Personal Statement- Please Help

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Bradley3
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:54 pm

Personal Statement- Please Help

Postby Bradley3 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:02 am

Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated....

As we drove away I looked out the back window to see the whole village standing there waving goodbye. This would be a lasting memory etched in my mind. I had spent two days living amongst the Aetas, an indigenous community in the most remote mountains of the Philippines. They are the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, and maintain their traditional way of life. Their small village consisted of several bamboo cabins and a large communal farm. The Aetas have no concept of money or land ownership, and survive by sustenance farming.

The villagers were extremely hospitable asking me questions about myself and the U.S. as well as answering many questions of my own. Despite a language barrier, I was able to learn a lot about their culture and way of life. The villager elders told me how they have struggled to maintain their way of life against social and economic changes. Much of their land has been taken over by miners and loggers, who tricked the Aetas into parting with their land since they were ignorant of modern laws.

My interactions with the Aetas was life changing because it had opened my eyes to a world, primitive yet happy. Their way of life and their unique perspective on things was polar opposite to everything I had grown up with. They showed me a sense of duty to your community as a collective, and a new way to view equality and justice. Everything I learned from them allowed me to see things from a new perspective.

My eye opening experience with the Aetas was representative of my trip throughout Southeast Asia as a whole. I began backpacking in Malaysia traveling up the west coast all the way into Thailand. I visited remote islands as well major cities, trying to experience as much of the different cultures as possible. Next I crossed over to the Philippines to retrace my family lineage. My mother grew up on a rice plantation in a rural province north of Manila. I met many relatives for the first time, and they told me stories about my ancestors and my mother’s growing up. I was grateful for my family, and I admired my mother for her long and improbable journey to America. Going from a village where there were more cows than cars, to a bustling city like New York was not an easy feat. The tempo of everyday village life was much slower and their customs were unfamiliar to me, but I learned how to adapt to a foreign environment. While exploring the village, for the first time I was exposed to abject poverty. Many villagers lived in bamboo shanties with no indoor plumbing and very minimal shelter against the elements. These images of the third world were startling. It was a wake up call telling me the opportunities afforded to me were not available to everyone, and I should not waste them.

By the time I flew back to the U.S. I had been to four different countries in two months, traversing thousands of miles. I had stayed in bustling cities and tiny villages, in hotel beds and beds made of sand while starring up at the stars. My travels opened up my eyes to the world as it really was, exposing the good and the bad. Beautiful skies and clear blue oceans were contrasted with the plight of the poor. The fate of the Aetas and the multitude of shanty villages, have forged my ambitions to seek justice for the disadvantaged and those that have been treated unfairly.

Traveling through the third world all alone, was dangerous yet rewarding. With a language barrier and often traveling through crime laden areas, the only safeguard against threat was through smart decisions and responsibility. The only person who was going to take care of me, was me. This matured me as an individual and has made me more self-reliant. These qualities will help me succeed under the pressures of law school. I look forward to taking this next step in my life, and will use the life-lessons acquired through my travels in Asia as motivation and guidance in pursuit of a Juris Doctor.

User avatar
rw2264
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Personal Statement- Please Help

Postby rw2264 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:21 am

Bradley3 wrote:Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated....

As we drove away I looked out the back window to see the whole village standing there waving goodbye. This would be a lasting memory etched in my mind. I had spent two days living amongst the Aetas, an indigenous community in the most remote mountains of the Philippines. They are the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, and maintain their traditional way of life. Their small village consisted of several bamboo cabins and a large communal farm. The Aetas have no concept of money or land ownership, and survive by sustenance farming. you should establish what this experience taught you in the first paragraph. save description and summary for later in the paper when it serves your argument.

The villagers were extremely hospitable asking me questions about myself and the U.S. as well as answering many questions of my own. Despite a language barrier, I was able to learn a lot about their culture and way of life. The villager elders told me how they have struggled to maintain their way of life against social and economic changes. Much of their land has been taken over by miners and loggers, who tricked the Aetas into parting with their land since they were ignorant of modern laws. [same as above]

My interactions with the Aetas was life changing because it had opened my eyes to a world, primitive yet happy. primitive is really offensive. REALLY offensive. take it out immediately. Their way of life and their unique perspective on things was polar opposite to everything I had grown up with. They showed me a sense of duty to your community as a collective, and a new way to view equality and justice. Everything I learned from them allowed me to see things from a new perspective. be specific. you're doing a disservice to the Aetas if all you can make are generalities about collectivism and broadening your perspective.

My eye opening experience with the Aetas was representative of my trip throughout Southeast Asia as a whole. I began backpacking in Malaysia traveling up the west coast all the way into Thailand. I visited remote islands as well major cities, trying to experience as much of the different cultures as possible. Next I crossed over to the Philippines to retrace my family lineage. My mother grew up on a rice plantation in a rural province north of Manila. I met many relatives for the first time, and they told me stories about my ancestors and my mother’s growing up. I was grateful for my family, and I admired my mother for her long and [strike]improbable[/strike] difficult? journey to America. Going from a village where there were more cows than cars, to a bustling city like New York was not an easy feat. The tempo of everyday village life was much slower and their customs were unfamiliar to me, but I learned how to adapt to a foreign environment. While exploring the village, for the first time I was exposed to abject poverty. Many villagers lived in bamboo shanties with no indoor plumbing and very minimal shelter against the elements. These images of the third world were startling. It was a wake up call telling me the opportunities afforded to me were not available to everyone, and I should not waste them.

By the time I flew back to the U.S. I had been to four different countries in two months, traversing thousands of miles. I had stayed in bustling cities and tiny villages, in hotel beds and beds made of sand while starring up at the stars. My travels opened up my eyes to the world as it really was, exposing the good and the bad. Beautiful skies and clear blue oceans were contrasted with the plight of the poor. The fate of the Aetas and the multitude of shanty villages[strike],[/strike] have forged my ambitions to seek justice for the disadvantaged and those that have been treated unfairly.

Traveling through the third world all alone[strike],[/strike] was dangerous yet rewarding. With a language barrier and often traveling through crime laden areas, the only safeguard against threat was through smart decisions and responsibility. this seems irrelevant at this point. The only person who was going to take care of me, was me. This matured me as an individual and has made me more self-reliant. These qualities will help me succeed under the pressures of law school. I look forward to taking this next step in my life, and will use the life-lessons acquired through my travels in Asia as motivation and guidance in pursuit of a Juris Doctor.


honestly i think this is a little disingenuous. maybe i'm just really offended by the fact that you called a culture primitive. i can't get over that. sorry.

Bradley3
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:54 pm

Re: Personal Statement- Please Help

Postby Bradley3 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:49 am

Wasn't meant to be offensive. Actually only put it in when a friend edited it and told me to put that in. Thanx for the corrections though.

User avatar
j2d3
Posts: 99
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:34 am

Re: Personal Statement- Please Help

Postby j2d3 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:10 am

I stumbled at "primative," too, and I sensed an uncomfortable distance between you, the writer, and the people you describe meeting.

At first I'm thinking ok rich brat went backpacking to Thailand after graduating to get some "real world" experience before going to law school. Then, I find out you are retracing your family, and to some degree my opinion of you changes, but it's too little too late. In a lot of places you telegraph the lessons you learned and it feels awkward. When you recount something biographical in a PS, you need to use the specifics of the narrative to *show* us rather than *tell* us what you learned. You need to illustrate the lessons you learned through the narrative rather than relate events followed by, "and this experience taught me..."

Also, I think it would help a lot to establish early on who you are and why you were going to these places.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.