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

This can work as

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Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:20 pm

Ok, I cleaned this up a bit. I also need your help deciding whether this can work as a PS instead of a DS. Please give me your advice.

My mother dropped me off to school that Tuesday morning after we picked up our order of coffee and hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts. She then went off to her full-time job at a local smoothie joint and I would spend my day in school. Almost an hour into the school day, students were being picked up early. One by one, I saw the puzzled look on each of their faces as their names were called on the intercom to come to the front office to leave school early. We all glanced at each other and pondered about what was going on. Nobody had a clue and nobody told us anything. By noon, it was just my teacher and I left in the classroom, all the other kids had gone home. I was anxious and my stomach was churning at how uncomfortable the situation was for me. Little did I know, that day was going to be the day that changed the rest of my life.

I had always been different from all the other students. I left early from school on Fridays to go to my weekly prayers, I didn’t celebrate Christmas, I fasted during the month of Ramadan, and I kept a strict Islamic halal diet. But after that day, it became a hard to be different. Later, I understood why things had changed. I am a Pakistani born Muslim living in America. The terrorist who flew those planes into the buildings claimed to be ‘Muslim’. In the eyes of many Americans, I am associated with terror and killing only because I share the same religion as the one those terrorists are claiming to practice. I became defined by where I was from and the religion that I practiced rather than defined by who I was. This fact is what has caused me the most difficulty in my life.

Feeling isolated from many of other students simply because I was a Muslim made school difficult. The immaturity of many of the classmates didn’t help my situation; it only made me felt out of place. A few days couldn’t go by without a student blurting out a silly ‘terrorist’ joke. My last name is Hussain, and this was used as the punch line of almost every joke told. “_____, how is your uncle Saddam doing?” Kids would ask as they snickered. Although I knew that these were just immature jokes by children and they didn’t mean much by them except to be funny, there existed people with real hatred outside of school. As the years went by, many of my Muslim friends had forsaken their faith to fit in with the rest of society. Some Muslim girls abandoned their head scarves and conservative clothing. Some Muslim boys abandoned prayer in public to avoid drawing attention. The more I saw my friends change and become a product of the societal norm, the less I wanted to change and the more I wanted to embrace my faith. I wanted to spread awareness of my religion to show people that Islam is a religion of peace.

By the time I entered college I wanted to take advantage of the diversity on campus. It wasn’t a place where I had to feel isolated anymore because there were others who shared my faith and ethnicity. I joined and was voted onto the executive boards of the International Muslim Association at ____ (IMAN) and the Pakistani Student Association (PSA). With leadership roles in both organizations I was able to connect with other college students who felt the same type of hardships I felt as a Muslim in America. I aimed to attract as many non-Muslims as possible to IMAN events. This helped them learn the true peaceful nature of Islam that is actually the opposite of common belief. This created an understanding between non-Muslims and Muslims on campus and led to less Muslims abandoning their faith to fit in with other students on campus. After the success IMAN has had in accomplishing my goal, I wanted this type of relationship for more than just our campus. I connected with Muslim Student Associations at ___ College, ____ International University, and the University of ____ where they and IMAN worked together to educate the masses and defeat ignorance by attracting more non-Muslims to events such as the annual MSA Olympics. At these events non-Muslims had the chance to learn more about Islam and Muslims. This is the best way to stop discrimination and racism and promote tolerance and open-mindedness in these South Florida college campuses.

Being teased about my faith during grade school only made me want to embrace it. The more I saw my friends forsake their faith, the more I wanted non-Muslims to understand it. Facing adversity has made me the person I am today and made me prouder than ever to say that I am a Pakistani born American Muslim.

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Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:34 pm

anybody have any comments?
anybody think its too long?

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Postby crg0097 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:40 pm

Beautiful topic. My best friend comes from your exact background and I've personally witnessed the type of things you've written about in your statement.

I think it's a very strong statement. You could use this as a personal statement but it naturally comes across as a diversity statement. You should consider writing about something else for your PS in order to have the opportunity to present several dimensions of yourself.

Find a way to frame the time in which that day occurred. Instead of saying "My mother dropped me off to school that Tuesday morning," say something like: "It seemed like any other autumn morning as my mom dropped me off at school..." The day you're referring to in the first paragraph is contextually ambiguous until the reader learns in the second paragraph that you're Muslim. I think that approach is fine so long as you drop a little more detail in the first paragraph about the day/season/year.

In paragraph 2: "But after that day, it became a hard to be different." Instead, try to say something like: "But after that monumental day, it grew more difficult for me to be different from the other kids."

Also, in paragraph 2, do not say "In the eyes of many Americans." You're generalizing too much. I know you can argue that it's true, but educated people know better than that. Also, I don't think you should change tenses in this sentence and then switch back in the following sentence. Instead, you should say, "In the eyes of some Americans, I was associated with the 9/11 attack simply because I shared the same religion as the terrorists who claimed religion to be their motivation."

Hope this helps. Good job!

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Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:49 pm

thank you so much, this was absolutely the best help I have gotten here so far!


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Postby blsingindisguise » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:43 pm

Great start. Well-written without being forced.

I also agree that the first couple paragraphs could use a little more context. I got that it was 9/11, but it took me a minute, and even then I was sort of confused as to the situation at school -- you were kept at school because you were the only muslim? Did they question you? Did they let you go shortly after or keep you for a long time? Was this in New York City? I would try to add a little more detail without losing the very effective "surprise" effect of the second paragraph.

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Postby tofuspeedstar » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:46 pm

Good stuff OP. I went through the same problems during the incident, and I'm not even Muslim! But just because my skin was brown the jokes didn't stop flowing til my sophomore year of high school. Good on you for embracing your faith.

Well written and I could definitely see this as a really good DS.

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