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Author Topic: please rip apart my opening paragraph  (Read 2414 times)

bj47

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please rip apart my opening paragraph
« on: August 23, 2004, 04:41:57 PM »
OK...my PS is basically about the obstacles I've overcome to become a successful college basketball player.  I'd appreciate any input on the first paragraph, because I'm not sure if the tone is really appropriate (plus things that I think are funny might just be lame).  BTW, despite the fact that I started out talking about me in high school, rest assured that the vast majority of the essay is going to talk about what I did in college.

If Las Vegas bookmakers had taken bets on such things during the summer of 2000, their odds against me becoming a college basketball player would probably have been similar to their odds against Ralph Nader winning the Presidential election.  Iíd experienced some success on my high school team, but players of my build simply arenít cut out to play basketball in college.  Iím a 6í4 post player, tiny by college standards.  I canít jump.  Iím not quick.  Worst of all, my game is downright ugly.  If Michael Jordanís effortless grace can be compared to a great piece of art, my comical lumbering on the court is more aesthetically analogous to the assortment of multi-colored porcelain ducks that so many grandmas proudly display in their kitchen.     

What do y'all think?

robbief

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2004, 05:03:33 PM »
Too many similes/metaphors.  And when you take them out, your paragraph reads "I overcame odds to play college basketball."  It's ... mmmm ... "fluff."  That's my humble opinion.

Delve deeper not just into the circumstances of WHY you aren't cut out for it, but WHAT that meant and HOW you felt and WHY you devoted yourself to overcoming the obstacle.  "'You're too small,' Coach Fuckface once told me ..."  Start something like that.  More engaging, more interesting... 

cascagrossa

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2004, 05:07:58 PM »
"my comical lumbering on the court is more aesthetically analogous to the assortment of multi-colored porcelain ducks that so many grandmas proudly display in their kitchen.  "

i think this sentence could be improved.  "aesthetically analogous" is a strange phrase.  

what about something like:
"If Michael Jordanís effortless grace can be compared to a great piece of art, my comical lumbering would be likened to a cartoon in the sunday paper."

dsong02

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2004, 05:09:07 PM »
If Las Vegas bookmakers had taken bets on such things during the summer of 2000, their odds against me becoming a college basketball player would probably have been similar to their odds against Ralph Nader winning the Presidential election.  Iíd experienced some success on my high school team, but players of my build simply arenít cut out to play basketball in college.  Iím a 6í4 post player, tiny by college standards.  I canít jump.  Iím not quick.  Worst of all, my game is downright ugly.  If Michael Jordanís effortless grace can be compared to a great piece of art, my comical lumbering on the court is more aesthetically analogous to the assortment of multi-colored porcelain ducks that so many grandmas proudly display in their kitchen.     

What do y'all think?

my comments:
- you start out your personal statement with a gambling reference.  that doesnt send a good sign.
- shouldn't use basketball terms that they might not know like 'post player' or 'game is ugly'
- the analogy to porcelain ducks is weak.  some adcoms might like those...some may actually be those grandmas.  go with something more mainstream...
'why does it hurt so much when i poke it?'

TheDecline

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2004, 06:13:17 PM »
I second what everyone else has already stated.  I think the substance can be made into something good, the form just isn't there yet.  Im not big on the alliteration in that last sentence.  Dont be discouraged.  You asked us to rip it apart.

bj47

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2004, 06:37:09 PM »
ha yeah I know I asked you guys to rip it apart...and I appreciate the honest criticism.  After all, better that people here tell me my alliteration sucks than for me to receive a big old rejection letter from law schools later this year.

So here's my question...should I just trash this opener and start over, taking a different approach?  Or do I just need to fix some of the more noxious devices?

casino

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2004, 07:26:37 PM »
las vegas is a nice town.

casino

sluan

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2004, 11:08:18 PM »
Hey, I really enjoyed that last sentence. :-)  Some of the comments above are appropriate and some are not.  However, don't let your (or others') expectations of what a personal statement should be like become so overbearing that you don't have fun writing it.  I enjoyed reading your intro partly because I felt you enjoyed writing it!
156-154-159-161-167-155-161-163-164-164-164-160-164

nonobvious

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2004, 11:29:50 PM »
Yeah actually I think the porcelain ducks analogy could work, though I do agree "aesthetically analogous" is to prose-y in this context [and trust me I commiserate, I just had to rip apart some ornately crafted sentences I rather liked 'cause they kept getting mired in alliteration].  But I think you have to be wary of your temptation to slip in a creative analogy every chance you get-- it gets tedious.  I would take out the Nader analogy, and let the ducks be the first one instead, so it's a fresher device at that point.  Also I would try to shorten the paragraph a bit, but otherwise it's a pretty good opener.
"Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss."

dta

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Re: please rip apart my opening paragraph
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2004, 11:55:19 PM »
ha yeah I know I asked you guys to rip it apart...and I appreciate the honest criticism.  After all, better that people here tell me my alliteration sucks than for me to receive a big old rejection letter from law schools later this year.

So here's my question...should I just trash this opener and start over, taking a different approach?  Or do I just need to fix some of the more noxious devices?

I liked it very much, as a rough first beginning, and was interested to read more. Work off the rough edges (e.g. don't refer to "grandma", refer to "grandmother"). The metaphors and alliteration are fine. The problem is that is seems too deliberately 'edgey'. It very much has a feel as though you are writing for Rolling Stone magazine and are trying to appeal to a hip youth culture that needs "far out" writing to capture its attention.

Keep the same general approach I say. But take off the sunglasses, sit down in a leather chair, put on your eyeglasses, and with a general sense of maturity and dignity make edits appropriate to an older audience.

Again - it is very interesting and I think has great promise, but it's just kind of embarrassing when you go for the cheap "Rolling Stone" angle.