PS - Close to Final - Thoughts?

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

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Anonymous User
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PS - Close to Final - Thoughts?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:01 pm

After several revisions, and many constructive critiques, I believe I am close to a "final" version. Please take a moment to read, and offer your thoughts. Thank you!


“Stage IV metastatic malignant melanoma,” my mom said. I looked at her and Dad across the dim kitchen, feeling a mixture of sadness, disbelief and confusion. Because in spite of being unfamiliar with that specific type of cancer, I knew what “Stage IV” meant and it sounded ominous. On a brisk February evening in 2011, I received the news that would change me forever: my dad had only eighteen months to live.

Instinctively, I researched the disease and learned the terrible things cancer would do to my father. I wondered how I would respond, but I soon decided not to allow this information to dictate my reaction. Over the next several months, during the initial rounds of treatment, he seemed fairly normal if a bit tired. But a single day in November 2011 became a turning point, an early indicator of the inevitable test of strength that loomed ahead. Alone in my apartment at college, I answered the ringing phone and heard fear in my mom’s voice: “XX, your dad is on his way to XX Medical Center. He can’t talk or move. Come now.” I immediately dropped everything and started driving. Although I prepared for the worst, I knew I had to remain strong—for my dad and for the rest of my family. I had to step up, stay brave, and take care of my mom and my three younger brothers during this difficult time.

We soon learned that tumors caused a blood clot in my father’s brain. His doctors performed emergency surgery and removed the tumors and some brain tissue. They saved his life for the moment but promised nothing. After several weeks he started to speak in short sentence fragments, but the loss of brain tissue robbed him of much of his personality. My mom had a hard time transporting Dad to rehab, chemo, radiation, and his other treatments, often many miles away, while also caring for my brothers. As a result, I made the four-hour drive from college and back many times to watch my siblings. This made maintaining good grades and my other college activities difficult, while simultaneously holding the family together, but I did it because I felt I had no other choice.

His cancer did not respond well to treatment, and the final months became particularly difficult. As money dwindled, I negotiated the labyrinth of Medicare, Social Security, and insurance rules, an activity made more challenging because I did it for my own father. I often had to wake in the middle of the night to help my mom lift Dad off the floor after frequent falls caused by the spinal tumors that partially paralyzed his legs. Other times I waited for the paramedics to arrive while I steadied my dad during another seizure. However I remained resilient throughout. During that trying time, I performed lead roles in my college and hometown theater groups, stayed involved in community service, graduated cum laude, and passed each part of the CPA exam on the first try. Every morning, in those moments before the day began in earnest, I said to myself: “Today, I will not give up.” When I felt like crawling back into bed forever, I considered everything my dad faced each day, and pressed on.

Inevitably, my dad’s disease progressed until he entered hospice care on June 29, 2012. He died eleven days later. When the funeral ended, after friends and family left, and life returned to “normal,” I reflected on the experience and realized what a profound parting gift my dad gave me. I gained the courage to face once-unfathomable difficulties. I witnessed his indefatigable spirit in the face of this tragedy and I uncovered the previously unknown depths of my own fortitude. This taught me that I am capable of great things despite the challenges that may come. I learned I could endure anything with this newly formed determination. In supporting my dad’s fight with cancer, I found that tragedy can shape an individual into someone with the irrepressible urge to succeed. I never imagined losing my father to cancer. But as a result of the struggle, I gained the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. This trait will remain with me forever. My dad taught me in life, and in death, never to give up.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

jshaffer740
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Re: PS - Close to Final - Thoughts?

Postby jshaffer740 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:15 pm

This seems like it will be an effective PS. I would make sure your resume is well done, to fill in the other areas that an adcom would be interested in (such as extra-curricular, etc.). But I think if you have good LORs and a well-rounded resume, this PS adds another layer to who you are that the adcoms would not have otherwise known. In that respect, I think it is well done. It is a moving story and will be memorable.

Anonymous User
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Re: PS - Close to Final - Thoughts?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:18 pm

jshaffer740 wrote:This seems like it will be an effective PS. I would make sure your resume is well done, to fill in the other areas that an adcom would be interested in (such as extra-curricular, etc.). But I think if you have good LORs and a well-rounded resume, this PS adds another layer to who you are that the adcoms would not have otherwise known. In that respect, I think it is well done. It is a moving story and will be memorable.


Thank you - I appreciate the help!

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: PS - Close to Final - Thoughts?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:54 pm

Well done.

So you sometimes capitalize 'dad.' Probably fine in this PS. Someone correct me if not.

At the end, I'd probably say "to never give up," but that's just a matter of style I guess.

I'd also consider deleting 'dim' from the second sentence.

Anonymous User
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Re: PS - Close to Final - Thoughts?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:07 pm

TheFutureLawyer wrote:Well done.

So you sometimes capitalize 'dad.' Probably fine in this PS. Someone correct me if not.

At the end, I'd probably say "to never give up," but that's just a matter of style I guess.

I'd also consider deleting 'dim' from the second sentence.


Thank you! I capitalized it whenever referring to him without including "my" as a prefix, to add familiarity. But if that's not correct usage, I can certainly change those instances to "my dad."

I agree with changing the last sentence - the other arrangement does sound a little off.

I will try removing 'dim' to see how that sounds. I included it to give a sense of the feeling, both internal and external. For some reason the lights were low - I can't seem to remember why - but it is a detail that I remember distinctly. But if there is a particular reason you feel I should remove it, please let me know! :)

Thank you again for the comments.




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