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Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?

AbeGarb

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Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« on: December 07, 2006, 01:01:58 PM »
     Out of breath and numb from the cold, I was certain I would die.  I had spent every last ounce of energy struggling in the wintry desolation and still there was no hope in sight.   The screaming howl of the wind turned into a soft, gentle voice that urged me to stop fighting and give in to the sleep my body begged for.  Like slipping into a warm bath, it would be so easy for the cold to overtake me and let it all come to an end.  Just as I was about to collapse and succumb to the elements, I decided only one option remained: to put down the snow shovel and go back into the house for some hot chocolate.  Yes, an Up-State New York winter can turn anything into a life or death ordeal.
     
     I was 11 years old and my father had entrusted me with the task of clearing our driveway for the first time.  It was less a chore and more a right of passage that I, the youngest of three brothers, was just beginning.  Mind you, this was no ordinary driveway but rather a simulated roller coaster whose cruel design gently sloped downward near the garage before plummeting to street level in a long, spine-tingling drop.  Even worse was the shovel my father insisted we use – a rusted, ergonomic nightmare that my oldest brother dubbed “Mr. Achy.”  My grandfather had given the shovel to my mother and father as a wedding gift in 1968, three years prior to the Federal Trade Commission banning it for contributing to deaths in five states (the victims were found face down in snow drifts, their lower lumbar muscles turned to gelatinous mush).
     
     There were no negative consequences for not completing the task aside from the shame felt in watching my father quietly grab his coat and gloves to finish the job.  It was a sign that you hadn’t yet matured, that there was still growing up to do.  Throughout my high school and college years I spent many futile nights trying to prove my worth on that frozen driveway.  It wasn’t until years later that I had a new perspective and eagerly awaited the first heavy snowfall with confidence.  I was a college graduate with a mature-looking piece of paper as proof of my capabilities.  That night I didn’t even wait for my father to ask, I just grabbed the shovel and strolled outside to claim my birthright.  I stayed out longer then ever before and made sure that each shovel-full of snow hit its mark.  When my father pulled into the driveway I waited for him in the living room, imagining the sense of satisfaction I’d feel upon earning his approval.  I waited patiently, but he never came in.  After a few more minutes I looked out the window to find him with the shovel in hand, cleaning up some of the edges I had glossed over.  My shoulders slouched and I sulked into my room closing the door behind me.
     
     That winter I accepted a job with a Fortune 500 company in Northern Virginia and said goodbye to my mother and father, and to our driveway.  Over the next three years I worked diligently and earned a series of promotions.  I learned to resolve complex disputes, manage stressful situations, and to always represent my company and myself in a mature and professional manner.
     
     I traveled back home this past Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with friends and family, thinking nothing of my childhood nemeses.  When I got to the house I saw that a heavy afternoon snow had covered the driveway as good as I could ever remember.  Without much thought I went to work and soon had the driveway cleared.  Not long after, my father returned home and greeted me with a handshake and a hug.  We spent a while catching up on work and holiday plans when I realized he wasn’t grabbing his coat and gloves.  When I asked if he was going to finish the driveway he glanced out the front window before saying with a smile, “Looks like it’s already done to me.”   
     
     I had finally passed the test and proven myself.  I look forward to doing the same at XXXXX School of Law.

Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2006, 01:22:51 PM »
interesting.. i would spend less time talking about the driveway.. maybe talk more about your job & the things you've overcome there and tie that in a little better. i would cut out the part about the FCC & the shovel too - it may not be as funny to someone who's reading their 50th application.

Booyakasha2

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Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2006, 01:24:58 PM »
I just read ur topic...so...

No friends are not the "best" sources of feedback.  I had a few do mine, and i could tell some of them were afraid to give it to me straight. 

AbeGarb

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Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2006, 01:37:07 PM »
don't be afraid to hate on it - its the first one i've done.  I just don't want to do the traditional "i've done a,b and c and overcome x,y, and z to get where i am and that's why you're law school needs me."

i think everyone does that and after 50 or more apps its gotta all blend together, no matter how good your volunteer job was or what scholastic honor you got.  if your stats are solid then you can take that approach and know it won't hurt you.  but if you're on the fringes then i don't think blending in does much.

if it gets to the PS i was thinking something needs to stand out - and so i was thinking i'd be the kid who shovled snow...bad idea i guess?

don't be afraid to sh*t on it - i won't get offended.

Booyakasha2

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Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2006, 01:40:14 PM »
Im at work now so no time to really give you an honest look over. 

I would be weary about posting ur whole PS on here though.

AbeGarb

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Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2006, 01:44:33 PM »
sweet - why's that?  nobody's gonna take it as their own...its a first draft that is kind of stupid and offbeat...or is it something else?

Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2006, 01:46:13 PM »
i think you have the right idea, but spending most of your PS on how you shoveled snow is a bit much in my opinion.. unless your only defining aspects are shoveling snow or you want to go to snow-shoveling school.

i think you're correct in wanting to stand out, but keep in mind that your Personal Statement should say something about you as a person as that relates to law school and your future career in law in general. saying "i kicked a$$ shoveling snow so i'm ready to kick a$$ in law school" at the end is not enough. the story makes an interesting anecdote and certainly adds a little color to your PS (and you do have a good narrative style) but its lacking in substance.

at the end of the day, the admissions committee is trying to get a sense of the whole you as a person to see if you'd be a good fit for the school, so i think diversifying your statement with more wide-ranging themes will serve you well.

Booyakasha2

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Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2006, 01:49:08 PM »
sweet - why's that?  nobody's gonna take it as their own...its a first draft that is kind of stupid and offbeat...or is it something else?

1.  http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php/topic,17649.0.html

2.  If an adcom reads ur PS, googles it, and this thread shows up, they may search for all ur posts on here, which coudl contain material that they could use against u.  Do adcomms browse these boards you ask?

http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php/topic,76145.0.html


Your choice.

db2ur

Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2006, 01:53:37 PM »
Im at work now so no time to really give you an honest look over. 

I would be weary about posting ur whole PS on here though.

...AND wary!

I liked it.  Which means I enjoyed reading it.

What I don't really get is this:
 - How does this relate to law school?  Implicit in this question is the assumption that a PS 'should' be about LS.  But, since you try to make that point with you last sentence, it seems that's what you are going for.  And if that's what you're going for, well, it's not there yet.  The connection has not been made.
 - Why you mention your job like you do.  If you don't expand, it's just name-/prestige-dropping.  That paragraph is a throwaway w/empty adjectives.

From a more technical point of view:
 - Check the spelling of Up-State.  That doesn't look right
 - Shovel-full - s/b "shovelful"
 - Northern Virginia - I know what you mean, but not all schools will understand that distinction & heaven forbid they get the mistaken impression you work in *gasp* Plain Old Virginia.  Say D.C. area.  Or, drop the job ref. entirely.  (See above)
 - Glossed - not really accurate word in this context.  Glossing implies ignoring (sometimes pointedly). 

Hope this helps.

Also - perhaps better not to post your PS directly in the forum.  You can delete your post...

EDIT: Agree w/Penelope.  this s/b one of a couple 'vignettes.'

AbeGarb

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Re: Friends Like my PS, should i trust them? Opinions?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2006, 01:55:33 PM »
i appreciate that review very much Penelope - thanks for the help.  I see what you're saying and agree with it.  i've got time to revise before submitting it and i'll definitely take that advice into consideration.


and in response to Mordecai2, i guess i see your point - i'm just not used to being in such a cut-throat type setting.  i don't think i have or would post anything that could come back to harm me in the eyes of an adcomm, but still, point taken.
i also appreciate you looking it over and i appreciate the time/advice - congrats on Pitt, i'm jealous...

cheers