I addressed most of the previous concerns.
I awoke one March day during my eighth grade year with an insatiable desire to plant a vegetable garden. Time has dulled the memory of whatever exactly inspired the sentiment, but I vividly recall how strong it was. Thus I began digging, although I must confess that my labor was as much influenced by sheer fourteen year-old boredom as it was any loftier ideals. I am astounded to think how this seemingly unimportant adolescent decision has set the course for much of my life, both in terms of interests and a passion for inquiry.
I found the entire exercise stimulating but had no idea how to proceed. I read any subject books I could get my hands on, eventually realizing that everyone had a slightly different idea of what is best. This was my first real encounter with the task of weighing differing opinions on a subject in order to choose the best option. I soon discovered that I enjoyed the critical thinking almost as much as I enjoyed the fresh vegetables.
My passion for gardening grew throughout my time in high school and college as I moved from an interest in my garden alone to an interest in the larger issues surrounding food and agriculture. With all I was learning about an individual’s ability to grow his own food, I wondered why the agricultural industry seemed to chart a different course. Whereas I was able to grow nutritious, delicious vegetables in an economical way while exercising good stewardship over the environment, the industry seemed to value quality little and the environment even less. My appreciation for critical thinking had taken on a new dimension in my life, providing not only the fodder for intellectual stimulation but also the inspiration to change something.
When I graduated from college, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in law, perhaps maintaining a vegetable garden as a hobby. I also felt a strong calling to serve in a local church, and decided to attend seminary so that I might be most prepared for that task. I expected to learn while I was there; what I did not expect is that I would learn how to learn. The reading was much more rigorous than anything I had ever experienced, often requiring upwards of 750 pages per week. Through this process I learned to read quickly without sacrificing comprehension or my ability to carefully weigh an argument. I learned to see through an individual’s presuppositions and identify the important while discarding the unimportant. I got my first experience in research assisting a professor and discovered a passion that I had not realized. I learned that the “answer” to a question is rarely black and white. Reflecting on my time at seminary, I finally learned to cultivate those principles I had learned in my first garden.
I know that these experiences have inspired within me the desire I have to pursue a career as an attorney. Simply put, I enjoy long hours of research and analyzing an argument. Not only this, but I also believe that the experience of my first garden will help to make me a successful attorney. The passion I first experienced as a fourteen-year old inquirer found its fruition during seminary, giving me many of the skills which make theology and law complimentary disciplines. That passion extends past intellectual development merely for its own sake, however, as though theology and law existed in a vacuum. My task both as a theologian and attorney is to use my skills as an agent for good. I hope to accomplish this through the venue of agricultural law.
My decision to plant my first vegetable garden set two different but complimentary trajectories in my life. The first is a passion for sustainable agriculture; the second is my appreciation for the task of carefully thinking through a difficult issue. Through pursuing a law degree at the University of Arkansas, I know that I will be well-equipped to use these two personal convictions and pursue a career working to achieve better practices in agriculture. I do not consider myself to be on some sort of crusade, nor do I think I can alter the face the American agriculture alone. The fact remains, however, that there is a great deal of work waiting to be done to bring healthy, better-tasting food to consumers while maintaining a commitment to sustainability. The University of Arkansas School of Law continues to demonstrate their excellence in the field of agricultural law and provides the finest opportunity to pursue this field, both regionally and nationally.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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