Last go at personal statement before applications - help?

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monkeyhead817
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:17 pm

Last go at personal statement before applications - help?

Postby monkeyhead817 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:27 pm

I've posted this on here before, but I've completely revamped it. Thanks to all those who commented before. Tear it apart people.


I arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a three-month charity effort that my friend and I founded. With money that we had raised in the US, we had been traveling throughout Africa visiting schools and communities to aid with anything from school and building supplies to distributing goats to families in need. We were arriving from Rwanda, which is a country with a strong upward trajectory that has rebounded from a brutal genocide in 1994 to become one of the least corrupt countries in Africa.

As we crossed the border into the Congo, the change was immediately noticeable. I sat gripping the seat of our land cruiser as we slowly navigated through the streets of volcanic rock. To my right, children bounced a ball on the one flat area in sight. To my left, a group of soldiers, dressed in full fatigues and machine guns, cracked open their third beer of the afternoon outside the local bar. “If it weren’t for the government, we could do so much more for the children,” said Kizungu, my guide through the Congo and the head of a small orphanage that I was visiting. The town is somewhat like a modern day Pompeii. In 2002, a nearby volcano erupted and demolished the city, leaving mounds of volcanic rock in its wake. The people have made the best of their situation, building walls and houses out of the rocks, but the government has showed little interest in rebuilding the city.
The gravity of the situation in the Congo is due largely to the amount of national funds that are absorbed into the government’s pocket, as the Congo ranks as one of the most corrupt governments in the world. This attitude trickles down to the people, as soldiers and even teachers were eager to advise us in how to spend our money. Meanwhile, the children at Kizungu’s orphanage live in lightless rooms, rocky floors and overcrowded beds, and Kizungu lamented that they would be lucky if fifty percent of donated money reached the children. Although the Congo is by no means a wealthy country, the wealth it does have rarely reaches the people who need it.

Working in a place where the line blends between the government and the criminals made me recognize the law’s role in upholding not only the system of justice, but also the country as a whole. The lack of legal consistency in the Congo has a very tangible effect on people’s day-to-day lives. Because money is funneled through the government’s pocket, adults struggle to get jobs, schools buildings are empty and children receive a worse education. Working in a country where the legal system fails to protect its people made me want to work in upholding that system in my own country.

With my educational background, I feel uniquely prepared to confront these challenges. I majored in philosophy at Xavier University, which led me to an unconventional study abroad program in Rome. Rather than follow the blueprint of typical overseas study, where students live in an American subculture within a foreign country, I directly transferred to the Pontificia Università San Tommaso d’Aquino, one of Italy’s most respected institutions.

Here my passion for philosophy and foreign languages culminated in graduate-level philosophy coursework conducted in Italian. The youngest in my classes by at least five years and the only English speaker, I immersed myself in a highly competitive intellectual environment where I was expected to produce exceptional work in a foreign language. Although taking oral exams on the philosophy of Aquinas with only two years of college courses in Italian was daunting, it forced me to scrupulously understand an argument and its parts. Furthermore, by working in a foreign language in an unfamiliar environment, I grew accustomed to performing well in uncomfortable situations. Because law is a profession that values performing well under demanding conditions, I believe these skills will be indispensable in my legal studies.

My background in philosophy and foreign cultures provides me a solid foundation to meet the challenges of law school. After experiencing the need for arbiters of the law in the Congo and studying with philosophical minds in Rome, I am convinced that law is the best use of my talents and experience. The need for the rule of law is not isolated to a dilapidated town in the Congo. With a background in philosophy, a legal education and a significant exposure to foreign cultures in hand, I hope to be able to contribute to a fair application of the law.

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Marionberry
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Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:24 pm

Re: Last go at personal statement before applications - help?

Postby Marionberry » Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:04 pm

The transition between your experience in the Congo and studying abroad in Italy is weird.

The statement reads kind of like a narrative version of your resume. Your writing is very good, though, and it seems like you have something to work with there. But consider focusing on one of the two toipcs.

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

Re: Last go at personal statement before applications - help?

Postby 2807 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:24 pm

Marionberry wrote:The transition between your experience in the Congo and studying abroad in Italy is weird.

The statement reads kind of like a narrative version of your resume. Your writing is very good, though, and it seems like you have something to work with there. But consider focusing on one of the two toipcs.


If I had not read this first I may not have thought it. But, I did. Although it is very well written, there is an abrupt change at that point. You do tie it together well, but is there a chance you could link the Italian education and the Congo experience in a lead-off sentence at the beginning somewhere so that it flows better as you describe one, then the other. ?

Maybe one of your closing paragraph sentences can be re-worded into a introductory element that says "The combination of two profound experiences define the person I am today..." ....and then tell us about them! (like you did).

Great job on all that stuff. Wow. Awesome.

monkeyhead817
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:17 pm

Re: Last go at personal statement before applications - help?

Postby monkeyhead817 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:22 pm

Thanks guys for the help. I was a bit worried about the transition, since I jump directly into my first story. I'll work on that.




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