First draft - does this work?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
xdskyline
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:36 am

First draft - does this work?

Postby xdskyline » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:42 am

At an altitude of 14,000 feet, the oxygen level of the air falls to 60% of what it is at sea level. I had an academic understanding of this when I began my climb of Mt. Rainier; I had seen pictures and maps, but the reality of what 80mph winds, temperatures in the teens, and needing to take two breaths for every one you ordinarily would is not an experience that can be conveyed through a book. Down the rope, my altitude-sick father lost his breakfast on the ice, and ahead the mountain loomed cold and unforgiving. As every mountaineer has at some point, I had to question: “why am I doing this?”

Though mountaineering is probably my most extreme pastime, I think its adventurous, hands-on nature represents me well. When I was small, my father read me a book about Leonardo Da Vinci, and the concept of a renaissance man with a vast breadth of knowledge and abilities resonated strongly with me. As I grew older I found that I enjoyed pursuing a variety of interests, which range from the mundane (playing piano, reading) to the more unusual (building computers, hip-hop dance, and of course, mountaineering).

My curiosity extends to the academic as well. In college, I found I had a passion for the logical and analytical nature of political science but also developed an interest in evolutionary biology. My decision to minor in biology – despite the detrimental effects the classes had on my GPA – was based on the importance I place in having a broad spectrum of knowledge. I take pride in having a background in two vastly different fields and I believe it makes me a more balanced person.

Developing breadth of interest and expertise is a life goal for me, but it is also a quality that has practical benefit. I've found that having a diversity of experience has allowed me to approach problem solving, writing, and decision making with different perspectives and skills that I wouldn't have developed with a narrower field of interest. I hope that this will serve me well in law school, where the ability to approach a problem from many angles is invaluable.

Curiosity is something that must be applied to be useful. Just as one must personally experience a mountain to understand it, I knew I had to seek firsthand knowledge in my field. During my senior year in college, I interned in an immigration law office, where I spoke with clients and heard genuine gratitude in their voices as they thanked us for supporting their cases and fought to keep them from being deported from their homes and families. It was here that I learned of the personal aspect the law could have despite its abstract and often impartial nature.

Following graduation, I interned in the office of State Assemblywoman Jane Doe. The highly goal-oriented world of politics encouraged me to be resourceful and adaptable as our work varied widely in nature, ranging from casework for disadvantaged constituents to drafting legislature. I often worked events or walked precincts on a campaign I had minimal background information or briefing on. Our assignments rarely had rigid guidelines, and as a result I honed my ability to work independently in the absence of established procedure. The mentality of the position was simply to determine who needed to be contacted and what was necessary to “get it done” - an ethic I believe will benefit me in any professional environment.

Mountaineers are often met with skepticism. The most common question asked (which many mountaineers must consider themselves) is “why did you climb it?” The common response of “because it was there” is meant to be flippant, but in truth there is a degree of of sincerity in it. There are rewards to be had for these willing to wade into the unknown, perspectives that can only be understood by those who dared explore them in person. As I stepped onto the summit of Mt. Rainier, I knew I had done so with the mental fortitude that comes from braving the unfamiliar and the discipline developed from meeting challenges of every kind. A law degree is unquestionably a daunting goal, but it's a mountain I believe my experiences have prepared me for; a challenge I am eager to face. I look forward to reaching the top.




This is my first draft, so I'm not overly concerned with wording or grammar choice critiques (although they are still welcome). What I would like feedback on are the big picture issues: could this become a strong PS, with refinement? Or is the concept fundamentally poor, too vague, etc - cut my losses and start over? What information isn't in there that should be, and what am I including that I shouldn't have? Anything regarding paragraph organization would be helpful too.

Thanks!

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red52
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:28 am

Re: First draft - does this work?

Postby red52 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:58 am

i don't normally post here, quite frankly I am new to these forums. However, what logically follows from mountain climbers climb mountains "because it is there" and you are looking for a law degree for the "challenge" of obtaining one is not exactly a convincing conclusion in my opinion.

This, along with the grammatical errors and over use of parenthesis makes me skeptical of this statements efficiency. Though I know grammar can be fixed quite easily.

xdskyline
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:36 am

Re: First draft - does this work?

Postby xdskyline » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:31 am

red52 wrote:i don't normally post here, quite frankly I am new to these forums. However, what logically follows from mountain climbers climb mountains "because it is there" and you are looking for a law degree for the "challenge" of obtaining one is not exactly a convincing conclusion in my opinion.


Agreed, that isn't quite what I meant to say but it does seem like that's how it's coming across. That'll need reworking.

Any other opinions?

ns2675
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: First draft - does this work?

Postby ns2675 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:36 am

I'm not an expert by any means, but I really liked it.

eleemosynary2
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: First draft - does this work?

Postby eleemosynary2 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:07 pm

There is something here to build on. I felt it started better than it finished. You don't need to wrap it up like a high school essay where you tie everything together with a metaphor.

Minor note, revise the immigration law paragraph to be less about their gratitude. Also the transition is forced there. Not sure exactly how to fix it, but think if there is a better thematic connection.

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MarcusAurelius
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: First draft - does this work?

Postby MarcusAurelius » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:24 pm

You need stronger topic sentences. A reader should be able to read only the topic sentences and generally understand the arguments organizational structure and main points. Read through your topic sentences and ask yourself whether they show your arguments development or not. Yours don't clearly establish the point each paragraph is trying to convey.




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