EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
cgjeon
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:25 am

EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

Postby cgjeon » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:45 am

I have posted once here already and now I have revised it and here it goes.
Please rip it apart for me fellow TLSers.
Thanks in advance!


A gentle touch from my mother woke me up from my sleep. “Your food is getting cold!” had been my mother’s usual morning call during my elementary years while living in my hometown of Daegu, South Korea. But it was different that day. As I pulled the blanket over my head, she sat down on the edge of my bed, brushing my hair with her hands as if she had something to tell me. I jutted out my right hand from the blanket and waved vigorously to indicate that I did not want breakfast. She calmly yet firmly held my hand. What she said to me that morning was, “Do you want to study in America?” Blindly leaning on my parents’ decisions, I replied, “Do you want me to?”

Walking down the street of apartments, I found a group of elementary school children and their parents waiting in a line. My guardian pointed and said, “That is the line for your school bus.” I froze for a second, not knowing what I was going to say to them. I did not want to be alone for my first day at an American school, so I mustered up my courage and approached a chubby, black-haired kid—a kid who shared the most in common with me. With my broken English I asked, “Hello, how are you?” He frowned and stepped closer to his mom. “Uh, what’s up?” he stammered in reply. What was up? The sky. Confused, I looked up and searched for something other than the sky. But when I looked down, the kid was already filing into the bus along with the others. Parents were waving goodbye to their children who had found their friends on the bus. I sat in an empty row, knowing my parents were not outside to wave bye to. I was uneasy knowing that they were not here next to me, but all the way across the Pacific Ocean sending money to my guardian, so that I could receive an American education. Partly out of jealousy, I asked myself, “What difference would there be if my parents were outside, waving at me right now?” I realized, thinking about something I could not change was a complete waste of time. I scanned my surroundings and found the chubby kid again. Grabbing my backpack, I rushed over to him and asked, “What did you mean by ‘What’s up?’” I didn’t know where the conversation was going before, and I didn’t like that. Not having a parent to ask what it meant, I had to search for answers by myself. The chubby kid looking annoyed told me, “It means, how are you.” Seeking answers by myself through daily conflicts in communication, my parents were no longer the ones who were credited for what they have done. All the credit was for me to accept. I felt proud, maybe even a bit arrogant.
I wish it had ended there, but I became arrogant and did not feel the need to sit in the passenger seat of my life anymore. My parents had driven my life the way they wanted to, but from then on I decided that they no longer had direct control of where my life was heading. I thought I could handle sitting in the driver’s seat, even at the young age of 13—but there awaited a cost for my arrogance.

A rough but short detour of my life began on February 6, 2011. I was on my way to celebrate my 22nd birthday in downtown Los Angeles. I received a call from my friend on my way saying, “Don’t come out if you aren’t ready!” As excited as I was, I coolly replied, “Too late.” This was where it all started. My friends bought me many drink to celebrate my birthday. I had been legally drinking for a year, and I thought I could handle my alcohol. At 4 AM, after trying to sober up for a little bit, my friends and I stumbled out of the bar a friend slapped me on the back and asked, “You’re sober right?” “Yea man, I can handle this,” I replied, while smirking. The night--or the morning, I should say--ended with a round of happy birthday punches and handshakes.
I slipped into the driver’s seat and headed home. As soon as I entered the freeway, I loosened up: there was no traffic, no cars, and no one to pay attention to. It was just the five-lane road and me. Under my impaired judgment, I kept driving. I suddenly felt fatigued, and my grip slipped. I found my car drifting a little to the left, so I firmly gripped my wheel again, but two seconds later, I found myself drifting off again. As I opened the window for some fresh air, I saw a flickering of red and blue lights. Was I seeing things? I pulled over to the right-most lane, and waited. My mind went blank, and I thought to myself that this couldn’t be real. What happened next was the worst event of my life so far. I finally faced the dire consequences of irresponsibly taking the driver’s seat of my car and of my own life. In retrospect, that was exactly what I needed: a wakeup call.

I remember vividly what had happened that night. Although this incident may be the event I want to extract from my memory the most, ironically, I can’t. I have learned something much more meaningful than what had simply occurred: humility. Mr. Moore, a lawyer who helped me with this incident, was the one who taught me humility. He told me through out his legal career he felt that “People make irresponsible choices not because they didn’t know about it but because they were arrogant.” It was true. I knew that night I was making a wrong choice, but it was the arrogance that had blinded my judgment. I thanked him for going beyond the necessity and teaching me a life lesson.

My perspectives have changed. And I was quite relieved actually, because making mistakes are inevitable but arrogance can be controlled. All this time, I thought only teachers can teach students and only doctors can save lives. But here was Mr. Moore, a lawyer, who taught me wisdom and who has saved an arrogant kid. I want to change people’s lives. I want to give back what I have received. I want to be a lawyer.

Chan

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

Postby Clearly » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:55 am

"My friends bought me many drink to celebrate". Needs to be "drinks"

User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10380
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

Re: EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

Postby TTH » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:19 am

If I were you, I wouldn't write my personal statement about a DUI. If you're set on it, here are some thoughts. My notes aren't exhaustive, just what I noticed on a casual read-through, which is about how an AdComm will approach it.


A gentle touch from my mother woke me up from my sleep. “Your food is getting cold!” had been my mother’s usual morning call during my elementary years while living in my hometown of Daegu, South Korea. But it was different that day. As I pulled the blanket over my head, she sat down on the edge of my bed, brushing my hair with her hands as if she had something to tell me. I jutted out my right hand from the blanket and waved vigorously to indicate that I did not want breakfast. She calmly yet firmly held my hand. What she said to me that morning was, “Do you want to study in America?” Blindly leaning on my parents’ decisions, I replied, “Do you want me to?”


The quote in the second sentence breaks cohesion with the first sentence. Rewrite the second sentence so that there is some connection between the touch and your expectation before you get to the quote.

Dropping your hometown so early feels forced. Consider revising so that, at the end of the paragraph, you say something to the effect of "this conversation was the first step of my journey from Daegu, South Korea to the United States."

The sentence beginning with "I jutted out my right hand from . . ." makes you sound like an asshole. I'm not judging. You were a kid and I don't know the norms for non-verbal communication in Korea, but to an uninformed American reader (i.e., me), it comes off as entitled.

Be more direct with the framing of your mother's question. "What she said to me that morning was . . . " is unnecessary passive voice. Try, "Once I was awake, she asked me . . . "


Walking down the street of apartments, I found a group of elementary school children and their parents waiting in a line. My guardian pointed and said, “That is the line for your school bus.” I froze for a second, not knowing what I was going to say to them. I did not want to be alone for my first day at an American school, so I mustered up my courage and approached a chubby, black-haired kid—a kid who shared the most in common with me. With my broken English I asked, “Hello, how are you?” He frowned and stepped closer to his mom. “Uh, what’s up?” he stammered in reply. What was up? The sky. Confused, I looked up and searched for something other than the sky. But when I looked down, the kid was already filing into the bus along with the others. Parents were waving goodbye to their children who had found their friends on the bus. I sat in an empty row, knowing my parents were not outside to wave bye to. I was uneasy knowing that they were not here next to me, but all the way across the Pacific Ocean sending money to my guardian, so that I could receive an American education.

Partly out of jealousy, I asked myself, “What difference would there be if my parents were outside, waving at me right now?” I realized, thinking about something I could not change was a complete waste of time. I scanned my surroundings and found the chubby kid again. Grabbing my backpack, I rushed over to him and asked, “What did you mean by ‘What’s up?’” I didn’t know where the conversation was going before, and I didn’t like that. Not having a parent to ask what it meant, I had to search for answers by myself. The chubby kid looking annoyed told me, “It means, how are you.” Seeking answers by myself through daily conflicts in communication, my parents were no longer the ones who were credited for what they have done. All the credit was for me to accept. I felt proud, maybe even a bit arrogant.
I wish it had ended there, but I became arrogant and did not feel the need to sit in the passenger seat of my life anymore. My parents had driven my life the way they wanted to, but from then on I decided that they no longer had direct control of where my life was heading. I thought I could handle sitting in the driver’s seat, even at the young age of 13—but there awaited a cost for my arrogance.


First, the paragraph is too long. You should try to find two separate themes and split this into two paragraphs. See my suggested paragraph break (or disregard it). Second, you need some kind of transition from the first paragraph to the second paragraph.

Can you describe the kid as something other chubby? Odds are someone fat is going to look at your application. Why risk offending them?

The sentence that begins "Seeking answers by myself . . ." has a hanging modifier. Needs revision. Also, it could use an additional sentence transitioning from the specific anecdote to the story of your childhood.

Your essay is generally too wordy and too long. See constructions like "All the credit was for me to accept" as an example of wordiness that can be reduced. Why can't you say "The credit was all mine." ?


A rough but short detour of my life began on February 6, 2011. I was on my way to celebrate my 22nd birthday in downtown Los Angeles. I received a call from my friend on my way saying, “Don’t come out if you aren’t ready!” As excited as I was, I coolly replied, “Too late.” This was where it all started. My friends bought me many drink to celebrate my birthday. I had been legally drinking for a year, and I thought I could handle my alcohol. At 4 AM, after trying to sober up for a little bit, my friends and I stumbled out of the bar a friend slapped me on the back and asked, “You’re sober right?” “Yea man, I can handle this,” I replied, while smirking. The night--or the morning, I should say--ended with a round of happy birthday punches and handshakes.


The specific date isn't important for your personal statement, although I imagine you'll need to write an addendum about the DUI.

The sentence "I received a call . . ." reads awkwardly due to the prepositional phrase. Also, it's always a good idea to start a new paragraph after one "character" speaks dialogue when a different character is going to speak.

4:00 a.m., not 4 AM


I slipped into the driver’s seat and headed home. As soon as I entered the freeway, I loosened up: there was no traffic, no cars, and no one to pay attention to. It was just the five-lane road and me. Under my impaired judgment, I kept driving. I suddenly felt fatigued, and my grip slipped. I found my car drifting a little to the left, so I firmly gripped my wheel again, but two seconds later, I found myself drifting off again. As I opened the window for some fresh air, I saw a flickering of red and blue lights. Was I seeing things? I pulled over to the right-most lane, and waited. My mind went blank, and I thought to myself that this couldn’t be real. What happened next was the worst event of my life so far. I finally faced the dire consequences of irresponsibly taking the driver’s seat of my car and of my own life. In retrospect, that was exactly what I needed: a wakeup call.


The check-in "Was I seeing things?" is too informal. Plus, it raises the question in the reader's mind that you were literally so drunk you weren't sure what you were seeing, yet you got in a car and drove.

"My mind went blank, and I thought to myself . . . " is contradictory.

"taking the driver's seat of my car and of my own life." Reading this, I forgot your passenger seat metaphor and so I was confused what this meant. Tie this back to that metaphor in a more direct manner.


I remember vividly what had happened that night. Although this incident may be the event I want to extract from my memory the most, ironically, I can’t. I have learned something much more meaningful than what had simply occurred: humility. Mr. Moore, a lawyer who helped me with this incident, was the one who taught me humility. He told me through out his legal career he felt that “People make irresponsible choices not because they didn’t know about it but because they were arrogant.” It was true. I knew that night I was making a wrong choice, but it was the arrogance that had blinded my judgment. I thanked him for going beyond the necessity and teaching me a life lesson.


Get to the lawyer earlier in the paragraph.


My perspectives have changed. And I was quite relieved actually, because making mistakes are inevitable but arrogance can be controlled. All this time, I thought only teachers can teach students and only doctors can save lives. But here was Mr. Moore, a lawyer, who taught me wisdom and who has saved an arrogant kid. I want to change people’s lives. I want to give back what I have received. I want to be a lawyer.


"All this time" implies a time period leading up to the present, which in turn would imply the stuff about teachers and doctors is a currently held belief (or at least until more recently than the time of your court case/interactions with lawyer).

Strong ending.

Some general notes:
Too much passive voice and wordiness.
Revise carefully for grammar and mechanics. I noted some subject-verb problems and singular-plural agreement problems in the essay.
Really, once more, consider different subject-matter. You'll have to write about the DUI in an addendum anyhow. Making it your PS will render this a larger part of your application than you want it to be.


Good luck with your cycle bro.

cgjeon
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:25 am

Re: EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

Postby cgjeon » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:12 am

Thank you Clearlynotstefan!

and

TTH!!! Holy Lord...
I have received a feedback much more than I had expected!
I really appreciate your input and your time.
You are right, I was going back and forth with DUI ps or not but I think it is better to take your advice.
But really, thank you for the writing lesson! It was really helpful.
I really really appreciate once again.
I will fix this essay since I've started anyway, but I will come up with a new ps. :D

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

Postby Clearly » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:23 am

Agree by the way. You have to disclose these things, so its tempting to use any opportunity to put a positive spin on in, but the reality is you will be writing an addendum for the arrest any way, and you will want to keep that brief too. You don't want to draw any more attention to these things than is absolutely necessary.

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: EASY READ Personal Statement (overcoming adversity/DUI)

Postby sublime » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:43 am

..




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.