Law School Discussion

is my ps on target? feedback please!


is my ps on target? feedback please!
« on: November 29, 2010, 02:20:32 PM »
I've written my ps about my struggle with a chronic illness and really need some feedback.  Thanks in advance for any help.

     The flight home had been rough. My head was spinning. My mouth was dry and my skin was burning up, painful to the touch. I had just returned from yet another consultation with a yet another specialist, this time in Phoenix, in search of an explanation for the mysterious illness which had slowly debilitated my life over the past few years. The doctor had offered no answers, no relief. My parents and little brother met me at the gate forcing cheerful smiles.  As we headed to baggage claim, my dad, ever the diplomat, gently held my arm, signaling me to hang back.
     “We got the results of your lip biopsy earlier today.” Using the tip of my tongue, I gingerly massaged the spot on the inside of my lower lip where they had extracted the tissue. It was still sore, the stitches a reminder of a diagnostic procedure I undergone shortly before leaving for Arizona.
     “The test came back positive for Sjogren’s.” My heart pounded.  I had read about Sjogren’s Syndrome. It is an incurable auto-immune disease in which the body’s white-blood cells attack and destroy its moisture producing glands. I was twenty when I was diagnosed on January 8, 2008, one of only 150 registered cases worldwide for my demographic.
     Coping with the diagnosis of a chronic illness is much like grieving a death.  Life as you previously knew it is gone. Everyone grieves differently and the process was particularly challenging for me. I told no one other than my family of my diagnosis, fearing that my friends would view me as weak. I lost my focus. I mentally threw myself to the floor, flailing my arms and kicking my feet. I saw only one side, the apparent hopelessness of my condition. I have always thrived on control, and being unable to affect my health left me consumed with frustration.  As far as I was concerned, this was a black and white issue- no cure, no hope. I was finished. I took a leave of absence from Hopkins, not knowing when I’d be returning.
     Months passed.  My physical condition became manageable and I returned to school but still floundered emotionally, feeling angry and cheated. This adversity led to a process of intense self-examination. My conclusion was that things weren’t so cut and dry after all. I needed to address the situation of my health from another angle. I realized that, in spite of my struggles, I had actually accomplished a great deal. Even after taking a semester absence I graduated from Johns Hopkins on time and with honors, had become the president of the Mock Trial Team and was a member of the Teach for America program. Most importantly, I had the same mind and spirit, even if my body didn’t always want to cooperate. I stripped my conception of the perfect life down and rebuilt it, step by step to fit my new reality.
     We live in a world of maybes, a sea of uncertainty. My experience with illness has reinforced that sometimes in life there is no finite answer to a question- every situation is open to examination. The analysis of this gray area attracts me to the study of law. I enjoy researching issues, finding different ways to look at a situation and crafting arguments.  I understand the power of positive action and optimism.  I realize that life is too short and too fragile to do something that I’m not completely committed to.  I offer a viewpoint on life’s trials and tribulations which is unique to many of my peers. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and my experiences have deepened my compassion for the struggles everyone faces.  Since graduating from college I’ve had time to consider my goals for the future and am ready to pursue my career in law. My health challenge has brought me to a new level of maturity, understanding and determination to achieve this goal.


Re: is my ps on target? feedback please!
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2010, 04:02:51 PM »
I think it's  good, but I have two points to make and please don't take them the wrong way. I am sorry that you are suffering for an illness, first off.

First, have you ever grieved a death? I am not saying your point about grief is not on point, but if you have grieved in the past, I'd reference that grief because as a person who just lost her mother and bestfriend, I'd trade having a chronic illness for the rest of my life to have my mother around for the twenty plus years she should have lived. I understand your point about never returning to normalcy and it's a good one, but I just think if you're going to compare your suffering to a different type of suffering you should be able to say you have experienced the analogous suffering in the past. I am not saying your life is easy and of course no one would want your condition and I am glad I don't have it, but a lot of people tend to be willing to live with an aputated leg (for example) if they truly loved someone and that would have kept someone alive. If you haven't suffered a huge loss where you were extremely close to someone, I would recommend just saying it is a process of grief and leaving out the grieving a "death" part because for those of us who have lost someone really really important to us, it makes us think a little bit too much about that point and not the substance of your PS (which is one of the best I have read on here); you never know who in the admissions' office will read your PS. I am not trying to make light of your illness and again, I am very sorry you have to go through that for the rest of your life, but with grief over a loved one you not only miss them- but are haunted by thoughts of their death and suffering and feel so sorry for their missing out on life they should have had if they died when they were young.

Also, I think you should go a little more into the possible complications of Sjorgen's and how the illness made you feel physically that was debilitating before you got it under control. Overall though, it's very good. Good writing, good conlusion, etc.


Re: is my ps on target? feedback please!
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 11:42:50 AM »
Thanks for that feedback!  I will make some changes and re post.  I didn't want to delve too deeply into the complications of the disease, as I wanted the point to be that I am rising above those challenges. But I know it is an obscure illness, so I'll add some clarification.  The point about death is well taken too. I understand about losing a loved one, I guess my point is that I lost the life I thought I had.  I will revise that section because I think you are correct that I should consider all readers. Thanks again for the prospective.  Other comments are welcome, please feel free!