ok here is a real life personal statement from a few years ago and the applicant got admitted with $$$ t top 10 schools. He was a splitter. He gave me permission to post this. Who wants to talk about where/why it is good (overall and in specifcs) and where it is problematic? This should be quite interesting. Sorry I can not format like it should be.
On belay? Too most, a simple question that has no bearing or meaning in their day-to-day
lives. However, for me, a passionate, competitive rock climber, this question can be one of
life or death. To belay an individual is to be their lifeline, their control, and most importantly
their safety. I have been climbing for many years, belaying countless individuals, and it is
reflection on these experiences that allows me to understand what it takes to be a great belayer.
Clearly, an unparalleled level of trust is necessary for the climber to truly perform at the peak of
their ability. As their belayer, you must be that trusted person, so much so that the climber
would not think twice about jumping from the wall to reach a hold and potentially falling. This
responsibility is one I do not take lightly, however, to truly be a great belayer, you must be more
than just able to catch someone if they slip.
The best belayers are those who transcend the ability to catch falls and connect with the
climber, as an extension of the climber’s abilities. In order for this connection to develop, a
belayer must be socially capable of interacting with their climber in a manner that will invoke an
unequaled sense of trust and comfort. If this connection cannot be made, the climber will begin
to doubt their belayer’s abilities, and their belayer’s commitment. These mental insecurities
cloud the climber’s focus and prevent them from committing completely to a route.
To act as an extension of the climber’s abilities, a belayer must focus entirely on their
climber and the route being climbed. The belayer acts as a second set of eyes for the climber,
indicating when the climber has ventured off route, or simply if the climber has missed a hold. A
belayer must mentally climb the route, as the climber physically climbs it, pondering every
dimension of the climber’s movement in their mind and looking ahead to warn of potential
difficulty. The ability to act as an extension of the climber is essential to a great belayer not only
because it will allow for the focus of two minds on the route instead of one, but the climber will
know that someone is on their journey with them, helping guide them, and assuring that each
movement they make allows for the next to be done with the greatest possible ease.
Finally, a great belayer must be a cheerleader for their climber. A mentor once told me
that a quiet belayer is a non-existent belayer. A great belayer must be yelling at the top of their
lungs, encouraging the climber to move forward through what may be the most difficult route
they have ever faced. Without this encouragement, the climber has no external push, no extra bit
of motivation, which is so crucial to completing the most challenging routes.
In my journey to become a great belayer, I have discovered that the qualities that define
the best belayers - focus, passion, cheerleading and trust, are essential in order to be “on belay”
for myself and others as a successful law student and lawyer. Without focus, the demanding
classroom work would leave me behind; however, I can apply my focus and become a proficient
and astute law student. Without passion, the challenges of both law school and legal practice
would leave me exhausted instead of inspired. My deep passion for the law and legal justice will
allow me to persevere, transforming challenges and pressure into motivation. Without
cheerleading, my concern for my fellow classmates and clients would not be as prevalent as is
essential for a leader in law. As a law student or lawyer, I can motivate and encourage those
around me at all times, contributing to their success as much as my own. Finally, without the
ability to connect with others, invoking a sense of trust in my abilities, my success as a classmate
and as a lawyer would be jeopardized. I am confident that I will be able to connect and invoke this
trust in my classmates and clients, just as I do each time I belay a climber.
Through extensive practice, diligence, and desire, I have become a great belayer. It is
with the knowledge and abilities I have gained from this journey that my journey as a law
student and lawyer will be both successful and meaningful to the lives of others.