My last attempt on the personal statement.. please critique.

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afnaidel
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:16 pm

My last attempt on the personal statement.. please critique.

Postby afnaidel » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:06 am

I'm planning to submit my application around mid-September.
So this is probably my last attempt on personal statement. (As you will discover by reading the statement, I'm in the army and it's not the best place to work on law school applications.)

Thank you in advance - I understand that it takes a good amount of effort to critique other people's PS. You are awesome.

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From my early childhood memories of living in South Korea, a typical Korean man viewed a woman as a subordinate to him, as generations after generations of Confucius Koreans have done. My father was not an exception: sometimes he would not even allow my mother to go outside the house. When I had to get stitches in my head because the ashtray my father threw at my mother for disobeying him hit the top of my head, the harmful nature of this culture became clear to me. However, during my first yearly visitation to Korea after I moved to Oregon, I noticed that my father stopped beating my mother. Furthermore, when I made additional visits every year, my father seemed to treat her more respectfully than he did the year before. My father was not the only one; I also observed a growing number of Korean men treating, or at least pretending to treat, women equally. Observing cultural changes like this intrigued me to seek what causes the changes and how to sustain a stream of such beneficial changes, not just for my family or fellow Koreans, but also for humanity as a whole.

Throughout my time in undergraduate, I sought for an answer by studying a broad range of subjects. While many different academic fields I studied suggested different answers, one subject always appeared wherever I looked: law. When I studied the history and culture of speech freedom in the United States, I observed that landmark court cases often accompanied the development of speech freedom. Similarly, in the U.S. elections course, changes in voting habits followed the new voting laws. These observations naturally led to a suspicion that the law initiates societal changes, but I was skeptical at first because my education taught me that correlation does not imply causation. However, when the South Korean army drafted me, my suspicion developed into a plausible theory.

In the late summer of 2012, I began my mandatory military service as a citizen of South Korea. When I arrived at my unit after the basic training, I discovered that my unit still had many undesirable “traditions” like daily physical and verbal abuses among the enlisted, non-commissioned officers treating the enlisted as their personal servants, and more. Though I was lucky to avoid most of the absurdities, watching others suffering was a horrifying experience. After decades of incidents, the army enacted new military laws prohibiting such absurdities, but officers in charge of imposing them ignored the new laws often. Then, everything changed when abused soldiers deserted the unit and the army replaced my unit’s commander with a veteran from a front-line unit to solve the issues. The new commander imposed military laws strictly, sent abusers to military prison, and called for a respecting culture. At first, senior enlisted soldiers talked about none of these acts having any effect on long-existed “traditions.” However, only several months after the changes, even soldiers who have been in the army the longest began to accept the new rule and culture for granted; and it led me to an interesting observation.

Over the course of the episode, I came to believe that the whole episode illustrated how law indeed causes societal changes. As in many cases, newly enacted law and a long-existed culture in the society met. At first, the two did not seem to affect each other; they existed separately. Then, something forced both to mix: in this case, the new commander forced us to adopt the new laws. As soon as the two met, they began to affect each other. After a certain point, the two became indistinguishable as if they were the same being from the beginning. In the case of my unit, we combined the new laws we once ignored with the existing culture and eventually created one respectful culture. I theorized that as long as we enforce a new law correctly, it could initiate beneficial changes in the society.

This interesting observation led me to contemplate the relationship between law and society further. I concluded that law also initiated other societal changes I observed over the visitations to Korea. For example, the newly imposed domestic violence laws at that time probably initiated the changes I observed in the behavior of Korean men toward women. This developing observation on how law changes an existing culture led me to desire a further study of law to confirm my developing theory, so what I experienced in the past with my military service or my family will not happen again. At this point, I’m not particularly set on what field of law I would be studying. Nonetheless, by continuing my journey of discovering how law influences our society, I’m hoping to find the best way to perpetuate the streams of beneficial changes in whatever part of the society I’ll be working.

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afnaidel
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:16 pm

Re: My last attempt on the personal statement.. please critique.

Postby afnaidel » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:13 am

Bump - I would really like to get some feedback on this.

Also, the original post was edited to accommodate changes I made while waiting for feedback.




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