Hey, I'm obviously really new to this site. Although I have been reading the stuff here for 3 months or so. Anyways, I have 2 very different personal statements, and I was hoping someone could throw some criticism at them as well as tell me which one they like more. Ok here goes....
I grew up believing that only individuals lacking in determination and intelligence found themselves starring down the barrel of poverty. Indeed, that was the rational I used to explain why my own father had buried my family in debt while remaining a nonexistent figure in my life. We all make choices, and his were to drive a truck across the nation, live beyond his means, and attempt to keep a marriage and family together by phone calls. As much could be said for my mother, who instead of continuing her career as a waitress, remained contently unemployed throughout much of our financial ordeal. Thus, every summer that I abandoned academia to take my place digging trenches, all I could ask myself was, “Had I lost my determination, or was I simply not smart enough to make it out of this world?”
Before that first summer, I had stood as a pillar in my own mind. I had graduated valedictorian of my high school class, earned myself a Presidential Scholarship to my favorite state school, and I had turned the socioeconomic failures of my parents in my favor with the help of scholastic grants. Everything about me redefined the status quo of success, and despite any mistakes I made along the way, I refused to allow them to hold me back. Nevertheless, it was I who was digging in that one-hundred and five degree heat; bathed in sweat, grease, and dirt. Even so, I could answer my question that first summer. I knew I was working to better my situation. In so doing, I could finally attend a year of college without the plague of poverty to steal my meals, restrict my clothing, and preclude me from the activities of my peers.
My forethought however, was incurably flawed, and my three month stint of financial elation was short lived. By stepping outside the confines of poverty, I had unknowingly stepped outside the boundaries of financial aid as well. The declaration starring back at me that evening was, in my mind, a sentencing back to my beginnings. My application for financial aid had been denied. Every grant I had so thankfully received would be terminated at the beginning of my senior year. Consequently, my final year of undergraduate education would come with an addition $10,000 price tag; which was on my shoulders to earn.
I futilely endeavored to stave off anxiety by immersing myself in rigorous study throughout the remainder of that year, but as summer approached, I knew I had to find a way to finance the approaching costs of education. Fortuitously, the building industry of Central Oregon was utterly booming, and with my experience and adeptness for learning I knew I could find a means to my end. Even so, that end came as a doubled edged sword. Before summer even began I had procured a position building state prisons in a town two hours away. The daily drive was excruciating, but the pay compensated. In only three months I amassed the $10,000 in full. Six days a week I would be on the road by 4:45 a.m. and home by 8:00 p.m. I lived work by the full definition of the word. Every aspect of that job enveloped my life. The turns of the highway North and South each day, the searing high desert heat, and the twenty foot barricades of chain link and razor wire all became extensions of myself. Yet in so doing, every dollar seemed to compromise a piece of myself. My gracious company was employed by drug addicts and criminals, and each day of work carried with it glances over my shoulder and hazards of which to be mindful. Yet there was no job that could pay me even half of what I was earning there. When I had finally saved all that I needed for my last year of education, I unhesitatingly bowed out of that business, and enjoyed the solemn week break between work and my senior year.
That summer I redefined my definition of determination, and applied it to my education. I carried a cumulative GPA of 4.07 my senior year to surpass the 4.01 I had established the year before. What’s more, I took a position conducting biological research to heighten my collegiate experience before I placed those years in the past. The tenacity that has pushed me to shatter any obstacle in my path is the same force I bring with me to law school. Through my extensive study and involvement with the physical sciences I have honed my analytical and communication skills to a point that demands utilization. Nevertheless, I recognize my potential to learn more, and to further mature as a student and as a man. The opportunity to attend law school will allow me to realize this potential, and I look forward to the experience. For me, it is no longer a question of “if I can do it?” but rather “how will I get it done?”
I am driven beyond words, yet I use words to convey my drive. I am the son of a waitress and a truck driver, but I am at home immersed in science and law. I am a realistic individual; still I cannot help but dream. I am deeply spiritual, yet feel spirituality resides within my self. I am committed to achievement, but my greatest achievement will be the lives I leave behind. I am a fitness aficionado; still I endeavor to find balance between mind, body, and soul. I am reserved around unfamiliarity, yet familiarize myself quite readily. I am a perfectionist by nature, but know nothing in this life is perfect. I am a whirlwind of emotion; still I refuse to allow my emotions to cloud my thoughts. I am a man of rural beginnings, yet will not finish how I began.
I believe we may only get to experience today, yet I plan to see all of my tomorrows. I believe in karma, fate, and destiny, but will never leave my future in their hands. I believe in respecting those around you; still I regard respect as something to be earned. I believe in living without regret, yet regret opportunities that I missed. I believe that two are always better than one, but recognize that strong chains have no weakest link. I believe that all of humanity is beautiful; still I see the ugliness of humanity’s wrongdoing. I believe the world is black and white, yet see life in shades of grey. I believe our struggles help define us, but I’m much more than the events I have overcome.
I have a wealth of life experience, yet no wealth to be heard of. I have given everything I have to lay the foundation for my future, but feel that I can never give enough. I have faith in myself alone; still I trust my loved ones to always remain faithful. I have carried my own weight throughout this life, yet I wouldn’t have succeeded without support along the way. I have stood by my convictions, but empathize with those who disagree. I have built homes, offices, and prisons; still I consider myself a scientist. I have asked myself why I have never given up, yet know it is because that is not who I am.
I know where I have come from, yet focus on where I am going. I know that there is so much more to life than material possessions, but I can not ask my family to do without. I know the man that I am; still I do not know the man that I will become. I know that the sun will rise tomorrow, yet not what tomorrow will bring. I know the heavens of Oregon in the spring time, but I have never flown through such a sky. I know to take days as they come; still I learn from each day past. I know the epigenetics of inheritance, yet I haven not forgotten how to change my oil. I know the inevitability of mistakes, but I value every lesson learned as a result.
I hope to change the world for the better, yet believe it will be through my children that I do. I hope to realize all the dreams I am dreaming, but know that I must earn them first. I hope to use the law to support scientific advancements; still I do not wish to impede advancements with legalities. I hope to lay a steadfast path before me, yet I will remain unwavering on the most uneven ground. I hope to be the man my father was not, but I know his shoes will be the hardest ones to fill. I hope to surpass all the goals I have set before me; still I shall celebrate each one that I attain. I hope to never stray from the direction that I have chosen, but I know I will always find my way home.
I will never second guess my chances of reaching beyond any limit set against me, yet I will remain grounded at all times. I will always be at home in jeans and a tee shirt, but I am confident in a suit and tie. I will overcome all of life’s adversity, but I understand it was adversity that pushed me to overcome. I will embody objective neutrality through legal discourse; still I will utilize my passion to elevate my case. I will never confine the ambition that I represent, yet I shall never disregard the statutes put in place. I will meet both triumph and disaster, but I will treat the two imposters just the same.
Even so, in spite of all the facets that define me, I have yet to be an attorney.Thanks