First Time Personal Statement. Looking for any thoughts

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Anonymous User
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First Time Personal Statement. Looking for any thoughts

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:00 pm

What follows is my draft for my personal statement.. I would love any help, comments, or advice anyone can offer. Thanks for taking the time to read it. :D

After finding the pipes had collapsed and the basement flooded in our restaurant, I knew it was time to make a decision. The landlord made clear he was not willing to do more than the usual patch job. He also assured me that if he were forced to do major work then he would invoke the repairs clause, thereby terminating the lease. My choices were few, and they affected not only me but everyone on my team. I had to decide what to do, and I had to decide quickly.
I knew if I closed the restaurant I would miss a lot of people, the customers, the staff, and the many vendors. I would also miss my business. A childhood of abuse and neglect had lowered my self-worth and self-esteem, and it was through running my business that I found value in myself, and in the knowledge that I could contribute something to the community. But, keeping the restaurant was a losing battle. Customers were tired of arriving to closed doors, or finding the bathrooms out of order, or hearing we had to close early. Word travels fast in a small town, and it began to also affect our catering business and antiques store. I loved running the restaurant, the experience helped me grow and mature as an adult, and a business owner, but I could not run a successful business out of a building that had to shut down for repairs on a regular basis. The decision to close was inevitable.
After announcing the decision I felt defeated. I knew it was time to decide on a further plan of action. But, something happened that surprised me; I felt total hesitation at the thought of reopening in a new location. It became clear my heart was no longer in the restaurant business. I needed to spend some time to evaluate the reasons I wasn’t happy and what I wanted to do.
I knew I did well in the food industry not just because I could cook, but because I have the drive, passion and commitment it takes to succeed in that industry. It is the same drive that allowed me to succeed as a full-time student while running a business. But there was also another reason I was doing well in school: I enjoy intellectual stimulation and challenge. I enjoy being part of the academic environment, not only pushing myself to expand my limits intellectually, but also adding my voice to scholarly discussion. That challenge has been more fulfilling than any previous endeavor. And though I still had a catering business and antiques store to run, I knew that to double down on my academic efforts would take me in the direction I wanted to go.
While closing the restaurant, I thought about what to do next. I knew I could continue to support myself through catering, but it would no longer be satisfying. The drive to succeed and work hard would suit me to do a great many things, but I wanted to decide what I needed out of a career. As a caterer I loved being a part of people’s lives, doing my best to make their wedding day special, a day to which they have looked forward and will always remember. Through volunteering to host free dinners and supplying meals to local homeless shelters I was able to help nourish those in need, something I found especially gratifying coming from a childhood of neglect. The restaurant allowed me to challenge myself, to meet the arduous demands of a fast-paced, zero-room-for-errors industry. I knew these were elements I wanted from any career I chose, and along with the intellectual challenge I desire, I feel these are all aspects I can find in a legal career.
The qualities I brought to running my business, discipline, hard work, and the drive to succeed, are the same I will bring to law school, and I believe will make me a successful student. I often remember the sense of satisfaction after meeting the challenge of a seemingly insurmountable task, such as catering an event of 900 people, or opening the doors to the restaurant after working around the clock for weeks in preparation, and I look forward to investing in the hard work necessary to find success during the law school experience. I hope I am given the opportunity to meet this challenge as well.

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papercut
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Re: First Time Personal Statement. Looking for any thoughts

Postby papercut » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:10 pm

After finding the pipes had collapsed and the basement flooded in our restaurant, I knew it was time to make a decision.


After opening this thread and feeling like helping you out, I knew it was time to start reading your PS draft.

You get the point? Don't be captain obvious.

How about:

The pipes in the basement collapsed and flooded our restaurant.


The landlord made clear he was not willing to do more than the usual patch job.


Why isn't the usual patch job good enough for you? Do you expect your readers to be plumbers and just know that the landlord is being somehow unfair here?

Customers were tired of arriving to closed doors, or finding the bathrooms out of order, or hearing we had to close early.


You do realize this makes you sound like an incompetent manager? Making sure all these things happened properly was your job.

I knew I did well in the food industry not just because I could cook, but because I have the drive, passion and commitment it takes to succeed in that industry. It is the same drive that allowed me to succeed as a full-time student while running a business. But there was also another reason I was doing well in school: I enjoy intellectual stimulation and challenge.


Show, don't tell. You shouldn't use positive adjectives to describe yourself. You should let the reader infer your good qualities from a story you tell.

Same problem here:

The qualities I brought to running my business, discipline, hard work, and the drive to succeed, are the same I will bring to law school, and I believe will make me a successful student.


Rewrite. Tell a story. Don't describe yourself directly. Try not to make yourself look bad.

mach9zero
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Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: First Time Personal Statement. Looking for any thoughts

Postby mach9zero » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:10 pm

You have a great topic, but you don't have a personal statement.

The first part should start like an illustrative narrative. Paint me a picture of your restaurant, and draw me into the chaos from the get to. Not a pity-party. Get rid of the negatives that will reflect poorly on you, and replace them with what you learned from that experience. As it reads now, I'm not interested in your story. I bet day-to-day restaurant business is chaotic, messy, and requires a lot of critical thinking skills. But as it reads now it is displayed more like an obituary.

Scratch everything about your childhood neglect and abuse. That's not your topic. If that's going to be your topic (do not do this), then you focus on your childhood neglect. Sporadic tangents of your past aren't going to mesh well into a narrative of your restaurant. It also is going to make admission committees wonder if you now have the self-worth and efficacy to study law and take on a rigorous task.

forced to do major work then he would invoke the repairs clause


:x never. NEVER. Get rid of this and don't throw in some legal jargon just to throw it in. If you worked with legal documents during a stint as a paralegal, fine. But just because your lease had a contract (as all should) doesn't mean you throw it in your personal statement.

and I believe will make me a successful student.


What is this? My grandma had a saying "Wish in one hand, shit in the other and see what gets filled first." You don't believe you might sorta kinda possibly could almost think that you'll be a successful student... NO, you'll WILL be the best damn student that walked through the halls of that institution. Don't be cocky, but you sound to wishy-washy about your confidence in practicing law.

Erase everything. Create an outline of your restaurant, from opening, to successes, to challenges, to what you learned, to the closing. Then get to writing again. You're successes should be numero uno. Did you receive any accolades? Next is your challenges... THEN how you met those challenges. Give a brief sentences as to WHY the restaurant had to close (I'd downplay it as more the building being old than customers not coming). Then, finish with what you took from the business and learned. Tie it into your desire to practice law, because I think you rely too much on [Running a Restaurant] = [Being a Lawyer] without explaining why your comparison is true.




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