Traveling - Douchy?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Traveling - Douchy?

Postby kayljsh » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:36 am

I need advice on my PS topic. First: I have a 3.55, 175, so it's my general feeling from the opinions I've read on this board that I have a an okay shot most places minus HYS. Therefore I feel like my PS/softs could be the difference between in/out at some of the higher T14s. With that in mind...

Is there any way to address traveling that I've done without making it sound like I'm bragging about being wealthy/able to travel? I would say that some of the things I've done are not run-of-the-mill summer traveling (hiked up to machu picchu, climbed mt mckinley, mt kilimanjaro, several others, been to all 50 states, lived on a sail boat in the caribbean for 3 months...etc)

I'm struggling because I don't really feel these things are appropriate for a PS. However due to traveling during the summer there's almost nothing on my resume (minus bland things during the school year). But I feel that my "world" experience is what makes me an interesting and unique applicant, kind of the breadth of knowledge I've acquired. Legitimate?

Anyone have any thoughts about how I could share my experiences? Should I even try to?

User avatar
paratactical
Posts: 5961
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:06 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby paratactical » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:40 am

.
Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NonTradHealthLaw
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 2:44 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:41 am

It's a little douchy and may read as "privilege." I, personally, wouldn't talk about all of your travels, nor make it sound like a travel journal, but it does sound like an important passion, and therefore impactful on who you are. I think a "climbing" essay has more legs than an "all 50 states" essay as the former is active and the latter is passive.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:42 am

Have you ever had a job?

User avatar
animalcrkrs
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:24 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby animalcrkrs » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:45 am

My instinct is 'douchy' but that's not to say you couldn't write a great PS about it, it would just need to come off as having soul rather than just saying that you're a bum who goes around the world on mommy and daddy's money. Might be worth it to take some time to combine traveling and doing something productive to build your resume (peace corps, teaching English in a foreign country) and make sure you want to go to law school. Not that you can't travel as a lawyer but for most lawyers even if they are traveling for their jobs it is to a foreign country's conference room, not to the top of a mountain...and if adventurous world traveling is your passion and you don't have a good reason (and show it) for tying that to the law, I'd be confused as an adcomm what you are doing applying to law school...the odds are that if/once you become a biglaw associate and are billing a ton of hours (and maybe paying off big debt) your traveling time with decrease significantly (read, next to nil).

User avatar
neimanmarxist
Posts: 418
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:41 am

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby neimanmarxist » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:46 am

one of the best books about getting into law school, by Susan Estrich, explicitly states that you should spare the adcomm "your travelogue." Unless you can channel your world experience into some interesting reflections on justice and why you want to be a lawyer, your PS is going to be underwhelming at best, gratingly self-satisfied at worst. You aren't the only rich cat that saw the world, I'm afraid.

User avatar
Cosmo Kramer
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:11 am

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby Cosmo Kramer » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:49 am

neimanmarxist wrote:one of the best books about getting into law school, by Susan Estrich, explicitly states that you should spare the adcomm "your travelogue." Unless you can channel your world experience into some interesting reflections on justice and why you want to be a lawyer, your PS is going to be underwhelming at best, gratingly self-satisfied at worst. You aren't the only rich cat that saw the world, I'm afraid.


Seriously, going on vacation =/= a ps-worth, eye-opening experience. That's like going to cancun and then writing one about how you saw the plight of Mexicans in the 21st century.

sumus romani
Posts: 565
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:04 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby sumus romani » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:50 am

It is just hard to tie those things to your law application, because none of them have anything to do with being a lawyer or going to law school. You know, we are still in June of the summer before applications. Why not pick up something you can write about in late Sept. or early Oct. in your applications? Volunteering in some capacity would definitely be better than what you've got so far.

User avatar
dominkay
Posts: 355
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby dominkay » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:56 am

I think if you wrote about traveling, it would be douche-y.

But you could write about the physical/mental challenges of mountain climbing and tie that into the intellectual challenges you hope to face in law school/in the course of your legal career. It's still somewhat cliche, but a good bit less douchey.

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby kayljsh » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:59 am

Thanks y'all, that's obviously what I'd been thinking that it wouldn't really be appropriate.

To answer someone's question- no I've never had a paying job. Also I wasn't just lazing around the boat, I participated in several races, although my highest finish was second. I have done some volunteer work, habitat for humanity, and one summer I was a camp counselor at a free camp for underprivileged kids in my area.

A strange additional question- I write a blog that details my travels, and post all my photos. My UG advisor reads it and we've discussed it several times. Instead of me mentioning it, do you think it would be okay for her to say something? Obviously not detail she's been here and here and here, but I really do think that my experiences make me an interesting person who has things to talk about.

thisguy456
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:42 am

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby thisguy456 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:05 pm

kayljsh wrote:Thanks y'all, that's obviously what I'd been thinking that it wouldn't really be appropriate.

To answer someone's question- no I've never had a paying job. Also I wasn't just lazing around the boat, I participated in several races, although my highest finish was second. I have done some volunteer work, habitat for humanity, and one summer I was a camp counselor at a free camp for underprivileged kids in my area.

A strange additional question- I write a blog that details my travels, and post all my photos. My UG advisor reads it and we've discussed it several times. Instead of me mentioning it, do you think it would be okay for her to say something? Obviously not detail she's been here and here and here, but I really do think that my experiences make me an interesting person who has things to talk about.


As others have said, you run the risk of sounding douchey. However, it sounds like your traveling experiences (which you have quite a lot of) are a significant part of who you are. It may be weak to write a generic PS about traveling, but I think it can be just as weak to write about generic volunteer experiences or club activities, etc. Write about the thing you really care about, whatever that is, because your writing will be stronger. Your enthusiasm will come out in your writing. If it's traveling, then just think of a way for to represent something larger through traveling. And make it unique or interesting. A lot of PSs will probably feature traveling.

njgal
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby njgal » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:06 pm

I think you could def write a quality personal statement. Try and look at successful athletic PS (many of these run the risk of being cliche but the good ones let the reader know something more). Goal setting, hardship endured, those are some of the highest peaks in the world. I have read plenty of quality statements that do not seem to directly relate to law and that is ok (given that law is something you really want to pursue you want your statement to come off as genuine). Did you do any of these climbs for charity? What was your motivation behind these climbs? (I think the carribbean one is your weakest travel). Once you have written the statement then have other people read it and they can honestly evaluate whether or not it comes off as douchey. We all have our own challenges, and being a wealthy white male you have not struggled in a traditional way. If it comes off as douchey, mentor PS are always good, or reflect upon your studies. A seemingly small event can impact your life in a big way. That being said if all your resume has is climbing I think you should address/expand upon the difficulty of this somewhere. You do not want them to think you have done nothing, and clearly you are lacking work experience.

nickwar
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:03 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby nickwar » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:12 pm

What's the point? Look how many places I've traveled? I don't see how that has anything to do with a personal statement. And staying at the Hilton in third world countries doesn't really make you a unique applicant with valuable world experience.

Plus it's not like you climbed K2. Anyone with a few weeks of training and some Clif Bars can climb McKinley. If you had to weather a storm with oxygen deprivation and severe frostbite, go for it. If you took a couple week comfortable hike just to say you climbed a mountain, not so much.

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby kayljsh » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:16 pm

One third and final thought.. initially I had planned on writing my PS about this game I used to play with my dad when I was much younger, kind of like 6 degrees of kevin bacon, but with things. For example he'd tell me to connect split pea soup and flamingos. And I'd go and do research and find that like so and so loved split pea soup and he lived in place a, and place a is named after place b where flamingos abound. Clearly this is not a real example.

But in my opinion one of my strengths as a person is an ability to kind of connect various pools of knowledge, and that's why I want to be a lawyer. I'm a Bio/Econ double major and ideally I'd like to connect my interest in the ability to profit (econ) off of genes/tissues (bio) with some sort of genetics rights law. That's kind of why I'm harping on the traveling, because you can understand things perfectly well having never left your hometown, but I think having seen the monastery where Mendel did his initial research on peas I think adds an extra dimension to my knowledge.
Does this seem like a better PS?

User avatar
MrKappus
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby MrKappus » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:18 pm

paratactical wrote:You might be able to talk about mountain climbing as a reference to dedication, hard work, perserverance, etc etc, but if you bring up living on a boat in the Carribbean and you weren't doing any work there, the douche will come out.


I vote for using the thrillingly unique mountain metaphor.

User avatar
Cosmo Kramer
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:11 am

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby Cosmo Kramer » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:19 pm

kayljsh wrote:One third and final thought.. initially I had planned on writing my PS about this game I used to play with my dad when I was much younger, kind of like 6 degrees of kevin bacon, but with things. For example he'd tell me to connect split pea soup and flamingos. And I'd go and do research and find that like so and so loved split pea soup and he lived in place a, and place a is named after place b where flamingos abound. Clearly this is not a real example.

But in my opinion one of my strengths as a person is an ability to kind of connect various pools of knowledge, and that's why I want to be a lawyer. I'm a Bio/Econ double major and ideally I'd like to connect my interest in the ability to profit (econ) off of genes/tissues (bio) with some sort of genetics rights law. That's kind of why I'm harping on the traveling, because you can understand things perfectly well having never left your hometown, but I think having seen the monastery where Mendel did his initial research on peas I think adds an extra dimension to my knowledge.
Does this seem like a better PS?


even douch-ier

User avatar
paratactical
Posts: 5961
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:06 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby paratactical » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:20 pm

.
Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
animalcrkrs
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:24 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby animalcrkrs » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:22 pm

I vote for a topic you have not yet come up with. You have to have something more interesting than boat/mountain travel and being able to connect disparate ideas like peas and pink water birds when you were 7.
Seriously though, join the peace corps. That will probably knock the douche right out of you.

User avatar
scribelaw
Posts: 771
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby scribelaw » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:24 pm

Cosmo Kramer wrote:
kayljsh wrote:One third and final thought.. initially I had planned on writing my PS about this game I used to play with my dad when I was much younger, kind of like 6 degrees of kevin bacon, but with things. For example he'd tell me to connect split pea soup and flamingos. And I'd go and do research and find that like so and so loved split pea soup and he lived in place a, and place a is named after place b where flamingos abound. Clearly this is not a real example.

But in my opinion one of my strengths as a person is an ability to kind of connect various pools of knowledge, and that's why I want to be a lawyer. I'm a Bio/Econ double major and ideally I'd like to connect my interest in the ability to profit (econ) off of genes/tissues (bio) with some sort of genetics rights law. That's kind of why I'm harping on the traveling, because you can understand things perfectly well having never left your hometown, but I think having seen the monastery where Mendel did his initial research on peas I think adds an extra dimension to my knowledge.
Does this seem like a better PS?


even douch-ier


+1. Definitely fought the gag reflex at the phrase "extra dimension to my knowledge."

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby kayljsh » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:27 pm

Interesting, I'm totally not trying to be argumentative, but would you feel that way if I was an art history major and I was really excited to see all these paintings/sculptures/whatever that I'd studied for so long?
Again, thanks so much for everyone's opinions!

User avatar
dominkay
Posts: 355
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby dominkay » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:29 pm

kayljsh wrote:One third and final thought.. initially I had planned on writing my PS about this game I used to play with my dad when I was much younger, kind of like 6 degrees of kevin bacon, but with things. For example he'd tell me to connect split pea soup and flamingos. And I'd go and do research and find that like so and so loved split pea soup and he lived in place a, and place a is named after place b where flamingos abound. Clearly this is not a real example.

But in my opinion one of my strengths as a person is an ability to kind of connect various pools of knowledge, and that's why I want to be a lawyer


This is really adorable and it made me tear up a little (my dad blows). I think it could make a good INTRO to a PS if you are a good writer, and the ad-comm that reads it is full of women on their periods.

User avatar
wakefield
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:45 am

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby wakefield » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:33 pm

kayljsh wrote:Interesting, I'm totally not trying to be argumentative, but would you feel that way if I was an art history major and I was really excited to see all these paintings/sculptures/whatever that I'd studied for so long?
Again, thanks so much for everyone's opinions!


yup. that being said, you can write about pretty much anything you saw and make it work as long as you leave this out:
kayljsh wrote:you can understand things perfectly well having never left your hometown, but I think having seen the monastery where Mendel did his initial research on peas I think adds an extra dimension to my knowledge.

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby kayljsh » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:34 pm

dominkay wrote:
kayljsh wrote:One third and final thought.. initially I had planned on writing my PS about this game I used to play with my dad when I was much younger, kind of like 6 degrees of kevin bacon, but with things. For example he'd tell me to connect split pea soup and flamingos. And I'd go and do research and find that like so and so loved split pea soup and he lived in place a, and place a is named after place b where flamingos abound. Clearly this is not a real example.

But in my opinion one of my strengths as a person is an ability to kind of connect various pools of knowledge, and that's why I want to be a lawyer


This is really adorable and it made me tear up a little (my dad blows). I think it could make a good INTRO to a PS if you are a good writer, and the ad-comm that reads it is full of women on their periods.



Haha thanks. I better start researching which schools have ad-comms that are primarily women.

User avatar
BaiAilian2013
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:05 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:35 pm

I agree with the posters who have suggested you focus solely on the mountain-climbing. Instead of the metaphor stuff, though, I was envisioning you focusing on it mostly as a unique(ish) hobby, a passion that sets you apart from other applicants. And I guess you'd have to add in whatever people put in their hobby-related personal statements to make them into personal statements. But Kilamanjaro etc. is IMO the most interesting and least douchey part of your travels.

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Traveling - Douchy?

Postby kayljsh » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:42 pm

wakefield wrote:
kayljsh wrote:Interesting, I'm totally not trying to be argumentative, but would you feel that way if I was an art history major and I was really excited to see all these paintings/sculptures/whatever that I'd studied for so long?
Again, thanks so much for everyone's opinions!


yup. that being said, you can write about pretty much anything you saw and make it work as long as you leave this out:
kayljsh wrote:you can understand things perfectly well having never left your hometown, but I think having seen the monastery where Mendel did his initial research on peas I think adds an extra dimension to my knowledge.


Okay, so what you're saying is that I should try to avoid frilly language about extra dimensions? In what way do you think I could express that same sentiment in a less entitled manor? Is there a way?




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.