new statement, new subject. FIRST DRAFT.

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eyescream
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new statement, new subject. FIRST DRAFT.

Postby eyescream » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:40 pm

NEW DRAFT: I wasn't vibing the last subject, so I took WhiskeynCoke's advice and just wrote a new one about me. Be blunt and thanks in advance.

It wasn’t that I was unsure about what I wanted to do as I grew older, but that I wanted to do too much. When I transferred from community college to the university I’d graduate from, I didn’t want to feel limited by one major, so I decided to pursue two: philosophy and journalism. At the time, I didn’t give too much thought to the amount of work I’d have to invest to graduate with two degrees—only that the two subjects were ones I was interested in, and whatever the work required, I’d do it.

Nevertheless, I didn’t want to just earn those two pieces of paper, I also wanted to be competitive in either field in case I decided to pursue graduate study in philosophy or professional work as a reporter. So I chose the hard, as Marcus Aurelius said. In philosophy, I focused on specializing in logic and political philosophy, which saw me undertaking several courses in different logical systems culminating in a year-long independent study. For journalism, it was a bit easier, if only by a little: I worked for and contributed to several publications, from my student newspaper to a major metropolitan daily. It was one eighteen hour semester after another, caught at times in a whirlwind buffeting me between internship, class, and work tutoring.

The summer before my final year, though, I realized I had to settle on one or the either. It would’ve been great to pursue a PhD. in philosophy while working at a newspaper, but I’d never be able to pay off those debts as a reporter. Going down one path or the other, a part of me would soon be torn away.

I spent much of the time grappling with this during an internship in XXX. My editor kept me busy through articles about drive-by shootings, protests, hit and runs, and public events. On one of my final assignments, I covered a story about a police office who drunkenly wrecked his ATV into two bystanders, which put me in almost daily communication with the district attorney’s office. Through the professional courtesies between lawyer and reporter, I struck up a more cordial rapport with one of attorneys and told him about my background. He mentioned trying law.

Had I thought about it before? There was always the idea nestled in the back of every would-be philosophers mind: “Well, if this doesn’t work out, there’s law.” I considered it only sparingly before that summer. Besides, lawyers were sophists: They were the “bad guys” in practically every Platonic dialogue. Joking aside, what the lawyer said had given me pause. I did take a mass media law course, and I enjoyed it at the time. Still, I wasn’t quite convinced.

So, I signed up for a class about law and literature through the English department during my final semester. I knew it wouldn’t be like my previous law course, which was fine. I wanted to approach the subject broadly, drawing upon different ideas and different thinkers, much as I did for my classes in social and political philosophy.

And I enjoyed it. The class gave me an opportunity to explore different types of legal analysis through the vehicle of literature. It also gave me an idea: I can combine a bit of both of my passions by pursuing law with an interest in First Amendment studies. As a law student, I’ll be able to rely on a variety of academic and professional experiences—from reporting and interviewing as a journalist, to the analysis and holistic education from studying philosophy.
Last edited by eyescream on Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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bobbypin
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby bobbypin » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:48 pm

I'm not sure how to write this considering this is your final draft. However, your story does not grip me. It also doesn't tell me anything about YOU. Your story seems to say you want to be a lawyer to help people. What is it about YOU that will make you a great attorney? Why should the law school want to admit YOU?

If you are going to stick with this stmt, the final few sentences are confusing about who exactly you are referring to. Who is the man? Is it the friend? Is it the victim? Is it 'The Man'? Is it referencing you?

NightmanCometh
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby NightmanCometh » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:08 pm

Imo, the prose is much too stylized for a law school personal statement. Although it's one thing to make the ps engaging, it is unacceptable to use one word sentences ("Ideas. Right?") or fragments ("People in a bad place at the wrong time") in a personal statement that should be indicative of your writing ability as a lawyer. It will probably be best to stick to conventional grammar rules and avoid highly stylized, 2 word sentences and questions and whatnot.

This might be something you send to your super reach schools, but the way it is written it is way too risky to submit as a personal statement for your target schools imho.

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SantIvo
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby SantIvo » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:27 pm

OP, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think you might have pared your PS too far back; I preferred its earlier form.

ppl123
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby ppl123 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:19 pm

well i can say forsure that you are an excellent writer....really good job on that part. but i agree with the other poster(s)...it does not tell me enough about you personally. it's almost like a poetic story.... but that's about all.... consider throwing in some more about you.... i don't know how far this will get you as is.


eyescream wrote:trying to get as close to perfect as possible. thanks again for the help, all.


Until a particular internship over the summer, I hadn’t thought much about how the law could help a person. Sure, in class I studied things like “the law” and “the just” from Aristotle to John Rawls and everywhere in between. But they were ideas stuck in the ivory tower, and I worked with them conceptually: Argument to counterargument, proposition to rebuttal. They weren’t real for me just yet. I hadn’t seen what the law could do for a person.

That changed. I shambled into the Miami Herald newsroom on a malty July 4th morning. The other interns had family visiting, so I volunteered to work the holiday. Lounging at my cubicle, I clicked through emails and opened one: “Follo (follow up) on yesterday’s brief.” Two more clicks and five minutes later, I had digested the story: police officer involved in ATV crash, was allegedly drinking, two victims, scant details.

Stories like that always got to me. People in a bad place at the wrong time. But I couldn’t dwell on that. I had a job to do, and I had to stay professional. Besides, this could turn out to be a great story. Maybe I’d even get an “Atta boy” from one of the senior editors.

Hours after, my confidence sobered. I had spoken with one of the victim’s friends. He sent me a photo of his friend strapped in a gurney, covered in tubes, and with a rod in his femur. The girl he was with was less fortunate; she had a perforated heart and later had her spleen removed.

“This isn’t fair. This isn’t justice,” I remember him saying, a voice shivering between swells of emotion. What he said gave me pause. Those were just words. Ideas. Right? The philosopher in me was trying to rationalize everything. “These things happen,” I told myself. But they shouldn’t.
I left the newsroom that night, naueseated. My editor patted my shoulder and gave me a smile before I left. Fireworks fizzled in the sky. Next morning, my story headlined the front of the B section. Everyone said it was a great story. I should have felt great.

But I didn’t. That night and nights after, I found myself consumed by what the friend had said. The cop? The victims? They weren’t just characters in a story, they lived and breathed. I thought about fairness and justice and what they meant in regards to the law. Eventually, the officer was charged with two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury and two counts of reckless driving. When I told the victim’s friend, he was relieved.
I couldn’t shake off the nagging thought that events like this happened daily. However, I wasn’t satisfied with only reporting on it. It wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to do more.

While I worked the story, I spoke to the attorneys at the DA’s office. Mostly for quotes and updates, but from time to time I spoke more candidly with them. Each one pursued law for different reasons, but each ultimately believed in what it was that they did. They wanted to help people.
That was what brought the man the fairness and justice he had so fervently pleaded for. Neither idea was something locked away in an ivory tower but spread across the morass and grit of every day life. I wanted to use it like the lawyers I spoke to did—to help people. That was what the law did for people. That was what it should do.

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eyescream
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby eyescream » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:27 pm

you guys are all right. i'm just having trouble projecting myself overtly into the story. it seems like every time i do it, it's either too kitsch or it's rehashing my resume.

ppl123
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby ppl123 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:36 pm

one thing i could see that might work is shortening the story....keeping it at the beginning of the PS...and then cutting it off quickly and delving into YOU.....i dont know though....just one suggestion. it may be hard to put more info into that story.


eyescream wrote:you guys are all right. i'm just having trouble projecting myself overtly into the story. it seems like every time i do it, it's either too kitsch or it's rehashing my resume.

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eyescream
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby eyescream » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:17 am

ppl123 wrote:one thing i could see that might work is shortening the story....keeping it at the beginning of the PS...and then cutting it off quickly and delving into YOU.....i dont know though....just one suggestion. it may be hard to put more info into that story.


eyescream wrote:you guys are all right. i'm just having trouble projecting myself overtly into the story. it seems like every time i do it, it's either too kitsch or it's rehashing my resume.


i tried to implement some of that. bump for edits: shortened story and added more "why law/"me-ness"

thanks for the help

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eyescream
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby eyescream » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:15 pm

just a bump for revised version

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SantIvo
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby SantIvo » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:24 pm

This might just be me observing one of my own writerly foibles present in your PS, but does anyone else think the word "shambled" sticks out like a sore, pretentious thumb?

WhiskeynCoke
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:15 pm

I'm gonna be a little harsh, but I promise to keep it constructive.

The primary problem (in addition to all the "little" problems) with this PS is that it completely focuses on a fairly trivial event that has almost nothing to do with you or your life. If the cop had drunkenly hit YOU/someone you were very close to or if you had a tangible impact on the proceedings I could understand focusing your PS on it. As it stands this PS has NO SUBSTANCE. It seems very forced/faked and I can't seem to identify a concrete thesis/structure or coherent direction. Here's why... Nothing happens in this story! Heres a summary

Intro(Thesis?): Through an internship I learned how the law can help a person
1. Drunk cop hit two people
2. People are mad. Don't think its fair.
3. Cop gets charged for his crimes, people are relieved.
4. Now I "get it" and want to pursue law.

Huh..?... Whaaaat?.....??.....

You seem to focus on the whole "unfairness" of this event motivating you to pursue law but I don't see what you're getting at. The cop was charged for his crimes so what was unfair? That in life, shit happens? It would be unfair if the cop got off scott-free but you seemed to suggest that justice was served and the parties were "relieved." So my primary question after reading this is.... What's your point?

On to some of the "finer details." Despite your PS being quite short, you seem to spend it saying the same things over and over again. For example, here's your very first paragraph:

Until a particular internship over the summer, I hadn’t thought much about how the law could help a person. Sure, in class I studied what justice and the law meant from Aristotle to John Rawls. But those were ideas in the ivory tower, and I worked with them conceptually: Argument to counterargument, proposition to rebuttal. They weren’t tangible for me just yet. I hadn’t seen what the law could do for a person.


I get it. You didn't have direct experience with the law and its processes. Don't spend your entire introductory paragraph saying this over and over again. Its "unfair" to the reader.

I would honestly start over. Your topic is very weak and impersonal. The fact that your desire to pursue law seems to hinge on the fact that you finally realized cops aren't perfect doesn't make for a great personal statement. Also, this PS doesn't reveal a thing about you as a person. What makes you tick? It has to be something other than cops who get DUI's...

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eyescream
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby eyescream » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:10 pm

back to the drawing board, then. i've been in this funk for the last couple days about my personal statement; it just felt like something was off. i'll draft up a new one and see where it goes.

thanks for the comments. appreciate it.

WhiskeynCoke
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Re: final draft before submittal.

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:02 pm

back to the drawing board, then. i've been in this funk for the last couple days about my personal statement; it just felt like something was off. i'll draft up a new one and see where it goes.


Just remember that most people can't point to one single event that drove them to pursue law. Don't try to force your PS into this mold because it will come across as disingenuous. Try to brainstorm what exactly makes you tick. Did you have any passions growing up that evolved into an interest in the law. Didn't you mention journalism? I would go more into this. Be genuine and the reader will feel much more like they got to know your through your PS, which is the most important task for it to accomplish.

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eyescream
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Re: new statement, new subject. FIRST DRAFT.

Postby eyescream » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:15 pm

BUMP for new version. thanks everyone for the previous comments.

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VeeD101
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Re: new statement, new subject. FIRST DRAFT.

Postby VeeD101 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:51 pm

I re-worked you last few paragraphs to flow better. I have also added a couple comments about your transition from one paragraph to another.



Had I thought about it before? There was always the idea nestled in the back of every would-be philosopher’s mind: “Well, if this doesn’t work out, there’s law.” I had considered it only sparingly before that summer. Besides, lawyers were sophists: They were the “bad guys” in practically every Platonic dialogue. Joking aside, what the lawyer said the lawyer’s advice had given me pause. I did had taken a mass media law course which I had enjoyed thoroughly at the time, and I enjoyed it at the time. Still, I wasn’t quite convinced.

(Starting a sentence with ‘So’ in a new paragraph seems to be an awkward transition) So, I signed up for a class about law and literature through the English department during my final semester. I knew it wouldn’t be like my previous law course, which wasand that was fine. I wanted to approach the subject broadly, drawing upon different ideas and different thinkers, much as I did for my classes in social and political philosophy.

(again transitioning into a new paragraph using ‘And’ as your connecter seem a bit odd) And I enjoyed it. The class gave me an opportunity to explore different types of legal analysis through the vehicle of literature. It also gave me the inspiration to combine an idea: I can combine a bit of both ofmy passion in philosophy and media by pursuing law with an interest a focus on in First Amendment studies. As a law student, I’ll be able to rely on a variety of academic and professional experiences—from reporting and interviewing as a journalist, to the analysis and holistic education from studying philosophy. Seems incomplete – add another sentence here along the lines of ‘this is why….’

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VeeD101
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Re: new statement, new subject. FIRST DRAFT.

Postby VeeD101 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:52 pm

Oh, also:

It was one eighteen hour a day semester after another, caught at times in a whirlwind buffeting me between internship, class, and work tutoring working as a tutor.




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