Personal Statement Review

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

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Personal Statement Review

Postby steemboat » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:49 pm

Any feedback you might have would be welcome, thanks!

I tried to tell myself I shouldn’t be scared. I had enough street smarts to know there was no way this man was going to shoot him, thanks to the unwelcome lessons the men in my family had taught me. Dead people do not pay back debts, but threatened people will. It was only a mild November evening, but here I was, completely frozen to the ground. The man pointed a black pistol at my older brother’s chest. My brother alternated his eyes from the barrel to me, jerking his head slightly. He wanted me to do something. I tried to stay stoic, but my left leg shivered. His eyes flit down to my jeans. I knew what he wanted. My fingers shook as I reached into my back pocket, stretched tight with the giant wad of twenty-dollar bills—money I withdrew earlier that day for my brother to “borrow”.

This wasn’t the first time. Adam is seven years older, but I had been bailing him out of difficult situations ever since I was a child. It started when I was six, when I began to take the blame for my brother when he broke windows or punched holes in walls so he could avoid punishment from my father. In high school, I worked evenings in an effort to save his home from foreclosure, and spent late hours of the night on call in case he ended up arrested. In college, I used my private scholarship money to pay some of his expenses and went to court to convince the prosecuting attorney to dismiss a plethora of moving violations against him. And at twenty-two but feeling like fifty, here I was again. Only this time, we were at gunpoint.

I wrapped my fingers around the bills and pulled them out of my pocket. They weighted down my hand as I reached over and handed it to the man, who then lowered his gun to make the count. He then let us go, but I didn’t feel any relief. I’d made up my mind. This wasn’t going to happen again.

Something needed to be done, and I was going to be the one to do it. I helped my brother pack up his bags from our ailing grandmother’s house, where he was staying, and sent him on a plane to Florida to start a new life. I then gave up my apartment to move in with her. Weeks later, I quit my job and spent days caring for her while working nights waiting tables to support us. My uncle and I sought the services of an attorney to protect her from other family members, who no longer harassed and coerced my grandmother for money.

Nights out with the guys that I had so previously cherished turned into either an extra shift at the restaurant or a glass of wine and a movie with grandma. I used my education in public health and growing interests in nutrition to cook healthy meals for us. Not only did her health improve, I got in the best shape of my life by also finding time to lift weights and getting up for early morning jogs. After six months at the job, I had become the highest selling server at work and found myself promoted to supervise the dinner shifts.

Eventually, I told my grandmother what happened that night with my brother, and it led to us talking for hours about our family’s history with self-destructive tendencies and responses to adverse situations. With a voice much stronger than her mild grip on my hand, she then said, “You have lived your whole life riding along at a thousand miles an hour. Having seen you behind the wheel, I know that you don’t drive the same way.”

And that’s when it clicked—why life seemed to slow down even though we had been through some drastic changes. I was in control, and she trusted me. Even if the conditions are unfavorable, I still have the ability to steer the way I choose to go.

Her confidence in me is something that continues to provide empowerment for not only myself, but for others too. I have since guided my youngest brother to attend community college in an effort to help him follow the path he wishes to create. I check in with Adam weekly, who has found steady work and has put most of his troubled past behind him. As for me, I am choosing to receive a law school education and prepared to face the challenges that come along with it.

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floatie

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Re: Personal Statement Review

Postby floatie » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:02 pm

First off, it sounds like you've really had things rough - congratulations for turning things around for yourself. I don't think your PS does you any justice though, because its coming across as way too heavy and too much like a "sob story" that doesn't connect your experiences to your desire to go to law school. I don't understand why bailing out your brother multiple times is relevant to law school. Same with the segue to your grandmother. Some of the content you covered seems better suited for an addendum.

Your personal statement needs to answer two things: 1) Why do you want to go to law school/be a lawyer, and 2) Why would you be a good fit for law school/practicing law? So a few ideas:
1) you've interacted with lawyers before. Did any of those experiences spark an interest in law?
2) Is there a particular area of law that you are interested in, that you could tie your experiences to? Criminal defense comes to mind, or working with low-income populations.
3) If you are really set on talking about your brother, maybe focus on one particular incident, and show how it speaks to your ability to handle a difficult situation. "Show, not tell" is a common mantra when it comes to writing a solid PS, and I think you have a lot that you can work with that can show your strength in the face of adversity.

Good luck!



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