Very Rough Draft, Please Destroy It!

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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Very Rough Draft, Please Destroy It!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:44 pm

I'm a 3.45/173 splitter shooting for a t-14.

In Peri Physeos, Epicurus builds the universe from the ground up. He claims that everything consists of atoms and that each motion is predetermined by the natural “falling” of atoms or collision between bodies. But of course, there is now the risk of total determinism, and this is unacceptable. This is because determinism potentially rules out voluntary action, which is necessary for the efficacy of rational choice, which is a requirement for the attainment of ataraxia: the ultimate state of bliss posited by the Epicureans. So a critical component of Epicurean ethics is now at stake, and to salvage it, Epicureans posit the clinamen: a random swerving motion in the trajectory of atoms. But wait a minute. How does this allow for voluntary action? Wouldn't this just promise completely unpredictable and erratic human behavior?

Believe it or not, I devoted most of my time as a senior to examining this single gap in Epicurean reasoning. I pored over centuries of scholarship about the topic and tried to understand the problem in its proper context, invoking Latin and Greek sources to sketch the academic climate of Epicurus' time, and defining carefully the relevant terms: agent, volition, choice, swerve, etc. In studying the clinamen, I obsessed over a single concept, reconsidering the world from the ground up. It was this kind of small-scale, detailed intellectual work that was always the most rewarding.

At the end of my senior year, I was seriously considering PhD programs and was even accepted to a post-baccalaureate at Columbia University. Yet there were lingering doubts. As the summer after my graduation came to a close, I was already immersed in my studies. There I was, sitting alone in the cold corner of the basement of a library, laboring over every inch of a musty 1000-page commentary on De Rerum Natura, nearly a century old. The cobwebs on the page spewed dust into the air. My eyes grew weary and my mind began to wander. Could I see myself buried in ancient texts for the rest of my life? In the quiet safety of my solitude, there reemerged a longing for social impact. I was measuring the rhythm and stress of Latin poetry, although, deep down, I yearned to map the heartbeat of the universe outside the text. I did not need to save the world, but I wanted to engage with the social and political realities around me.

This was the same desire I felt when I decided to intern for [non-profit], where I worked to raise funds to provide schools in low income neighborhoods of the Bronx and Harlem with a music education. It is the same motivation that led me to volunteer as an editor and contributor for [publication], through which I inform the public of the decrepit state of education in the developing world. Whether it is by a computer, in front of a classroom, behind a video camera, or within an orchestra, my experiences point to a fundamental need for civic engagement. By applying to law school, I hope to maximize the imprint I make upon the society and policies around me. It's time for me to shelve Lucretius, swerve away from my original trajectory, and pursue my interest in the law and public policy.

efeinste
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:32 pm

Re: Very Rough Draft, Please Destroy It!

Postby efeinste » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:58 am

(1) The transition to the last paragraph is extremely weak.
(2) The explanation you provide in the third paragraph as to how you began to realize your interest in law is even weaker. You state that " the quiet safety of my solitude, there reemerged a longing for social impact." Two problems with this: (a) at what point did your longing for social impact emerge initially? Is this in your paper? If so, I missed it. (b) this account of how you came to realize your interest in a law school education and a career in law seems romanticized. Okay, that was an understatement. It is extremely romanticized. In fact, it is so romanticized, it completely undermines your (implicit) assertion that you are genuinely interested in a law school education, a career in law, having a social impact (whatever that means).
(3) Your statement is a bit too negative, in my opinion (this may be the most controversial/debatable of my criticisms). Maybe it's just me, but you don't seem to appreciate what you got out of your undergraduate education. I would consider saying something to the effect of "These were the sorts of questions I devoted myself to answering: xxx? yyy? zzzz? ... I found my studies rewarding for the following reasons: x, y, z, etc. ... However, as time went by, I began to realize something was missing: I felt detached from the world around me, from society, etc. ... Through my experiences doing x, y, z I discovered my interest in the law..and, more particularly, in the fields of x, y, z" Also, really expand on the "and this is what made me realize I wanted to go into law" section as your statement otherwise suggests that you're not so much interested in a legal career as you are averse to academia.


...but really all of this is derivative of a much more fundamental problem: your paper lacks a clear thesis. If you could sum up your argument in one sentence (and you [i]should
be able to do this), what would it be?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Very Rough Draft, Please Destroy It!

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:42 pm

Thanks efeinste. This is really helpful. I'll try a second write today. If you want a second pair of eyes on your PS, feel free to post.




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