Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
druss3ll
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:38 am

Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

Postby druss3ll » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:44 pm

LSAT: 165
GPA: 2.7
(i know the GPA blows ass, still considering an addendum to comment on that. thoughts?)

-----------

Around me was a world of blue: the sky as it can only be appreciated from the inside, nearly 6,000 feet up. In stark contrast, under my feet lay the barren moonscape of Mount Washington's famous Tuckerman's Ravine trail, all sharp gray gravel and granite boulders pockmarked by lightning scars. Every rise in the trail promised a glimpse of the summit's radio towers but delivered only another mound of tantalizing rocks. However, far from being disheartened, I was grateful for the prolongation of my journey. The serenity of solitude and the tangible, physical goal of struggling toward a summit were providing a soothing backdrop to a great moral struggle. I was slowly determining to escape my life in a cult.

As newly converted catholics, my parents had been easy prey for an organization characterized by eager youthful faces and couched in the trappings of Catholicism. So I was sent off with the Legion of Christ at the tender age of twelve to dedicate my life to the priesthood at a seminary in distant New Hampshire. For the first two years I was content, a young boy living in a whirlwind schedule of sports and school with sixty like-minded peers, but as I matured I began to realize that my closely regulated world was not what it seemed.

In my third year, in typical teenage fashion, I began questioning the fundamental rules of the organization. Why were we not allowed unsupervised communication with our peers? Why was there no free time in the schedule? Why was incoming and outgoing mail screened? Their response was to link the way things were done to "god's will" and promise that deviations therefrom would guarantee me a spot in hell. I was thus held in place by a powerful combination of guilt and fear.

But motivated by my increasing unhappiness under this regime, I took note of their inconsistencies. For example, preaching about the importance of conscience was followed immediately with directives about how we should allow ourselves to feel about specific situations. We were told that humility was paramount, but the leader, supposedly a living saint, had established his birthday as a celebration on par with Christmas and Easter. Under the weight of many discrepancies such as these I was finally able to break the stranglehold on my conscious and conclude that I was simply being manipulated, leading to the hardest decision I could face.

Separation meant leaving behind everything I knew in the world. And though I had logically dissolved my belief in their authority, the emotional guilt and fear linger strongly. However, I had inadvertently been given the tools I needed to complete my exit by the very methods meant to help contain me. Through all the physical exertion, hiking, calisthenics, and grounds work they had put us through to keep us too busy and tired for questions, they had ingrained in me an exceptional determination. With growing confidence in my conclusion that I was being manipulated, I finally brought my physical determination to bear on my moral dilemma and after five years, I mustered the courage to escape.

Back on Mount Washington, the radio towers did eventually come into view, followed by the weather station, the cog railway, Vermont, Maine and Canada. But like the tantalizing mounds of rock along the trail, the summit proved different than expected. Much more than a destination, it was an opportunity to gain perspective on the smaller surrounding mountains to be climbed next. I am grateful everyday to have escaped, but I do not regret the experience of battling my way out. Now, with nearly ten years between myself and that struggle, I can appreciate the lessons and skills that it taught me and use it to keep the fresh challenges of life in perspective.

I entered my freshman year of college scared out of my mind. I was potentially the only entering freshman who had not had an unregulated conversation with a peer in five years, who could not name a single movie, fashion, or artist from the same period. I was like a foreigner without a mother country for support. But with the never-despair attitude and self-confidence I had gained I set myself wholeheartedly to the task of integrating myself with American culture and emerged from college with friendships I would not trade for the world. As a patent researcher my mind, trained by ignoring the noise of false manipulative arguments, helped me separate irrelevant details and get to the crux of my projects. I began working in patent law because I enjoy the convergence of analysis, strategy and technology that make up its core. But when I had the opportunity to speak directly with inventors and witnessed the passion they had invested in their work, it was my own experience of the suppression of my rights and freedom that made real to me the importance of protecting theirs.

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

Postby shock259 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:22 pm

Few general comments based on my quick read:

1. It seems you have had a meaningful experience, and that is wonderful. This was obviously very influential in your life. Yet the way it is described, there is no connection with law school. I don't see how this experience relates to you wanting to study law or how this experience will make you a successful lawyer. Too much narrative, not enough law school. Don't lose track of your audience. What is your overall message you are trying to convey with the piece? That you can overcome challenges? How is that important for a lawyer? That needs to be explicitly stated.

2. You are obviously very critical of Catholicism. This cynicism is plainly apparent and may turn off or even offend members of the admissions committee.

umichgrad
Posts: 381
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:53 am

Re: Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

Postby umichgrad » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:08 pm

i disagree that the PS has to be directly related to law. what it really has to be related to is your life story, and wow do you have an interesting one. i think it will really make you stand out; it's memorable and unique.

that said, above poster is right that it reads as very critical, might want to check that a bit.


GL!

yeff
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:32 pm

Re: Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

Postby yeff » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:43 pm

Regarding concerns of a too-critical attitude toward Catholicism or Christianity, I think you can make some little tweaks to emphasize the cult-ness more than the Catholic-ness.

That said, wow! What a story.

I was confused though, by your description of the escape and the hikes. The first time I read it I thought you literally escaped by climbing to the summit then running to Vermont, Maine, and Canada. Then it seemed like those were just places you could see from the mountain when you hiked it as a seminary student, and the summit was just a metaphor. Now I'm back to thinking you are indeed a badass who fled on foot convict-style straight to Canada and the straight into undergrad.

Perhaps my reading comprehension is a little off today, but I think you could make more clear what is metaphor and what is actual experience.

User avatar
druss3ll
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:38 am

Re: Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

Postby druss3ll » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:45 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys.

In response to offending people by being critical of catholicism, I rewrote the first two sentences of the second paragraph to make them much much less bitter sounding (thanks for the feedback). I'm also considering mentioning somewhere in there either that the group followed practices specifically forbidden by the Vatican or the fact that they are currently under investigation by the Vatican, just to make it clear that I'm not bashing on Catholicism as such. Good idea?

As far as fleeing on foot through Canada, that would be awesome, but I hope no one else got that impression.

yeff
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:32 pm

Re: Finally finished with PS? I think maybe...

Postby yeff » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:01 pm

However, I had inadvertently been given the tools I needed to complete my exit by the very methods meant to help contain me. Through all the physical exertion, hiking, calisthenics, and grounds work they had put us through to keep us too busy and tired for questions, they had ingrained in me an exceptional determination. With growing confidence in my conclusion that I was being manipulated, I finally brought my physical determination to bear on my moral dilemma and after five years, I mustered the courage to escape.

Back on Mount Washington, the radio towers did eventually come into view, followed by the weather station, the cog railway, Vermont, Maine and Canada.


Read back over this.

The challenge of hiking Mt. Washington gave you the determination to escape....They gave you the tools for an exit. These were physical tools, including hiking, and a mental one, determination. You then put physical determination into your dilemma and escaped. Then you viewed the radio towers, the weather station, railway, Vermont, Maine, and Canada.

The problem is the jump back to your recollection of a time before the escape without adequate explanation.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.