Swapping Personal Statements

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

Postby bvoets17 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:05 pm

Hi There, I'm in the process of writing my personal statement and would love if someone could read mine and give me advice. I would also love to swap with anyone if they need help too! Thanks!

It is very disorienting to wake up before sunrise. This is because when it is dark out, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between 12 AM and 4 AM. For the better part of the first 19 months after I graduated from college, I was waking up at this time for my job as a sales representative for a wine and spirits company. I sold our product to a portfolio of grocery stores, so it was crucial I call on my accounts early enough to speak with the right personnel and also avoid bothering management during busy hours of the day. The hours and responsibilities were difficult to get used to, but after a few months the job became a routine. Once I demonstrated my consistency, reliability, and attention to detail, I gained the trust of my clients, and enjoyed success as a salesman. I was happy with my accomplishments in my first post-graduate job, but unfortunately that is where my happiness ended.
To help pay for my college, I worked briefly in sales. I quickly left this job once I found an on-campus job working in the University Center. Working on-campus was convenient, and freed up time in my schedule to pursue other opportunities more in line with my interests in Political Science and Law. I began volunteering in Student Government as a campaign manager for an on-campus political party, and the connections I made there got me appointed as the Chief of Staff to the External Vice President of Local Affairs. This appointment lasted one school year, and after my term ended, I began working as a pretrial services intern at the Santa Barbara Superior Court. In both of these positions, I found working with local lawmakers and other local leadership to be very rewarding. In Student Government, I found purpose in leading a team of students to work to solve issues that faced the campus and local communities. Using my time to give back to a place where I learned so much was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had to date. Further, as part of the Superior Court I was given a unique perspective on the legal process, and it was a privilege to help administer it. The integrity, selflessness, and ambition displayed by those I served with was truly inspiring.
With these experiences under my belt, my college experience was drawing to a close. As this approached, I was faced with a decision. I loved working with the law and in government but the saturation and competition of the legal profession was intimidating. I spoke with my academic advisors and professors, I began to believe it too risky to pursue. With this in mind, I chose to look at other career paths, and found the job in sales I previously mentioned. This job was appealing because I had previous sales experience, and the salary and opportunity it offered would allow me to become financially and professionally secure in my post-graduate life. Security was important to me, so I decided to accept this job and put my other interests behind me for the time being. The comfort and opportunity I expected out of this position were given to me, and this success gave me a degree of happiness. Unfortunately, over time I became very unhappy, largely because I found no purpose or inspiration in what I was doing. I did not feel like I was contributing to my community or improving the lives of others, but instead playing a small part in a large machine only concerned with higher profits. For a period of time, I was at odds with what to do next.
My job in sales taught me the value of financial comfort, but also the emptiness it can bring if it is the only ambition one bases their efforts on. It helped to solidify that finding fulfillment and purpose was my top priority, and this led to my decision to go back into to work in law. I accepted a entry level legal assistant’s position at a boutique immigration law firm, and despite a drop in salary and other benefits, immediately rediscovered what I had been missing in my previous work. In working with our clients to facilitate their visa, green card, or citizenship processes, I was helping others take advantage of opportunities to further their career, and also helping to bring families together. It felt wonderful to help others navigate this difficult process, and getting to know and understand the United States immigration system was also intellectually satisfying. In my previous work I gave my best effort solely out of my innate desire to succeed, and that was exhausting. In this position, I gave my best effort because I felt I was doing something that made a difference in the lives of others, and it was invigorating. I brought this motivation with me to every part of my work, but unfortunately, after close to a year, my employment ended at this firm. This happened for many reasons, but largely because they felt my value as an employee had diminished because I did not meet the standards of progression they had hoped I would achieve. To be unsuccessful at something I cared deeply about was a crippling blow to my self-confidence. Once again, I began questioning my past decisions.
The period following the loss of my job was a difficult, and it took some time to digest what happened and what it meant. Although at the time this loss felt like a crippling blow, thinking about it gave me perspective on my experiences over the two previous years. It is naïve for me to not expect professional hardship, because there is always adversity on the road to success and achievement. These bouts with adversity and failure are learning experiences that should be studied and used in my future opportunities in law. Just as I had learned things from my job in sales, from this I learned the importance of constantly evaluating my own performance to find ways to improve and perfect my work. I had found in law something that gave me fulfillment, something I should not let failure discourage me from pursuing.
Following this, I committed to studying and taking the LSAT, and immediately after, I found a new job working in law, where I currently am today. I continue to feel the same way about the profession, and it is a joy for me to go into work every day. I carry the lessons I have learned from these experiences into the work I do, and I intend to carry them in to law school as well. I know my future studies will be difficult, taxing, and exhausting over the next 3 years, but I am reassured that if I use what I have learned, and continue to progress with an open mind thirsty for improvement, I will find the success I desire in my future.

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Re: Swapping Personal Statements

Postby UVA2B » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:21 pm

You fell into a common trap with this statement: it's pretty much a resume dump. I learn very little about you as a candidate beyond what I could have already seen in your resume.

A good generic piece of advice is to look back in your history and find an anecdote that you can use to showcase some trait about yourself you'd want the ADCOM to learn. Maybe it's the waking up early while working for the wine and spirits company, but instead of meandering through the rest of your experiences, you drill in to that job and how that job helped form something about you today. Or maybe you had some personal experience that was transformative or transcendent personally that helped shape who you are. Or maybe you had a role model (or got to be a role model for another) that gave you insight into who you are, who you want to be, and how you want to get there.

The PS can be hard because it requires introspection and careful thought. I would personally scrap this entire statement and go back to the drawing board. Take the time to think long and hard about what aspect of you the PS will be designed to show the reader, then search through your personal history for an anecdote or experience that will show me who you are without having to tell me who you are.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

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Re: Swapping Personal Statements

Postby clementinetalkie » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:39 pm

I agree with previous comment. I think your experiences are so interesting, but you really don't portray them that way. I just don't learn alot about you from the experiences you describe and I think that's a big minus. You have ALOT of material in there so maybe you should remove some of that stuff and focus on the experiences that truly changed you. Why did you find working at the Supreme Court rewarding? What about it struck a chord with you in particular? Try to focus your essay down a bit. Also, make sure you shine through it. Let them see your personality.

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