First Draft (please read and critique)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
g4downin
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:56 pm

First Draft (please read and critique)

Postby g4downin » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:30 pm

I have redacted a few drafts covering the gamut of life events. I really like this one, but I am unsure about some of the content and whether it is kosher. The topic I'm referring to specifically is bringing up prosecutorial indiscretions. I could see how this may be questionable, but it is integral to this particular statement. I have written 5 personal statements and I am really just looking for reasons to scrap this idea or keep it and continue revisions.


.......Gresham’s law states that the bad drives out the good, unless the good is defended. It was originally used in the economic sense to describe fiat currencies effect on the economy. It was later adopted to have a plurality of meanings. One of which was in the sense of corruption of a system, be it a government or otherwise. It is evident to me that Gresham’s law has taken root in many parts of our society. There is a need for a palladium against government usurpations of the basic civil rights that are inherent in every individual.
I was interested in social issues in college but never paid more than lip service to the systemic problems of our justice system. Instead, aviation and airplanes consumed all of my time in college. The rigor of the aviation program ensured that one had little time for outside interest, let alone a passion that could transfix for a lifetime.
Graduation and a move to a new city was the stoker that developed an all-consuming fire for the law. Being away from the familiar isn’t easy for most, and I was no exception. What added to the difficulty were the nature of my work and the demographic of my compatriots. My first position out of college was a flight instructor. Our organization was a ROWE (results-only work environment). Due to our ROWE policy, there was little oversight and interaction between supervisor and instructor pilot. The other instructors were all over 40 years old, part time, and established in careers and family. Moreover, strange schedules meant that it would take me an inordinate amount of time to get to know my colleagues personally. Making friends wasn’t easy in this new and strange post-college milieu.
Because I lacked social interaction, my out of work life consisted chiefly of physical activity and reading. I had developed a voracious appetite for learning and reading. The introvert asleep inside of me woke up and I felt much more comfortable spending my days doing independent study. It was unforeseeable at the time, but this would lead to one of the most significant jumps in personal development in my life. I happened to stumble upon a book titled “The Tyranny of Good Intentions” by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts. The purpose of the book was to discuss the constitutional transgressions of government bureaucracy and law enforcement. One of the more striking issues discussed were the stratagems used by prosecutors to garner as many convictions as possible, ostensibly to further their careers. I find it morally abhorrent that the system incentivizes behavior that unscrupulous prosecutors could use to advance their careers. Dr. Roberts then proceeds to discuss a hypothetical system by which prosecutors are rewarded for seeking the truth, the classical function of a justice system.
After reading that book and many others on policy, economics, sound money, and the Federal Reserve, I realized that I needed to take action. I got involved in a grassroots group that canvassed the streets of Chicago, passing out educational DVD’s, pamphlets, and engaging in discussions with strangers. While I thought that this helped at some level, I felt that there was more that I could be doing to make a bigger impact. Law school has been on the table since at least the beginning of college. A little bit of research and I unearthed public interest law. As a public interest lawyer, I feel I could make the biggest positive impact on my community and perhaps the nation.
My motivations are not typical. I understand that many go to law school for prestige and money. This isn’t the endgame for me. I think I can offer much to your university through my unique experience as a flight instructor as well as my unusual business experience as the Brand Manager of a small upstart . I have an unwavering interest in the law and social justice. I feel as though bringing my passion for social justice, law, and my varied experience together will complement and enhance any classroom endeavor. More importantly, I believe that I will contribute to great positive social change after law school.

g4downin
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:56 pm

Re: First Draft (please read and critique)

Postby g4downin » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:02 pm

I'm going to just keep adding examples to this thread and hopefully someone will give me some feedback! Here is another PS (maybe used for an optional) that would answer the question "what would make you a good lawyer?")



My hands gripped the yoke tightly, fighting the violent tendency of the atmosphere to turn us on our heads. My palms were sweaty and my eyes darted around scanning the cockpit instrumentation to maintain positive control under zero visibility. I was sure that this was what it felt being rattled by an earthquake while being forced to complete a complex calculus problem. We were within what was reported as “moderate rain” by air traffic control. It was a circuitous route circumnavigating around some extreme inclement weather to the east and west enroute to Mackinac Island. The radar indicated that our position was approximately 20-30 nautical miles from the worst of it, but it certainly felt like I was deep within the bowls of the leviathan. Every aviation weather textbook you read will tell you that you should maintain at least 20 nautical miles from a severe thunderstorm and I adopted it as a standard, but it doesn’t work in every case. The atmosphere can be as whimsical as the most eccentric dictators. It dictates the rules, often unexpectedly, and you are to comply for the sake of your longevity.

The combination of experience level, certification, aircraft equipment, and weather determines what pilots’ personal minimums are for making a go, no-go decision. Even professional pilots have to cancel flights if the synthesis of all available information concerning a flight indicates that it is outside established personal limitations. Add the psychological and managerial pressure to get the job done and scenarios outside your personal limitations could end in a National Transportation Safety Board accident report. As a pilot, I had to deal with these pressures daily. I was tasked with managing complex meteorological conditions safely and effectively, both on the ground and in the air. Working well under pressure is an absolute requirement to be a professional pilot, especially if an emergency occurs. Being an effective lawyer requires many of the same skills that I have developed throughout my flight training and resultant role as flight instructor. One such skill is attention to detail. This is an all important skill in aviation, from the pre-flight to the engine shutdown checklist. Even before certification, one must exhibit this trait while studying. For example, a lack of attention to detail of the fuel system and its failure modes may result in an accident. If you mismanage fuel, you could exhaust your supply and find yourself in between the proverbial rock and a hard place perhaps with nowhere to land but in inhospitable terrain. Moreover, if an engine fire occurs the wrong actions concerning the fuel system could suffuse the fire, stacking the odds against the pilot. Superior discernment is another requisite for pilot professionals. One aviation axiom states that, “Superior Pilots use Their Superior judgment to avoid Use of Their Superior Skill", delineating this requirement. This is a heavily tested aspect of aviation professionals when taking their exams for certification.

The cockpit continued to shake like gangbusters. I remembered from my pre-flight weather brief that a particular index for thunderstorms indicated the possibility of severe storms. I fumbled for my weather notes as the airplane underwent a series of uncommanded pitch and bank changes. I yanked it out of my flight bag, tearing it in the process. Again, I found myself nearly task saturated attempting to read the weather reports. The index indicated that there was a good chance of quick building storms. Storms can develop under this indices within minutes, even when ostensibly clear of storms. That makes it an impasse, even with radar on board. I made a snap decision that would ultimately prove to be a wholly justified one. I called air traffic control and requested a vector to the nearest suitable airport to wait out the storm. Minutes later, I found myself taxiing in light rain to the terminal. Inside the terminal I pulled up the weather radar to check the storms status. An impenetrable line had developed along my route of flight in the minutes it took me to taxi to the terminal. An hour later I was on my way to Mackinac and completed the flight without incident.

I would love some feedback! Tear it apart!

elegally
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:43 am

Re: First Draft (please read and critique)

Postby elegally » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:13 pm

Honestly, it's a little boring. If an admissions officer had to read even two of these a day, they would probably kill themselves. Don't get me wrong- aviation is a really cool topic, and I think you have a really good writing ability. But you just need to make it a little more memorable. Maybe this is the type of stuff T14 is looking for- I truly wouldn't know. But you don't have to be so boring in an effort to avoid being colloquial.

ccourt14
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:33 pm

Re: First Draft (please read and critique)

Postby ccourt14 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:27 pm

The first one was alright. It felt long. The sentences that didn't go over well with me were "My motivations are not typical. I understand that many go to law school for prestige and money. This isn’t the endgame for me."

It makes it sound like all the other students they will be admitting will just be about money.Even if it might be true, which it's not, it doesn't need to be said.

g4downin
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:56 pm

Re: First Draft (please read and critique)

Postby g4downin » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:13 pm

Thanks for the input. Both were duly noted and I'll take a second look at them.




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