Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:07 pm

feel more than free to critique this and rip it apart haha. I really tried to go from a light-hearted tone in the beginning to more of a serious one by the end.

“We’re going to Sudan this summer? We already went last year though!” I lied. The last time we actually visited our family in Sudan was more than 5 years prior, and I hardly remembered any of it. In my defense, it should not be a surprise that a 10 year old boy living in Florida would be adverse to the idea of spending his summer getting vaccinated for a myriad of tropical diseases and then traveling to a hot and impoverished country with no internet for a month. Electricity in general was sparse and after being there for a week, became something of a delicacy. This was a place where sleeping indoors at night with air-conditioning was a luxury reserved for the lucky few; No, over there, sleeping on the porch with the sub-Saharan heat, muggy humidity, and buzzing mosquitoes will have to suffice.

It was not all bad, though. Some of the fondest experiences I had as a child were spent with my family overseas. I remember sneaking out with my cousins after dark and playing makeshift soccer in the streets. We were told that around that time of day, rebel forces patrolled the southern streets of Khartoum and were known to abduct children our age, but I did not really pay it much mind. It was an adventure. I also remember sitting in a crowded living room listening to my uncle talk over tea about how the once democratic country he lived in was ruined politically and that there was no light and the end of the tunnel. He went on complaining ceaselessly about the current dictatorial regime. I did not really pay attention to what he was saying; I was more interested in how he said it. I found his gruff accent hilarious and admired his melodramatic use of hyperbole in everyday speech. I remembered listening to young men—some only a little older than I was—chat outside about not going to school anymore and having to start work at the market again. My brain effectively zoned out every detail mentioned after “not going to school anymore.” The idea of never sitting in a classroom again sounded wonderful to my ears.

Several years and a couple of visits later, it dawned on me that my view of my home country was exceedingly superficial. Much like a temporary trip to Disney World, visiting my people overseas was mostly a form of entertainment to me. The harsh weather, lack of electronic amusement, and even the visible turmoil and suffering of my relatives’ lives was not real to me. Of course it was not real; indeed, I could always go back home. At the end of the month-long visit or so, we would say our goodbyes, and I would get on a plane with my siblings and parents and return to the United States, never thinking twice about anything until my next visit. I would return to my central Florida home with my air-conditioning, television, and fairly care-free life while they would continue on because no similar change had occurred for them.

The chilling truth of it all was that my family and relatives could not escape the reality of their lives like I could. Children and young adolescents did in fact have to fear for their lives whenever they wanted to play a nightly game of soccer. Teenagers who had dreams of being doctors, lawyers, scientists, or engineers had to live with the certainty that they would have to forsake these dreams of success if their families were to eat supper that evening. Adults had to accept the fact that their voices would not be heard by their government and that they are becoming increasingly marginalized in their own society.

It is impossible for me to remain blissfully aloof. The only difference between me and the aforementioned people was that 23 years ago, my parents had the opportunity to leave Sudan and start a life elsewhere. Had it not been for that one difference, I would have certainly been in a similar situation as my relatives and forced to deal with the same problems they have to. The problem, however, does not end nor did it begin in Sudan. Human misery and haplessness caused by political and social injustice extends way beyond the streets of Khartoum and the villages in Darfur, it is a global predicament that seamlessly crosses national borders—not discriminating between developed and developing nations. This is an issue that struck me very close to home and my heart.

Most of these problems that disadvantaged people in the Sudan, the United States, and around the world face daily, however, are fixable. Democratic reform in Sudan is not impossible to attain, and even smaller-scale efforts like legal and social justice clinics in the United States go a long way in bringing people hope and stability in their lives. It was this realization that sparked my interest and fueled my passion for the law and public service. Continuing my education at law school will provide me with a better understanding of how the foundations that hold together different societies work and govern themselves and will equip me with the tools necessary to actually make a difference. While I cannot do much about unsavory climates and difficult weather, working to address some of the people’s social and political problems is undoubtedly a step worth taking.

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lastsamurai
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby lastsamurai » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:42 pm

I like your writing style. A few things that stood out to me:

1) Electricity as a delicacy seems a bit strange.
2) The quote at the beginning doesn't seem quite like something a 10 year old would say.
3) Was there a turning point or moment when you realized you wanted to change Sudan? That would probably help to make it more powerful.
4) "and fairly care-free life" I would change to "comparatively care-free life" or something like that.

Anonymous User
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:06 pm

Thanks. Great advice .

I remember pausing at fairly and wanting to change it during my first edit :)

emailraffi
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby emailraffi » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:40 pm

Great Story!

However, your personal statement needs to be a bit more personal, you should make it more about why you want to go to law school, I doubt your current personal statement will convince an admissions admin that you are going to be a great fit for their law school. Put more emphasis on the latter portion on the current statement. Nevertheless your family seems rather entertaining. Good Luck!


Also you can post your personal statements on [Hi, I'm trying to spam you!], its a free personal statement peer review website its also a little more private than posting your PS on a blog.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:42 pm

The personal statement does not need to center on 'why law,' it's a personal statement after all, and not a statement of purpose.

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alexb240
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby alexb240 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:45 pm

I agree with t-14 or bust, although it's not clear to me if this will be your personal or diversity statement. And, proving that if you put three lawyers (or wannabe lawyers?) in a room you'll get four opinions, I kind of like the electricity-as-delicacy line. That said, there are some grammar things you can clean up here -- the end of the first paragraph appears to have a semi-colon followed by a capital letter; that's the kind of unforced error you don't need. Here's an inside-baseball tip: legal writing pursuant to the Bluebook (which you'll come to hate, but is the standard) calls for spelling out numbers up to, I believe, ninety-nine. Thus, when lawyers read passages where the numbers aren't spelled out, it's the tiniest bit jarring. Admittedly pretty nit-picky, but given that this is one of the better statements I've read, I think you're at the stage where this type of polishing is productive.

Anonymous User
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:50 pm

alexb240 wrote:I agree with t-14 or bust, although it's not clear to me if this will be your personal or diversity statement. And, proving that if you put three lawyers (or wannabe lawyers?) in a room you'll get four opinions, I kind of like the electricity-as-delicacy line. That said, there are some grammar things you can clean up here -- the end of the first paragraph appears to have a semi-colon followed by a capital letter; that's the kind of unforced error you don't need. Here's an inside-baseball tip: legal writing pursuant to the Bluebook (which you'll come to hate, but is the standard) calls for spelling out numbers up to, I believe, ninety-nine. Thus, when lawyers read passages where the numbers aren't spelled out, it's the tiniest bit jarring. Admittedly pretty nit-picky, but given that this is one of the better statements I've read, I think you're at the stage where this type of polishing is productive.



Thanks for the heads-up about my grammatical errors and spelling-out-numbers issue, I'll definitely fix those. I'll also try and polish up this bad boy a couple times over after that. By the way, I've decided that this is going to be my personal statement. At first, it was going to be both a diversity statement within a personal statement, but now I feel like I'm going to separate them into two different documents. My diversity statement is going to focus on racial, cultural, and religious obstacles I faced in america.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Personal/Diversity Statement 1st draft

Postby blsingindisguise » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:29 pm

I like your writing and there's a lot of good material here. I found the first couple of paragraphs confusing -- I wasn't sure until you said "home country" why you were visiting Sudan (I assume it was to visit relatives?), and until that point I thought maybe you were going to say your parents were missionaries or in the foreign service or something. The observation about viewing your home country superficially, like Disney World, was interesting, especially in light of the fact that there were some very un-Disney-like things about it. Children's minds work in strange ways.

There's something a little uncomfortable about how you start in this very childlike mindset and move into this serious, wanting to solve problems mindset later in the essay. I really like the childhood stuff, but maybe it's handled a little too much like a memoir and not with enough focus toward where the PS is going? It's a tough call, because, like I said, I like it.




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