Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
CenterFringe

Bronze
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:30 pm

Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

Postby CenterFringe » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:14 pm

I received a ton of constructive criticism the first time I submitted my PS. I'm back with what I think is the final draft, so I would appreciate any and all corrections. For reference, I'm a 176/3.59 applying for Harvard (so I need a great PS to have a chance). Thank you all!
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cold and wracked with altitude sickness, I struggled to catch my breath. I was in the Peruvian Andes, twenty thousand feet above sea level, desperately hoping for a glimpse of the valley below. It wasn’t to be; the morning’s promised splendor had been rebuffed by an afternoon fog. Disappointed, we turned around and began our descent. I’ve climbed mountains from Alaska to Africa, and I’ve lost count of the anticlimactic summits, the hard struggles and the unwelcome surprises. Still, I climb without regret, driven by something beyond understanding. Over a hundred years ago, environmentalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir captured this sentiment in a simple note, “The Mountains are calling, and I must go.”

Indelible images of suffering still echo through my mind. On a steamy midsummer afternoon, at a busy intersection in São Paulo, a physically battered and homeless child was curled up on the sidewalk. In the road, a young girl juggled old coke bottles, while a gaunt boy collected change. Since 1975, Brazil has cleared nearly a million square kilometers of the Amazon as part of the so-called National Development Plan, but the country still fails to feed its children. Moved by my first experiences in a developing country, six years later I returned to South America to volunteer at an orphanage. Serving these children was personally edifying, but I was merely treating the symptoms. Ultimately, to truly reduce suffering, I feel driven to make a meaningful impact on a larger group of people.

Cheap and accessible power does more to improve quality of life, especially for the poor, than almost any other technological advancement. But too often, the environment becomes a sacrificial lamb laid upon the altar of progress. I saw this conflict in North India, where there were frequent black outs and a thick, pungent pollution. I spent three months there studying Punjabi with the State Department, but I also met several electrical engineers who worked at a regional coal fired power plant. Since I’m also an electrical engineer with a background in power generation, they offered me a tour of their facility. In raw terms, India produces more than enough power for the entire country, which, given the number of blackouts, I found surprising. Additionally, in a misguided attempt to reduce the cost of production, they were not allowed to filter sulfur dioxide (the primary component in acid rain) or carbon dioxide. It’s not a problem of technology, but policy. Politically charged, ineffectual policies have resulted in inefficient production, ad hoc distribution, and excessive pilferage that’s lead to 300 million people lacking access to power. Poor policies cause needless suffering, and not just in developing countries. I want to leverage my technical background and experiences to enforce and then develop environmentally responsible policies and regulations that facilitate the widespread realization of benefits from improving technology.

Affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is also a matter of national security. Since 2014, I’ve commanded a platoon of forty-two Marine Corps engineers and 1.3 million dollars in equipment, based on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i. As the platoon commander, I am responsible for my Marines’ physical, mental and emotional combat readiness, while also ensuring that training falls within state and federal environmental regulations. From the endangered blue footed booby to the sacred heiau, Hawaii’s training areas are rich with natural and cultural resources. To balance these competing interests, I worked with the Hawaii Department of Natural Resources, local nonprofit organizations, and others to find creative and mutually beneficial training opportunities. For example, an old state trail in severe need of maintenance became an opportunity for us to construct a ‘combat road’, which provided valuable training, while also increasing public access within the park. I have years of experience working with a wide range of stakeholders to find creative and fiscally responsible solutions to complex challenges.

With a long history of preparing individuals for work on the national stage, a law degree from Harvard is the critical next step in my goal of influencing national energy and environmental policy. Good policy writing and regulation compliance can avoid lawsuits, increases efficiency and benefits all stakeholders. My undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and sociology were a deliberate choice to synthesize practicality and passion. Concern without understanding is impotent, but progress without empathy is dangerous. Similarly, an intimate understanding of the legal system, especially with respect to administrative and environmental law, is critical to translating my substantive knowledge into beneficial policies with a nationwide impact. I know the path I seek is demanding. Every summit has challenges, and the final vista is uncertain. Still, the mountains are calling, and I must go.

lukewarmest

New
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

Postby lukewarmest » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:58 pm

When you write "Indelible images of suffering still echo through my mind" you come across as someone who wants me, the reader, to know that you know what indelible means. I can't think of any other purpose for the word - if the images are indelible, by definition they still echo through your mind. The redundancy is an easy tell.

galadriel3019

New
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:07 pm

Re: Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

Postby galadriel3019 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:21 pm

Paragraph four is what I wanted your essay to be built around (or at least be introduced earlier). Your first three paragraphs sounded a bit like someone who vacationed in cool places and saw people suffering… there was little context for why you were there/knew this/were passionate about it. Again, your time in India doesn't have the depth of background for me to understand why this is in your PS. Saying you studied there for three months again comes across as a very brief experience of yours that for some reason made it into a PS. Listing where you saw suffering and bad policy doesn't show me why YOU are 1) interested in these topics 2) wanting to gain the capability to fix the problems.

And then I read paragraph four and I'm like "holy cow what experience and insight"… And THAT is where the power of your PS comes through. I think you could leave the PS roughly in the form it is but use your introduction to shape a bit more WHY you have traveled to places of unrest and inefficient policy (India and Brazil), and SHOW your passion for energy policy and why it connects. The India portion of your essay works more than the Brazil part, but with some editing I think you could keep both.

With a little refinement I think this PS could be stronger, but boy do you have an interesting story to share! Best of luck to you and thank you for your service.

User avatar
oshberg28

Bronze
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:24 pm

Re: Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

Postby oshberg28 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:15 am

I feel like the first paragraph has nothing to do with the rest of the story, except to tie in the last line of the PS. The second paragraph and the first paragraph are both introductory...all of the paragraphs also feel disjointed, and I agree with a previous poster that you should focus more on one area. Nonetheless, I am holding his PS to a much higher standard given your goals (Harvard) - it's a fine PS, but not "fantastic", IMO.

CenterFringe

Bronze
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:30 pm

Re: Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

Postby CenterFringe » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:45 pm

lukewarmest wrote:When you write "Indelible images of suffering still echo through my mind" you come across as someone who wants me, the reader, to know that you know what indelible means. I can't think of any other purpose for the word - if the images are indelible, by definition they still echo through your mind. The redundancy is an easy tell.


That makes a lot of sense, I'll do that. Thanks for the help.

bgt1995

New
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 3:21 pm

Re: Five months ago you (helpfully) shredded my PS. I'm back with a final draft

Postby bgt1995 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:26 pm

-



Return to “Law School Personal Statements?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.