My Traumatic Brain Injury Personal Statement--critique expected!

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Anonymous User
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My Traumatic Brain Injury Personal Statement--critique expected!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:55 pm

Hi there, I am working on my personal statement for my application to law school this September. Ever since September 18, 2015, my life has been remarkably unusual. I'd like your thoughts and opinions on my personal statement RD and ways it can improve. Thank you for your time and help!

Here it is...

"On a cool Friday evening, I removed my skateboard from the garage and began to roll along the road. The ride was calm and relaxing after a normal week of school. This was not my first time cruising down the hill a few yards from my home. The real difficulty, however, was the speeding vehicle behind me. The lights were not on the vehicle that hit me, and now my lights were off too.

I remembered nothing but darkness for the next three weeks. The first thing I noticed when I woke up from the coma was that I was upright in a bed. I could not see the bed, of course, because my vision was dangerously impaired. I could not see much of anything at all for a long time. What I could do was feel. I felt the metallic casting around my right arm, the medical cords around my body, and the unprecedented amount of physical pain. My back shattered the windshield of the car, which stained my body with glass. The glass shards fellowshipped with my flesh, creating a complex of pain induced paralysis. Even wiggling my fingers caused severe irritation. Nonetheless, the real pain was literally all in my head. At the time, I did not realize that I was missing half of my skull. This news, along with my helmet, brought about a new kind of pain that I was unfamiliar with.

I left the hospital, got off morphine, and started my new life. I was known as the “eternal optimist” before the injury, but that quickly changed. This new body seemed worthless to me: wobbly legs, useless eyes, and the nickname, “helmet-head,” became the epitome of my insecurity. My peers thought I was a walking miracle with no problems. But they were wrong. I may have looked excellent on the outer level, but I was deeply distressed on the inner. I think the coma had me accustomed to the darkness.

I wanted to kill myself the week after I got home. Let me rephrase that: my body wanted to give up the week after I got home. I wrestled with my present suffering versus a hypothetical future healing. How was I to know I would even get better? The odds were against me and so was my own body. One night, while typing an essay, my chest constrained vigorously. It pulled me away from my desk and into the closet. It compelled me to grab my bag and reach for medications. This emotional distress selected a full capsule of Hydrocodone. I looked at the medication, contemplated overdosing and ending the struggle right there, but my first post-coma tears welled up, and my face fell to the ground. Here is where I made the commitment to not let my brain injury define me.

“Because of your brain injury, you will not be able to ” became the phrase of my new life. But this did not deter my progress; it actually pushed me harder than before. People with a severe injury like mine do not typically live an independent, ordinary lifestyle—if they happen to survive at all. The doctors stated I would not walk, talk, or think the same ever again. My estimated mental capacity was that of a fourth grader for the rest of my life. These potential disabilities became a challenge—though abstract—that I individually fought against.

However, the doctors were right, in a temporary sense, for previous tasks that required no mental effort like talking, simple math, or brushing my teeth became grueling and required tenacious work and patience. I persisted and went to all of my rehab appointments five days a week. I fought fatigue and wrestled with my academic work. The readings and mathematical problems chiseled my already broken brain into a newfound understanding that was not easily earned. Each day I woke up with a sincere desire to get better, and get better soon.

I researched my injury and began to (slowly) read books on optimizing a TBI recovery. I changed my diet dramatically, began running twenty miles a week, learned chess, joined the speech and debate team, and began working on difficult mental activities like Sudoku. At this time, I had not planned to go to law school.

When I met my personal injury attorney and realized how they help people like me, my lights finally came on. I have always wanted to help people—hence, the reason I went to seminary—but the question was whom exactly would I help? Before the injury I had only vague and abstract aspirations—nothing concrete. Today, however, my injury draws me to a specific cause: I want to assist people that have been through similar hell and provide the hope that is uniquely available to them. In this regard, for me, the injury acted as an existential guide to the law."

Barrred
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: My Traumatic Brain Injury Personal Statement--critique expected!

Postby Barrred » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:26 pm

Picking just one line: "The lights were not on the vehicle that hit me, and now my lights were off too."

This could be a good pithy transition, but it needs some work. The sentence currently reads as if some external lights (street lights?) were not shining on the vehicle that hit you. I believe what you mean is that the vehicle didn't have its headlights on.

A change might be: "The real problem, however, was the speeding vehicle coming up behind me. The vehicle did not have its lights on, and after it struck me, I went lights out as well."

cameronfathauer
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:48 pm

Re: My Traumatic Brain Injury Personal Statement--critique expected!

Postby cameronfathauer » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:29 pm

Barrred wrote:Picking just one line: "The lights were not on the vehicle that hit me, and now my lights were off too."

This could be a good pithy transition, but it needs some work. The sentence currently reads as if some external lights (street lights?) were not shining on the vehicle that hit you. I believe what you mean is that the vehicle didn't have its headlights on.

A change might be: "The real problem, however, was the speeding vehicle coming up behind me. The vehicle did not have its lights on, and after it struck me, I went lights out as well."




Great point. Did you like the rest? And did you notice how the "lights" were out in the last sentence of the first paragraph and the "lights came on" in the first sentence of the last paragraph?

Thank you!

Barrred
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: My Traumatic Brain Injury Personal Statement--critique expected!

Postby Barrred » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:38 pm

cameronfathauer wrote:
Barrred wrote:Picking just one line: "The lights were not on the vehicle that hit me, and now my lights were off too."

This could be a good pithy transition, but it needs some work. The sentence currently reads as if some external lights (street lights?) were not shining on the vehicle that hit you. I believe what you mean is that the vehicle didn't have its headlights on.

A change might be: "The real problem, however, was the speeding vehicle coming up behind me. The vehicle did not have its lights on, and after it struck me, I went lights out as well."




Great point. Did you like the rest? And did you notice how the "lights" were out in the last sentence of the first paragraph and the "lights came on" in the first sentence of the last paragraph?

Thank you!

I think the lights-on/lights-off thing is a good way to tie it all together.

But I think you need to spend a lot more time talking about your (miraculous) recovery (4th grade mental ability to prospective law student seems pretty wild), emphasizing how it made you a really hard worker, etc., and you need to elaborate more on why you want to go to law school. The last paragraph reads almost as an afterthought. You mention something about seminary for the first time, which seems random. I would play it as law school being simultaneously the next challenge that you want to conquer and being a way to give back and help those victimized/disadvantaged/etc. If you are running up on a word limit, I imagine you can condense some of your initial recovery descriptions.

Sounds like you have overcome a lot to get to where you are today. Good luck.




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