Let's give this another shot.

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Anonymous User
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Let's give this another shot.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:41 pm

Sorry if I keep throwing drafts out here. But this is my latest a attempt.

I'm surprisingly calm as the bell rings. I hold my hands up and the referee yells "FIGHT!" I throw a one two combination but striking isn't what I do. For the last six years I've dedicated myself to grappling, namely Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Unfortunately for me, my opponent is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We circle each other and I soon realize he is the better striker as well. I slip one punch, but I get tagged in rapid succession with two others. I throw a punch and clinch with him in the center of the cage. I push his ribs with my head and grab hold of his leg. I start to spin in a corkscrew motion to take him down and it isn't working. Suddenly I'm being punched in the face again and I realize, I don't have his leg, he has both of my hands. Before that thought fully sinks in my arm is being wrapped in a devastating shoulder lock called a Kimura. This is it, it's over. My first fight and this is how it ends. He falls back to synch it in tighter but his legs are loose. I roll forward and out of danger. I scramble hard, we fight for position, my lungs are burning, my heart pounding in my chest. The pain in my shoulder subsides and the pain in my chest is all I can think about. I hold my opponent tightly and slam him to the mat. I get on top I'm in his half guard and I begin to punch him. I'm still tired, I'm winded from my failed takedown attempt but I continue to punch him. I'm stealing the round. I pass his guard which turns put to be a mistake as it allows him to escape from under me. He gets to his feet and as we trade strikes he kicks me in the side of the head. I'm dazed but the bell rings, my round.

People always ask me why I fight. I often go into some diatribe about the primal urge to engage in combat. I believe that to be true, our bodies have been conditioned to crave this kind of contact, but it isn't the real reason I fight. I fight because i need to face my fears. As cliche as it might sound. I'm not fighting the guy in front of my, I'm fighting myself.

I grew up afraid of everything. I was afraid of roller coasters, crowds, escalators, swings, you name it. Growing up in East Harlem I was afraid to walk outside. Granted East Harlem in the 90s was not a safe place to grow up in, but my fears bordered on being unreasonable at times.

I was bullied in school because of my weight and even though I was the tallest and biggest kid in class for much of grammar school I was afraid to fight. Ironically the biggest bully was a kid named Edwin who happened to be the shortest kid in the class.

Being a fearful child lead me to be a fearful adult as well. I lacked confidence, I was a pushover. When my father retired in his 80s I was asked to take over the business, a residential building in our old East Harlem neighborhood. One of the first things I had to do was handle the eviction of a tenant who had been taking his roommates' rent payments and not paying us. After a long court battle the judge ruled in our favor. The night he was to leave and hand over the unit to our new tenants-his old roommates- I made sure to be there, I didn't want any trouble and I wanted to ensure the apartment was undamaged. My former tenant was not happy to see me there. I was in the small foyer of the building when he came close to me. He was angry, he was big, and I was, once again, afraid, but I didn't show it. I looked him in the eye and asked him politely to leave the property. "Make me!" My heart sank, that wasn't what I wanted to hear. The only thing I could think to say was "this is my property and I want you to leave." He pursed his lips and left in a huff. I sighed with relief. That night I searched for martial arts schools. I settled on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after seeing Royce Gracie and his brothers dismantle all comers.

I realized something a few years later, I'm no longer afraid. I haven't been afraid of anything in a long time. I've competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments, fought MMA, and Muay Thai. I've surfed the beaches of Rincon Puerto Rico, I've climbed mountains. I've gone on solo hunts and yes I can ride escalators without a second thought.

The other seemingly scary thing I'm doing now is applying to law school. Some people fear this process, but I don't. I welcome the challenge, and hope for the opportunity to be accepted and complete my three years. So many people talk about the future of legal practice, not sure if they wish to pursue a career. I welcome the challenge to find new and innovative ways to make a living as a lawyer, but I'll take it one step at a time.

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Re: Let's give this another shot.

Postby ellayo » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:59 am

How long is it taking you to put these drafts out? It's good that you are writing, but it seems like you are pumping out drafts without spending much time thinking about how exactly you want one to differ from the next. There have also been simple spelling and grammar issues in your drafts, which makes me think you aren't really putting your best work forward here...

Like one of your previous attempts, this is kind of all over the place. I know that you feel like you have so much to say about yourself, but you need to focus. You are not going to be able to accurately portray every facet of what shaped you. I agree with past comments that the MMA stuff is not very compelling. If you are going to stick with it, you need to find a way to write about it that reaches people who are completely unfamiliar with the sport. It could also really be a personal bias though, because I found the fighting description to be too long and a bit of a snooze.

The part about growing up in Harlem is interesting to me, but you sort of gloss over it. After that it seems like you are just putting down whatever comes to mind. Don't do that. You need to fill your precious two pages up with valuable information. If it is not relevant, do not use it. What are you adding to your PS by giving us the name and height of your childhood bully? Nothing.

Your jump from being afraid to being brave is sudden. You skip over the important part--how did you gain the confidence?

Finally, I don't think your last paragraph adds much either. You don't specifically have to address why you want to go to law school, and shouldn't if it doesn't add anything. Here you are just saying that you aren't afraid of the process or of finding your way. That doesn't tell me anything about your motivations. It almost makes it seem as though you are just doing it for the challenge. I just don't think it's a very flattering portrayal.

Sit down and put some real effort into your next draft (and maybe that is what you have been doing). Think about what it is that you want the reader to get from your piece. Focus in on one specific story that gives examples of the thing you want your reader to get.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's give this another shot.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:48 pm

Do you know of any books that might help me reign all of these things in? The drafts are being pumped out, but I'm just trying to get everything down and fix the issues from there. My biggest issue is the space allowed I don't have a problem expressing myself in text form, but usually I have more than two pages to do it in. I feel like this is a tweet like I have to cut everything into short descriptions that pack a lot of info.

The MMA thing is coming from a lot of sample PSs I've seen that talk about rock climbing, or a guy who broke his neck in a skiing accident. I looked for that exciting opener and found my fighting experience. If you guys don't like it, I doubt the admissions people will, so I'll cut it and concentrate on something else.

A lot of people talk about outlines here, what would a good outline look like in general terms?

I also see a lot of conflicting advice online. Why law school, or no why law school?

Thanks again, I really appreciate the help.

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Re: Let's give this another shot.

Postby scp08004 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:04 pm

What you really need in one of these drafts is a common "thread" to pull through the entire essay. If at some point during the BJJ anecdote (which, for the record, I think is really cliche) you had some moment where you realized you had this confidence than you can use that as a thread to pull through. Allude to different aspects of it throughout the essay. It will tie everything in together nicely.

If you really are dead set on using the BJJ anecdote at the beginning then keep it short and concise. You're painting a picture of a setting, the reader doesn't necessarily need all the background information. (i.e. you can just say a choke hold instead of explaining the name, the body parts it involves, ect.) Also, like the previous poster said, focus a little more on how you gained that confidence. That aspect of the story can really give insight into how you became the person you are, and I think that is what may spark intrigue from the adcomms.

A last thought, you said you are good at expressing yourself by have trouble doing it in the page limit. That is part of the personal statement test, law schools want to see how well you can convey a message with a given constraint.

Best of luck in future drafts!

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Re: Let's give this another shot.

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:13 pm

Other than the first BJJ anecdotes being dragged out for way too long and the last paragraph about the law seems bit of a silly last minute addition, seek law for the sake of a challenge is a bit too cliche. I actually dont mind the general theme running here, facing your fears. Is actually not that bad, I dont quite see why other people are super critical about it.

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Re: Let's give this another shot.

Postby TheodoreKGB » Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:27 pm


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