First draft - also willing to swap. ETA-different one added

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ra25093
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:27 pm

First draft - also willing to swap. ETA-different one added

Postby ra25093 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:36 pm

There's some things that seem dissatisfying about it to me, like it's only about 2/3 of what it needs to be, though it's almost a full page single-space, 12pt TNR, so I feel like I'm pretty much around the recommended length.

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I still remember the first time I ever got into a mosh pit. A couple of my friends called me up and asked me if I wanted to go to a show. I was just starting to get into heavy metal, and I’d never been to a live show before, so I leapt at the opportunity. The club was small, and the crowd even smaller than it might have been due to the miserable snowy March weather. Still, once the music started, a handful of people organized themselves into a seething, violent mass slamming into each other, only loosely associated with any rhythm.

For a long time growing up, I didn’t really like music at all. Something about it pained me, whether it was the newest Top 40 pop or the most classical Baroque. Very few people understood, and I quickly learned to tune out whatever was playing as best I could.

Once I hit college, however, most of my friends ended up being some variety of metalhead, and I was introduced to sounds that I never had the opportunity to hear. The driving beats, the growl of distorted guitars, the guttural, emotional yells spoke to me in a way I never felt before. Others’ music spoke gently of love, money, status, or lack thereof. Metal literally screamed of mortality, truth, justice, and reality. To me, it tore away the superficial concerns and laid bare the deepest, darkest heart of life.

Still, on that cold March night, watching the tiny crowd explode into boiling fury, I was afraid of joining in the dance. Like most people, I grew up avoiding pain as a general rule. How could I ignore such a basic instinct? How could these people enjoy being hit, being hurt?

But at some point, I had to let go. I couldn’t possibly have stopped myself. I don’t know whether it’s that the music takes control, or it’s some sort of virus of the mind, or just that I’m crazy, but without ever consciously deciding to I abandoned all apprehensions and launched myself into the pit.

Moshing is the best example of organized chaos and collective consciousness I can think of. What looks like pure violence is really governed by a basic but solid set of rules that you understand almost immediately upon entering. If somebody falls, you pick them up. If somebody’s trying to get out, let them. Don’t grope. Leave the sharp things outside the pit. Beyond that, it can change drastically from show to show.

The hardcore scene, for example, is more aggressive and more focused on the individual, with people jumping in and out at short intervals, dancing with kicks and swinging fists. It’s not uncommon to see somebody get knocked out and quickly pulled away by their friends. In contrast, heavy metal is relatively gentle, focused on body-slams and pushing, everybody moving at once.

Yet there’s rarely any anger or hate. If somebody gets hurt, they’re more likely to give their injurer a hearty pat on the back than to take offense or seek revenge. It’s all done in the strongest of fellowship. I think perhaps it goes to the darker roots of the music: suffering is part of life, so it’s better to hurt together than to hurt alone.

And indeed, the first time I jumped into a pit, it did hurt, as it did every time thereafter. You get hit, you get bruised, and sometimes you get stepped on, bowled over, punched in the gut, or kicked in the face. All that’s happened to me, but ever since that snowy night in March, standing there soaked in the sweat of a dozen people, aching, barely able to hear, but feeling a sense of belonging like no other, I have to say it’s worth it.
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Last edited by ra25093 on Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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sach1282
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:50 pm

Re: First draft - also willing to swap.

Postby sach1282 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:45 pm

As someone who's been to a few hardcore shows, I appreciate the story. That said, unless you can make it more relevant, I don't think it belongs in a law school PS.

freestallion
Posts: 944
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: First draft - also willing to swap.

Postby freestallion » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:47 pm

Yes, I REALLY don't think it's a good idea for a PS. You should write about something you've accomplished in life, or something more meaningful than this.

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rinkrat19
Posts: 13918
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: First draft - also willing to swap.

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:50 pm

The writing is too informal, and I don't get a sense of your motivations or any qualities you may have that would translate into law school success. That's not to say it needs to explicitly spell out "why law school" (it doesn't), but the adcomm should not be left thinking "okay...now, why did I read that?"

ra25093
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: First draft - also willing to swap.

Postby ra25093 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:32 am

Maybe I was barking up the wrong tree. I'm gonna hold onto this one but try a rewrite from another perspective.

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: First draft - also willing to swap.

Postby thederangedwang » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:01 am

It is a good story and def shows parts/aspects of your personality...but unfortunately not the parts that law schools want to hear about. I would advise a different topic...unless you somehow made this one more relevant

ra25093
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: First draft - also willing to swap.

Postby ra25093 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:10 pm

Here's another first draft, trying to take into account the advice I've received. Thanks for your help so far.

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The wet slap of my sweaty shin against the leather pad and the hiss escaping between my teeth joined a half-dozen others around the room. “Nice one,” my training partner said. I knew it was, but it’s always good to hear reinforcement. It may have been the three-thousandth time I did a rear-foot Thai kick, or the four-thousandth, or the four-thousand-and-first. I never bothered counting. I know I’ve done a lot, and I know I haven’t done enough.

Muay Thai is an interesting art. You can pick up the basics in a few hours – the punches, the kicks, how to hold the practice pads – but you can drill those fundamentals every day for decades and still have room for improvement. I haven’t been practicing for decades, so to say I’ve got a long way to go is a tremendous understatement.

Yet improvement is elusive. You get into bad habits that hold you back. A couple months after starting to practice, my kicks stopped going anywhere. I practiced almost daily, both at the gym and at home, on heavy bags, on pads, and against the air. I would shadow-box at work when I thought (wrongly, on occasion and to the amusement of others) nobody was watching. Still, I could tell that I wasn’t getting any better, and even seemed to be getting worse. It ate at me for months.

Then one day, after so much practice, self-reflection, and advice from my instructor, something clicked. The body mechanics of a Thai kick are simple and elegant but easy to destroy. Pivot your grounded foot too much, or not enough; swing your arm too high, or at the wrong time; turn your leg but fraction off, and the whole thing changes from one of the strongest blows in the art of Thai boxing to a gentle smack.

I somehow allowed my form to degrade until it became almost totally ineffective, but every gentle correction and bit of advice seemed to fall into place at once. In the middle of one practice round I went from bouncing my leg off the pad to knocking my partner two feet back. There is no greater feeling in the world than that instant where everything that you’ve worked so hard to understand suddenly makes sense.

This process of realization parallels that which has led me to apply to law school. Biology was – and is – a subject which fascinates me, which is why I chose to major in it, but for quite some time I believed that the paths open to me were mainly research and medicine. Though I nursed a small interest in both, the more I was exposed to the day-to-day life in either field – shadowing physicians, , the more I felt they weren't for me. I slogged on desperately searching for something in one or the other that would hook me, but I became increasingly dissatisfied with the prospects.

And then, one day something clicked. One of the most intriguing aspects of biology is biotechnology, and particularly how we deal with intellectual property rights and innovation that harnesses nature and life itself. As I learned more about patent law in this challenging field, instead of finding myself only vaguely interested as I had with so many potential research ideas, I became more and more certain that I had found something I could love doing. Once more, everything began to make sense.

My experience as a vaccine research technician has solidified my desire to practice law in this field. Though I'm sure many obstacles await, my determination (and perhaps the occasional flash of insight) will guide me through them as it has the other sticking points in my life. I look forward to being able to meet them head-on.
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