Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Showtimer
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Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby Showtimer » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:39 pm

Often I am asked the questions of what my possible reasoning for taking Middle Eastern Studies and philosophy was and how the two areas could possibly relate to my desired profession of law. Admittedly, at first I had a weak explanation of how my interests were related, my choices seemed even to me to be random manifestations of my interests. My studies in college not only taught me about external ideas I previously had no knowledge of, but also about my own innate desire to understand the humanity we are all inextricably apart of.

My original reason for choosing a Middle Eastern Studies major was an attempt to break away from a remarkably strong Eurocentric view of history and society I had been studying nearly all my academic life. My initial decision to pursue Philosophy was a result of my deep and ever persisting penchant for questioning reasons and things around me my parents discovered early that “Because I said so.” was never an adequate answer in my book; I wanted to know why something was good or why it was bad. Only later did I realize that a single underlying thread ran through each of my interests. I was interested in how and why humanity functioned; what were the rules it followed.

I began to reflect on my choices and interests during a freshman study abroad program in Morocco. The other American students and I were given the semi-jocular moniker of “the 9/11 kids” by our Moroccan friends in reference to a surge of American interest in the Muslim World. I was afraid my desire to learn about the Arab World might have been an illusion of interest resulting from social and academic trendiness. However, through my visit to a world I had once seen as exotic and mysterious, and continued work in academic courses, I saw my actions were based less on an unwitting social trend and more on a deep and unifying intellectual pursuit.

I have become accustomed to catching the puzzled looks when I mention my Philosophy degree. What does stroking one’s beard and pondering what the nature of “truth” have to do with complicated legal issues, man-made precedent and codes of behavior? I first saw the skill set philosophy taught me in action during my time interning at the Hackensack courthouse as a judicial intern. While there was no glory in summarizing court motions nor in looking up precedent for the judge, I was able to look through documents as I did in my undergrad courses, winnowing the main argument and the evidence from peripheral appeals to emotion and subsidiary arguments unrelated to the points of the motion. This ability proved to be critical in the family division, especially after I was needed to take on the bulk of the previous Law Clerks duties following his hiatus to study for and take the Bar exam.

Aside from these practical skills that I have gained during my tenure in college, I am certain that my interests in these academic pursuits are more than tangentially related to both the ability to practice law and the interest in its practice. I came to the conclusion that philosophy was essentially a universal anthropological subject in that it takes even the most basic of human assumptions and questions just how solid and tenable they really are. Middle Eastern Studies proved to be a more direct study of the norms beliefs and practices of society and allowed me to see the pitfalls of exoticizing the unfamiliar and has helped me do my best to avoid mistaking custom for first nature.
I always knew however, that philosophy, while intellectually fulfilling, did not have everything I wanted in a personal career. It was the application of Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Rawls, and Dworkin, that drew me to law. Careful and reasonable thought could in fact bring real and lasting change to society. I want to apply my abilities to areas I have been studying my entire life: people and society. My college career was based off of my passion for learning and seeing from a new perspective; I plan on continuing this practice throughout law school and my professional career. Much like my classes in Middle Eastern studies, my courses in philosophy contained a certain anthropological aspect. “To make the strange familiar and the familiar strange”. I have always been in the business of challenging my own assumptions. I have augmented my view of the world both socially and logically more times than I can remember, but always with good reason. These are the motivations that pushed me to study a non-European language in a Non-European country; to work as a judicial intern and to act on the desire to practice law, which I see as a bridge between philosophy and its real world application.

Neelio
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby Neelio » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:45 pm

You are a great writer. But with that said, this statement tells me nothing about you. It tells me your motivations for a particular set of majors, and how your background might have influenced them, but overall there is nothing "personal" about it... seems very, very generic. It might be more effective if you give a more concrete example of how post 9/11 attitudes pushed you to care about the law, or maybe highlight in detail a certain time where your interest in philosophy coincided with your internship at the Hackensack courthouse. While my opinion will have no bearing on your acceptance to law school, everything i have been told points to a more personal touch for a PS. Hope that helps...

Showtimer
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby Showtimer » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:54 pm

Ill try to inject some more personal stuff...I hate writing about myself...I was actually even hesitant to mention anythign about 9/11 because i feel like the topic flies around way too much. I thought the writng was the worst part but telling me its very very generic definately makes me reconsider the level of personalism. Thanks i think your right according to kens book i was trying to write a character sketch of these two academic interest mixed with a "why I want to go to law school" in a "logical structure" but i guess some intamacy got lost in there.

Anythign else anyone? This is a firs draft is there any glaring grammar points or notable or specifc suggestions? Im starting to sweat these deadlines.

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nixxers
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby nixxers » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:58 pm

Sounds awkward and stilted, like you're trying really hard to make it sound fancy and erudite, but it's riddled with silly errors, like "apart" vs. "a part," and extra commas. I would suggest reading it out loud to yourself. I think you will find which sentences sound awkward. For example, the first sentence

Often I am asked the questions of what my possible reasoning for taking Middle Eastern Studies and philosophy was and how the two areas could possibly relate to my desired profession of law.


could be reworded to something like

I am often asked why I chose to double major in Middle Eastern studies and philosophy, and how those areas of study could relate to a career in law.


Removing unnecessary and/or awkward words makes the flow a lot stronger, and a lot less confusing. ("the questions of what" or "my desired profession of law," for example - obviously it's a question, since you're being asked, and obviously law is your desired profession, since you're applying to law school)

My initial decision to pursue Philosophy was a result of my deep and ever persisting penchant for questioning reasons and things around me my parents discovered early that “Because I said so.” was never an adequate answer in my book; I wanted to know why something was good or why it was bad.


^run-on sentence

No offense intended, but "semi-jocular moniker" sounds like you just used thesaurus.com. You could say "half-joking nickname" and have the same effect.

I mean, going through this, at times you say things that are really insightful. For example, when you worry that you might have just been interested in pursuing ME studies because it was trendy...but then you just tell us that
my actions were based less on an unwitting social trend and more on a deep and unifying intellectual pursuit.
... Is there any way you can show that? It would be a lot more compelling if you could show why it is a deep and unifying intellectual pursuit.

I also might steer clear of acting like people are so surprised that a philosophy major wants to be a lawyer... I might be wrong but isn't that fairly common? o.O

The last sentence makes sense but you don't really give enough examples of applying philosophy to real life for it to be a very compelling reason.

My college career was based off of my passion for learning and seeing from a new perspective; I plan on continuing this practice throughout law school and my professional career. Much like my classes in Middle Eastern studies, my courses in philosophy contained a certain anthropological aspect. “To make the strange familiar and the familiar strange”. I have always been in the business of challenging my own assumptions. I have augmented my view of the world both socially and logically more times than I can remember, but always with good reason. These are the motivations that pushed me to study a non-European language in a Non-European country; to work as a judicial intern and to act on the desire to practice law,


That's sort of the meat of the essay, I think, and what you should really build on. What is it about making the strange familiar and the familiar strange that is exciting for you, and why? What do you mean when you say you have been in the business of challenging your assumptions? If you mean that you challenged your assumptions about Middle Eastern cultures, provide developed examples. Give us an example of hwo you've augmented your view of the world.

As it stands it just seems sort of disorganized... like you want to talk about all these different lofty things. But I don't get a sense of who you are. Every time you start to go there (when you realize you aren't studying the middle east because it's trendy, or when you interned at the judge [you can give us more than just listing your duties...], or when you recognize the pitfalls of exotification, etc) you sort of stop abruptly, telling us what you want us to know about you, but not showing it. I think if you winnow the focus of this essay down it will be a lot stronger. For example, you could focus on the crossroads of Western philosophical thought and Middle Eastern studies, or something.

anyway, that was sort of disorganized as well, but I hope it was helpful.

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fl0w
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby fl0w » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:03 pm

I didn't read for grammar / punctuation, but I do agree with the above poster in that you have not said much about yourself. To me it reads as an addendum explaining "why I chose these majors that may seem random to the admissions committee". It is as if you are trying to justify your choice of academic pursuit, which I do not think is necessary.

You say in the essay that you are drawn to philosophy, for example. If this is true, is there a specific principle or theory that has impacted you? Perhaps you've applied it to your life and have an interesting personal story to tell as a result?

My major qualm is that I really don't get any sense of who you are.

Showtimer
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby Showtimer » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:07 pm

AHAHA no i completely agree with every single word of what you said jsut about. Yeah Im gonna follow pretty much all of those suggestions thats money. Muchas gracias...I couldnt put my finger on it but i also thought the flow was weak and a little disorganized i had this for a while and organizing this is what is really killing me.

Does anyone have any suggestions for organizing this a little bit better??

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fl0w
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby fl0w » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:12 pm

a good place to start with organizing is the old method:

1) Tell them what you are going say
2) say it
3) remind them what you said (and why it matters for law school)

It'll at least get you started with a skeleton. You'll be able to ensure that you get your main point across in your introduction (something that many people forget the importance of), you'll have a center of support around your main point or examples that demonstrate it's application to your life, and then you can close by reminding of the main point and tying it into law schools.

There are MANY ways to organize an essay or statement, but the above is always a good place to start to make sure you get everything out. The final organizational schema may not match this elaborate structure (haha) but whatev.

Just my humble opinion.

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nixxers
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby nixxers » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:18 pm

Showtimer wrote:AHAHA no i completely agree with every single word of what you said jsut about. Yeah Im gonna follow pretty much all of those suggestions thats money. Muchas gracias...I couldnt put my finger on it but i also thought the flow was weak and a little disorganized i had this for a while and organizing this is what is really killing me.

Does anyone have any suggestions for organizing this a little bit better??


I would suggest clarifying to yourself what exactly you want to tell the admissions committees, and then make a short outline. For example, when I was writing mine, I wanted to emphasize to the adcomms that I am interested in PI law, the reason for which was the influence of working (in an EC and an internship) with people whose lawyers had more-or-less failed them. My essay structure was very basic... Paragraphs 1 and 2 were scenes from the EC's, and paragraphs 3 and 4 (and maybe a short 5) explained what those scenes meant to me and why I want to pursue law.

I think if you distill your main idea down to something more simple it will be easier. As it is you could try something like

what ME studies means to you (with example/s) ---> what phil means to you (with example/s) ---> how their combination has helped you grow (with example/s) ---> why the study of law will further that growth

or something. Again, hard to say because it is ultimately your essay. I would not recommend structuring it like what I just did... try and find something that works for you. Another good strategy is to try and summarize each paragraph down to a phrase, and make sure that if you just read the phrases, the essay still makes sense.

good luck! :)

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nixxers
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby nixxers » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:19 pm

fl0w wrote:a good place to start with organizing is the old method:

1) Tell them what you are going say
2) say it
3) remind them what you said (and why it matters for law school)



+5000

Sourpunch
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Re: Is this Ok or Garbage? near zero Hour Plz hlp

Postby Sourpunch » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:02 pm

I think it is a good and solid PS that talks about an important experience and how it connects to your desire to study law.

However, you seriously need to work on fixing the grammar and punctuation mistakes, run-on sentences, etc...

Otherwise, good work. Fix it up and send it.




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