personal statement help!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
graciegold
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:45 pm

personal statement help!

Postby graciegold » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:54 am

Would love any thoughts and feedback on this personal statement. Thank you!


Fresh out of college, 21 years old and a business reporter in 2011, I had a front row seat to a sad and frustrating time in America’s history – the aftermath of the great recession. I may as well have been dropped off on the planet Neptune. I had been raised very comfortably, cocooned within a Puritan-work-ethic worldview: life was supposed to be a reliable machine with hard work going in one end and the perfect American success story coming out the other. If you did everything you were supposed to do, the 50-year long career and white picket fence would be yours. If you found yourself without those things, well, you must have dropped the ball somewhere back down the line.
As I spent hours at unemployment agencies and nonprofits speaking with real people and hearing their stories, this magic equation seemed to have some fatal flaws. The people I was getting to know weren’t ungrateful trustafarians who had majored in Renaissance Literature and now wouldn’t accept a salary less than six figures, nor addicts who couldn’t hold down a job longer than the time between random drug tests. They were real people who had been someone’s cubicle mate or boss three weeks ago, not characters from a hyperbolic political campaign. Many of them had gone to college, with steady work histories spanning their entire adult lives. They had done everything right, but our reliable machine had failed them. Some of these people were understandably brusque with me and my questions, making comments about my age or asking how I dared to make their bad day even worse. Most, however, were kind and patient. They let me into their stories even when (as I now realize) I must have been unbearably chipper and callous to the very reason our paths had crossed.
I met a single mom who had juggled school and work and kids to earn her associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees — but still wound up being laid off from her job amidst downsizing. I remember meeting a young man about my age who had worked his way through technical school, taking out loans all the way through, riding the promise that more education would land him a job with more security and better benefits. After graduating, he still couldn’t find anything that would give him more hours than he had in the Taco Bell drive-through. It was unsettling for me to hear his story, and to compare our two lives and see how much harder he had worked and how much less he had to show for it. There were so many more with stories just like theirs. The people I met taught me a little bit of what it was like to be someone that the system had failed.
That year awoke an empathy within myself that I had not felt before. Instead of rolling my eyes at the whining masses like I was formerly wont to do, I now saw unemployment numbers in the context of the people I had met. I learned to distrust my assumptions about what led to others’ misfortune, re-examining my attitude towards other more large-scale issues of poverty, privilege and class. I became involved with an organization that teaches English as a second language and met people who discoursed on immigration and culture issues over homemade ceviche after class, exposing me to more new perspectives.
I grew frustrated with just writing about these problems, and moved within the company to audience development for the magazines division. It was interesting work, and my boss was a woman I respected and who was generous with professional advice and encouragement. Yet after a short three months, the division was cut across the board within the entire media company and I was jobless, ears ringing and hands trembling. My mind immediately went back to those days canvassing the unemployment office for stories and the people I had met. I understood a little more of what they felt.
The next morning when I woke up and remembered I didn’t have a job was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt like a failure, I felt scared and I cursed myself for the times I had been a few minutes late to work or had griped about a task. There was nothing I wanted more in the world in that moment than to have a job – any job. What happened next, what separated me from the average unemployed person is something I did nothing to deserve or to earn. My father has owned his own business for my entire life, and when I lost my job he offered me a position at his cotton brokerage firm for as long as I needed. The job evolved from a way to pay bills into something that I loved. The work made sense to me, and our customers were interesting. I found joy in knowing that my eight-to-five was helping to build something that will hopefully be there for my siblings and my children someday.
No day goes by that I don’t think about all the people I came into contact with in my business-journalism days who might still be, at best, underemployed. I look at my life, at all that I have to be grateful for, and I become overwhelmed with how much I have been given and how little I did to deserve it. I was born into a large, loving family that supports each other no matter what and grew up surrounded by innovative, adventurous business owners and thinkers and givers that were there for me when I needed advice or a job or a recommendation.
My deepest desire, for all of my life and for the legacy I will someday leave, is to leverage any structural privilege I may have to help others to succeed. Whether through building a successful business that can offer a secure and respectful living or by being an outspoken member of society who uses my voice to defend the pawns and outsiders of this world, I want to make things better for those who are willing to work hard. I want to be able to create a business that is sound and stands strong against frivolous lawsuits or legal loopholes, so that my employees can feel safe investing their working lives in the company. I want to be able to speak from a place of knowledge and authority on the political issues that are dear to my heart.
I hope to someday build a company that is innovative and expansive, solving big problems in ethical ways. I want to create an environment where employees are people first and foremost, where they know they aren’t just another worker bee. I want to build a place where hard work is rewarded, and loyalty is a two-way street between management and employees. I want to take the vast richness of family and relationships that I have been given and share that with whoever is willing to work alongside me.

Pamaho
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:11 am

Re: personal statement help!

Postby Pamaho » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:13 am

And which business schools are you going to send this to?
And MBA will help you establish a company and achieve the goals you outline in the last two paragraphs.
Good Luck.

graciegold
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:45 pm

Re: personal statement help!

Postby graciegold » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:42 am

Thanks for reading! I had been told that your personal statement isn't necessarily supposed to be "why you want to go to law school" but more of a story that changed you.

User avatar
RobertGolddust
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:09 pm

Re: personal statement help!

Postby RobertGolddust » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:33 pm

I like it. Too elitist for my taste, but fun to read and your skill as a writer is apparent.

graciegold
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:45 pm

Re: personal statement help!

Postby graciegold » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:41 pm

here's a slightly reworked version. I really don't want to come off as elitist...were there any particular parts that made you roll your eyes?


Fresh out of college, 21 years old and a business reporter in 2011, I had a front row seat to a sad and frustrating time in America’s history – the aftermath of the great recession. I may as well have been dropped off on the planet Neptune. I had been raised very comfortably, cocooned within a Puritan-work-ethic worldview: life was supposed to be a reliable machine with hard work going in one end and the perfect American success story coming out the other. If you did everything you were supposed to do, the 50-year long career and white picket fence would be yours. If you found yourself without those things, well, you must have dropped the ball somewhere back down the line.
As I spent hours at unemployment agencies and nonprofits speaking with real people and hearing their stories, this magic equation seemed to have some fatal flaws. The people I was getting to know were neither ungrateful trustafarians who had majored in Renaissance Literature and now wouldn’t accept a salary less than six figures, nor addicts who could only hold down a job between random drug tests. They were real people who had been someone’s cubicle mate or boss three weeks ago, not characters from a hyperbolic political campaign. Many of them had gone to college, with steady work histories spanning their entire adult lives. Our reliable machine had failed them. Some of these people were understandably brusque with me and my questions, making comments about my age or asking how I dared to make their bad day even worse. Most, however, were kind and patient. They let me into their stories even when (as I now realize) I must have been unbearably chipper and callous to the very reason our paths had crossed.
I met a single mom who had juggled school and work and kids to earn her associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees — but still wound up being laid off from her job amidst downsizing. I remember meeting a young man about my age who had worked his way through technical school, taking out loans all the way through, riding the promise that more education would land him a job with more security and better benefits. After graduating, he still couldn’t find anything that would give him more hours than he had in the Taco Bell drive-through. It was unsettling for me to hear his story, and to compare our two lives and see how much harder he had worked and how much less he had to show for it. There were so many more with stories just like theirs. The people I met taught me a little bit of what it was like to be someone that the system had failed.
That year awoke an empathy within me that I had not felt before. Instead of rolling my eyes at the whining masses like I was formerly wont to do, I now saw unemployment numbers in the context of the people I had met. I learned to distrust my assumptions about what led to others’ misfortune, re-examining my attitude towards other more large-scale issues of poverty, privilege and class. I became involved with an organization that teaches English as a second language and met people who discussed immigration and culture issues over homemade ceviche after class, exposing me to more new perspectives.
I grew frustrated with just writing about these problems, and moved within the company to audience development for the magazines division. It was interesting work, and my boss was a woman I respected and who was generous with professional advice and encouragement. Yet after a short three months, the division was cut across the board within the entire media company and I was jobless, ears ringing and hands trembling. My mind immediately went back to those days canvassing the unemployment office for stories and the people I had met. I understood a little more of what they felt.
The next morning when I woke up and remembered I didn’t have a job was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt like a failure, I felt scared and I cursed myself for the times I had been a few minutes late to work or had griped about a task. There was nothing I wanted more in the world in that moment than to have a job – any job. What happened next, what separated me from the average unemployed person is something I did nothing to deserve or to earn. My father has owned his own business for my entire life, and when I lost my job he offered me a position at his cotton brokerage firm for as long as I needed. The job evolved from a way to pay bills into something that I loved. The work made sense to me, and our customers were interesting. I found joy in knowing that my eight-to-five was helping to build something that will hopefully be there for my siblings and my children someday.
No day goes by that I don’t think about all the people I came into contact with in my business-journalism days who might still be, at best, underemployed. I look at my life, at all that I have to be grateful for, and I become overwhelmed with how much I have been given and how little I did to deserve it. I was born into a large, loving family that supports each other no matter what and grew up surrounded by innovative, adventurous business owners and thinkers and givers that were there for me when I needed advice or a job or a recommendation. My deepest desire, for all of my life and for the legacy I will someday leave, is to leverage any structural privilege I may have to help others to succeed. I want to take the vast richness of family and relationships that I have been given and share that with whoever is willing to work alongside me.

User avatar
RobertGolddust
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:09 pm

Re: personal statement help!

Postby RobertGolddust » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:51 pm

The people I was getting to know were neither ungrateful trustafarians who had majored in Renaissance Literature and now wouldn’t accept a salary less than six figures, nor addicts who could only hold down a job between random drug tests.

Instead of rolling my eyes at the whining masses (lol) like I was formerly wont to do, I now saw unemployment numbers in the context of the people I had met

My deepest desire, for all of my life and for the legacy I will someday leave, is to leverage any structural privilege I may have to help others to succeed.

its great work, and you can tell the author has a good heart. But, you come off a little silver spooned.


Would you mind giving my personal statement a read? I would really appreciate it.

graciegold
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:45 pm

Re: personal statement help!

Postby graciegold » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:05 pm

Okay cool, thanks. I really loved your statement, just left some comments.

User avatar
UOI4430
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:29 pm

Re: personal statement help!

Postby UOI4430 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:10 am

Your writing is excellent. I think this a strong PS. However, you should avoid saying things like "I didn't deserve" or "I had advantages that others did not," etc. Frame the statements about your advantages in a more positive light. It is only reasonable to take advantage of the opportunities that you have. Never say you were undeserving.

You do come off a bit elitist at different points. Are you sure an adcomm will know what a "Trustifarian" is? And if they do, might they take exception to it?

P.S. Your protestant work ethic/American success metaphor is soooooooooooo good.




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