How Personal is too Personal?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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femmefatale
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How Personal is too Personal?

Postby femmefatale » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:39 pm

One of my "optional" essays, asked me to describe a difficult ethical situation I have faced.

There was one clear situation that stuck out in my mind. I was able to take out the emotion from my essay and objectively describe it, but it still felt really personal.

Hopefully the school will appreciate my candidness.

Do you feel that there are certain topics that are off limits? Or, does it depend on how you write about the subject?

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papercut
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Re: How Personal is too Personal?

Postby papercut » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:54 pm

Do you feel that there are certain topics that are off limits?


Of course there are. If your "difficult ethical situation" is a daily urge to rape and torture fury animals, then that would not be a good idea to write about, no matter how you wrote about it.

Essentially, if it makes you look bad, then it's not a good idea to write about.

These questions are all testing your judgement, as well as whatever it is that they're directly asking about. If you pick a terrible topic, they'll think you have poor judgement.

I think for this question in particular you have to pick two things that are each commendable, but where you can only do one. I remember an example from Sartre.

It's Nazi occupied France. Your mother is old, and needs daily care. Your friends and siblings are going to fight in the resistance. You can choose to help your mother, or help your friends, siblings, and country. You cannot do both.

Who can say that this isn't a difficult ethical situation?

I think approaching this essay questions by discussing a choice between doing something right versus doing something wrong is a mistake.

Which approach did you go with?

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femmefatale
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Re: How Personal is too Personal?

Postby femmefatale » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:24 pm

papercut wrote:
Do you feel that there are certain topics that are off limits?


Of course there are. If your "difficult ethical situation" is a daily urge to rape and torture fury animals, then that would not be a good idea to write about, no matter how you wrote about it.

Essentially, if it makes you look bad, then it's not a good idea to write about.

These questions are all testing your judgement, as well as whatever it is that they're directly asking about. If you pick a terrible topic, they'll think you have poor judgement.

I think for this question in particular you have to pick two things that are each commendable, but where you can only do one. I remember an example from Sartre.

It's Nazi occupied France. Your mother is old, and needs daily care. Your friends and siblings are going to fight in the resistance. You can choose to help your mother, or help your friends, siblings, and country. You cannot do both.

Who can say that this isn't a difficult ethical situation?

I think approaching this essay questions by discussing a choice between doing something right versus doing something wrong is a mistake.

Which approach did you go with?

Point taken. Fortunately my essay topic didn't involve any strange compulsions or furry animals.
It involved making a decision between two "commendable" actions.
I describe how I rationalized a decision which I initially felt fell into an ethical gray area and my rationale behind my final decision.

The topic itself is a bit controversial but I think the reader can see that I made the right decision even though it wasn't necessarily "popular". Ethical does not always = popular.

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papercut
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Re: How Personal is too Personal?

Postby papercut » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:25 pm

It involved making a decision between two "commendable" actions.


I think you're fine in terms of topic then. Enjoy your cycle. :wink:

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tkim129
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Re: How Personal is too Personal?

Postby tkim129 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:04 pm

Tie the ethical dilemma into the practice of law. As an attorney, you will be doing tons of balancing between competing principles.

And if you want to be extra awesome, throw in a quote by Justice Holmes (the great constitutional balancer). Every Conlaw prof has a huge boner for Holmes, myself included.




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