European Travels PS - Revised Version

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
AKenter
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:17 pm

European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby AKenter » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:50 am

Greetings. I am starting a new thread so that new readers are not confused by seeing two very different personal statements in the same thread. A lot of people made great comments on my earlier version and to them I give a hearty thanks. I am greatly in your debt. I sincerely hope that you will continue your assistance by taking a look at my new version. Thank you so much!

A light rain falls and transforms the long, tangled grasses to ice. Across the valley, where hills climb higher, snow flakes descend and dust the landscape. I carry two wooden fence poles on my shoulder as I walk. I slip, regain balance and continue to follow my host as we march to the top level of his terraced olive grove. Swollen from a week of precipitation, the Tiber roars in the valley below. We reach our destination. My host motions towards his and neighboring vineyards, the whole of the valley visible at this height, and recounts a famous battle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines which raged there centuries ago. Socks soaked and teeth chattering, I release my burden and we trundle back down the hill. Many more posts are needed before we can begin fencing the grove.

Stories of personal growth through travel are numerous to point of becoming cliché. Yet, this is a shame, for the volume of such stories is a testament to the reality that immersion in a different manner of life and custom can profoundly impact the individual who experiences it. The encounter with difference has the literal effect of broadening one’s conceptual gaze; of providing the backdrop against which one can compare his or her own habits of thinking and sense of the world. I was fortunate in having just this sort of experience while traveling in Europe.

While I will not soon forget exploring the great Western European cities, it was my time with host families on their farms that I recall most fondly and that are most stimulating in their recollection. Yet, among these highlights, one stands out from the rest. In the central Italian province of Umbria, my hosts owned a small vineyard in the Tiber river valley. It is common to witness singular determination in an effort to accomplish a particular task. I have behaved in such a manner while executing the various projects of my life, yet the efforts had always been disjointed. One goal attempted at a time without a deep and unifying theme between them. What is rare, however, is the complete dedication of one’s activities to the achievement of, not some individual project but, a manner of living.

My hosts, an older couple, had purchased their vineyard only a few years prior to my stay with them. They had abandoned their old home and careers in order to start afresh amid the foothills of the Apennines. Their aim was to convert an overgrown and forgotten plot into a fully functioning vineyard and winery. Yet this was so much more than a mere project. So driven were they to accomplish their purpose that it pervaded all aspects of their lives. To create out of formless nature, by the work of their hands and intellect, the ordered structure of their dreams was their ultimate end. With this mindset, even the most mundane chores were imbued with a certain nobility as their completion was a necessary step toward the achievement of the overarching goal. The passion with which they worked was infectious and utterly inspiring.

Experiencing my hosts’ manner of life created in me a deep respect for the sort of goal directed living that they embodied. Selecting an ultimate goal focuses one’s activity. I wish to live such a life and intend to do so.


The endings is a bit weak... I am currently drawing a blank. However, some criticism of the rest will probably help as will some more thought on my part. Thanks again for reading.

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djjf39
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby djjf39 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:15 am

OP, I read the whole thing, and if I was an adcomm I would have one question:

what is this farmer doing applying to law school?

Unless you have superior numbers, your PS should probably at least loosely come into contact with a reason you should be admitted to LS.

If you do have superior number(s), then I would suggest a return to the fencepost metaphors in the first paragraph along with more explication about the ways in which you have "grown"

goodluck, especially if you are applying this cycle.

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djjf39
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby djjf39 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:19 am

AKenter wrote:I release my burden and we trundle back down the hill


Also, this line makes me think: romance novel, but maybe I am just predisposed

CanadianWolf
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:27 am

This is not an effective personal statement due to its dream-like meandering quality. The paragraphs seem to be thrown together without a logical progression. The romantic, dreamy writing style is interesting, but I am unsure as to whether or not it is appropriate for one's law school personal statement as it seems better suited as setting the scene for a romance novel. The first sentence of the second paragraph was odd & makes the essay seem disjointed.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

minuit
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby minuit » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:36 am

It's nice writing, but it would be a gamble using it as your PS.

Also, the Umbria region of Italy is gorg, I agree.

AKenter
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:17 pm

Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby AKenter » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:28 pm

Thank you all very much for the comments. Though disheartening (especially the romance novel stuff :( ), I understand and agree with your critiques. I am starting afresh with a totally different PS. Instead, I am writing about my time working at a small Personal Injury law firm. Here is my new opening paragraph:

On a windswept and chilly November afternoon, I stood beside Paul, his client, and her husband at the top of the courthouse steps. The jury reached a favorable decision some minutes before and, after a year of paperwork, rehab, and worry, Paul’s client had been awarded compensation for her accident related expenses and damages. As we prepared to part ways, she thanked Paul one more time and hugged him. Her eyes teared up as she and her husband turned and walked away. I could tell that there was more to this surge of emotion than happiness for achieving a monetary award. Indeed, the money had nothing to do with it. Along with suffering debilitating physical injuries, she had also suffered the grave moral injury of being help partially responsible for the car accident. So, with victory in the courtroom, came the great and intangible compensation of moral vindication. Paul, through his efforts, had been able to secure this for her. As he and I walked to the parking lot, he told me that it was on days like this one when he was most proud to be a lawyer.

molomloch
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby molomloch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:35 pm

How do you know Paul?

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worldtraveler
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:42 pm

I skimmed it and wanted to beat my head into something.

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icecold3000
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby icecold3000 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:01 pm

It seems like you are trying to write the great American novel. Tone down the wishy washy adjectives a little bit. Also, "I release my burden and we trundle back down the hill" sounds like you took a poop on the hill.

The second opening paragraph is better, but it still does not communicate much about you and is not particularily hooking.

Saltqjibo
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Re: European Travels PS - Revised Version

Postby Saltqjibo » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:24 am

Don't listen to the haters, you have an excellent voice that comes across in your writing. I love the descriptions.
If it were me I would tone down the abstract parts a bit and focus more on description
Also it probably should be tied in some way to law (although the goal directed behaviour thing could get you there if fleshed out possibly)

Great improvement from your previous drafts!




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