Law School Discussion

Seriously, my PS seems extremely corny...

Seriously, my PS seems extremely corny...
« on: January 19, 2010, 12:31:05 PM »
When I read over my PS, I'm not moved.  It just seems cliche to me.  Does this hold up at all?  I want to submit this ASAP, so please just be brutal.  Here goes:


        ďYou can do it,Ē she said. ďJust put one foot in front of the other.Ē
   I looked down at the tiny woman who barely cleared my shoulder, the one who was literally supposed to catch me should I fall, and said with mortification, ďNo, I canít.Ē
   After all, I really couldnít put one foot in front of the other. I had forgotten how to walk. Me - the girl who prided herself on rarely needing help and certainly never asking for it. But now, I was relying on a 5 foot, 100-pound physical therapist to make sure my face didnít acquaint itself with the floor.
   Three months earlier, my mother had been driving my sister and me back to college when our car hydroplaned and flipped over. My sister walked away with a few scratches. My mother and I didnít walk away at all Ė both my legs were crushed and my mother didnít survive the accident.  I was immobile for almost two months. I was put on bed rest and had to drop out of school for the rest of the semester.  I was appalled that life went on for the rest of the world. How could it? How dare it?
   I was stuck in bed, alone in the house for long hours until someone came home from work. If I needed something that wasnít within armís reach, I had to make do it. I relied almost completely on others. Not only did I hate my dependency, I hated the stress it put on my family. I tried to return to college the following semester, but after a physically and mentally exhausting week back, I realized my body just wasnít strong enough yet. I needed to heal.
   My physical therapy courses were grueling. Even simple things like lifting my legs or circling my ankles were excruciating. Initially, I was unable to bend my knees or even curl my toes without crying from the pain of it. Walking was a whole different story Ė a distant dream, it seemed. Finally, after about six weeks in a wheelchair, I graduated to a walker. I wasnít strong enough for crutches for another six weeks. The day I took my first step without any aid was a quiet, bittersweet victory for me. The one person I would have wanted to walk towards was not there, but I could almost feel her looking down at me with pride.
   Despite how hard it was Ė seemingly impossible to me Ė I fully recovered physically from the accident and, despite taking a semester off, still graduated from college in four years.  Most people say thank you to their waiters, their baristas, and their doormen without thinking twice about it, but the ones to whom we truly owe gratitude are often the last to receive it.
I wish I had thanked my mother for raising me the way she did. She demanded excellence and perseverance simply because she knew we were capable of it Ė giving up was never an option.  Because of her faith in us, my sister and I grew up accepting nothing less than that from ourselves. She was proud of us, and we have grown to be proud of ourselves.
From this experience, Iíve learned that it truly is the size of the fight in the dog that matters, and that I have a fair bit of fight in me. Iíve also learned humility; I understand now that needing help does not make a person smaller. Iíve gained more of an appreciation for mankind because of how freely people gave their assistance to me, and I fiercely want to give something back, in any way I can. If it were not for these people, I donít think I would have emerged with all the pieces of me intact.  I want to help others stand back up on their own two feet, too.
   For me, law school has forever been The Plan.  My mom was a lawyer, and Iíve always subconsciously followed in her footsteps. Luckily, her footsteps were easy to follow Ė even when I couldnít walk.  She loved speaking for those who didnít have a voice Ė a trait that she passed on to me, among many more.  By being who she was, she shaped who I am.  Her passion for the law and my passion for doing right are equally important in my decision to proceed with The Plan.  It is my conscience and my desire for fairness in the world that push me towards this path.  
My accident and subsequent recovery have strengthened my resolve to do something meaningful with my life, and I know now that I have the commitment and strength to do it.  As a lawyer, my mother wasnít trying to change the world, and neither am I.  But, I definitely havenít ruled it out as impossible, either. (RE-PHRASE??)

ALTERNATE LAST PARAGRAPH - different sentence order:
   For me, law school has forever been The Plan.  My mom was a lawyer, and Iíve always subconsciously followed in her footsteps. My mom loved speaking for those who didnít have a voice Ė and she passed that trait, among many more, on to me. To be honest, my momís passion for the law and my passion for doing right, as idealistic as that sounds, were equally important to me in deciding to go ahead with ďthe plan.Ē She, being who she was, shaped me into who I am. My conscience and my desire for fairness in the world push me towards this path in my life. Even though my mom wasnít trying to change the world and neither am I, we definitely havenít ruled it out, either. Luckily, Iíve always found her footsteps easy to follow Ė even when I couldnít walk.

Re: Seriously, my PS seems extremely corny...
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 07:02:47 PM »
i think it's very moving.  i like the alternative last paragraph better, the last line has more finality to it.  and maybe a bit more about why you want to be a lawyer (since you bring it up), because it just comes across a bit like you're only doing it because that's what your mom did. 

i'm no expert, but i'm a sucker for essays that read well, and this one definitely does.

Re: Seriously, my PS seems extremely corny...
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 07:55:59 PM »
I think your story is pretty moving. As a person who has not experienced much personal loss, nor physical injury for that matter, the fact you had to overcome both at once is pretty amazing (and you graduated in time--I would definitely keep that in there no matter what editing you do). Your statement reads as though written by a humble individual, I think that is a really good thing.

There are some things you could work on. "The Plan"--that indeed, is corny. No statement I have ever read that instituted "the plan" or any of its many euphemisms made it work. Quite frankly, you do not need it. Just talk about the plan without referencing it as such. You grew up watching your mother give voice to voiceless, you learned that trait from her. Do not say she passed it on to you. Use an active voice. You learned, you developed, you gleaned, etc. If you have not actually gone out an done this yourself, this is a perfect opportunity to relate it back to you recovery time. You now know what it is like to experience the frustration that accompanies the feelings of helplessness. The development of such empathetic feelings has set you on the path to do as your mother once did. On that note, rephrase the bit about subconsciously following...Again, this makes your decision to practice law seem passive at best.

Hope that helps a little. I would definitely work on this a bit more before sending it in. Just my .02