I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

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SkateboardT

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I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

Postby SkateboardT » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:23 pm

Hey yall so this is about 4 and a half pages double spaced, trying to get it down to 3.5...I'm sure I'm not working with a T-14 grade PS here and I'm sure some of you will have a LOT to say about it, if you could keep broad suggestions in here and maybe PM me if you have any specific, in depth edits? I'd really appreciate it thanks...

“Well that’s easy.” Wade said through a mouth full of noodles. “You’re the smart one, your intelligence isn’t exactly…lo, mein” he chuckled, obviously pleased with himself for nailing yet another groan inducing pun. We were sitting around the dining area in our friend Jason’s tiny apartment and assigning roles to the members of our group. Apparently I was the smart one, Wade was the outgoing one, and Jason was the blunt one who had a tendency to make the absolute worst first impression. It was late 2008. I had just finished a particularly rough semester at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and had decided to take some time off of school to deal with some personal issues. At that point in time I knew there was something wrong, but had yet to understand or even accept my anxiety and self-esteem issues. Wade began to change all of that with a single conversation. “I mean we’re all pretty funny” he continued “But Jason really embraces the fact that he basically lives with his foot in his mouth, and I hardly ever shut up.” He thought for a second, and then pointed his chopsticks at me with skeptically narrowed eyes. “It’s weird though, you and I will go back and forth all day, but as soon as some new faces show up or we go to a party or something you just shut up or leave…”
I shrugged, “I don’t know man, everybody else is just cooler than I am...they have more to say, they’re more popular…” I trailed off, expecting to have made my point.

Wade wasn’t buying it, “Seems to me you care a little too much about what other people think about you, not that you shouldn’t care entirely -- but maybe if dial it back a bit you’ll be able to open up. Tommy, I say this in the nicest way possible, but nobody cares, man. Most of those ‘cool’ guys are too busy worrying about themselves.” He walked back from the kitchen where he had just stored his leftovers in the fridge, “You can’t let people have that power over you. You spend all tht time worrying about whether you’re living up to their standards, but what are your standards? Forget about impressing everybody you meet. Impress yourself, make sure you believe that you’re a great guy and then you can try to worry about if other people believe the same thing. ” He patted me on the back with a knowing smile. I took that conversation to heart. After that night I began to seriously think about why I had so much trouble in social settings and what I could do to begin fixing that problem. I began to finally break free from the anxiety and self-consciousness that plagued me throughout my youth and in to my first year of college.

I never knew there was such thing as anxiety disorders until I had started to confront my own. Throughout my adolescence and young adulthood I figured that the reluctance I felt to reach out to others was warranted. I found it impossible to identify in myself any qualities that one would find valuable, and saw myself as an ordinary, boring person that nobody would be overly excited to get to know. Because I believed these things to be true, I concluded that there was no sense to try and make friends, as my efforts would only result in failure. These feelings of worthlessness followed me from middle school to my first year of college. I hated the large classes, I hated feeling alone surrounded by hundreds of people, and I hated that I was only there because I felt I had to be. My anxiety helped me find ways to rationalize skipping class. I would feel this sense of dread grow inside me as I approached the UWP campus. It would often overpower my decision making and I would find myself unable to turn in to the student parking lot, instead opting to drive past it. My grades suffered tremendously and I quit after one and a half years.

I quit undergrad for all the right reasons. My grades were terrible. I had no passion for the major I was pursuing and I had realized that there were serious emotional problems that held me back from academic success. The best thing for me to do was to figure out how to deal with these problems and set myself up to succeed when I returned. The spring and summer of 2009 was transformative. I had friends who were able to show me that I had value. They included me when they could and they looked to me for advice when they needed it. I had never experienced that type of acceptance before. This led me to believe in myself more than I ever had. I finally realized that I was able to make people laugh, to teach people things, and to simply connect with others who shared my interests. All of these revelations added to the confidence I used to beat back my anxiety issues. Whenever I would get anxious and nervous about social situations I had all of these experiences to fight against those negative feelings. This transformation happened gradually, but the changes were significant. My circle of friends grew from Wade and Jason, to a handful of people, to dozens of people in overlapping social circles. As I grew to know more people, I grew to be more outgoing. These friends that I had so much fun with were proof that I was worthy of consideration. The bonds I made that year gave me confidence and helped foster a desire to pursue a legal career. I found myself compelled to speak my mind on various social justice and political issues. Police misconduct, government corruption, and gay rights were the primary topics of discussion. One night, during a particularly heated debate, somebody asked what I was doing about it, “it” being these various social justice and political issues. It was a fair question; I hadn’t done anything but talk up to that point. In the days that followed, I decided to look at what I could do about it. My research led me to the conclusion that becoming an attorney is the most effective way to fight for the causes I believe in.

When I decided that I wanted to be an attorney it was the first time I ever lived my life with a real purpose. Everything I did from that point forward was to further my goal. I didn’t have time for parties or impromptu adventures anymore. I had to enroll in the university and clean up the mess that I had made for myself. I found the university’s retake policy and mapped out my academic journey. I never took less than 18 credits a semester and made a promise to myself that I would do everything I had to in order to make my way in to one of the best law schools in the country. Fighting my anxiety has allowed me to become a person I never expected I could. I have become one of the hardest working students at my school, this past semester I took on a 30-credit course load. I received an A in every class. I have become an effective communicator, as evidenced by my involvement in student government and mock trial. I have also become a self-starter. When the school canceled mock trial as a for-credit class I worked closely with the dean of our college to turn it in to a club that offered independent study credits. The changes I have made on my path to a law degree have not only allowed me academic success, they’ve allowed me social and professional success. I would have never had the opportunity to write you this letter had I not triumphed over my anxiety. I truly am willing to dedicate myself to practicing law, and I hope my story convinces you of that without a doubt.

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mjb447

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Re: I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:33 pm

For me, it takes way too long to understand what the point of that initial vignette was, and I'm not sure it pays as many dividends as it needs to for the space it's using. I think the part about your anxiety disorders makes sense and tells me something about who you are, but the turn to 'why I want to go to law school' is a bit abrupt.

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lymenheimer

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Re: I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:20 am

I'm not reading something that long.

mudiverse

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Re: I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

Postby mudiverse » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:46 am

I read it. It was too long and took to long to get to a point that was unrewarding to the reader.

A couple of things:

“Well that’s easy.” Wade said through a mouth full of noodles. “You’re the smart one, your intelligence isn’t exactly…lo, mein” he chuckled, obviously pleased with himself for nailing yet another groan inducing pun.


1. You're really going to start your essay off with a pun? A really un-funny one at that. You even complain that it's a bad pun and still choose to start with it. Why? I feel this approach is a bit to stylistic and even approaches Seinfeld-ish humor. Not the right tone for your relatively serious essay on your personal challenges and honestly it cheapens the experience a little bit.

2. The first two paragraphs are just too long. You're trying to cut content? Summarize this story into a single paragraph. I don't need to read into the action of fridge-opening and narrowing eyes, especially if you reward me with this line at the end of it all:

After that night I began to seriously think about why I had so much trouble in social settings and what I could do to begin fixing that problem. I began to finally break free from the anxiety and self-consciousness that plagued me throughout my youth and in to my first year of college.


3. Everyone feels a degree of self-consciousness. Your story didn't really display any sort of deeper understanding of your own personal challenges to this other than the "Wow, I worry too much about what others think" result. I think a better approach instead of introducing the story using a sequence of events with Wade, delve into the problem, how it makes you feel and why it has been challenging. What is unique about it? Obviously it had enough impact on your life for you to write 4.5 pages on it so I want to understand what makes it cut deep. Your third paragraph does a slightly better job of this and thats when your essay starts to rev up.

I quit undergrad for all the right reasons. My grades were terrible. I had no passion for the major I was pursuing and I had realized that there were serious emotional problems that held me back from academic success.


4. You may not want to emphasize what a shitty student you were and instead put the spotlight on how you were addressing the problem (as you do after these ilnes). I would just delete those lines straight up.

The spring and summer of 2009 was [b]transformative. I had friends who were able to show me that I had value. They included me when they could and they looked to me for advice when they needed it. I had never experienced that type of acceptance before. This led me to believe in myself more than I ever had. I finally realized that I was able to make people laugh, to teach people things, and to simply connect with others who shared my interests.
[/b]


5. If it was so transformative I think it would to emphasize what happened. Your friends are great and its a nice they treated you well and that the result was for the better, but what do I take away from this? That you have great friends? You have just overcome a huge challenge that you spent 3 paragraphs discussing but like 2 sentences resolving. I would like to see you overcome a difficult challenge with a substantial effort. This is what I mean when I say the essay does not reward the reader.


These friends that I had so much fun with were proof that I was worthy of consideration. The bonds I made that year gave me confidence and helped foster a desire to pursue a legal career. I found myself compelled to speak my mind on various social justice and political issues. Police misconduct, government corruption, and gay rights were the primary topics of discussion.


6. This segue into legal interest really seems to come out of left field and seems a bit forced. The best advice I received when I wrote my personal statement was that it doesn't have to be about law school and your qualifications. It's about you and getting your perspective. The last paragraph and the above lines seem to try to be your attempt at selling yourself. I don't feel that I've gotten a sense of who you even are because the major challenge that you wrote at length about ended up being a small wrinkle that a summer of friendship smoothed away.


Overall, not bad but not really good either. Like I said before I think you should turn this essay more inward and really delve into the problem and the root of it. How it impacted your life beyond social shyness and why it was a significant problem. I want to hear more about what you actually did to solve it and what the follow-up was. You can pivot to an interest in social issues but this: "It was a fair question; I hadn’t done anything but talk up to that point. In the days that followed, I decided to look at what I could do about it. My research led me to the conclusion that becoming an attorney is the most effective way to fight for the causes I believe in." feels quite uninspired.

DrGlennRichie

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Re: I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

Postby DrGlennRichie » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:12 am

Scrap this altogether. For one, you are making fun of Wade's pun in first paragraph and he is the guy who transformed you. So bizarre that you will even mention this after so many years. Second, there is little personal growth. You just showed how other people transformed you. You didn't do anything or used this experience to help others. Third, it doesn't warrant 4 pages. I was only able to make it through after few cocktails on friday night.

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brinicolec

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Re: I probably need to reword and trim a LOT of stuff...any tips?

Postby brinicolec » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:52 am

Kind of echoing what others have said, I don't love - or really like - this PS. I think you could get to the point of your anxiety disorder without the LONG portion of your PS dedicated to that discussion you had with your two friends, and I think it would be more effective if you did so. I kind of see a growth element in this when you talk about how you started making more friends and voicing your opinion and all of that, but not a lot, and I agree with the first person who replied, that switch to "Why law" was super, duper abrupt and I also didn't really love the way you said it. The whole "What AM I going to do about social injustices?! I'LL BECOME A LAWYER!" thing seemed a little too shallow. Did you throw it in there because you felt you had to at least mention it in your PS? I think if you're going to talk about something like anxiety, you need to be more reflective/introspective. It's resolved... but... how? Because your friend told you to speak up more? This whole thing kind of just left me feeling like "O...kay?" and not really 100% sure what you wanted me to get out of it.

Complete side note: I know a lot of this feedback is somewhat negative so just as words of encouragement, I wrote probably 4 or 5 personal statements either partially or completely before finally writing one that I thought was good. Personal statements are hard to write and can take quite awhile to get right, so don't be too discouraged by everyone's feedback.



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