personal statement draft. Please help

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personal statement draft. Please help

Post by ucfknights412 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:31 am

This is my first draft and I believe it is a little too long so any advice for where it could be shortened would be appreciated. Any other critiques would also be helpful. Thank you.
Reflecting back on my life and attempting to discern the events that shaped me is not a difficult task. Growing up in Florida through the end of 4th grade, I lived the typical life playing sports, going to the beach, etc. A great life - but then it changed. My father, then a Special Agent with the US Customs Service, received a transfer to the Customs Attaché Office at the American Embassy in Panamá, R.P. As a child I was distraught. The thought of leaving my friends and the comfort of the United States was terrifying. What I was to experience in living abroad in the next three years, would have a profound effect on my life.
Latin culture was not foreign to me. My mother, born and raised in Nicaragua, had moved to Miami, FL in 1982 and subsequently met my father. Following the unseating of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in 1990, I traveled to and spent time in Nicaragua every summer.
Nevertheless, I was a 10-year old skinny child, lacking self-confidence, and who had the misfortune to look like Harry Potter. The move to Panamá was rough. Handling the culture and language change was simple; handling the bullying from the Panamanian children at my school was not.
Sensing my anguish, my father sought out and introduced me to a Mr. Julio Gudiño. Mr. Gudiño, a humble man of slight build, was renowned in Panamá as former world featherweight boxing champion – a “belt holder”. My father then arranged for individualized boxing instruction. In the months that followed, I found boxing to be my escape from inferiority and doubt. My life drastically changed.
In starting out with Mr. Gudiño I was apprehensive. Other than as a means to extract revenge, I didn’t understand how boxing would help me. Mr. Gudiño quickly allayed my uneasiness by explaining that he was not here to make me into a “street fighter”. He started by saying that for him, boxing was not just a sport, but his “love” and he insisted that he would only share it with those that were courteous, understanding and respectful, i.e. gentleman. Mr. Gudiño continued by explaining that while we would work on physical conditioning, hand-eye coordination, and actual boxing skills, his goal was to help me develop inner confidence, to help me believe in myself, and to feel capable of handling any situation like a man. This was my first lesson, before I ever put on a pair of gloves.
In the months that followed I was remolded, both physically and mentally. I went from a being an insecure kid to a confidant young man with the mentality of a warrior. At the same time, having learned from Mr. Gudiño the importance of respect and being humble, I put it into practice in everyday life.
I wish I could let my dad tell the following story as it is one of his proudest stories that he tells about me. In short, after a year and a half of conditioning and training with Mr. Gudiño, I again faced the bullies. As requested by my dad, I asked the bullies to stop, and when they did not, I accompanied my dad to speak with the guidance counselors in hopes to find an amicable solution. As is almost always the case, it only got worse. Knowing that I had acted as gentleman in trying to resolve the situation, and confident in my newly acquired skills, my father told me that if the bullies laid a hand on me, I had the green light to “handle it”. Needless to say, an “attempt” was made to strike me - and I did indeed “handle it”. The bullying stopped, and not just for me, but for others in the school as I let it be known that I would stand up for those unable to defend themselves. In the days that followed, parents of other students who had been bullied called our home to express their gratitude noting that the anguish endured by their children had ended. Doing so in private, even the faculty expressed their appreciation, noting that the lesson in humility was much needed and long overdue.
That story, the most influential in my life, is but one of the experiences that influenced me while living abroad. Traveling through both Panamá and Nicaragua, I observed both opulence, and extreme poverty. As part of the U.S. diplomatic community, I met numerous US diplomats and foreign officials. I watched as my dad’s work as an Attaché resulted in headline news in several Central American countries. I learned a lot living abroad, and in doing so, I developed a wider perspective on the world.
In considering careers upon entering UCF, I knew that a 9 to 5 type job, in the same office, perhaps living in the same city throughout my entire life, was not for me. My sites were set on a career that would involve travel, allow me to get out and interact with people, and very importantly, to work toward “the greater good”. Through my courses at UCF I developed a greater understanding of the importance and need for “rule of law” in both the US and the world, and hence began to consider a law degree followed by a career in Federal law enforcement.
The thought of a career in a position that I enjoy so much that it’s not like job, that allows me to go to sleep every night happy about what I do, is what drives me forward. Making my dad proud of me is equally important. Law school is the first step. It’s a challenging endeavor, however, I see it as one that gives me the tools I need to succeed. One could question my statement when I say that boxing has prepared me for law school but I would respond to that as I would any other challenge in front of me. Bring it on.

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Gradvocates Editing

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Re: personal statement draft. Please help

Post by Gradvocates Editing » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:38 pm

It is not a bad first draft but reads a bit more like a diversity statement. It is a bit strange how you jump from a story about bullying when you were ten years old to your time in college. You should consider talking about more recent experiences.

You also have not done a great job at connecting your international experiences with your desire for a career in Federal law enforcement---why do you need a law degree for this? There are also several issues with punctuation and grammar (e.g. your reference to "sites" should be "sights").

Having said that, it is a solid start for a first draft.

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