and I feel that I am better capable of taking on the world now, than I was prior to it.
I have been put in many situations that I would not have been capable of handling properly before my accident. The most recent was during my economics class. Another student confronted me, rather aggressively, over my choice of best country to live and work in. Before my accident, I would have cowered and just accepted his idea as my own, but since my accident, I have learned to stand up for what I believe in, no matter how trivial. I explained my reasoning for my choice, and before he could counter, I listed some more facts about why my country was an objectively better choice than his. Law is a field that favors facts over opinions, and I believe my newfound necessity to stand up for what I believe, rather than allow my opinion to be persuaded by loud voices or aggressive chatter, will serve me well in the classroom, or, for that matter, the court room.
I have a new appreciation for things that I once took for granted. I do not know if I am experiencing things differently now as opposed to before suffering a brain injury, but I like to think that I am awake now, whereas before, I was sleepwalking through life. I know that this new outlook on life will do me well when it comes to law school. I have never met an obstacle that I could not overcome, and I will take that same mentality with me to all my future endeavors. While some say, “I’m so sorry to hear about you incident,” I can’t help but smile and think that I am not, because without this incident, I wouldn’t be here today. Now when my mother asks, “how are you feeling?” and I respond, “perfect,” she knows why.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Balthy
Posts: 668
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: rough draft - please critique - near death experience

Postby Balthy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:31 am

^Just some quick comments

You change tense way too much.

Don't use a trite phrase like "out of the corner of my eye" so early in the paper, and if you could help it, don't use it at all.

The "aspiring lawyer" part seems like it comes out of nowhere. Maybe it doesn't belong in the ICU scene, but instead where you were describing your life up to that point (you were good, helped your mom, stayed healthy, wanted to be a lawyer, etc.).

Don't say someone's choice of composer is objectively worse than yours. Unless we're talking about nickelback, it's not.

Ok, so general thoughts after reading: too many different ideas/themes and not enough of a unified, coherent narrative. Or maybe you could manage the same number of themes/ideas if it were ordered better and the transitions were more fluid.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Version 3.5 - Near Death Experience - Come tear it apart...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:38 pm

-- Version 3 -- Most up-to-date version in OP.

It was April 27, 2011, and I remember waking up in an unfamiliar place. I did not know where I was, nor did I know why I was there, but out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and cousin. I was in the ICU at [named] Hospital. I had suffered a heart attack at the age of 21. I have been in a coma since April 20, 2011. I was told all of this by my heartbroken mother, and confirmed this by the attending physician. In addition, I was told that I have suffered anoxic encephalopathy, which means I now have brain damage. I was told that I might never be able to walk, write, drive, or go to school ever again.
Up until this point in my life I have been a good person. I took care of my mother throughout my teen years, as I did not grow up with a father, and helped her get through a rough pregnancy after an initial miscarriage. I took care of my little brother, who was diagnosed with PDD, everyday when I would get home from school. I took care of myself, I worked out, I ate right, and I stayed away from drugs. Yet there I was, in the hospital ICU getting the worst kind of news for an aspiring lawyer, the kind that puts your future on standstill, and makes you reevaluate your reason for living.
After a week in the ICU, I was transferred to the [named] Rehabilitation Unit, where I stayed for the next 3 months. They taught me how to put my clothes back on, how to walk, how to shower, etc., they even tried to help me with my cognitive abilities – this was the first place I came into contact with “logic games”. After my 3 months stint in rehab, I was back at home, itching to get back any semblance of a normal life.
My mother would ask me, “How do you feel?” My response would always be the same, “perfect.” She didn’t understand how I could say that when I just suffered a heart attack, but in my mind, I had a second chance at life and why waste your life by not feeling perfect? So I reenrolled into university, initially with a light course load to get a feel for these things once again, but then eventually completing 5-6 courses over a summer term. I started going back to the gym, where I basically had to relearn how to lift because I still had a tenuous grasp on walking. I even practiced my driving; a task that my mother was so sure that I would never be able to do again, that she had sold my car.
I have always been considered a “smart” young man. According to my family, I was someone who never had to try very hard to do well; someone who could accomplish anything that he put his mind too, and I think because of these whispers that reassured me of my abilities, I started to slack off. I was so used to getting everything done easily that when I came to college, I was ill prepared for the challenge. Once I had my accident, however, my mother wouldn’t say what I was capable of, she would just say what I was not capable of. The whispers went from, “he can do anything he wants with his life,” to, “I don’t think he should go back to school, the classes will be too hard for him,” and like that I was crippled, not by my brain damage, but by my families prognosis of my life. I now had something to prove to everyone, but most of all, to myself. I could not allow what happened to me dictate my future. I would not be defined by my disability.
I have accomplished so many things since that time. I completed my first triathlon, something that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do during my physical therapy sessions. I have overcome my fear of speaking in public by pushing myself to speak in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA at my newest school, something that I was assured would not be possible, no matter how hard I tried, due to my newly diminished brain capacity. I have grown immensely since this incident, and I feel that I am better capable of taking on the world now, than I was prior to it.
I have been put in many situations that I would not have been capable of handling properly before my accident. The most recent was during my music appreciation class. Another student confronted me, rather aggressively, over my choice of favorite composer. Before my accident, I would have cowered and just accepted his idea as my own, but since my accident, I have learned to stand up for what I believe in, no matter how trivial. I explained my reasoning for my choice, and before he could counter, I listed some more facts about why my composer was an objectively better choice than his. Law is a field that favors facts over opinions, and I believe my newfound necessity to stand up for what I believe, rather than allow my opinion to be persuaded by loud voices or aggressive chatter, will serve me well in the classroom, or, for that matter, the court room.
I have a new appreciation for things that I once took for granted. I do not know if I am experiencing things differently now as opposed to before suffering a brain injury, but I like to think that I am awake now, whereas before, I was sleepwalking through life. I know that this new outlook on life will do me well when it comes to law school. I have never met an obstacle that I could not overcome, and I will take that same mentality with me to all my future endeavors. While some say, “I’m so sorry to hear about you incident,” I can’t help but smile and think that I am not, because without this incident, I wouldn’t be here today. Now when my mother asks, “how are you feeling?” and I respond, “perfect,” she knows why.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273142
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Version 3.5 - Near Death Experience - Come tear it apart...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:00 pm

-- Version 3.5 --

It was April 27, 2011, and I remember waking up in an unfamiliar place. I did not know where I was, nor did I know why I was there, but out on the outskirts of the room I was in I saw my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and cousin. I was in the ICU at [named] Hospital. I had suffered a heart attack at the age of 21. I had been in a coma since April 20, 2011. I was told all of this by my heartbroken mother, and confirmed this by the attending physician. In addition, I was told that I have suffered anoxic encephalopathy; my brain was damaged. I was told that I might never be able to walk, write, drive, or go to school ever again.

Up until that point in my life I had been a good person. I took care of my mother throughout my teenage years, as I did not grow up with a father, and had helped her get through a rough pregnancy after an initial miscarriage. Every day when I would get home from school, I took care of my little brother who was diagnosed with PDD. I took care of myself: I would work out, eat right, and stay away from drugs; all with the hopes of graduating college and starting a successful career. Yet there I was, in the hospital ICU getting the worst kind of news for an aspiring scholar, the kind that puts your future on a standstill, and makes you reevaluate your reason for living.

After a week in the ICU, I was transferred to the [named] Rehabilitation Unit, where I stayed for the next 3 months. They taught me how to put my clothes on, how to walk, how to shower, etc., they even tried to help me with my cognitive abilities – this was the first place I came into contact with “logic games”. After my 3 months stint in rehab, I was back at home, itching to get back any semblance of a normal life.

My mother would ask me, “How do you feel?” My response would always be the same, “perfect.” She didn’t understand how I could say that when I just suffered a heart attack, but in my mind, I had a second chance at life. I now understood just how temporary life really was, and to appreciate every minute of it. So I re-enrolled into university, initially with a light course load to get a feel for these things once again, but then eventually completing 5-6 courses over a summer term. I started going back to the gym, where I basically had to relearn how to lift because I still had a tenuous grasp on walking. I even practiced my driving; a task that my mother was so sure that I would never be able to do again, that she had sold my car.

I had always been considered a “smart” young man. According to my family, I was someone who never had to try very hard to do well; someone who could accomplish anything that he put his mind too, and I think because of these whispers that reassured me of my abilities, I started to slack off. I was so used to getting everything done easily that when I came to college, I was ill prepared for the challenge. Once I had my accident, however, my mother wouldn’t say what I was capable of, she would just say what I was not capable of. The whispers went from, “he can do anything he wants with his life,” to, “I don’t think he should go back to school, the classes will be too hard for him.” In that instant, I felt crippled, not by my brain damage, but by my families prognosis of my life. I now had something to prove to everyone, but most of all, to myself. I could not allow what happened to me to dictate my future. I would not be defined by my disability.

Let me take you to September 23, 2012, to my first triathlon. I had just completed the swimming portion, a grueling 1-mile swim from an island to the mainland. My time was average, not spectacularly slow nor fast. The next portion was the bike ride, a 26-mile trek over some bridges and through some neighborhoods. Now since this was my first triathlon, I was not equipped with first hand knowledge of how what kind of bike you have really affects your energy levels - I had incorrectly assumed that my mountain bike would suffice. I was being overtaken by literally 450 out of 500 participants. My mother was waiting for me when I returned with an EMT because she had assumed the worst. When she saw I was okay, she had assumed that I would not complete the race because I was visibly spent, and I can only imagine that I looked like I was going to collapse. Yet, despite my horrid performance, and my outward appearance, I continued on to the third leg, the 6.4 mile run. While I may have started in ~450th place, my training had me focus most of my time on the run portion. I was flying past people; I must have passed over 200 people. I finished the triathlon in ~225 place, and despite not winning a placing medal, I have kept the participants medal hanging on my mantel to everyday remind me that just because you have a difficult experience, it will pass, and sometimes, the events that follow it, will be what you have waited for your entire life.

I have accomplished so many things since that time. I completed my first triathlon, something that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do during my physical therapy sessions. I have overcome my fear of speaking in public by pushing myself to speak in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA at my newest school, something that I was assured would not be possible, no matter how hard I tried, due to my newly diminished brain capacity. I have grown immensely since this incident, and I feel that I am better capable of taking on the world now, than I was prior to it.

I have a new appreciation for things that I once took for granted. I do not know if I am experiencing things differently now as opposed to before suffering a brain injury, but I like to think that I am awake now, whereas before, I was sleepwalking through life. I know that this new outlook on life will do me well when it comes to law school. I have never met an obstacle that I could not overcome, and I will take that same mentality with me to all my future endeavors. While some say, “I’m so sorry to hear about you incident,” I can’t help but smile and think that I am not, because without this incident, I would not have had the drive to accomplish everything I have set out to. Now when my mother asks, “how are you feeling?” and I respond, “perfect,” she knows why.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.