First Draft for PS (Updated draft included)

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Gitaroo_Dude

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First Draft for PS (Updated draft included)

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:12 am

Finally settled on a topic and got a draft written up. I'd like to shorten it a bit, but figured I'd get some TLS opinions before making any edits and revisions to the piece. I definitely want to work on the intro paragraph and make that better. Am I on the right track so far?

My decision to apply to law school took years to arrive. Ultimately, it was an unrelated experience that was the catalyst to my decision. My friends and I had spent two hours hiking across Iceland’s Sólheimajökull glacier to reach this moment: an introduction to ice climbing. I had no previous experience with climbing, but the activity seemed exciting and I was looking forward to doing it with some friends.

I assumed that we’d begin at the bottom of the cliff and simply climb it, but I was puzzled when our guide had us begin at the top of the cliff instead. My heart sank as I saw the guide demonstrate exactly what to do: he placed his back to the cliff, then leaned back and rappelled down the wall. Now, I don’t believe I have a fear of heights; rather, I have a fear of falling. And here was our Icelandic guide telling me to throw myself backward off a cliff of ice, and the only thing keeping me safe was a piece of rope he held onto. Instinctively, doubts began to creep into my head. I began thinking that I should just tell the guide that I couldn’t complete the task. But as I stood in line and watched my friends complete the climb, I paused. My whole life, I had always given in to fear and uncertainty for lack of confidence. This same self-doubt had held me back from pursuing my dream of law school.

I spent four years as an undergraduate preparing myself for law school. I followed the pre law path, participated in my school’s Law Forum, all with the end goal of obtaining a JD and becoming a lawyer. It was a goal I had set for myself in high school when I realized that the law was my academic passion. I was endlessly fascinated by the way it pervades every aspect of our lives, how a few tweaks to hypothetical scenarios could change the application of the law, the discipline it requires to study, and the way it allowed me to use my skills for writing and research. But upon graduation from college, I felt the familiar refrain of self-doubt. How could I succeed in law school? I had completed no meaningful internships in college. I had never bothered to network, nor did I know how to do it. I wouldn’t be as disciplined or as ambitious as the imaginary students I pictured myself competing with on each class’ curve. I allowed fear and indecision to delay my law school dreams indefinitely. Fortunately, a job I had originally taken as a means to make some money during a year off instead became gainful employment. That job, in many ways, changed my life. It allowed me develop the work ethic and discipline that I lacked in college, along with the interpersonal skills I’d need to succeed professionally and to build up a network. It gave me the confidence I needed to move forward in my professional career and foundational skills to leverage. But still, that specter of anxiety and fear was holding me back. I kept waiting for some indeterminate moment when I imagined the universe would tell me “the time is right”. It wasn’t until I stood overlooking a wall of ice that I realized only I could make the decision to take the proverbial plunge into law school. So I turned my back to the cliff, bit my lower lip, and fell backwards.

The actual climb went poorly. I struggled to synchronize my movements, and at one point my shoe came off, causing me to lose my grip and fall down the wall. Eventually my strength gave out and I had to quit. As the guide lowered me down, my friends gathered around me, and their concern was evident. I think they were trying to determine if I was so red from either the cold or embarrassment. But as I stood up, I laughed. Overcoming my fear had shown me that failure wasn’t so bad; instead, I was relieved to have made the attempt even at an activity I knew I’d struggle at. It was a lesson I’d always understood in the abstract, but had never truly grasped until experiencing it myself. And it was a lesson that allowed me to recommit to pursuing law school. The uncertainty of an outcome was no reason to avoid something altogether. I began studying for the LSAT after returning to the US, and planning for admission. The last six years have left me in a much better place, the kind I needed to be in before I could attempt law school with my best effort. I believe these lessons make me a strong candidate for your school.
Last edited by Gitaroo_Dude on Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

galadriel3019

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Re: First Draft for PS

Postby galadriel3019 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:37 pm

Your use of climbing to teach you about overcoming failure is an interesting one. I had a bit of trouble with the middle paragraph where you explain your college journey. You seem to put yourself down a lot, and explaining how your job changed you I don't think makes up for it. You don't provide much depth to how the job changed you, the descriptions lack concrete examples. That also calls into question whether the job was the turning point or the climbing experience.

Again, I like your starting point. I just think you could expand on it a bit more, and cast yourself in a more positive, confident light. It's fine to explain how you've grown, there was just a little bit too much sharing of your shortcomings, at least in my opinion.

Best of luck!

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: First Draft for PS

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:54 am

galadriel3019 wrote:Your use of climbing to teach you about overcoming failure is an interesting one. I had a bit of trouble with the middle paragraph where you explain your college journey. You seem to put yourself down a lot, and explaining how your job changed you I don't think makes up for it. You don't provide much depth to how the job changed you, the descriptions lack concrete examples. That also calls into question whether the job was the turning point or the climbing experience.

Again, I like your starting point. I just think you could expand on it a bit more, and cast yourself in a more positive, confident light. It's fine to explain how you've grown, there was just a little bit too much sharing of your shortcomings, at least in my opinion.

Best of luck!


Thanks. I was re-reading it, and it does give off a distinctly Eeyore-ish vibe, lol. I guess the good thing is that I can kill two birds with one stone now, removing some of that while also shortening it.

Big picture, do you think adding some more concrete and substantive examples to the middle paragraph would strengthen it, or does it detract from the climbing story? I get your point about it being unclear of which experience was my personal turning point. I'm thinking over how to best explain it, but am wondering now if it could get bogged down.

Thanks again for the feedback.

galadriel3019

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Re: First Draft for PS

Postby galadriel3019 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:58 am

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
galadriel3019 wrote:Your use of climbing to teach you about overcoming failure is an interesting one. I had a bit of trouble with the middle paragraph where you explain your college journey. You seem to put yourself down a lot, and explaining how your job changed you I don't think makes up for it. You don't provide much depth to how the job changed you, the descriptions lack concrete examples. That also calls into question whether the job was the turning point or the climbing experience.

Again, I like your starting point. I just think you could expand on it a bit more, and cast yourself in a more positive, confident light. It's fine to explain how you've grown, there was just a little bit too much sharing of your shortcomings, at least in my opinion.

Best of luck!


Thanks. I was re-reading it, and it does give off a distinctly Eeyore-ish vibe, lol. I guess the good thing is that I can kill two birds with one stone now, removing some of that while also shortening it.

Big picture, do you think adding some more concrete and substantive examples to the middle paragraph would strengthen it, or does it detract from the climbing story? I get your point about it being unclear of which experience was my personal turning point. I'm thinking over how to best explain it, but am wondering now if it could get bogged down.

Thanks again for the feedback.



It is tricky to answer for sure without seeing what a draft would look like. But in the abstract I think adding some concrete examples of what happened to you at work, and even threading allusions to climbing throughout that section, could strengthen your message.

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cyclawps

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Re: First Draft for PS

Postby cyclawps » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:01 pm

I like climbing as an example. I think you could spend less time on the self-doubt paragraph. It is useful to talk about experiencing self-doubt and how, just like climbing, you are overcoming it to reach your goal of attending law school; however, dwelling on it may highlight that self-doubt more than necessary.

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: First Draft for PS (Updated draft included)

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:26 am

Hey all,

Thanks for the advice. I put together a new draft over the weekend. I decided to try a different approach: I cut out the work stuff and instead decided to use a storytelling analogy at times instead. Does it come across okay, or is it a little underdeveloped? Also would love to know if there are any glaring grammar mistakes and whatnot that could be corrected.


My decision to apply to law school took years to arrive at. Despite working for a few years, I felt as if my academic career was still an unfinished chapter in my life. Ultimately, it was an unrelated experience that was the catalyst to my decision. My friends and I had spent two hours hiking across Iceland’s Sólheimajökull glacier to reach this moment: an introduction to ice climbing. I had no previous experience with climbing, but the activity seemed exciting and I was looking forward to doing it with some friends.

I assumed that we’d begin at the bottom of the cliff and simply climb it, but I was puzzled when our guide had us begin at the top of the cliff instead. My heart sank as I saw the guide demonstrate exactly what to do: he placed his back to the cliff, then leaned back and rappelled down the wall. Now, I don’t believe I have a fear of heights; rather, I have a fear of falling. And here was our Icelandic guide telling me to throw myself backward off a cliff of ice, and the only thing keeping me safe was a piece of rope he held onto. Instinctively, doubts began to creep into my head. I began thinking that I should just tell the guide that I couldn’t complete the task. But as I stood in line and watched my friends complete the climb, I paused. My whole life, I had always given in to fear and uncertainty for lack of confidence. This same self-doubt had held me back from pursuing my dream of law school.

I spent four years as an undergraduate preparing myself for law school. I followed the pre law path, participated in my school’s Law Forum, all with the end goal of obtaining a JD and becoming a lawyer. It was a goal I had set for myself in high school when I realized that the law was my academic passion. I was endlessly fascinated by the way it pervades every aspect of our lives, how a few tweaks to hypothetical scenarios could change the application of the law, the discipline it requires to study, and the way it allowed me to use my skills for writing and research. But upon graduation from college, I felt the familiar refrain of self-doubt. Unsure if I should commit to law school, I spent the next few years working and saving money, waiting for some indeterminate moment when I imagined the universe would tell me “the time is right”. It wasn’t until I stood overlooking a wall of ice that I realized only I could author my own story and make the decision to take the proverbial plunge into law school. So I turned my back to the cliff, bit my lower lip, and fell backwards.

The actual climb went poorly. I struggled to synchronize my movements, and at one point my shoe came off, causing me to lose my grip and fall down the wall. Eventually my strength gave out and I had to quit. As the guide lowered me down, my friends gathered around me, and their concern was evident. I think they were trying to determine if I was so red from either the cold or embarrassment. But as I stood up, I laughed. I figured that all stories involve the protagonist encountering obstacles along the way. A few bumps and bruises, literal ones in this case, would do me some good. I realized that overcoming my fear had shown me that failure wasn’t so bad; instead, I was relieved to have made the attempt even at an activity I knew I’d struggle at. It was a lesson I’d always understood in the abstract, but had never truly grasped until experiencing it myself. And it was a lesson that allowed me to recommit to pursuing law school. The uncertainty of an outcome was no reason to avoid something altogether. I began studying for the LSAT after returning to the US, and planning for admission. I’m excited to not only author the next chapter of my life in law school, but in the future to take a role in the stories of others too as an attorney.



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