Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Shangrilala
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Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby Shangrilala » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:10 pm

Hello,
I heard some people say going back too far is not good, but what if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young?
Does it still hurt?

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Thomas Hagan, ESQ.
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:13 pm

What happened in between those childhood experiences and now that makes you want to pursue law/be able to succeed in law school and as an attorney?

If that one childhood experience that you have is the ONLY thing that makes you want to be a lawyer, then yes, that's bad.

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mjb447
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby mjb447 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:17 pm

Agreed. Also, it might be okay if the story is "a lawyer became my hero in dealing with some immense, unique personal tragedy," but a lot of them are more "I was interested in fairness as a child" or "I played the lawyer in my third grade presentation of Three Little Pigs v. Big Bad Wolf," which is pretty attenuated by law school time.

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ashrice13
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby ashrice13 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:28 pm

Agreed with the above posters!

For my PS I wrote about something that happened when I was a teenager. I spoke at length of what has happened since then and how it had helped me get to where I am now...which I think is a better approach to it. Even in the personal tragedy type story mjb is talking about...you should be able to draw a narrative line from that tragedy to who you are today. Not just "This lawyer helped me when I was 6 and I never forgot it. Now at 25, I want to do the same thing!" You'd at least want to mention the in between.

Shangrilala
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby Shangrilala » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:59 pm

Thanks for all of your replies.
So as long as it is part of the story it should be fine I guess...
thanks!

snowball2
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby snowball2 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:12 pm

Shangrilala wrote:Hello,
I heard some people say going back too far is not good, but what if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young?
Does it still hurt?


How could it help? I have yet to encounter a child that has any actual concept of what it is to be a lawyer. Unless it's an especially compelling anecdote I would not bother.

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ashrice13
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby ashrice13 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:18 pm

snowball2 wrote:
Shangrilala wrote:Hello,
I heard some people say going back too far is not good, but what if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young?
Does it still hurt?


How could it help? I have yet to encounter a child that has any actual concept of what it is to be a lawyer. Unless it's an especially compelling anecdote I would not bother.

A child can be influenced towards the field of law at a young age. This could grow into something more realistic as they aged. A person could also be an adult who decides to go into law because of something that occurred when they were young. no one is saying that they knew what being a lawyer really meant when they were 5 but there's still plenty of reasons to write this type of PS

snowball2
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby snowball2 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:33 am

ashrice13 wrote:
snowball2 wrote:
Shangrilala wrote:Hello,
I heard some people say going back too far is not good, but what if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young?
Does it still hurt?


How could it help? I have yet to encounter a child that has any actual concept of what it is to be a lawyer. Unless it's an especially compelling anecdote I would not bother.

A child can be influenced towards the field of law at a young age. This could grow into something more realistic as they aged. A person could also be an adult who decides to go into law because of something that occurred when they were young. no one is saying that they knew what being a lawyer really meant when they were 5 but there's still plenty of reasons to write this type of PS


It's bound to come off as contrived and is really unnecessary.

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brinicolec
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby brinicolec » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:16 am

snowball2 wrote:
ashrice13 wrote:
snowball2 wrote:
Shangrilala wrote:Hello,
I heard some people say going back too far is not good, but what if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young?
Does it still hurt?


How could it help? I have yet to encounter a child that has any actual concept of what it is to be a lawyer. Unless it's an especially compelling anecdote I would not bother.

A child can be influenced towards the field of law at a young age. This could grow into something more realistic as they aged. A person could also be an adult who decides to go into law because of something that occurred when they were young. no one is saying that they knew what being a lawyer really meant when they were 5 but there's still plenty of reasons to write this type of PS


It's bound to come off as contrived and is really unnecessary.


I don't agree.

I also think dismissing things that happen to us in our youth as non-formative is a major mistake. There are things that happened to me when I was in middle school that changed the way I view the world TO THIS DAY (i.e. racism, friendship, marriage, etc.). I also think that it's true that some kids can face an injustice (or witness an injustice or whatever) that ignites a flame in them that then leads to them further pursuing the field.

I think it depends on a lot of things that aren't divulged ITT.

Edit: My PS was about the way I grew up and spanned across my life since birth. I think whether or not it's appropriate to go WAY back just depends.
Last edited by brinicolec on Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:21 am

brinicolec wrote:I don't agree.

I also think dismissing things that happen to us in our youth as non-formative is a major mistake. There are things that happened to me when I was in middle school that changed the way I view the world TO THIS DAY (i.e. racism, friendship, marriage, etc.). I also think that it's true that some kids can face an injustice (or witness an injustice or whatever) that ignites a flame in them that then leads to them further pursuing the field.

I think it agrees on a lot of things that aren't divulged ITT.

Edit: My PS was about the way I grew up and spanned across my life since birth. I think whether or not it's appropriate to go WAY back just depends.


I think there's a real difference between "I remember when I was in third grade and Johnny stole my milk..." and "I remember the first time I really felt black...". The former will always end up being a trite story that someone wrote because they can't come up with a better reason (and because if they really wrote their feelings down, it would say "I want that cash cash money, suckas"). The latter will end up starting in childhood and tracing patterns through the present day that have led that person to a really profound realization.

So to answer the OP more directly: it generally is, because most people only write about the childhood experience. But if your current motivation to go to law school can actually be tied back to something you went through at age 8, there's no reason to not start there.

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brinicolec
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby brinicolec » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:44 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
brinicolec wrote:I don't agree.

I also think dismissing things that happen to us in our youth as non-formative is a major mistake. There are things that happened to me when I was in middle school that changed the way I view the world TO THIS DAY (i.e. racism, friendship, marriage, etc.). I also think that it's true that some kids can face an injustice (or witness an injustice or whatever) that ignites a flame in them that then leads to them further pursuing the field.

I think it agrees on a lot of things that aren't divulged ITT.

Edit: My PS was about the way I grew up and spanned across my life since birth. I think whether or not it's appropriate to go WAY back just depends.


I think there's a real difference between "I remember when I was in third grade and Johnny stole my milk..." and "I remember the first time I really felt black...". The former will always end up being a trite story that someone wrote because they can't come up with a better reason (and because if they really wrote their feelings down, it would say "I want that cash cash money, suckas"). The latter will end up starting in childhood and tracing patterns through the present day that have led that person to a really profound realization.

So to answer the OP more directly: it generally is, because most people only write about the childhood experience. But if your current motivation to go to law school can actually be tied back to something you went through at age 8, there's no reason to not start there.


agreed.

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S.Picquery
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby S.Picquery » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:09 pm

Dean Zearfoss actually wrote a blog post a while back on how she would have changed her personal statement to fit the same sentiment of her childhood experiences influencing her decision to go to law school. I feel like it may help direct a "childhood experience" PS to non-shittiness.

Personal statements: What not to do

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Wilk
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby Wilk » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:44 pm

Below is my opening paragraph to my PS. To clarify, I immediately fast forward to my ten year profession in a law. However, I started with a childhood experience, and now, you guys have me worried. Let me know if I should just scrap this and go right into my later experience in law...

"When I was twelve, I stood tall and proud for the first time in my life, as my mother took the podium and accepted her badge and gun from the San Antonio Police Department. She was only the second female, Mexican-American officer to ever graduate the academy in San Antonio, a struggle she now considers her greatest ever. She fought through intense sexism and racism, in a dominating field of competitive white men. On her special day, this beautiful, brown pillar of strength who raised me on her own through poverty, without ever taking a hand-out, looked over to me and smiled. This was my mother, and the inspiration for which I fell in love with both the law, and strength in diversity. After retiring almost thirty years later after a storied and exceptional career, I had the pleasure an honor of whispering to her over lunch that I would be carrying the mantle of justice in our family by attending law school. It was the second proudest moment of my life.

Immediately following high school, I set college aside to work for a law firm..."

snowball2
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby snowball2 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:36 pm

Wilk wrote:Below is my opening paragraph to my PS. To clarify, I immediately fast forward to my ten year profession in a law. However, I started with a childhood experience, and now, you guys have me worried. Let me know if I should just scrap this and go right into my later experience in law...

"When I was twelve, I stood tall and proud for the first time in my life, as my mother took the podium and accepted her badge and gun from the San Antonio Police Department. She was only the second female, Mexican-American officer to ever graduate the academy in San Antonio, a struggle she now considers her greatest ever. She fought through intense sexism and racism, in a dominating field of competitive white men. On her special day, this beautiful, brown pillar of strength who raised me on her own through poverty, without ever taking a hand-out, looked over to me and smiled. This was my mother, and the inspiration for which I fell in love with both the law, and strength in diversity. After retiring almost thirty years later after a storied and exceptional career, I had the pleasure an honor of whispering to her over lunch that I would be carrying the mantle of justice in our family by attending law school. It was the second proudest moment of my life.

Immediately following high school, I set college aside to work for a law firm..."


That's altogether different from the OP's proposed approach " if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young."

You're not approaching it from a "ever since I was six I wanted to be a cowboy" perspective.

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Wilk
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby Wilk » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:55 pm

snowball2 wrote:That's altogether different from the OP's proposed approach " if people started to have interests in law when they are still very young."

You're not approaching it from a "ever since I was six I wanted to be a cowboy" perspective.


Ok cool, thanks!

Shangrilala
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby Shangrilala » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:47 pm

S.Picquery wrote:Dean Zearfoss actually wrote a blog post a while back on how she would have changed her personal statement to fit the same sentiment of her childhood experiences influencing her decision to go to law school. I feel like it may help direct a "childhood experience" PS to non-shittiness.

Personal statements: What not to do


Hi

Thanks for the link,
was kind of unsure whether I should start with my statement saying during elementary school I became aware of law then...but what if it is just true?
I did not talk about the discrimination experiences I had when I was a child (bc 1) not feel good to talk about it 2) not enough space to put all of them...want to talk other stuff too!)
These messages from adcom people really make me nervous...

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mjb447
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:54 pm

Shangrilala wrote:
S.Picquery wrote:Dean Zearfoss actually wrote a blog post a while back on how she would have changed her personal statement to fit the same sentiment of her childhood experiences influencing her decision to go to law school. I feel like it may help direct a "childhood experience" PS to non-shittiness.

Personal statements: What not to do


Hi

Thanks for the link,
was kind of unsure whether I should start with my statement saying during elementary school I became aware of law then...but what if it is just true?
I did not talk about the discrimination experiences I had when I was a child (bc 1) not feel good to talk about it 2) not enough space to put all of them...want to talk other stuff too!)
These messages from adcom people really make me nervous...

Your PS doesn't necessarily have to answer the question "when did you become aware of the law?", though. Even if you wanted to do a "why I want to go to law school" statement (also not necessary), you're still not required to start off with the very first time you thought about fairness or helping people etc. if it doesn't make for a good statement. (Of course, I also can't say that your statement definitely won't work, as I obviously don't know.)

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S.Picquery
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Re: Is writing childhood experiences that bad?

Postby S.Picquery » Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:10 pm

mjb447 wrote:
Shangrilala wrote:was kind of unsure whether I should start with my statement saying during elementary school I became aware of law then...but what if it is just true?

Your PS doesn't necessarily have to answer the question "when did you become aware of the law?", though. Even if you wanted to do a "why I want to go to law school" statement (also not necessary), you're still not required to start off with the very first time you thought about fairness or helping people etc. if it doesn't make for a good statement. (Of course, I also can't say that your statement definitely won't work, as I obviously don't know.)


This is basically the first introduction of yourself for an interview. This is your moment to shine. In order to do that, the first thing I ask people to think about when writing their PS is "what question do you want to answer?" Really think about that. Then the PS can make way more sense, come more naturally AND you won't be stuck with the (sorry if this is you) boring and overused "I want to be a lawyer because..." "I've wanted to go to law school since..." It's just been done, y'know?




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