PS draft, comments please!

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lulumore
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:48 pm

PS draft, comments please!

Postby lulumore » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:15 am

A second draft. Thank those who gave me advice. Please Let me know what you think about this, but be gentle please, as my mother language is not English. Million thanks.

===
I had been on the train for almost 6 hours, and still I was nowhere near home. The view outside was ominously familiar: complete darkness, the same kind that had greeted me days before. But this time, I was going home.
I had traveled to Beijing with hopes of being hired as an English teaching and research trainee for a company based in Hong Kong. When the bad news was delivered and little money was left, I found myself on the next train home. Overwhelmed with disappointment and frustration, I thought of my parents. What would they think?
Then suddenly, my phone rang. Incredibly, it was Ms. Tann, the head of the company that had interviewed me. The human resources department had made a mistake: I had actually successfully moved to the second round of interviews, and they were taking place the next morning! However, when she learned that I was already on the train back home, her tone suddenly changed. She started to pull back, warning me that I would still have to go through another two rounds of interviews if I chose to come back, after which only eight candidates out of the remaining sixty would be employed.
Did her hesitation imply that I was not among the few candidates that she wanted most? Was she telling me to re-evaluate my situation? Or worse, was she telling me what everyone else had been telling me my whole life — to stay on the train and just go home?
I was born and raised in the southwest most corner of China, Yunnan. Before the rapid growth that started just this past decade, Yunnan was regarded as one of the most underdeveloped provinces in China. The beautiful natural surroundings have endowed us with an appreciation for a peaceful life, of being content with the lives into which we were born. When I was little, I never heard of neighbors or friends ever leaving Yunnan. It just did not happen. Even now, the majority of locals want to stay in Yunnan for their entire lives. In fact, tradition is so much a part of Yunnan culture that my grandmother was raised in a family where women’s feet were bound. Today, all six of her children and grandchildren have settled in Yunnan — all except for me.
While on the face of it I may seem to be a family aberration, I know in my heart that I am not. All my life, I have followed in my parents’ footsteps. My mother broke from many of the cultural expectations of her time and was one of few Chinese women from her generation who graduated from university. While many women with similar backgrounds chose the comfort and security of marrying into a wealthy family, my mother chose to pursue true happiness by marrying my father, a member of the Tibetan ethnic minority and a man with talent but little financial stability. My father was from Shangri-la, a place Tibetans take up over 90% of the population, a place barely known by outsiders before 1995 when people started to go there because of novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Shangri-La is regarded as an earthly paradise, a retreat from the pressures of modern civilization, but with little transportation and communication with the outside it was also very poor. With a dream of getting his hometown out of poverty, my father left his village for Jiangsu Province to pursue education. When he was only expected to finish middle school, he graduated from Nanjing University, one of the best universities in China. After graduation, he went back to Yunnan to finish his dream. Sadly, my father passed away when I was seven years old.
People in Shangri-La desire for the economic development and the beautiful natural surroundings brought them opportunities. Starting from 2000, tourism brought huge economic benefits and gradually became the local pillar industry. However, benefits are not only the economic development brought along. A developing tourism industry simultaneously brought an increasing demand of infrastructure construction. Unfortunately, much of the construction did not involve an integrated planning and maintenance and eventually caused a serious damage to the environment as a result. When I went back in 2003, the Napahai Natural Reserve, the most famous marsh in Shangri-La was greatly reduced due to the immoderate tourism and drought; marsh ecological cycle was disturbed because water near villages was polluted; animal and plant types nearby were reduced by over 30%. From 2006 to now, mud-rock flow became increasingly frequent due to the over deforestation. As a consequence, the locals got criticized by the public. They were frequently mentioned by the media as people with short sight, as those who pursue economic benefits at the expense of environment, as the main cause of local ecological degradation. While locals cannot escape the responsibility, do they deserve all blames? Imposed with the most immediate problem feeding your family, would you consider the sustainable development in the long run? Unable to receive the basic education, would it be easy for you to take the factors that influence society as a whole into consideration? I doubt that. The conclusion will not be easy. On the one hand, I understand how poor they had been and honestly hope they can benefit from the economic development, but on the other hand, I am grieved to see it is the damage of their hometown that the development is based on. I tried to tell them how important the environment protection was, but my voice became feeble when I realized their survival pressure. I hope I could do something practical. Though I did not know how, I knew to make myself powerful would be the prerequisite to help others.
After my father passed away, mother took sole responsibility for my upbringing. She taught me to be independent as a woman, to be optimistic towards life, and to be sympathetic towards those in need. More importantly, she encouraged me to widen my horizons, to push beyond our borders and see things which I, and our family, have never seen before. There is an old Chinese idiom that roughly translates as “children is a reserve to parents when they get old”. My mother threw this idiom out of its head when she encouraged me to leave Yunnan and pursue my life against the repeated warnings from her siblings back home. It was due to her support and encouragement that I turned down admission to Yunnan University and instead decided to attend a university thousands miles away. Like my father, I also had a dream that one day I would be able to contribute to the development of my hometown. To make myself powerful, I need independence, knowledge and vision. Ranking top of the class upon graduation, I could easily find a job as a local English teacher. The job would have been well-paid, and to the pleasure of my peers and family back home, it would have been stable. However, I was by nature looking for challenges and new ideas which would question my beliefs and widen my perspectives. It was this desire and ambition for life that brought me to Beijing. I never thought it would be easy. I was a 21 year old, 5 foot 2 girl living alone in a new city with no friends or connections to rely on. To make matter worse, I was competing with the most ambitious and talented people in the nation for jobs. But I was both physically and mentally prepared for whatever life that chaotic Beijing threw at me.
That was why in face of all uncertainties and difficulties, I confirmed Ms. Tann from the rocky train car that I would come back for the interview. Frantically, I rushed out of the train at midnight at the next stop with my luggage in hand. The station in the eerie city was filled with a cold air that went straight to my bones. With the little money I had left, I bought a last minute ticket and boarded the train back to Beijing. For the next seven hours, I stood the entire time in a train car that was packed to the brim. It was dark and it was cold, but as soon as I found my place on the train, squished between a coal miner and a school teacher, I was filled with hope. One week later, I was hired.
To be frank with you, though I have strived to challenge myself and to go above and beyond what is expected of me for years, I had never thought I would want to study law in America, never before I came to my current firm as a legal secretary. It is a small position as you can imagine, but as I have immersed myself in the inner workings of law and legal structures, seeing the ways in which legal regimes can be used to promote efficiency and outline parameters for positive human behavior, I also get to know more about American law and how it helps me realize my dream. America has the most advanced legal structure and economic system in the world. More importantly, the establishment of existing legal structure has gone through its earlier experience of conflict between the economic development and environment protection, the problem we are experiencing at the moment. Having a personal experience studying law in a country with such a history would enable me to better understand the relationship between the two. At the same time, the problem in my country has unique cultural background that would perhaps involve a different solution. The participation from diverse cultural backgrounds would enhance the understanding of the issue as a whole, which would help figure out solutions applicable for a wider range. That is not only about my dream, but the dream of thousands of other people who wish to live in a safer and more beautiful world.
In what began with a midnight train ride back to Beijing, the past few years have been full of challenges. As I have made each decision, I have kept at the root of it my parents. I have taken on each new challenge knowing that this is the life that could have been for theirs. I think of the brilliance that they would have brought to bear in each setting I have encountered, and I am at once inspired to live as they have: carving out a path that elevates those in need. Being the best of yourself even when people say you can’t. And, as they would say with the smuggest of smiles, remembering where you come from.
===

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2807
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Re: PS draft, comments please!

Postby 2807 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:46 am

Well. I will be happy to help/read. But, why don't you get this down to near two pages double spaced first. This is six pages at the moment.

Why spend time working on material that will not make the cut?

At least trim it a little??


edit: Ok, I could not resist after I read the start. WOW. Great story, and you are a very good writer. Now, make this a little less about your life story and focus on the particular mindset that your life story has given you. In one sentence tell me what that is:

When you do that, you can extrapolate an intro, a few supporting paragraphs, and a nice grand finale'.

The word for you is FOCUS. You have a great start. Now just focus. Start small (one sentence test). And expand from there. It is way easier, and will force the focus. Kind of like a thesis drives a paper....
Last edited by 2807 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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maxm2764
Posts: 529
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Re: PS draft, comments please!

Postby maxm2764 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:53 am

2807 wrote:Well. I will be happy to help/read. But, why don't you get this down to near two pages double spaced first. This is six pages at the moment.

Why spend time working on material that will not make the cut?

At least trim it a little??


This. From what I read it sounded pretty good, it just needs to be a lot shorter.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: PS draft, comments please!

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:00 am

Too long. Consider deleting the discussion of environmental issues in your region. What is a "rocky" train car ? Don't you mean "rocking" ?

lulumore
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:48 pm

Re: PS draft, comments please!

Postby lulumore » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:26 am

Thank you guys! I m glad you like it:
First, I know it is too long. The original has basically only the train experience and it is two-page long, but people suggest I talk about motivation of applying law school, so I adedd environment issue which is related to my motivation somehow. It will be shortened later, but which part you think is redundant and should be shortened most?
Second, do I have to talk about my motivation in the ps? you know that my life was not connected to "I want to go to law school" from the very beginning. The motivation gradually formed, so I feel like it is very hard to demonstrate myself and my motivation of going to law school both clearly in just two pages. Maybe it's my writing skill though....
Also, if you are interested to read my "only train experience" version, here it is.
===
I had been on the train for almost 6 hours now, and still I was nowhere near home. The view outside was ominously familiar: complete darkness, the same kind that had greeted me just days before — when I was on the same 15-hour train ride. But this time, I was going home.
I had traveled to Beijing with no contacts there and with the hopes of being hired as an English teaching and research trainee for a company based in Hong Kong. When the bad news was delivered, I found myself on the next train home. Overwhelmed with disappointment and frustration, I thought of my family. What would they think?
Then suddenly, my phone rang. I couldn’t believe it. It was Ms. Tann, the boss of the company that interviewed me. Personnel made a mistake: I had actually passed on to the second round of interviews, and they were taking place the next morning! However, when I told the boss that I was already on the train back home, her tone changed. She started to pull back, warning me that I would still have to go through another two rounds of interviews if I chose to come back, after which only eight candidates out of the remaining sixty candidates would be employed.
Did her hesitation imply that I was not among the few candidates that she wanted most? Was she telling me to re-evaluate my situation? Or worse, was she telling me what everyone else had been telling me my whole life — to stay on the train and just go home?
I was born and raised in the southwest most corner of China, Yunnan. Before the rapid growth that started just this past decade, Yunnan was regarded as one of the most underdeveloped provinces in China. Though our people have want for more, the beautiful natural surroundings have endowed us with the value of a peaceful life, of being content with the lives into which we were born. When I was little, I never heard of neighbors or friends ever leaving Yunnan. It was just not done. Even now, the majority of locals want to stay in Yunnan for their entire lives. My grandmother was raised in a traditional family where women’s feet were bound. Now, all six of her children and her children’s children have settled in Yunnan — all except for me.
While on the face of it I may seem to be a family aberration, I know in my heart that I am not. All my life, I have followed in my mother’s footsteps. Out of six children, my mother was the only one to go to university — and the first to go in my family. While she settled in the same hometown as everyone else, she came back with new ideas. Exciting ideas about the world and our place in it. Ever since I was a child, my mother encouraged me to widen my horizons, to push beyond our borders and see that which I, and our family, have never before. But most importantly, my mother taught me to do good, to touch and help people in the deepest way. It was because of her that I turned down admission to Yunnan University and instead decided to take the chance and attend school far from home in Shaanxi, located in the northwest of China. I needed to learn how to live independently and see the world differently from how I had seen it my entire life.
And so, it is largely due to the dignity of my ancestors and the courage of my mother that I now found myself leaving Beijing, with a long train ride ahead of me. For a moment, I questioned what I was doing. Having majored in English, I could have found a job in my hometown easily. The job would be well-paid, and to the pleasure of my peers back home, it would be steady. The outlook seemed dim. I was competing with what felt like a million students from all over Beijing. I was skipping class, and people back home warned me repeatedly against going. And worst of all, all alone in a dank third-class train cart, I felt a thousand miles away from home.
Again, I stood at a crossroads. Should I keep pushing, beyond my comfort zone and into the unknown, or should I relent and succumb to a life confined to certainty as my mother had done? Tired but with new resolve, I told Ms. Tann from the rocking train car that I would come back for the interview. But it was already midnight. Frantically, I rushed out of the train at the next stop with my luggage in hand. The station in the eerie city was filled with a cold air that went straight to my bones. I checked the schedules. Two minutes left until the last train to Beijing. With the little money I had left, I bought a last minute ticket and boarded the train. For the next seven hours, I stood the entire time in a train car that was packed to the brim.
It was dark and it was cold, but as soon as I found my place on the train, squished between a coal miner and a school teacher, I was filled with hope. One week later and with 8 consecutive class absences at school, I was hired.
Years later, I now work as a legal secretary for a prestigious American law firm in Beijing. A small position as you can imagine, but through five years of working I have learned how to solve all types of problems in a professional setting. For years I have tried to understand these issues better, to go above and beyond what is expected of me. I have immersed myself in the inner workings of law and legal structures, seeing the ways in which legal regimes can be used to promote efficiency and outline parameters for positive human behavior.
In what began with a midnight train ride back to Beijing, the past few years have been full of challenges. Of moments and junctures in which I have had to decide who exactly I want to be. As I have made each decision, I have kept at the root of it all my family. I have taken on each new challenge knowing that this is the life that perhaps could have been for my mother. I think of the brilliance that she would have brought to bear in each setting I have encountered, and I am at once inspired to live as she has: Carving out a path that elevates those in need. Being the best of yourself even when people say you can’t. And, as she would say with the smuggest of smiles, remembering where you come from.
===

I would be grateful if you let me know how you like it. Thank you.

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2807
Posts: 579
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:23 pm

Re: PS draft, comments please!

Postby 2807 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:12 pm

Ok, let's see what you can do with this:

" In what began with a midnight train ride back to Beijing as a personal and risky leap of faith hoping to be chosen out of 60 applicants for a job, the past few years were full of challenges and moments in which I have had to decide who exactly I want to be. As I have made each decision, I kept my family at the root of it all. I have taken on each new challenge knowing that this is the life that perhaps could have been for my mother. I think of the brilliance that she would have brought to bear in each setting that I have encountered, and I am inspired to live as she has--carving out a path that elevates those in need. Being the best of yourself even when people say you will fail. And, as my mother would say with the smuggest of smiles, "remembering where I come from."

This is your last paragraph with some edits by me. I think it may be a good starting paragraph for you. Now, pull out the main concepts and build a paragraph out of each one, tying them together as you go. Keep it direct and simple.

(Next paragraph): The train ride is symbolic in that I was headed one direction when what I really wanted was to be headed elsewhere. The path of least resistance was taking me away from my goal. All I had to do was want it bad enough to go get it. So I did. And I have never looked back. I leaned the value of perseverance, faith, and hard work....

(Next Paragraph) Perseverance, hard work and faith exist valiantly in my native culture of China, but they manifest in different ways. I learned to exude the same honorable traits of my family and at the same time direct the energy and focus into education, advancement, and accomplishment in my hard earned position at XXXXX american law firm...

(Next Paragraph) My immersion in the inner workings of my law firm were intimidating at first, but I soon realized that a career in law is the ideal synergy of my educational aspirations and honorable family traditions of dedication, diligence, and charity. My mother never missed a teaching moment in which to demonstrate to me the value of helping others, and I have seen first-hand how the legal community helps so many people as an advocate and a voice for those who need one.

(Next Paragraph, and we are getting to the end now): My family is from old China where not too many generations ago our girls feet were bound--along with their futures. (<--you can thank me for that one later). I am nervous and excited, and very aware of the symbolism of my continued advancement in academia and my professional career. As I continue to learn and grow, helping others along the way, I also embrace this incredible opportunity to validate the progress in my family through me. It is an opportunity I am most grateful for earning. It is a challenge I accept. It is the next step in a life long pursuit of thriving and achieving that stands on the shoulders of generations of supportive family that are with me every step of the way. I may not know exactly where I am headed, but I do know exactly how I got there. And I will always remember exactly where I came from.

Hows that? You can fill in the voids and make it personal. But I think this is what you were saying-- without saying so much. :)
Last edited by 2807 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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esq
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Re: PS draft, comments please!

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:17 pm

It's perfect, if your plan is to take revenge on the adcoms for the dense RC material in the LSAT by giving them a taste of their own medicine. I think that they will take one look at its length, throw it aside, and move onto the next applicant.




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