I finished my personal statement. Oh joy!
Something’s going on here. I’ve been hammering away at my personal statement, kneading and reworking things, and it’s getting better and better.
So why did it sit on my back burner for so long?
One of two things has caused this remarkable transformation:
1) the LSAT is over and my brain knows this.
2) the last vestiges of the evil project that I completed at work two weeks ago (and didn’t really post about because I was too preoccupied with the LSAT) have finally leeched from my blood.
Either way, I feel like I’m back in the writing saddle. Thank God, because I was starting to worry that I’d lost my touch. Since a big portion of my statement is about writing, losing my touch would have been a major problem.
So here I am, back at work, realizing that I don’t have to go to the local coffeehouse this evening to run through practice LSAT sections. I have errands to run, and I can actually run them without feeling like a slacker. I have a personal statement to finish, and now I have time to work on it.
Oddly, I found I could not study effectively for the LSAT at home, but I find I can’t really write effectively anywhere BUT home (and work, but my work computer and my home computer are corrollaries, really). So tonight, I’ll go home and pound away at the ol’ personal statement. I’m on draft 2.x and my continuity needs some serious work. Transitions, really.
I wish I could write my statement as a series of lists, since, as Ambivalent Imbroglio so correctly states, “Lists make it easy to jump from topic to topic w/out transitions or excuses or explanations.” That is exactly what I need in my statementan easy way to present a bunch of information without needing to do any explaning or transitioning, or, well, any real writing. ::::sigh:::: I usually like writing, but this personal statement thing may convince me I don’t.
My meeting to go over my personal statement went swimmingly. My prof thought what I’d written was “300% better than the others.” It has nice structure, some lovely sentences, and lacks commentary on two or three things. (I expected to be told it was missing certain elements. But I didn’t want to keep writing and writing and writing unless I knew it was going in the right direction. My writing confidence needs a boost, I guess.)
The meeting went so well that the discussion of my statement lasted only about 15 minutes. Maybe that’s not good, now that I think about itit probably indicates there wasn’t anything substantial enough to work on yesterday. In any case, I have a draft to work on, instead of trying to start something new again. Whew!
After we’d discussed my statement, the appointment devolved into my giving him some computer advice. We discussed fonts, putting pictures in Word effectively, and a number of other tidbits. Sometimes I think this particular professor likes me because I help him with his iMac.
At any rate, my moodwhich for most of last week was wretchedis dramatically improved. I slept the good sleep last night, and I’d been missing that. Something must be going right for me.
I reread the statement again, after thinking last night that it dwelled too much on “this” or “that.” After all, my other statements seemed great when I wrote them, but on revisiting were just wretched.
But, noit’s still something I’m proud to have written. Sure, it needs some good old-fashioned editing, but it’s essentially the statement I wanted to write. I’m proud of it.
Whew! What a relief!
I sat down last night and started a new draft of a new personal statement.
This time, I think I got it right.
As a sign that I wasn’t meant to write it before now, the first sentence that appeared on my screen related to something that happened to me last weekend.
Finally, finally, I have gotten past the need to explain myself, to almost apologize for not “getting it” until now. And I found the words to express what’s really been going on in my overheated brain. I even found a structure that works really well for what I’m trying to say.
In other words, I’m glad I walked away from the damn thing for close to a month. It helped. Of course, this is a lesson I’ve learned a million times before: walk away from your writing when you can’t see it clearly anymore. Distance=perspective.
I think this is going to be a good month.
Now that my LSAT prowess has increased, my fear of the evil test has decreased. Following my big backtrack, I stopped thinking of anything related to law school admissions except the test. Study study study. Practice practice practice.
Now that my studying seems to be back on track, and my confidence is up, I think it’s time to return to the dreaded personal statement.
I’m beginning to see the process of writing this little essay as a series of stages. Sort of like the grieving process. I’ve passed
through, first, the “explanation” stage: Oh, I know I’ve been out of school for a while, but here’s why and here’s what I hate about my life now and see how I want to change it?
Then there was the “description” stage: I’m a good writer and like research and oh, yeah, I love to argue and all of these things will make me a really excellent lawyer, don’t you think?
Now, finally, I think I’m at a place where I can write something more honest and true. The fact is, there are many other careers I could consider, other educational opportunities I could pursue, other lifestyles I could focus on. Why am I choosing the law school path?
Because it’s interesting to me, it will allow me to do things I enjoy (like write and research), I’m definitely qualified, and there’s a chancea pretty big onethat when I’m out, I’ll actually be able to get a job related to my graduate education.
Sure, I could try for an MFA in writing, or go after an academic Ph.D. But I don’t want to go into several years of schooling without any idea how likely I’ll be to get a job in my field when I’m done. I don’t want to run after three little letters just because of the prestige. Any letters after my name better make me more marketable.
I’m at a place in my life where stability is pretty important to me. That’s not to say that running off to law school with a grad-student husband in tow is choosing stability; but when we’re done with our educations, I don’t want to have to keep moving around in search of research assistantships, grants, and the possibility of academic tenure. I want to know that, if I like the city we land in, I can probably stay there and get a job that uses my $100,000 degree.
I want it all, I admit. I want to live where I want to live, afford relatively nice things, have a happy, healthy family, and go to work every day to do things I am not only good at but that I also enjoy. I want it all, and I kind of want it on my terms. So, yeah, I have other options. But law and law school are the most attractive.