I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby crystlangl13 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:27 pm

GPA: 3.43
LSAT: 159
(9yrs out of undergrad)

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost
This is one of the most misunderstood and most overused pieces of poetry of our time. This quote has been used on coffee mugs and college posters, needlepoints and hallmark cards, touting that taking the road “less traveled” is the way to be successful in life. This interpretation is incorrect. When he stood at that divergence, the paths were equally worn. Not until old age, when the speaker looks back on his life, does he decide the path he took was the “one less traveled”, as if to bring some meaning to his choice and quell some regret of never knowing what lay down the other path. Earlier in the piece, he states
“Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”
These three lines are where my interest in this poem lies. The speaker doubts he will ever be able to revisit his choices, but there is no clear reason why that should be true. Life is not linear. We are given the opportunity to take many paths in life, and those paths are not unchangeable. There is no reason that both roads can not be taken. The amazing thing about going back to take “the first” is it becomes informed by everything learned on the road “less traveled.”
My first experience at that fork in the road was deciding to become the first person in my family not to attend Brown, and to, instead, study theater. I spent my time at NYU working harder than I’ve ever worked before, and gaining training and experiences that would be the solid foundation on which I would develop really strong skills. When dramaturging during my second and third years, I learned how to research. There was no end to the information you could gather about a particular piece of work: discovering backgrounds, learning about the time in which the play was written and the time in which the play was set, learning what role the political situations at the time played in the playwright’s choices, learning all about their body of work and their values, uncovering from where they drew their inspirations. I spent more time in the library than I ever thought possible. Directing plays brought a whole new set of experiences. When directing a play, the script is king. I delved deeply into the script - analyzing the tone, the content, the references, understanding what motivated the characters, what made them tick, and understanding what the playwright was really trying to say. Once I squeezed every bit of information I could out of that document, I had to bring those pages to life. I had to learn how to collaborate with a team and bring their visions in line with mine, to create a multi-faceted, multi-layered experience for the audience. I had to be able to recognize the affects that certain actions or choices my actors made had on the audience. I had to be very good at speaking to groups, both large and small. I had to be able to meet deadlines, I had to be able to think on my feet when something went wrong (which was all the time). I had to be intellectually capable enough to pull analyses out of plays that hadn’t been found before and I had to be emotionally capable enough to pull the performances I needed out of my actors and designers to get that analysis across. I graduated from NYU knowing two things absolutely. One, I learned things I never could have learned with any other degree. Two, while experiencing and learning about theater is an unmatched undergraduate experience, pursuing a career in theater is not something I wanted to undertake.
The uncertainty that knowledge created, and the need to pay my rent, led me to take a job at XXXX. If I thought studying theater was an unparalleled experience, I was about to be proven very wrong. Working at XXXX taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I built upon my experiences at NYU, in both an intellectual and an emotional way. In managing conflict between my employees and in dealing with escalated customer service issues, I learned how to see from different points of view, to understand BOTH SIDES of an argument. In appeasing ever-more-entitled customers and in giving feedback up, I learned how to handle situations diplomatically. In planning the initial launch of XXXX in 2007, I learned how to work through others, how to deal with ambiguity, how to lead a team, how to set timely goals, and how to be collected under pressure. In my role as Cash Operations Specialist, I handled every aspect of the finances in the store, reading through and editing leases and contracts, managing tax exemptions, and making sure we were in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It was through these responsibilities that I found my passion. I would get lost exploring the minutia of these tasks, looking up the background of everything I worked on, spending hours researching the outcomes of previous situations and validating my thinking through the institutional precedents. I was fascinated. In August, I moved back to Denver, and continued working at XXXX, but without any of the responsibilities I previously held. I was miserable.
Both my parents were attorneys, I grew up in the legal world, and it took me 30 years to realize that what I really wanted to do was practice law. If I had realized that the first time I stood at that fork in the road, I’m sure I would have had a lovely time studying political science in undergrad and gone on to do just fine in law school. However, I would feel as Robert Frost’s speaker did, with a pang of regret and uncertainty as I looked back at that path not taken. Now, as I stand once more at the fork, I will take the other road, and I will embark on this journey without any regrets and with everything I’ve learned and experienced in my previous travels.


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Postby PourMeTea » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:07 pm

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Last edited by PourMeTea on Thu May 07, 2015 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby LawsRUs » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:27 pm

PourMeTea wrote:I wouldn't use a massively cliché poem as a framing device, nor would I start the PS off with a quote. It feels very forced and impersonal. Perhaps some sort of anecdote could work in its place, but I'd probably scrap this and start over.

This is a solid piece of advice. I'm sorry, OP, I couldn't make it past the first two paragraphs. :|


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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby TheOnePercent » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:15 pm

crystlangl13 wrote:"Two roads diverged in a wood...

Just. No.

Sit down, be self-reflective about your goals and what matters in your life, and write from the heart. Don't lean on this hackneyed sht.

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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby lawschool1741 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:28 pm

Agree with the above. I know middle school taught us quotes were a great start to a 5-paragraph essay, but this is different and should be treated as such; though, as mentioned, a vivid personal experience can be a great intro. Tbh I only got through the first paragraphs but you can clearly write, so don't waste it on one of the most tired cliches (and it's even pretty cliche how misused it is at this point).


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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby omegaweapon » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:12 pm

This reads like a 250 with a PS slapped on the end.

It also feels like you decided to go to law school because you didn't enjoy your last position, which is pretty weak. It's important to make it look like you aren't someone who will wind up in biglaw and burn out because you get told to do doc review for a month, or hunt for stray commas.

No one is going to dock you points for your writing style, but someone quickly skimming this is going to learn more about the Robert Frost poem than you. You also don't need a whole paragraph about it at the start to justify referencing it at the end. Everyone knows that poem, and even if it's a little trite, I don't think it's a terrible idea to reference it at the end the way you do.

If you want to use the same information, I would probably start by talking about growing up in the legal world, and why that didn't appeal to you at the time, why you did theater, and why you're back to law now, but framed in a more positive way. It might be a good idea to think about doing something more specific, less broad overview though.


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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon May 11, 2015 12:52 pm

It's kind of funny how you start out explaining how the poem is always read incorrectly, then you go on to apply the incorrect interpretation you just criticized in the next part of your essay.


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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon May 11, 2015 2:35 pm

This is a PS worth reading despite its flawed honesty. And there are a few flaws--probably more due to your young age of 30 than to flawed reasoning. You cannot go back. Things change & people age. But youthful exhuberance sells as does optimism.

Love the beginning of the final paragraph "Both of my parents were attorneys".

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Re: I'd love another set of eyes on my PS please!!

Postby LawsRUs » Tue May 12, 2015 8:28 pm

I had to reread this PS because of CWolf's generous invitation.

CWolf is right. The heart of the essay is in the middle paragraphs to the ending. The feeling that OP ends the essay with is great.

OP, if you're still around, I would address the point that blsing brought up. I would also consider shortening the intro if you are keeping the poem. Also, if you were a Tisch kid, mention it explicitly.

Also, you say this:
crystlangl13 wrote:Life is not linear.
But the narration is told chronologically. You can easily fix this if you bring up an anecdote from your WE job to the beginning of the essay, before the theater paragraph.

I wanted to know more about your job experience since you are 9 years out of UG. I think AOs would be more curious on what you did after UG as well.

GL, this is a great draft.

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