First rough draft of second PS

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First rough draft of second PS

Postby scp08004 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:21 pm

I tried a little bit of a different approach and I took what you said into account. I hope it will suffice.

“We do it because we refuse to settle for contentment. We will always work to push the boundaries of our intelligence and physical limitations. We do it to actively better ourselves every day.” -Captain Matthew Cooney, USMC
I never understood the point of adopting personal mottos. I always thought a person’s actions and beliefs were too complex to be summated into a seemingly insignificant quote. When I first heard this motto, it never dawned on me how it could evolve into my own verbal touchstone, and how I can look back, and reflect, on the motto when I feel my determination beginning to fade. Or when the last dimly lit embers of my perseverance begin to blacken, this motto serves as a souvenir of a devastating failure.
I worked through my collegiate career to satisfy my one goal of becoming a Marine Corps Officer. The first time I heard this quote was when I walked into the Officer Selection Office, and Captain Cooney, a figure of inspiration and the picturesque Marine, reiterated the level of commitment and perfection needed to endure Officer Candidate School. He guided me through the rigorous preparation required by the selection board in order to be accepted to OCS. I put together an impressive application portfolio, and was confident that I would be able to pass. Then, it happened. The goal I had set for myself slipped from my grasp in only 34 seconds. I suffered a grand mal seizure caused by blunt trauma to the back of my head. It has never happened before, and the neurologist said it will most likely never happen again, but it was enough to medically disqualify me from OCS. I made the hardest decision of my life, and I resigned my application.
Not being able to realize my goal has since been a bitter failure in my eyes. There was no preventative measure I could take to guard against it, or change any of the circumstances. Yet, I shouldered the failure as if somehow I allowed it to occur. The proceeding months to follow my life lacked a clear direction, and I settled into a comfortable state of repetition. Then, after the days began to blur together, something peculiar happened. I was pulled over and handed a steep citation. And, as I was ready to just accept the ticket and move on, something inside me awakened. The quote resonated in my mind as clear as the day I first heard it. “I refuse to settle for contentment.” I became content with my place in the world, and right then I realized it was unacceptable. I shattered the repetitious façade that I have been living under. I fought the ticket by composing several compelling arguments that assisted me in nullifying the ticket completely. The prosecuting attorney was shell-shocked that anyone could put so much effort into just fighting a ticket.
This small victory served as a catalyst for several events to come. This was the first time in several months that I viewed the seizure in a positive light. I started to consider pursuing a career in the field of law. I must admit, at first I was intrigued by the Hollywood portrayal of a lawyer character (but seriously who hasn’t thought of interrogated Jack Nicholson until he finally admits he ordered the Code Red.) As I began researching what it truly takes to be a successful lawyer, the stereotype dwindled down to nothing and was replaced with an enlightening and sobering reality.
I started my pursuit of a career as a lawyer by taking a Paralegal Certificate Class, which helped me to identify additional avenues of growth within the field of law, networking opportunities, and provided me opportunities to participate in the field as I worked towards a career. I found myself completely immersed into the class material and personal exploration into the field. This class left me wanting more, my determination to succeed has never been stronger nor have I ever become so enticed into the pursuit of knowledge. “I will work to push the boundaries of my intelligence.”
Now, I’ve made the decision to go to law school and I remain determined and optimistic. Optimistic, not because I think I possess some special intelligence or ability which guarantees me success. Rather, I am optimistic because I know I am resilient and have proven that I can push myself regardless of setbacks. The culmination of these events reignites my determination. “I will actively better myself every day.”
Last edited by scp08004 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First rough draft of second PS

Postby sherealcool » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:18 am

Initial analysis: You seem to be doing two things in this PS: showing failure and showing how the aftermath led you to pursue law. You're trying to link the two things, but it's not effective because you seem more preoccupied by being rejected by OCS. In fact, your decision to go to law school seems to be the product of your desperation to "have direction" in the aftermath of your OCS rejection. So rather than seeming resilient, you seem flighty. That leaves the reader wondering "did this person latch onto law school simply because it made them feel like they have purpose?" and "If accepted right now, would this person attend OCS over law school?"

You try to explain away any doubts in the aftermath part of your PS, but it doesn't redeem you. It sounds like you were initially led to pursue law because you "succeeded" - you won a case. But you're not going to win every case when you become a litigator, even if you are incredibly resilient and optimistic. So what will keep you going when you "fail" as a lawyer? The claim that you'll keep on chugging just 'cus you'll keep on chugging is not compelling at all, especially when you've shown the audience that you get really down on yourself when you "fail."

Big advice:
1) Minimize how much you cared about the OCS and emphasize the process of contesting the citation and how it led you to take that class. Take more time to describe what you learned from that process and class other than your "resiliency."

2) Don't describe yourself as a "failure." You're setting up obstacles just by mentioning it. Namely, you're leading the audience to ask "is he still a failure?" Due to reasons mentioned above, you don't adequately answer that question.

Small advice:
1) Don't use parentheses to explain things. It's a little amateurish.
2) Less flowery language, please...especially in that first paragraph. Description is supposed to "paint a picture" for the audience, but things like "The sun was beginning to retreat behind the curvature of the distant horizon" don't paint a picture of anything that the audience wants to see.

Looking forward to rewrites!
edited 'cus grammar
Last edited by sherealcool on Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: First rough draft of second PS

Postby mach9zero » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:02 am

I agree with the above poster, it's a vivid and good story but you're using all your space to highlight your shortcomings. Admin offices don't want to hear that. Succinct your story into one paragraph max and then use the rest to show the aftermath in a positive light. admins don't want to hear law being the "second choice," and we've all had that traffic ticket scenario, that cannot be your AHA! Moment. It needs to be deeper and more personal than that. Even if your PS has little to do with law, it should paint a picture of you and your accomplishments. Mine was geared towards disability services because it's what I've done. I didn't include anymore than four sentences about practicing law, but they tied together and it worked.


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Re: First rough draft of second PS

Postby scp08004 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:26 am

Thanks for the advice, I rewrote the statement and gave it a different structure. Please rip it all apart.

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