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Messages - mantra

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Personal Statement / Pick the Thesis!
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:27:17 AM »
Need help deciding a PS topic.  I hate that we have to sell ourselves like this.  At least in a job interview the scope is narrower, the stakes lower, and you've got a better idea what will work.  The classic whine, I suppose.

Am working on all of these simultaneously and hope to have good drafts done soon.  Quality of writing will hopefully help me nix one or two - I'm sure there are just some that are going to sound better in the end - but would like some advice too.


1. "I think about stuff carefully."
  • In short: My answer to the "amg here's my personal story and it's really powerful and FROM THAT DAY ON I KNEW I JUST HAD TO BE A LAWYER!!1"  I talk about how I'm a compulsive planner, researcher, skeptic, devil's advocate, etc. and how it's served me very well in life, academically and otherwise.
  • Pro: It's about my intellect, and would probably depict me as a likely candidate to succeed in law and/or contribute well to classroom discussions.
  • Con: Boring as hell.  I can splash some personal color and imagery in, but the thesis is still dry.

2. "I will practice law with compassion."
  • In short: Talks about my life as both a teacher/instructor and a student, and wanting to be an informative resource for clients.  Putting the "counseling" back in "counsel."  NOT being an alpha-male, prestige-seeking, self-interested, greedy heartless bastard.
  • Pro: Accurate and truthful.  Could strike a chord with Atticus Finch sympathizers, or at least PI departments.
  • Con: Too touchy-feely or idealistic.  Runs the risk of seeming out-of-touch with actual modern law practice, clichéd in its perception.  Then again, AdComs could be pretty high in the ivory tower themselves.

3. "Post-amnesia struggle gave me confidence."
  • In short: I lost my memory early in life and had to rebuild from randomly-occurring flashbacks and secondhand accounts.  It sucked pretty hard.
  • Pro: Establishes strength of character, independence.  Classic overcoming-an-obstacle story.
  • Con: Cliché.  I want to beat the piss out of every writer who's ever used this as a convenient plot device in their work.  Mine was mild and not really as dramatic as it might seem, or at least it's not something I usually think of as major (aside from being careful who I tell).  Doesn't impact my current day-to-day life much at all.

4. "Identity crisis in the face of a new sibling."
  • In short: Family rediscovered a long-lost sibling and I had to reconstruct my identity as the oldest.  Mild philosophizing about truth & honesty.  Maybe a little re:coping with death under such unusual circumstances.
  • Pro: Soap-opera style plot.  Memorable enough to stand out amongst others.
  • Con: Extremely personal, feels manipulative.  An important part of my life, yes, but is the PS really a proper place to be baring one's soul and closet-skeleton?

I'm leaning toward #1 right now, but the Con does really terrify me.  I don't really know how to make intelligence sound sexy outside of a dating context, and most of my competition is going to be in the same boat.  And while I don't generally fault others for making the most of hands they've been dealt, #3 or #4 would feel like playing a sympathy card, which is the last thing I want to do.  They're only on the table because they're unique.  I don't need pity, I need them to understand that I'm awesome.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT46, S2(LR), Q7
« on: October 25, 2009, 09:14:36 PM »
not per "THE RULES" sticky at the top of the forums

Studying for the LSAT / PT46, S2(LR), Q7
« on: October 25, 2009, 06:26:18 PM »
Insects, instincts, behavior, brain size.

My answer: (E) "Only organisms with brains of insect size or smaller engage in purely instinctual behavior."

Credited answer: (B) "Insect behavior is exclusively instinctual."

The credited answer seems much more restrictive.  It's an absolute, which I read no grounds for in the argument.

The argument never cites a binary for behaviors (i.e. instinctual/flexible), so why is it necessary that insect brain size < required size for flexible behavior ----> insect behavior = pure instinct?

I felt the more qualified statement in (E) was appropriate.  Please advise.

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