Trashy&Impersonal or Divine&Dastardly? Deadline near PLZ Hlp

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Showtimer
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:03 pm

Trashy&Impersonal or Divine&Dastardly? Deadline near PLZ Hlp

Postby Showtimer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:53 pm

I am and always have been a man of logic. I remember being taught in Catholic grammar school that reason was the result of Adam’s original sin of eating from the tree of knowledge. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan’s use of logic to question the supremacy of God and His choices in creating the world is considered blatant blasphemy. Still I was never able to resist this line of reasoning and questioning. I see logic as the ultimate equalizer between man and the world, the tool that can provide answers and advance humanity when sharpened and used properly. Despite being born in a world often powered by sweeping currents of attitudes, emotions, and cultures, I have always wanted to see the unifying thread and use it as a foundation to understand the world around me.

I am often asked why I chose to double major in Middle Eastern Studies and Philosophy, and how those areas of study relate to a career in law. Admittedly, I originally had a weak explanation of how my areas of study were related, my choices seemed even to me to be random manifestations of my interests. Later I would discover that 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 a part.

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 half-joking 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. Later contemplation would reassure me that while there are always different influences that affect us, the important issue was that I enjoyed my time staying with my Moroccan host family and learning about a new culture and about my own from a different perspective.

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 or in looking up precedents for the judge, I was able to look through documents as I did in my undergraduate 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 called upon to take on the bulk of the previous law clerk’s duties following his hiatus to study for and take the state bar exam.

Aside from these practical skills that I have gained during my time spent in college, I am certain that my academic pursuits are more than tangentially related to my ability to practice law and 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. This has 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. I came to believe that careful and reasonable thought could 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”.
This is what drives me. I have always been in the business of challenging my own assumptions and applying this anthropological tenant to every area of study. When I abandon pre-conceived notions and view different cultures or different ideas objectively, I can see something more basic and ultimately more profound. I want to objectively disassemble ideas, beliefs, cultures, and humanity into their parts to see what makes them tick. This is a practice I see doctors and biologists follow when they question the makeup of the human body, when physicists question workings of the atom and when economists and mathematicians formulate theories to look for the basic principles in their fields and apply them to make advances.

My field is humanity; my tools are logic; my clues and raw materials are history and culture. 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.

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84Sunbird2000
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Re: Trashy&Impersonal or Divine&Dastardly? Deadline near PLZ Hlp

Postby 84Sunbird2000 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:06 pm

I can't help but approve, because my PS also coalesces (more or less) around law as the application of philosophy and logic. In all honesty, though, it's so similar to the second-part of my PS (right down to the references (Rawls!)) that I wonder how many people are writing about philosophy as their focus.

It's pretty good overall, but it seems a bit bland and resume-like towards the end in a couple of spots, even though you tie the experience to your interest in philosophy. It's a bit high-styled and aloof, but I tend to like that.

I'd tell you one thing, though, if this forum has taught me anything: Don't freak out about the PS, DS, or LORs. They CAN help a bit, but as long as they are solid, they probably won't hurt you.

Showtimer
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:03 pm

Re: Trashy&Impersonal or Divine&Dastardly? Deadline near PLZ Hlp

Postby Showtimer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:27 pm

haha yeah i agree i posted this as an even rougher draft and people were telling me it wasnt persoanl enough i just wanted to address this and yeah give a solid PS.

Anyone have any other suggestions or see any grammatical flaws? Id really love to send this out tomorrow.

crossingforHYS
Posts: 702
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:23 pm

Re: Trashy&Impersonal or Divine&Dastardly? Deadline near PLZ Hlp

Postby crossingforHYS » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:39 pm

I love the use of Milton...:) and I think it is very well constructed. My grammer is not up to par, so I am not the proper person to help in that scenerio but content wise I think it's great.

About the personal comment...I feel like this is personal, it is the way you think and what makes you appreciate law. It gives one an insight into who you are as an intellectual...and to me that is pretty personal.

Showtimer
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:03 pm

Re: Trashy&Impersonal or Divine&Dastardly? Deadline near PLZ Hlp

Postby Showtimer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:00 pm

Does anyone think the flow sounds awkward or forced? ALso does anyone second the idea that it comes off kinda smug or lofty? I promise to shut up after this




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