possibly controversial topic? help please

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Anonymous User
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possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:48 pm

Hi there. So I'm starting to write my personal statement and wanted some advice.

In my undergrad I worked at what could nicely be called a glorified sweatshop for people who type quickly. I typed financial dictations, and there were a few other college students working there, but on the whole most of my coworkers were in poverty, a few homeless, many drug addicts who would go next door to the plasma donation center to make more money or try to deal drugs behind the building. I have many other wonderful experiences there.

Anyways, working there really opened my eyes to the income gap and how seriously poverty could be an issue. Although some were drug addicts there were multiple women there who I would see cry on the phone and overhear conversations about having no one to watch their kids while they went to work. Etc etc I think you get the idea of the kind of place I worked. They also were definitely breaking some labor laws but I digress.

I was thinking of writing my essay by opening up with a description of where I worked, comparing it to the dictations we typed that usually focused on clients making millions, and show how witnessing the huge difference between the people I worked with and the people we were working for made me want to help those facing those injustices. Ya know, the whole "saving everyone and helping the world" eye-opening experience. Show that I have a deep passion for helping others and how outraged I would be seeing the conditions of the people I worked with and how they lived.

I was just wondering thoughts and opinions on this. Some concerns I have are: Is it negative to talk about my previous employer? I wouldn't name names or anything. Also, does this not focus enough on me? I would of course focus on me as much as possible, but would tell somewhat more of a story in the beginning of it.

Overall, I think it could be a compelling and good idea, but I'd like some feedback before I dive head-first.

Thanks!

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hephaestus
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Re: possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby hephaestus » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:55 pm

I dont think this is controversial. It actually sounds like a really interesting topic and could make for a great PS if done right.

Anonymous User
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Re: possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:42 pm

OP again. This is a very rough draft, just wrote it since I originally posted this topic and wanted to see what you all think. Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

For the past year I’ve worked at what could effectively be called a glorified sweatshop for fast typists. I’ve always typed quickly, likely due to my affinity for computers, so I was hired on the spot when I demonstrated my 100 words per minute typing ability. Working as a financial transcriptionist, learning about investments and hearing the notes of business professionals seemed like a step-up from making drinks at Starbucks, and typing was my forte. However, it didn’t take long for me to see the reality of my workplace and coworkers.
Upon entering my workplace, one gets the uneasy feeling that something illegal must be happening here. The rectangular space has computers lining every wall and two more rows of computers in the middle of the room. The only windows are covered with cardboard to keep out sunlight, and the office is passcode-protected to keep out intruders (who I later found out tended to be homeless people begging for money). The computers are uncomfortably close, with only about two feet of space separating me from the nearest coworker. It is constantly dead silent, with only the occasional cough or sneeze heard over the tapping of keyboards. Most employees, besides three or four other college students, work multiple jobs. Reasons range from having too many mouths to feed at home, as many are working single mothers, to having an expensive drug addiction to fuel. Some go next door to the plasma donation center as another means of income, while some discreetly try to deal drugs behind the building. When sitting at the computers, we are all the same, focused in on the transcription and trying to type as quickly as we can. In the break room, however, the differences are obvious. While I am comfortably showered in clean clothes, I sit and take my break next to others who have no place to sleep. I overhear conversations about having no one available to watch their kids, so they are sitting in their mom’s car in the parking lot. I hear one man say he had to take a third job because he couldn’t afford his cancer treatments, and was trying to get overtime typing. People give each other suggestions on where to find free food. Here, I am the outsider. How could I possibly relate to living in such extreme and unfortunate circumstances?
The dictations we type are all the same. A financial advisor discusses his current clients: some purchasing $5M life insurance policies, others deciding which stock options are the most viable in the current market climate. All clients have steady jobs and incomes, with money to spare. The headphones tell the story of a successful family trying to make more money than they already have. On the other side of the computer sits a woman in poverty, trying to make enough money to keep her apartment. Our employers aren’t sympathetic to their living conditions; on the contrary, they know how desperate they are for jobs, and take advantage of it. There is no leeway or understanding for missing work here. If you miss work, you’re fired. If you don’t type fast enough, you’re fired. If you have to leave work to pick up your children from school, you’re fired. If the person sitting next to you has a seizure and you need to call the ambulance to bring him to the hospital, there’s still no reason to stop typing. If you stop typing, you can and will be fired. You can never stop typing.
It took some time for me to fully grasp the environment in which I was working. I heard stories on my break, saw the tattered clothes, heard the requests for drugs, but didn’t fully understand the situation until I came to work one morning and saw a coworker asleep on the curb, in the clothes he was wearing the day before. The sense of injustice that I felt when I began to understand my coworkers completely engulfed me. How could a nation that prides itself on freedom and justice for all let so many of its citizens fall to the wayside? I’m lucky enough to understand the meaning of privileged. While I may have started typing as a part-time job, I still knew in the back of my mind that I would escape that job and go to law school soon enough. My coworkers don’t have that luxury. While I’m grateful to have the opportunity to further my education, I know it’s not right that my coworkers will be stuck there. I want to work in the law for the sole reason of helping others, and through my job, I had first-hand experience with those I want to help. The income gap in our nation is one of many problems that face our country, but it’s hard for a middle-class American to truly understand the abstract idea of poverty until they see it with their own eyes. I believe that I possess many qualities that will make me an excellent attorney. I take pride in my writing abilities, I enjoy research and am fascinated by the system of law that runs our country. However, those skills mean nothing without passion. The passion I have for helping the less fortunate is my driving force for attending law school. Receiving my education from XXX will not only give me the opportunity to better my own life, but will give me the knowledge necessary to create positive change for others.





My thoughts right now are: I don't know if my tone is right, I'm iffy on the end, I don't know if I talked enough about myself, I don't know if it's too long. Any insight would be wonderful.

Wolverine1614
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Re: possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby Wolverine1614 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:33 am

I like your idea actually. I think it shows why you want to go to law school, which is cool. The thing was that I didn't learn a lot about you through this PS. I learned about your living conditions and your coworkers, but not a lot about you. I learned that you care about these people, which is wonderful but I think you should try to sell yourself more.

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hephaestus
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Re: possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby hephaestus » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:47 am

Wolverine1614 wrote:I like your idea actually. I think it shows why you want to go to law school, which is cool. The thing was that I didn't learn a lot about you through this PS. I learned about your living conditions and your coworkers, but not a lot about you. I learned that you care about these people, which is wonderful but I think you should try to sell yourself more.

I think this is credited. Its a solid first draft though.

Anonymous User
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Re: possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:34 am

Any suggestions on how to sell myself? I'm trying to think of ways to insert myself more. I could potentially add in stuff at the beginning saying that I'm a hard worker and always stay busy, which is why I took this job, but I can't think of much more else. I could add another sentence or two maybe talking about the qualities I have that would make me successful towards the end but I'm also worried about length because this is about 2 and a half pages at this point.

Thanks though for the comments it's really helpful!

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Ramius
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Re: possibly controversial topic? help please

Postby Ramius » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:45 am

Your best bet to get to the point where you're selling yourself would be to cut down on the description of the dire circumstances of that environment and write new material about how seeing those conditions affected you personally, how it changed you and how you want to take the experience and use a law degree to fight for the rights of those types of people who you saw being abused every day. It shouldn't be too hard to inject yourself into those surroundings; after all, you were in them. The experience of working at this place clearly had a big impact on your life and the way you see the world, so that's where your focus should be. If you can show how these substandard working conditions affected you, you can probably show several things the ADCOMs will love to see like awareness of the world around you, compassion, moral turpitude and an ability to analyze a situation and learn from it.

I agree that this could be a strong statement once you're firmly entrenched as the main part of it.




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