Dropping the F bomb?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Dropping the F bomb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:00 pm

*I did search for other posts on this topic but the responses were not helpful as I feel this can be a case by case thing. Please do not link me to a similar topic.

My personal statement starts off talking about my activism in the queer community in college and I mention a popular quote in the queer community that was sort of our motto: "Not gay as in happy but queer as in fuck you." Right now I have it written as "f*** you" in the sentence.

I really feel this quote is important in showing the sort of activist environment and mindset I had in college from which I then grew to have a less angry but still passionate desire to work towards social justice.

Does this seem like it could be acceptable or is it a hard no? Also if I do put it in should I do the f*** version or write out the word?

I'm not trying to get shock value or anything, I just feel that particular quote is what captures the spirit of the queer activism I was involved in and sets the stage for my growth and eventual decision to pursue law school.



Maybe relevant info: I'm applying to a few T14s and a couple other T1s in cities I am interested in incredibly late in the cycle (as in I am submitting this weekend) so at this point I have the mindset of just going for it and if I get in somewhere good I'll attend (I'd really prefer to attend this fall) and if I don't I will reapply to more schools early next cycle (not ideal but willing to do that). I have a 99th percentile LSAT score (>75% for school's I'm applying to) and a <25% GPA.

WahooLaw24
Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:35 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby WahooLaw24 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:11 pm

Because you're just kind of going for it late in the cycle and seem willing to wait until next year, I'm tempted to say this is fine, but honestly I wouldn't. Simply put, it is bound to turn a few schools off and it's hard to see it really helping much at any school.

Your topic about activism is good, but there has to be a good way to express that without including the quote. There must be other ways to capture the spirit you're looking for.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22788
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:24 pm

Honestly, I don't think there would be slightest problem with it. It's basically a quote (and there are plenty of occasions when a lawyer would have to quote curses in their work). I might err on the side of writing f***, but I don't think it will hurt you at all.

rwhyAn
Posts: 294
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:09 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby rwhyAn » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:31 pm

Maybe it's because I'm a little older and old-fashioned, but I have never seen where dropping the f-bomb in any formal setting was a good idea, professionally or academically. You'll most certainly turn off a few people, and the people who didn't care one way or another before aren't likely to care after. I don't think that anyone is going to see the use of the f-bomb as courageous; more likely, they'll think that you're an immature punk. Think of the audience reading it. They're more likely to be 60+ years old with old-fashioned values than someone in their 20s.

User avatar
Bildungsroman
Posts: 5548
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:31 pm

High risk, low reward.

User avatar
LSATSCORES2012
Posts: 770
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:12 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby LSATSCORES2012 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:32 pm

I don't see how this could help your application. In your position, I would leave it out.

Re: A. Nony. Mouse's point, I think this is a bit different than a quote. It's not just a quote, but a quote that you're endorsing as as the motto of a group you belonged to.

Edit: A case where I think it might be appropriate is if the westboro baptist church were shouting "Fuck [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.]!" at you or something. Even then, I would probably frame it as "hurling insults" rather than quoting them.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22788
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:38 pm

rwhyAn wrote:Think of the audience reading it. They're more likely to be 60+ years old with old-fashioned values than someone in their 20s.

I'm happy to be disagreed with on the basic issue, but I don't actually think this is the case. I just don't have the impression that most adcomms are remotely that old. And I don't think age necessarily governs here (because I'm older than probably everyone else in this thread - in fact, I think sometimes older people are less conservative about this kind of thing than someone in their 20s is).

And I also didn't see the OP's PS as necessarily endorsing the quote as much as using it to describe the particular background they came from.

But OP, clearly I'm in the minority here on the basic issue.

User avatar
2807
Posts: 578
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:23 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby 2807 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:50 pm

You say you do not want the shock value?

Prove it.

Do not use it.

I don't even understand it.
It is non-sense, immature, confrontational, unprofessional, and likely detrimental to whatever your initial cause was.

The end.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22788
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:56 pm

OP, you might find it helpful to post this in the Mike Spivey thread, too, where former adcomms give advice. Because I'm really surprised everyone thinks it would be such a big deal, but clearly, everyone else does think so.

User avatar
isuperserial
Posts: 519
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:49 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby isuperserial » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:04 pm

I personally wouldn't do it. Most people won't care that you said fuck in your essay, but those that do will care in a way that is not beneficial to you being admitted. If even one person denies you because they didn't like your use of the word fuck, then it was detrimental. I can't imagine anyone giving you a boost for it. So why do it? Why take a risk for almost no chance of reward?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:18 pm

LSATSCORES2012 wrote:I don't see how this could help your application. In your position, I would leave it out.

Re: A. Nony. Mouse's point, I think this is a bit different than a quote. It's not just a quote, but a quote that you're endorsing as as the motto of a group you belonged to.

Edit: A case where I think it might be appropriate is if the westboro baptist church were shouting "Fuck [Hi; this person hates sunshine and kittens and pleasant things in the world]!" at you or something. Even then, I would probably frame it as "hurling insults" rather than quoting them.


rwhyAn wrote:Maybe it's because I'm a little older and old-fashioned, but I have never seen where dropping the f-bomb in any formal setting was a good idea, professionally or academically. You'll most certainly turn off a few people, and the people who didn't care one way or another before aren't likely to care after. I don't think that anyone is going to see the use of the f-bomb as courageous; more likely, they'll think that you're an immature punk. Think of the audience reading it. They're more likely to be 60+ years old with old-fashioned values than someone in their 20s.


I understand where both of you are coming from but I just want to make sure you are clear on the fact that the quote is meant to highlight the fact that basically I was an "immature punk" and it was the motto of a group I belonged to but no longer endorse. It is meant to highlight the "activist spirit" and anger that I outgrow before I decide to begin my journey as a lawyer. So I suppose I thought it would help really capture an attitude and create a strong contrast with the person I am now.

From your replies I was not sure if that was clear. Does that change things for y'all at all?

And would y'all suggest scrapping the quote altogether, substituting another less offensive word, or just finding another less offensive way to express the spirit?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:23 pm

2807 wrote:You say you do not want the shock value?

Prove it.

Do not use it.

I don't even understand it.
It is non-sense, immature, confrontational, unprofessional, and likely detrimental to whatever your initial cause was.

The end.


It is supposed to be confrontational etc. and by the end of my personal statement I move away from that entire attitude which was indeed not beneficial to the cause. The point is to provide a clear image of where I started.

I am leaning towards not using the word but do you think that expressing that sort of attitude at all is going to be detrimental? I do it to show my growth from that point but is portraying my past self in that light not a good idea at all?

User avatar
2807
Posts: 578
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:23 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby 2807 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:29 pm

The message is good:
Passion for a cause, with growth and maturity developing in the advocacy of it.
Go with that.

The vulgarity is nonsense.
That is why youthful people with less perspective used it in the first place.

Now, you are no longer one of them.
So, you no longer need to use that ineffective approach.

Just say:
... " we had a slogan that used clever vulgarity in an attempt to be impactful, but now I know it really was just vulgarity for the sense of vulgarity" ....

Maturity and professionalism in advocacy is what you learned.
Gee, what a concept...
Go with that.

The end.

User avatar
Stringer Bell
Posts: 1909
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:43 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:33 pm

FWIW, Jeff Skilling responded to a question from his HBS interviewer by saying that he was "f*cking smart" and was accepted as a borderline candidate.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22788
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:56 pm

So, according to the Q&A thread, I guess I've been in criminal stuff too long - ignore my posts above.

User avatar
tkim129
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:10 pm

Re: Dropping the F bomb?

Postby tkim129 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:02 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:High risk, low reward.


This.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.