personal statement idea

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personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:51 pm

I have other personal statements written, but I was wondering if this unique story would be more powerful or just an awful idea for a personal statement.




It was the fifth time we had made it to this point, and I could feel the adrenaline creep into my heart. Everyone was going wild, but we needed to calm down because there was plenty of room left for error. We were surrounded by lava on a platform that was shrinking by the minute. A deadly calm overcame the vicinity, and Blackhand’s beady eyes stared through us while he let out a cackle that could make even the toughest of warriors cradle into the fetal position. After our friend John sacrificed his life by taking the last Massive Shattering Smash, we were sparked with a vengeance that not even the wicked Blackhand could surmount. Blackhand’s face went cold as the strength of twenty of Azeroth’s greatest champions pummeled him into the floor. The silence was broken by the war cries of the 28th United States guild to kill Mythic Blackhand.

As childish as I now realize a game like World of Warcraft is, it was still a decent experience to build my leadership abilities. I know that it can’t go on a professional resume, but leading the 28th best guild in the United States was a challenging ordeal and a very rewarding ego booster when all was said and done. If you didn’t already know, a guild is a group of 23 some odd players whose mission is to band together and defeat a Mythic raid. A Mythic raid is the most challenging content that the game’s creators can come up with in a given timeframe. All raids are different due to the size of the raid and the nature of the boss abilities that make it up, but they have some commonality. Raids are a series of increasingly difficult bosses with some easily killed minions sprinkled in between. A boss is a large, evil character that has substantial health and unique abilities which could take a raid up to 10 minutes to kill. Many bosses can take a raid weeks of attempts before they get a kill, and every time your raid fails you die and are forced to take the walk of shame back to your corpse to try again. As you can see, there is a lot of necessary and useless for real life knowledge that goes into playing a game like World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, the short explanation above covers just an iota of the knowledge that being a top 50 guild requires.

There are roughly a million unique subscribers that play World of Warcraft and only ¼ of them even attempt to kill the first boss of a Mythic raid let alone complete it. Out of the 250,000 players that attempt Mythic you can make roughly 10,000 guilds. The guild that I lead was the 28th one of those 10,000 to kill the last boss of the raid which would put me in the top .002% of raid leaders. Now that we’ve established either my skill or supreme luck I’d like to move forward to what being a raid leader actually contributed to my real life.

A guild is a team and each of its members depends on one another to be flawless in the execution of the fight. The guild becomes a second family to those who are more engrossed in the game, and, like any family, there is constant bickering that flood before the helm of its leader. As the raid leader, I was forced to quash the infighting of my raid and incite a feeling of camaraderie. Many of my guildmates are still in communication today, although the guild has long been disbanded. As a leader I was also forced to do all of the recruitment for the guild. There is no streamlined system for recruitment in the game, and you have to find players through your relationships with other guilds, players, and by advertising recruitment through as many mediums as you can muster. There is a never ending process of replacement as guild members constantly single out individuals that need to take a hike and you are forced to find someone new. On top of recruitment and mediation a leader also has to create goals, a framework for the guild, and a method of loot distribution (loot are digital items that increase the power of people’s characters and each boss drops 4-6 pieces of loot). Thankfully the leader gets a lot of input on this list, but it is up to him to make the final decision. The last and probably most important thing that a leader has to do is… LEAD. Each boss has a set of abilities and a loose order in how they are used. Many aspects are randomized so that you can’t create a foolproof plan, but having a plan does help. As a leader I had to create all of our boss strategies and while we were making a boss attempt I had to vocalize what was coming up and how we were going to approach it. Anything that was random I had to think quickly on my feet and use some of the raid’s resources to counteract it.

I would never point to this experience in a professional interview, but seeing as the personal statement provides a place to speak to a meaningful area of my life and requires that I express myself as an individual, I thought it would be pertinent to give a story that I think has shaped me as a leader and team member and is unique to me. I no longer play World of Warcraft, but I often look back to it nostalgically and realize that while many of my achievements in the game were useless and quite frankly embarrassing I actually learned some concrete skills that could help me in my professional career.

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UVA2B
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Re: personal statement idea

Postby UVA2B » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:56 pm

I don't think this is a good topic. It might speak to a big and personally important part of your life, but connecting leadership abilities to video games and leading on WoW raids just comes off as silly and makes me question your judgment in connecting the two.

You can find a better topic, and I personally suggest you do so.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:08 pm

I can understand the stigma, but is it really that bad of an idea? Keep in mind its not some joe blow leading a random guild for 2 weeks. I lead this guild for over a year and spent an embarrassing amount of hours doing it. We were the 28th guild in the US, like its said in the statement that is the top .002%. I'm posting it because I have the same inclination as you and I'm just trying to see if other people think its a bad idea as well.

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zkyggi
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Re: personal statement idea

Postby zkyggi » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can understand the stigma, but is it really that bad of an idea? Keep in mind its not some joe blow leading a random guild for 2 weeks. I lead this guild for over a year and spent an embarrassing amount of hours doing it. We were the 28th guild in the US, like its said in the statement that is the top .002%. I'm posting it because I have the same inclination as you and I'm just trying to see if other people think its a bad idea as well.


Bold is the takeaway reading this. I know WoW can teach you about yourself, but please do not use this as your topic. It probably won't go well.

Also, you don't really come off a likable in your essay. When you are claiming to be one of the top players in the US, do not mention your "ego."

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can understand the stigma, but is it really that bad of an idea? Keep in mind its not some joe blow leading a random guild for 2 weeks. I lead this guild for over a year and spent an embarrassing amount of hours doing it. We were the 28th guild in the US, like its said in the statement that is the top .002%. I'm posting it because I have the same inclination as you and I'm just trying to see if other people think its a bad idea as well.


Yes, it really is that bad an idea.

I understand the level of commitment it takes to get to that level. That only makes it play worse to adcomms, who are going to be wondering what kind of neckbeard spends that much time and energy on a game.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:48 pm

I didn't state anything subjective about me being a great player, just objective facts. Not sure how its a bad thing to have an ego boost for accomplishing something that at the time I thought was "cool".

Just as an aside I've been in the 2nd best guild, but I took no part in leadership and really learned nothing from that experience besides that if you put enough effort into something that you can be one of the best at anything. If I was bragging about something like that in the statement or about my rankings on the dps meters then I'd understand how I come off as an egocentric asshole, but I don't understand why it came off like that in the above statement. Sorry if I sounded like a dick. I really was trying to be the exact opposite of that and just get to the meat of why that experience helped me learn to be a better leader.

I understand that instead of that experience I could have been in student government or something else less taboo, but I don't see how it didn't teach me the same things that student government or other forms of leadership that a young adult is able to partake in. Its not like young people get the chance to lead something that will make some sort of huge difference for other people. The very few minority of young people that get that type of chance are truly exceptional, and I don't claim to be anything near that level. All I'm trying to say is that I lead a guild to a top level and it taught me some things about leadership. Nothing more, nothing less.

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mjb447
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Re: personal statement idea

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:48 pm

I generally agree with the advice so far. Also, even if you're ultimately able to bring some adcomms around, I don't foresee you being able to write this without spending 50%+ of the PS explaining the game and arguing why your topic shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. You'd be much better off finding a topic where you can spend more time talking directly about yourself.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:53 pm

mjb447 wrote:I generally agree with the advice so far. Also, even if you're ultimately able to bring some adcomms around, I don't foresee you being able to write this without spending 50%+ of the PS explaining the game and arguing why your topic shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. You'd be much better off finding a topic where you can spend more time talking directly about yourself.


yes, I agree that it took a lot of explaining to even get to the point for anyone to be able to understand what I was talking about. I also don't disagree with the people in this thread. I started the thread for confirmation of my belief that it was an unprofessional story to tell and shouldn't be used. I'm just arguing the other side to keep the thread going. Honestly any more advice is greatly appreciated.

I also don't have much else to talk about in a PS probably directly because of the fact that I've spent a lot of time playing WoW in my down time during school. Which is the main reason why I'd like to be able to use it, because it is probably one of the more interesting things about me.

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zkyggi
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Re: personal statement idea

Postby zkyggi » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I didn't state anything subjective about me being a great player, just objective facts. Not sure how its a bad thing to have an ego boost for accomplishing something that at the time I thought was "cool".

Just as an aside I've been in the 2nd best guild, but I took no part in leadership and really learned nothing from that experience besides that if you put enough effort into something that you can be one of the best at anything. If I was bragging about something like that in the statement or about my rankings on the dps meters then I'd understand how I come off as an egocentric asshole, but I don't understand why it came off like that in the above statement. Sorry if I sounded like a dick. I really was trying to be the exact opposite of that and just get to the meat of why that experience helped me learn to be a better leader.

I understand that instead of that experience I could have been in student government or something else less taboo, but I don't see how it didn't teach me the same things that student government or other forms of leadership that a young adult is able to partake in. Its not like young people get the chance to lead something that will make some sort of huge difference for other people. The very few minority of young people that get that type of chance are truly exceptional, and I don't claim to be anything near that level. All I'm trying to say is that I lead a guild to a top level and it taught me some things about leadership. Nothing more, nothing less.


I can see it as an interesting introduction, but if your app has any holes in your numbers, this will not play well. I am not saying you are a dick or anything of the sort. All I am saying is that the tone of your PS gave off a sense of arrogance as I read it. That is something you can control. I know WoW can teach real life lessons (see my name), but you've got to give up something in the process. At best, this PS will be an interesting read, but I don't see it getting an ad comm to pull the trigger. Take the same theme, and use a different vehicle for expressing it.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:18 pm

There is a website called wowprogress.com that keeps track of all of the information that I've spouted in my PS, so it could be verified if the adcomm really wanted to (there are also videos of our kills). I'm not sure what I can do to tone down the arrogance besides just removing that part about ego because you haven't really given me any other things that point to an egocentric attitude besides that. I'm not in an objective position to be able to see the arrogance that you're talking about so its hard for me to see it.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There is a website called wowprogress.com that keeps track of all of the information that I've spouted in my PS, so it could be verified if the adcomm really wanted to (there are also videos of our kills). I'm not sure what I can do to tone down the arrogance besides just removing that part about ego because you haven't really given me any other things that point to an egocentric attitude besides that. I'm not in an objective position to be able to see the arrogance that you're talking about so its hard for me to see it.


I cannot emphasize this enough: no adcomms will be impressed by these achievements. Even among people who game, the "uber l33t" are not viewed as people with transferable skills.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby sp5000 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:35 pm

Do not -- under any circumstances -- use this personal statement. Do not.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:37 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is a website called wowprogress.com that keeps track of all of the information that I've spouted in my PS, so it could be verified if the adcomm really wanted to (there are also videos of our kills). I'm not sure what I can do to tone down the arrogance besides just removing that part about ego because you haven't really given me any other things that point to an egocentric attitude besides that. I'm not in an objective position to be able to see the arrogance that you're talking about so its hard for me to see it.


I cannot emphasize this enough: no adcomms will be impressed by these achievements. Even among people who game, the "uber l33t" are not viewed as people with transferable skills.


I don't know how you could possibly speak for an entire group of people of which you are not even a part of. You clearly have not bothered to read the statement or any of my further posts because I've explicitly stated multiple times that the paper has very little to do about the fact that I've achieved something great (in fact I say that I'm embarrassed of it multiple times. why else would I be posting this anonymously?). The paper is about me learning leadership skills from the position of a leader in a top end guild. The fact that the guild is top end isn't being used to brag, but rather because any guild that isn't top end would not be able to teach anyone anything about leadership. If you haven't been in a top end guild and experienced how seriously people take the game and how serious the leadership structure is then you probably don't have any concept of how it could apply to real life.

It's probably my bad that I haven't explained it adequately and I'm seeing now that I have a lot more explaining to do in the statement and can probably cut many things out of it. However, your statements thus far have been largely unhelpful and it seems as though you are making fun of someone for asking for advice. Maybe you should work on your people skills if you plan to work with them for a living. Everyone else in the thread has been helpful, so thanks for that.

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UVA2B
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Re: personal statement idea

Postby UVA2B » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:45 pm

It seems you really do want to do this statement, in which case none of us can deter you. But if this is you putting your best foot forward in presenting yourself as a dynamic and professional voice, then you're fighting an uphill battle. You might get an ADCOM that sees ascension to the peaks of video gaming and leading a group of gamers to conquer some mythical video game character as an interesting and positive take on leadership. Or you might get ADCOMs that are reading this statement like these random internet posters are who thinks instead of conjuring images of a thoughtful, mature, professional prospect for their law school class, it brings to mind the negatively stigmatized image gamers rightfully or wrongfully get cast in.

The real question isn't whether ADCOMs will see things differently than a bunch of law students do; but are you willing to risk that they will read it just like we are?

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is a website called wowprogress.com that keeps track of all of the information that I've spouted in my PS, so it could be verified if the adcomm really wanted to (there are also videos of our kills). I'm not sure what I can do to tone down the arrogance besides just removing that part about ego because you haven't really given me any other things that point to an egocentric attitude besides that. I'm not in an objective position to be able to see the arrogance that you're talking about so its hard for me to see it.


I cannot emphasize this enough: no adcomms will be impressed by these achievements. Even among people who game, the "uber l33t" are not viewed as people with transferable skills.


I don't know how you could possibly speak for an entire group of people of which you are not even a part of. You clearly have not bothered to read the statement or any of my further posts because I've explicitly stated multiple times that the paper has very little to do about the fact that I've achieved something great (in fact I say that I'm embarrassed of it multiple times. why else would I be posting this anonymously?). The paper is about me learning leadership skills from the position of a leader in a top end guild. The fact that the guild is top end isn't being used to brag, but rather because any guild that isn't top end would not be able to teach anyone anything about leadership. If you haven't been in a top end guild and experienced how seriously people take the game and how serious the leadership structure is then you probably don't have any concept of how it could apply to real life.

It's probably my bad that I haven't explained it adequately and I'm seeing now that I have a lot more explaining to do in the statement and can probably cut many things out of it. However, your statements thus far have been largely unhelpful and it seems as though you are making fun of someone for asking for advice. Maybe you should work on your people skills if you plan to work with them for a living. Everyone else in the thread has been helpful, so thanks for that.


First of all, you have absolutely no idea whether I'm part of the group of people who would understand you (hint: I didn't need you to explain anything about raid mechanics to know exactly what you were talking about). It's precisely because I'm in the group of people who play games semi-regularly but have enough self-awareness to know that this is not seen as a life skill that I can tell you that this is a fucking terrible idea for a PS. You do you, but this will backfire in a huge way, because you don't appear to have enough sense of self to know how you're coming across in the writing.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I also don't disagree with the people in this thread. I started the thread for confirmation of my belief that it was an unprofessional story to tell and shouldn't be used. I'm just arguing the other side to keep the thread going. Honestly any more advice is greatly appreciated.

I also don't have much else to talk about in a PS probably directly because of the fact that I've spent a lot of time playing WoW in my down time during school. Which is the main reason why I'd like to be able to use it, because it is probably one of the more interesting things about me.


I do want to do the statement, but I understand that it could be dangerous and I'm inclined not to do it. The problem is that if I don't do this statement there isn't much that is interesting about me as a person to talk about in a PS. The biggest accomplishment in my eyes so far has been me LSAT score, and I obviously can't do a statement about that because that would be ludicrous.

I can try to write a story about leadership and relate it to my eagle scout project, but that project was literally me putting together an eating area for my high school (installing flooring). I lead a group of scouts to do this project, but Is that really more interesting or relevant than the hours and hours that I've put into trying to lead a guild to the top level?

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby UVA2B » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I also don't disagree with the people in this thread. I started the thread for confirmation of my belief that it was an unprofessional story to tell and shouldn't be used. I'm just arguing the other side to keep the thread going. Honestly any more advice is greatly appreciated.

I also don't have much else to talk about in a PS probably directly because of the fact that I've spent a lot of time playing WoW in my down time during school. Which is the main reason why I'd like to be able to use it, because it is probably one of the more interesting things about me.


I do want to do the statement, but I understand that it could be dangerous and I'm inclined not to do it. The problem is that if I don't do this statement there isn't much that is interesting about me as a person to talk about in a PS. The biggest accomplishment in my eyes so far has been me LSAT score, and I obviously can't do a statement about that because that would be ludicrous.

I can try to write a story about leadership and relate it to my eagle scout project, but that project was literally me putting together an eating area for my high school (installing flooring). I lead a group of scouts to do this project, but Is that really more interesting or relevant than the hours and hours that I've put into trying to lead a guild to the top level?


Ok, this just got easier. You're an eagle scout. This should be your topic, even if you thought your project was dull. You might think what you did to become an eagle scout was boring, but it's not what you think about it that matters. It's that you can craft a narrative about yourself that suggests your leadership abilities through things like being an eagle scout. That is one of the better areas where you can demonstrate leadership in an interesting way.

Maybe use the installing flooring in the eating area as a metaphor for the building blocks of ascending the scouting ranks. Or maybe derive from your experiences how you saw yourself growing in unexpected ways when you were forced into projects you initially had doubts about (clearly you're not psyched by your project, but if spun the right way, it could be made to be interesting. It's all about spin).

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:59 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
First of all, you have absolutely no idea whether I'm part of the group of people who would understand you (hint: I didn't need you to explain anything about raid mechanics to know exactly what you were talking about). It's precisely because I'm in the group of people who play games semi-regularly but have enough self-awareness to know that this is not seen as a life skill that I can tell you that this is a fucking terrible idea for a PS. You do you, but this will backfire in a huge way, because you don't appear to have enough sense of self to know how you're coming across in the writing.


/facepalm
I didn't state that you weren't in a group of people who would understand. I said that you weren't an adcomm and were trying to act like you know that ALL ADCOMMS would hate the statement. You have over concluded twice; once based on your perception that you know what all adcomms think, and another time based on your apparently rushed reading of what I wrote.

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:04 pm

UVA2B wrote:Ok, this just got easier. You're an eagle scout. This should be your topic, even if you thought your project was dull. You might think what you did to become an eagle scout was boring, but it's not what you think about it that matters. It's that you can craft a narrative about yourself that suggests your leadership abilities through things like being an eagle scout. That is one of the better areas where you can demonstrate leadership in an interesting way.

Maybe use the installing flooring in the eating area as a metaphor for the building blocks of ascending the scouting ranks. Or maybe derive from your experiences how you saw yourself growing in unexpected ways when you were forced into projects you initially had doubts about (clearly you're not psyched by your project, but if spun the right way, it could be made to be interesting. It's all about spin).


I'll keep this in mind. I can try to throw something together and re-post it here later. There was also a lawyer that donated to my project ( the same lawyer that represented me when I was 5 in a personal injury case and won a settlement for me). I wrote a statement about this, but the prelaw advisor at my school said that it was largely irrelevant because of my age, and because the story was too much about someone else rather than me (I did write a fair bit about how the lawyer had inspired a sense of altruism in me and was an idol for me to look up to).

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Ok, this just got easier. You're an eagle scout. This should be your topic, even if you thought your project was dull. You might think what you did to become an eagle scout was boring, but it's not what you think about it that matters. It's that you can craft a narrative about yourself that suggests your leadership abilities through things like being an eagle scout. That is one of the better areas where you can demonstrate leadership in an interesting way.

Maybe use the installing flooring in the eating area as a metaphor for the building blocks of ascending the scouting ranks. Or maybe derive from your experiences how you saw yourself growing in unexpected ways when you were forced into projects you initially had doubts about (clearly you're not psyched by your project, but if spun the right way, it could be made to be interesting. It's all about spin).


I'll keep this in mind. I can try to throw something together and re-post it here later. There was also a lawyer that donated to my project ( the same lawyer that represented me when I was 5 in a personal injury case and won a settlement for me). I wrote a statement about this, but the prelaw advisor at my school said that it was largely irrelevant because of my age, and because the story was too much about someone else rather than me (I did write a fair bit about how the lawyer had inspired a sense of altruism in me and was an idol for me to look up to).

I almost made Eagle Scout and my friends who did gave me a firsthand look at how trivial a lot of Eagle Scout projects were (one person did a one-time cleanup of a rural cemetery, and it seems like a dozen other people followed suit rather than think of something original or more helpful). I don't doubt that your WoW achievements were more difficult. Nevertheless, if I had to choose between the two, I'd write about Scouting every time. Like UVA2B indicated, in many ways it's more about what you can sell that what's objectively "true," and I think Scouting is a much easier sell than WoW. (I'd agree with your prelaw advisor that it would be better if you could write about something you did more recently, but for me WoW isn't it.)

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Re: personal statement idea

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
First of all, you have absolutely no idea whether I'm part of the group of people who would understand you (hint: I didn't need you to explain anything about raid mechanics to know exactly what you were talking about). It's precisely because I'm in the group of people who play games semi-regularly but have enough self-awareness to know that this is not seen as a life skill that I can tell you that this is a fucking terrible idea for a PS. You do you, but this will backfire in a huge way, because you don't appear to have enough sense of self to know how you're coming across in the writing.


/facepalm
I didn't state that you weren't in a group of people who would understand. I said that you weren't an adcomm and were trying to act like you know that ALL ADCOMMS would hate the statement. You have over concluded twice; once based on your perception that you know what all adcomms think, and another time based on your apparently rushed reading of what I wrote.


You're right. The fact that literally not one person thinks this is a good idea shouldn't dissuade you from thinking that some mythical adcomm will, in fact, recognize your genius.




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