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Author Topic: Would you guys help me with this?  (Read 621 times)

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Would you guys help me with this?
« on: July 26, 2008, 09:10:34 PM »
I am frustrated because I know the general idea about what I want to write about in my personal statement, but I am not happy with the kind of stuff I am coming up with.  How is the best way to go about this topic? 

I want to talk about growing up in rural eastern-Kentucky and the always-present mentality of settling.  By this I mean that people grow up taught to not seek what they are capable of doing, but instead just to scrape by, and how I have constantly fought this mentality by excelling at academics/ always holding a job/ going to college, etc.  I don't want to create some sob story, but I do want to present the town I grew up in as what it is- a town in which half the people I went to high school with are now at Wal-Mart or a factory and the other half are unemployed and drawing a check. 

This may sound bitter, but understand I do not wish to present it this way.  I am just frustrated because I can not get a handle for the direction I want to go with this.  Any advice would be helpful.
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Contract2008

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2008, 09:16:48 PM »

Don't put those people who work at Wal-Mart of factories down.  Just present your point of view, which is believing in the sky is the limit and using one's potential fully, etc.

Be down to earth and don't show any sign of shame of your background or your people back at home.  Be humble. 


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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2008, 09:21:45 PM »
You misunderstand me entirely- I am not putting them down at all.  My dad works at Wal-Mart, and I am unbelievable proud of him and close to him.  However, I just feel like I can do a lot with myself and I want to avoid any limitations.


Don't put those people who work at Wal-Mart of factories down.  Just present your point of view, which is believing in the sky is the limit and using one's potential fully, etc.

Be down to earth and don't show any sign of shame of your background or your people back at home.  Be humble. 


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brianwithani

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2008, 09:25:06 PM »
Go Hilltoppers!!  As a fellow Kentucky native (Louisville, UofL class of 04) with roots in eastern and south central Ky (Hazard, and Science Hill) I understand the attitudes and challenges you faced.  It doesn't help that anytime the national media decides to interview someone from KY, they find the biggest trailer-dwellin', toothless, dumbest, person in cuttoffs and greasy John Deere hat that they can find.  You can find characters like that in every state in the union but they love to play up KY's Hillbilly reputation.  

If I can make any suggestion about your PS, I'd say to start by painting a picture of your hometown and the types of attitudes that surrounded you.  Be brutally honest and then go into the steps you took to overcome and get past the typical trajectory of someone who went to your high school.  Convince them of what you will bring to the school considering your worldview and your ability to overcome a somewhat oppressive environment.  If Vandy is your primary target, they should understand the rural, mountain mentality and the economics of coming from the Hills.  Your numbers are impressive and I wish you good luck.  

Go Cards, Kats, Hilltoppers, and Colonels!
"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is a habit."  Socrates

JeNeSaisLaw

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2008, 09:53:34 PM »
Sounds risky to me. I'd go with something safer to your reaches personally. You might not intend it to sound snobbish or condescending, but the potential is there.
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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2008, 09:56:46 PM »
Brian- thanks for the comment.  I have seen this portrayal of rural Kentuckians in the media so many times, and it apalls me.  I'm from Monticello, btw- about 20 miles from Somerset and very close to Science Hill.

JeNeSaisLaw- I apprecaite your comment as well.  That is the problem with writing this- I want to present my town as what it is, while making it apparent that I am a product of it, but at the same time I have overcome what has been presented by it.

I feel like my problem is that everyone else has some story of having to overcome something such as a gang, or a disability, or they have improved their grades some way- this is over-generalization, but you get my drift.  I don't really have this- my grades haven't fluctuated, and my life has been really very normal.  I am thankful for this, but at the same time it leaves me in a tough spot, topic-wise.
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JeNeSaisLaw

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2008, 10:05:03 PM »
That you think these people's lives are something to overcome is exactly the problem. I totally understand where you're coming from, and maybe all the adcomms will too. But I'm saying maybe, and since I'm risk adverse, it makes me nervous.

Nevertheless, write it and let people read it. If you write it about yourself, and not about your town, you might have something.
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meggo

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2008, 10:16:21 PM »
lucas - I'm planning on writing something similar for my DS as I come from a very under represented part of Canada that is also very rural and quite poor. I'm going to write it and see how it goes. I understand Je Ne Sais Law's point but I think people who aren't from these types of places sometimes just don't understand what it's like. A lot of people I went to high school with went on to university, but not very many people leave my province, at all for education or for work. Now because I have, I don't think I'm better in any regards, but when you want to do something different with your life the common attitude towards it is 'why?' and/or 'do you think you're better than us?' It's a mentality of not leaving, of 'this is your lot in life, deal with it'. It can be really hard overcoming rural attitudes at times. Having left and lived internationally, I appreciate where I'm from all that much more. Growing up, it was almost embarrassing since we're kind of a 'joke' province of Canada and I think when you're 14 or 16, you want to be from somewhere 'interesting' and 'cool' but what I've gained from being from there has been worth much more and I genuinely respect the people, the cities and the way of life. I don't know if you've found this since I do believe there is more a sense of 'integration' in the states, but because we're so underrepresented I think for me, it's been quite alienating when I meet other Canadians or live in a non-Western part of Canada. We have different attitudes, we speak differently (I'm asked at least once a week if I'm from the states bizarrely enough) and a different way of life and when I meet other Canadians sometimes it's like - who are you and where do you come from? Anyway, I know this is rambly. I'm just saying I identify, these are things I'll probably include in my DS when I get around to writing it.

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2008, 10:20:59 PM »
I cannot speak much about Canada, but I imagine the pervasive attitude is not entirely different from my circumstances.

I guess ultimately what I want to show is that this stereotype of this eastern-Kentucky hick is not me- I have managed to really do some impressive things in spite of the fact that I live in an undereducated, impoverished area.  The problem is I don't know how to present that.  Heck, I am a business major- we don't write papers very often at all, so I am rusty. :-\
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brianwithani

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Re: Would you guys help me with this?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2008, 10:41:27 PM »
I think it is the Princeton Review that puts out a book called, "Personal Statements That Worked".  Or something like that, I actually loaned my copy to a friend who is applying for this cycle.  Anyway, it was a great guide on what type of structures read well.  It helped me a lot. 

PS is definitely not like business writing.  Start strong and finish strong.  Catch their attention and leave'em so they can't stop thinking about you. 
"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is a habit."  Socrates