Personal Statement review

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
benmulford
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Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:35 pm

Personal Statement review

Postby benmulford » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:58 pm

Here is another attempt of mine at a good personal statement. Thank you for looking it over.

The trip to the top of Mt. Fuji began around 3am when I finally went to bed. I had been out late in the bar-district of Tokyo and had decided I’d skip the trip to the top of Japan. At 4:15 a corporal from my office banged on the door until I woke up and told me to get down to the bus. He wasn’t about to let me sleep and thinking back, I wish I had thanked him instead of hurling curses when he was out of earshot. Being hung-over I had dressed for the occasion in a long-sleeve shirt, shorts, a beanie, and good boots.

I was a young Marine in Japan. Working as a pay-clerk in Iwakuni and spending my weekends going out to see the sights. When the opportunity for a special trip to Tokyo came up I was totally on board. The trip included tours all over the city and even a chance to climb Fuji-san!
When my group got off the bus it was around 5:45 and the sun wasn’t up yet. It was chilly but I knew the hike would warm me up. I bought a few bottles of water and a kongozue (“pilgrim staff”) for the trip. The first portion of the hike was level and fun. Breathtaking views completed the scene and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Until we started going up.

Going up the mountain was a miserable experience once we hit cloud cover 30 minutes in. It limited visibility to only a hundred yards and you had no chance at the “one more peak” mentality. This also left a cold drizzle over the entire landscape, chilling me to the bone with my light attire. By the way, Mt. Fuji is a dormant volcano. Which means that volcanic debris has made the side of the mountain like walking up deep gravel. Every step forward was subject to 4-8 inches of rocks settling and sliding downhill.

Almost worse than the physical discomfort was the mental fatigue that began playing on me. I would ask other climbers coming down how far it was to the top and they’d throw out such varied information that I stopped speaking to them. The lack of visibility steadily got worse so that I almost took many wrong turns. At one point one of the other Marines near me just quit. He made a great argument for quitting too: the weather was wet and cold, we weren’t sure where we were on the mountain, and we didn’t know how much longer we could safely go on. As I watched him walk down I found my resolve, I would not turn around. Words can’t express the lure of the path back down, but I would not give up before I had seen the top. I couldn’t feel my hands, the thin air was making me dizzy, my water was low, and I was not going to stop.

45 minutes after this epiphany I made it to the top. I didn’t even know it at first because visibility was down to 50 feet and I had almost stumbled into one of the two lions that mark the summit. It was sleeting, I was half frozen, and I had made it.

I’ve matured since that climb. I no longer see myself as indestructible and better prepare myself before an obstacle. While still a pay clerk I reached a level of comprehension that had my superiors trusting in me for the highest of high-profile problems. Namely, fixing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs pay. Before going to Iraq I made myself the most proficient gunner in my platoon to safeguard my life and the lives of my fellow Marines. Even now I am within 6 months of being financially unburdened and will have the GI Bill cover my schooling for 2 years to better be prepared for law school.

Law school is another mountain on my horizon. And as before, I will reach the top.

Thank you for your consideration.

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papercut
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:48 pm

Re: Personal Statement review

Postby papercut » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:10 pm

I read the first line and then the last line.

Google something like "climbing mountains personal statement." You will quickly see that it's a cliche that's been done to death.

I think admissions officers will have seen this exact Mt Fuji PS several times before.

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jselson
Posts: 6337
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:51 am

Re: Personal Statement review

Postby jselson » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:53 pm

My thoughts: You're likely to be at median. Like everyone else.

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jselson
Posts: 6337
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:51 am

Re: Personal Statement review

Postby jselson » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:55 pm

I remember, before I learned that talking about hiking trips when asked "What is the most difficult thing you've persevered through?" was bad during interviews, I told my job interviewer that the most difficult thing was when I went hiking sand dunes in Death Valley. It was for a position as a customer service rep at a music school. The interviewer's look was one of embarrassment for me.




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