Roast my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Tommiahipp

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Roast my personal statement

Postby Tommiahipp » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:57 pm

Well, you read the title. Roast my personal statement. Top roaster gets a high five and an acceptance to YLS. :D

I listened intently during the asylum interview as the Guatemalan woman sitting next to me recounted her tale of fleeing murderous gangs, domestic violence, and death threats in search of a better life for her and her infant daughter. Unfortunately, her story is not unique. The prison outfit clad women from Central America recalled dozens of stories exactly like hers during my time as a legal assistant at a family detention center in southern Texas. However, what turned this daily horror story into the one I most remembered were the powerful words she culminated her asylum hearing with - “Tenemos todo acá… Agua, comida y albergue” (we have everything here… Food, water, and shelter). The conclusion to her asylum interview, amid living in barracks and getting two meals per day, impacted me in a way that only those who have experienced such a feeling can understand. Before those words, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life but after those words, it had never been clearer. The sense of empathy and call to action coursing through my body in that moment indicated to me that perhaps my purpose was to help ensure that people, like that woman and her child, can have everything.

The remark that you can learn more outside the classroom than inside it rang true during my days with those women and children seeking asylum. The strength possessed by women who were fleeing death threats and extortion demonstrated what it meant to be tenacious. This group taught me the true value of a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on. The children’s curiosity of my fair complexion coupled with their infectious giggles reminded me that even in a somber situation, there is always something to gain by being friendly and not taking yourself too seriously. I even learned things from ICE. For example, when they told me that we could no longer legally use our copy room as a copy room because of “new policy”, I learned that sometimes people just like to be adversarial.

Before the transformative experience I had in Texas with the strongest women and children I have met, I had willpower and passion but did not feel like I had a purpose. For my entire life, this willpower and ability to stir up a passion, and concentrate it on a task, has led me to some of the most enjoyable times of my life and sustained me through some of my darkest. This passion woke me up at the crack of dawn every summer morning for the past 7 years to go run with my cross-country teammates, never take shortcuts (literally), and to lead by example. This passion brought multiple state titles, MVP awards, team captainship, and ultimately an offer to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics on scholarship. This willpower has also sustained me through the darkest of times: my father’s bouts of cancer, the tragic passing of three of my closest friends, and my parents’ divorce. This willpower is what got me through working 40 hours per week each summer since I was 14 to help my family meet ends as we weathered my father’s medical bills. For most of my life, that passion and willpower were used as I tried to scrape together enough money to pay for gasoline to get to school, or as I strived to make it out of a tough situation by means of an athletic scholarship. Nowadays, however, that willpower and passion is working towards something far greater than myself.

That passion is now working to actuate change on this planet so that the people like those that I worked with in Texas can receive the same opportunities I have been endowed with in United States. Although I am young, and admittedly a bit naïve, I have thrusted myself without restraint into my goal of making a more equitable world. With each opportunity and project, whether that be leading elementary school Spanish programs, translating for the Salvation Army, to helping represent a lot of Hispanic businesses (bold = took out actual job description to save anonymity), I have seen what can be done with the right combination of passion, grit, and a little bit of help.
By attending law school, I intend to gain skills that will allow me to be that help. I want to be the catalyst that the disadvantaged, downtrodden, and forgotten need to keep their heads up and to keep forging ahead. I know I have a lot to learn, and a lot of work to do, but I know that I am on my way.

I learned a lot from those women and children in Texas. I learned that sometimes having everything can mean having almost nothing. When that Guatemalan woman said “Tenemos todo acá… Agua, comida y albergue” (we have everything here… Food, water, and shelter) I learned that I was going to dedicate myself to making sure that everyone can have, as defined by that woman, everything.

Tommiahipp

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Re: Roast my personal statement

Postby Tommiahipp » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:19 pm

Anyone?

kellyjohnson

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Re: Roast my personal statement

Postby kellyjohnson » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:23 am

It depends what you want to do with it. It is very safe (i.e., boring, unexceptional, unoffensive). It probably wont hurt you. If you are applying to schools where you are above medians, it is likely sufficient. It shows some passion that resulted in action (but this will be true for huge numbers of students at top schools). But if you are applying to 'reach' schools, it is not going to elevate you above your stats.

It is a fine premise, but it doesnt quite get there. You say the experience was "transformative", and I can believe that, but how did it transform you? Here is what you say you learned: the value of a helping hand (cliche), the importance of a shoulder to cry on (cliche), not to take yourself so seriously (cliche).

I think the best line, that would make a better theme to frame it around, is: "I learned that sometimes having everything can mean having almost nothing." I personally would center it around this idea, possibly even starting with the line "Sometimes having everything can mean having almost nothing. That is what I learned when a Guatemalan refugee, etc...." and expand on that. I would take that theme throughout the essay, how you were always competing/working for "more" ('more awards, more accolades, more money, etc.) when, looking back, you 'had everything.' Even now, it helps to periodically remind yourself that you 'have everything.' You want to work to make sure that everyone, no matter their background, can have everything too.

I think you could play with the writing to have some powerful and well written sentences. Things like "Most people think refugees leave everything behind, but I saw that refugees see everything ahead." (you get the idea, put some thought into it)

Also-- and you don't do this as much as some other writers-- you don't get points in a PS for making political statements. Like "Unfortunately, her story is not unique. The prison outfit clad women from Central America recalled dozens of stories exactly like hers during my time [...]" Adcoms watch the news, they know her story is not unique. They know what these women face (gangs, assault, etc.) We can guess from your story that you consider that unfortunate. Cut out the lines like that.

"impacted me in a way that only those who have experienced such a feeling can understand. Before those words, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life but after those words, it had never been clearer. " Dont say this (you may not have felt like that before, but dont say that nobody has felt like that unless they had your experience). The part about "it had never been clearer" is a cliche. I would also cut the whole paragraph that starts with "The remark that you can learn more outside the classroom than inside it rang true during my days with those women and children seeking asylum."

I could see a good outline for this being:
"Sometimes having everything means having next to nothing. That's what I learned when a Guatemalan refugee, after recounting tales of murderous gangs and sexual assualt, culminated her plea for asylum with the phrase, "Tenemos todo aca: agua, comida, y albergue" (we have everything here: food, water, and shelter). The threadbare barracks that she and her daughter shared with XYZ other families; the two daily prepackaged, frozen meals she recieved -- to her, this was everything. When I started working in the family detention center in southern Texas, I expected to find refugees so scarred by violence that they had no choice but to leave everything behind. Instead, I found people so inspired by hope that they saw everything ahead.

For my entire life, I have been fighting for more. This fight woke me up at the crack of dawn every summer morning for the past 7 years to go run with my cross-country teammates, never take shortcuts (literally). I was seeking more recognition, more awards, a more valuable scholarship to a more prestigious school. I was always jealous of those around me who seemingly had "everything" -- the boy who got to vacation in Europe on their summer break while I worked 40 hours a week to help my family weather my father's cancer treatment, the girl who did not have to worry about having enough gas in the family car to get to school, the family that did not need to worry daily about how to pay for college for their children. After working in the detention center I realized that I too had everything.

I continue to fight for more, though now it is for a more equitable world rather than a more impressive marathon time. (Talk about your various volunteer work and projects).

When that Guatemalan woman said “Tenemos todo aca," I learned that I was going to dedicate myself to making sure that everyone can have everything, whatever that means to them. By attending law school, I intend to gain skills that will allow me to be that help. I want to be the catalyst that the disadvantaged, downtrodden, and forgotten need to keep their heads up and to keep forging ahead. I know I have a lot to learn, and a lot of work to do, but I know that I am on my way. "

Tommiahipp

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Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:53 pm

Re: Roast my personal statement

Postby Tommiahipp » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:21 pm

Damn, that is great insight. I seriously appreciate it. Really really killer advice and feedback. If you want a $5 venmo, hit my DMs. I owe you.

kellyjohnson

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Posts: 28
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 4:52 pm

Re: Roast my personal statement

Postby kellyjohnson » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:41 pm

yo solo lo hago para ayudarte, y te deseo mucha suerte ;)



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