Personal Statement 1st Draft- Willing to Reciprocate

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Anonymous User
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Personal Statement 1st Draft- Willing to Reciprocate

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:21 am

Happy December LSAT score everyone! Here's the 1st draft of my PS; it's a bit weird, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. I know the end is definitely weak, but, again, I'm not sure how to fix it. Let me know what you all think about everything. I'm hoping for a lower T14 acceptance, if that matters. Feel free to PM with your PS, and I can return the favor (though I'm obviously no expert in the genre).



Sometimes I imagine I am out on a frozen lake, dancing with myself to the hectic tune of Saint-Saën’s Danse Macabre. Trying to keep up with its frantic ups and downs is exhilarating, and though I occasionally trip and make a fool of myself, for I have never been much of a dancer, it has led me to find joy in places I would not have looked while I was in school. For example, I recently decided, somehow, that it would be a good idea to walk outside in my bathing suit in subzero weather so I could climb into an overcrowded hot tub. As my skin was seared by the heat of the water, my ears burned from the cold; I felt like a giant, standing so tall that my body stretched from sea level to the cold of the upper atmosphere. With my hair freezing into prickly brown icicles, I gazed through the darkness and the steam and watched almost a dozen shooting stars streak across the sky without even thinking of making a wish, so taken was I by the ephemeral bliss of existence-as-it-happens. I later realized that I should have spent one of those precious moments wishing for a perfect LSAT score, but practical concerns like that have a way of spoiling the sublime.
Yet, every once in a while, I make a false step that is more than just a faux pas. It is not that I embarrass myself in trying something new, as I often do when trying to dance, but that the whole experience falls flat, and I wonder what the point of it all is: a sunset loses its brilliance, my tongue grows accustomed to some new-found exotic dish and the flavor fades away. At such moments, I can hear the ice crack beneath my feet, and I remember why the Danse Macabre, which sounds so playful, is so grimly named. The medieval allegory of the Danse Macabre, which inspired Saint-Saën’s piece, portrays a personified Death leading a dance of the dead and the living alike, including men and woman of all stations, from princes of the Empire and the Church down to the lowliest peasant. Performing a similar act of democratic leveling, the French philosopher Pascal characterized virtually everything that human beings do, from hunting and gambling to matters of state, as mere divertissement, literally "diversion," but in modern French equivalent to "fun." For him, all the unhappiness of men comes from their inability to simply stay idly indoors, which they cannot do because, without diversion, even a king's mind quickly turns melancholy with thoughts of mortality. (In every age, there has been a Frenchman writing about how horrifying existence is.) Being far less than a king, I find that many of those things which occupy my time are unable to hold my entire attention, and at these moments especially, I long for something greater.
And so, having tried to live each day for its own sake, I realized that I was willingly climbing into the universal trap of human existence. For Pascal, the only escape from this trap was to turn to God. He didn't finish his magnum opus, which is why it is published as his Thoughts rather than as an Apology for the Christian Religion, but I wager he would have explicitly identified the quest for diversion as a major source of sin in our world. This is what brings me back to my decision to re-apply to law school. It is not that I wish to continue searching for diversion, though I am sure that the enormously demanding curricula of most law schools will provide plenty of it. Rather, I hope to put myself in a position where I can do some good in the world. Given all of the injustice in our world, I believe a career in law would provide just that opportunity. Being a gay Catholic puts me in something of a bind as far as accepting Pascal's solution to existential dread goes, but maybe doing some good works will help me along. Pascal, sympathetic to the heterodox Jansenist sect, which believed good works to be irrelevant to salvation, would likely have disagreed. But given that he specifically enjoined people to pretend to have faith even if they did not, just to get into the habit of it, I think he would have called it a decent start.

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scoobysnax
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Re: Personal Statement 1st Draft- Willing to Reciprocate

Postby scoobysnax » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:49 am

Your PS shows you're clearly knowledgeable, but I would trash more than 2/3 of this personal statement. A personal statement needs to address 1) why law and 2) why you. The most interesting things I learned about you is that you're a gay Catholic and that you and I have something in common (hot tub in freezing weather = amazing).

The Pascal & Danse Macabre parts detract from you. If you must, condense to one paragraph. Then expand on this. This should be your PS:

"This is what brings me back to my decision to re-apply to law school. It is not that I wish to continue searching for diversion, though I am sure that the enormously demanding curricula of most law schools will provide plenty of it [address why you can handle it]. Rather, I hope to put myself in a position where I can do some good in the world [be more specific. also why would YOU be able to do good? a lot of people want to "do good," not everyone is a good candidate for it. Given all of the injustice in our world, [what injustice?] I believe a career in law would provide just that opportunity [how?]. Being a gay Catholic [like I said earlier, this is interesting] puts me in something of a bind as far as accepting Pascal's solution to existential dread goes, but maybe doing some good works will help me along. "

Anonymous User
Posts: 273202
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Personal Statement 1st Draft- Willing to Reciprocate

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:06 pm

Thanks, Scooby! I will work on something along these lines this weekend. If anyone has anything else on what might be worth salvaging/changing, let me know.

On a side note, I know Berkley explicitly allows for a significantly longer PS (I think 4 pages double-spaced). Do you think it would it be worth retaining the extraneous bits there?




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