Traveling the Middle East PS

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olsonl
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:46 am

Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby olsonl » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:35 am

I'm in the final round of revision for my PS, and any advice/critique would be very helpful. With 3.26 and a 171, does this all give me a chance for T-14? Thanks!


The stench was bad, but my worry that the van would fall apart distracted me. Nestled snugly between a distinguished Syrian gentleman and a mysterious wanderer we had just picked up from the desert, I sat eagerly as our overcrowded van cruised along the fabled Euphrates in eastern Syria. The driver held a begrudging respect for me, a respect I had earned after learning the hard way that a price is rarely fixed and never fair. The men in the front spoke exuberantly to me with frantic gestures amidst broken English, while the women sat silently in back. I had grown to love my good-humored conversations with these welcoming, yet complete strangers, and strangely enough, it is these conversations that drove me to study law.

As I developed my usual rapport with the other passengers, the tone of the conversation changed abruptly. The newly emboldened stranger pointed at me and exclaimed about the “Qur’an”, “America” and “Allah.” As the elder gentleman to my left leaned over my lap and shouted furiously at the man, I realized that I was caught in the midst of a cultural war. I combed their words for any indication of what was happening, but before I could discern the intentions of the stranger, he signaled to the driver that the desolate and unending scenery to our right was his destination. Once he disembarked, the man sitting in the front immediately turned to me, almost embarrassedly, and exclaimed in a heavy Syrian accent, “He’s crazy.” To my surprise, the van was on my side. I later realized that this dispute was a microcosm of my experience in the Middle East – an overwhelming majority of unquestionably hospitable people whose global image was spoiled by the outspoken invectives of the few.

As I sat literally torn between the cultural hostilities in the battered van in eastern Syria, I realized the fundamental need for conflict resolution through rational debate, rather than aimless shouting. However, I also realized that without legal mediation to facilitate disputes, arguments like these are more likely to end in mindless bickering than a sensible resolution. During my undergraduate studies in philosophy, I developed a commitment to judicious discussion, and through my very real experience of a conflict that occurred over my very lap, I decided to study the law.

However, my experiences during my travels encompass only a portion of my desire to study the law. My previous passion for philosophy and foreign languages first prompted my aspirations, long before my two-month journey across the Middle East. I majored in philosophy at Xavier University, which led me to an unconventional study abroad program in Rome. Rather than follow the blueprint of typical overseas study, where students live in an American subculture within a foreign country, I chose the road less traveled and organized my own study abroad program at the Pontificia Universitá di San Tomaso d’Aquino, one of Rome’s preeminent philosophical institutions. Although obtaining a visa and finding an apartment provided its fair share of headaches, given the Italians’ unique enthusiasm for everything except what you need, organizing my own program gave me both increased responsibility and complete freedom in one of the world’s most thriving and historic cities.

Here my fervor for philosophical inquiry and aptitude for absorbing foreign languages fiercely collided in graduate level course work conducted in Italian. The youngest in my classes by at least five years, I engaged in a highly competitive intellectual environment where I was expected to produce exceptional work in a foreign language. Although daunting, learning philosophy in another language forced me to scrupulously understand an argument, giving me the ability to break issues down to their logical parts and analyze their relationship. Furthermore, by working in a foreign language in an unfamiliar environment, I became acquainted with performing well in uncomfortable situations. Because a lawyer is constantly faced with the pressure to perform under demanding conditions, I believe that these skills will be indispensable in my legal studies.

My diverse background in philosophy and foreign cultures provides me a solid motive to confront the challenges of law school. After experiencing the need for conflict resolution in the bastion of conflict and studying under the auspices of philosophical greats in Rome, I have decided that law is the best application of my talents and experience. The need for rationality is not isolated to an overcrowded van in eastern Syria, and with a background in philosophy, a legal education and a significant exposure to foreign cultures in hand, I hope to eventually enter into conflicts like the one that I experienced and be able to reach a reasonable resolution through rational debate.

Neelio
Posts: 530
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:21 am

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby Neelio » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:39 am

Very interesting PS. I really liked it. Not that my opinion will get you into Law School-

holborn
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby holborn » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:47 am

I especially enjoyed your line about the Italians' enthusiasm for everything except what you need. I'd admit you.

I think your writing is great. it flows well and is engaging. the only thing that to me was a little confusing was that you seemed to be setting up your experience in italy as an experience that made you want to go into law. instead you frame it as a way to show that you like challenges, learned important skills, and will be able to handle law school. Which is fine but it makes the line "However, my experiences during my travels encompass only a portion of my desire to study the law. My previous passion for philosophy and foreign languages first prompted my aspirations" kind of misleading to the reader.

olsonl
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby olsonl » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:59 pm

Good point Jules. I missed that completely. I'll have to fix that up!

madcherrylimas
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:41 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby madcherrylimas » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:30 am

haha, I like the opening line.

I like your statement. My only point is that I'm not sure fiercely collided is the right phrase... Collided makes it sound like they were incompatible and somewhat painful.

olsonl
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby olsonl » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:39 pm

Bummer. The fiercely collided was one of my favorite images. Do you really think this doesn't work?

madcherrylimas
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:41 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby madcherrylimas » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:50 am

Your point comes across anyway, and it does sound good, but things that collide are normally things that oppose each other, no? Like, a collision is not beneficial to either party. It's not a crucial point though. If you really like it, stick with it.

Would you mind taking a look at my personal statement? I like yours and I'd like to hear your take on mine.

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Massimiliano
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:19 am

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby Massimiliano » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:59 am

Mi piace la tua tema. Che cosa la tua favorita citta in Italia? Ho studiato a Torino per quattro mesi... il miglior tempo della mia vita.

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panda
Posts: 360
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:11 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby panda » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:53 am

you describe syria pretty well :P
ahh, i miss home.

i liked it..

GeesesAintTeethes
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:12 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby GeesesAintTeethes » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:52 pm

Very good. Just an opinion. I'm sure there are some things you can tweak up a bit, but other than that, I think it is very good. Your overall theme is great and the way your tie up elements is also great.

Good job.

olsonl
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby olsonl » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:23 am

madcherrylimas, I'd be glad to take a look at your statement. Just message me and I'll check it out.

Massimiliano, sí, anch'io ero il miglior tempo della mia vita. Voglio tornare subito. Per me, la mia cittá preferita é Roma, perché si puo trovare tutto, da due mille anni fa ad oggi.

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MC Southstar
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Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby MC Southstar » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:27 am

I didn't slave over the grammar or composition, but I liked it. I thought you were going to get really generic on me after the narrative introduction, but you kept the writing interesting and fluid and provided ample support for your assertions.

Also, your numbers are almost identical to mine. Yes, you have a shot at the lower half of the T14, but it might be a crapshoot.

olsonl
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby olsonl » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:50 pm

Any other suggestions of what I can possibly add to strengthen it? I'm looking for every possible way to make my PS separate me from people with similar numbers.

nire120
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:10 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby nire120 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:26 pm

The essay is very well-written and it is different. The only thing is - and this is my sociology major rearing its ugly head - it seems like you're riding on the coat tails of the "exotic foreigners." I mean, cool, you experienced a culture clash, but it's a little ethnocentric - for instance, the Euphrates isn't "fabled" for people who live near it, and is the American going to solve their internal disputes *over America*. It's a little white man/woman's burden-ish. The people looking at it will probably like it though.

leftofthedial
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:43 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby leftofthedial » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:35 pm

PM.

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mirpanda
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:57 pm

Re: Traveling the Middle East PS

Postby mirpanda » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:56 am

I enjoyed your PS, but I simply cannot resist... Are there any stenches that are not bad? :wink: Perhaps something along the lines of, "The stench [strike]was bad[/strike] should have been overwhelming, but my worry that the van would fall apart distracted me." ?

Eh, this is late and probably useless at this date, in addition to being a pathetic first post; I apologize. I do hope your quest for the T14 is successful. Cheers.




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