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Messages - Burhop

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91
Personal Statement / Re: vacation personal statement
« on: January 01, 2006, 08:24:54 PM »
I'll have a gander:

Pm or burhopd@yahoo.com

dani

92
Personal Statement / Re: which topic is better?
« on: January 01, 2006, 08:16:57 PM »
both sound decent and memorable, although the coffee-drinker thing could end up being a twee bit gimmicky--that subject makes me think the essay should be funny, and I don't know if that's the route you were going with it.

The first would be memorable because that probably isn't something adcomms hear about too often. What will make it strong, of course, is if your examples of how you "stand out" are compelling.

Any subject that allows you to either discuss leadership or show how you overcame adversity would be appropriate, in any case, so it looks like you're pretty well-off in the subject department. I hesitate to choose one over the other without seeing how they develop.

about the "feeling grown up" thang--if you're young or super-young, I wouldn't overemphasize that. That's another PS trick I've seen pulled out a number of times--the "gee, look how young I am, but I swear I'm mature!" trick. IMHO it doesn't add any value; actions & responsibilities should speak for themselves. It would be better to paint a picture of someone thoughtful and mature, and have the adcomms be surprised to find the said applicant was only 20 or so.

best,

Dani

93
Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 01, 2006, 05:37:51 PM »
number-cruncher--Just to clarify--my point was not that a whole essay is about being five, but that the most memorable story in an essay might be about being five, and thus is what the adcomms "remember" about an applicant.

*chuckle*--I dunno what your essay's about, I've not seen it!

best,

dani

94
Personal Statement / Re: My Yale 250 - Have at it
« on: January 01, 2006, 03:59:43 PM »

Have you read any Martha Nussbaum

She was our keynote speaker at graduation. Amazing, considering how unknown my UG is...

maggs

Ummmm...very jealous! So jealous. I guess we've got a US senator this year, although I don't know if I'll be around for graduation.

dani

95
Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 01, 2006, 03:41:21 PM »
I agree--I've seen that essay trick a number of times--the re-iteration of the first idea in the last paragraph. I think that strategy gets instilled pretty hardcore in Eng 101/102, and can be a hard habit to break. Still, it is a strategy I've advocated for while tutoring for those students who feel most comfortable with a traditional essay structure.

I had a GPA addendum--had to re-write a number of times because of the 'oversharing' factor, and in the end I'm sure it made me seem like a drama queen to a certain extent. My nonsense was all eight years ago, though, so at least I can pretend I've matured. ;-)

The things about the PS--they don't necessarily get an in-depth read, and probably will not. So the goal is to be memorable in a positive, easily condensed way, i.e. "remember that girl who goes skydiving and loves animal law?" or "This was that guy who helped orphans in Rwanda and is into human rights." That's why I worry about the childhood intro for some people--you don't want your only memorable attribute to condense down to "remember that kid who wrote their whole essay about being five years old?"

The goal is to stand out and write well, but being memorable is often just knowing which life story is the one most worth telling. The way we define ourselves often dictates that the 'most important' story is the most dramatic story, which is why I think I've seen so much family drama. But those aren't the stories we're often the most excited to tell--and *those* are the stories I'd argue are worth sharing--those that excite and inspire, not those that explain and defend.

dani

96
Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 01, 2006, 01:38:33 PM »
I figure you're asking me about my organization o' da essay. My PS is only tangentially about me; I focused in on the idea of citizenship, and how it can be better defined, along with what I argued were some exemplary examples of citizenship today. So, the framework was kinda like this:

1) Question raised via Internship completed/class discussion question
2) Attempts to define citizenship
3) working on re-integrating the idea into the ether (consumer/ciitizen dichotomy)--subtle argument for the power of language to shape ideas
4) Concrete examples of good citizenship
5)the overlap between the responsibilities of citizen vs. those of a student
6)How this relates to my interests/why SU.

...I wanted to show the adcomms I could think deeply and broadly about (what I think) is an important topic today, as well as pose a few strong arguments. I totally ran over though--it's four pages, and I'd tinkered with the flow of the thing so carefully I was loath to remove a section.

I thought about going the more traditional story route--I would have written about attaining my TEFL certificate in Prague. But in the end I sort of felt like I had something to "prove," because I'm not that great on paper number-wise, so I felt a more academic-toned essay would better illustrate the serious consideration that went into my present candidacy.

...more than you ever wanted to know, I'm sure. ;-)

best,

dani

97
Personal Statement / Re: anyone care to help a newbie with his ps?
« on: January 01, 2006, 12:14:55 AM »
sure, send it along--PM or Burhopd@yahoo.com


dani

98
Personal Statement / Re: My Yale 250 - Have at it
« on: January 01, 2006, 12:14:22 AM »
This is much clearer than your 250. Most of your explanations have been. The tone here is more pure and more forthright. Don't worry about name-dropping if it helps your cause--I find it's more intellectually honest to be open about whose ideas are being discussed. (It might be more pretentious to use a name as an adjective--dunno).

I just brought up sovereignty cuz that's what stops a lot of action--people not wanting to step on another government's toes. I suppose it's the same with the Iraq arguments--when is it okay to intervene on foreign soil? Is it really always so easy to make these determinations? How about when reps from the countries themselves lie to the UN (i.e. Rwanda)?

It's tricky--it can get very World Police. Unless you make a point of arguing otherwise.

I hope you use some of your language below in your 250. Good stuff.

best,

Dani
(what, I can celebrate new years & be on LSD too! C'est possible.)



Martha yes, a little  (the love/community angle). Paul Kahn, too. Sen = overrated. Geertz, for me, the most influential, although indirectly. Maybe Marshall Sahlins, too. James Ferguson, definitely. Didn't want to name drop, too much. See the reaction that a passing mention of Weber elicited?

Within borders? Maybe, although the borders are contested: Kurds, Rwanda-Burundi, Kosovo, Congo etc.. Not sure what moral (or practical) difference that makes? (Benedict Anderson, Eric hobsbawm...)

Apocalyptic? The situation is, but surely not the fact that I'm pointing it out? Willing to be less outraged (would be assuaged, in fact, and happy to pursue a doctoral degree in English lit, maybe) if I thought that the theory was on track and the practice would follow at some time in the future. Not at all convinced that the theory is anywhere near on the right track, though. And no, there is no progress that I can discern. The poor are poorer; the sick are sicker; women emancipated only in the sunny corners of the world. Slavery still with us, although we call it debt-bondage now. What has changed, really, for the poor? Not a whole bunch.

Part of the reason is that human rights rhetoric has crowded out political struggle. And of course, the economist-world bank types (the colonial administrators, loosely, of our day) go out and do their thing: "it's not politics, you see? It's development plans". They are not chastened, of course, that they have failed utterly and in every manner possible and in every place that they have been active in promoting "human development".. they just need to re-jig their development models a little bit, try micrcredit maybe, or property rights r export processing zones, or privatisation or ......

There needs to be a sense of shame about the last century. Cynicism is accepting that this is the way that it has to be, and I'm not there yet. I'm just a little pissed off.



99
Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: December 31, 2005, 09:43:20 PM »
well, you are using it like a timeline for you essay--that means to me that you're probably organizing your essay chronologically. This is opposed to, say, starting your essay discussing the rights of the disabled, and then mentioning later in the essay that you have some first hand-experience with folks that you'd like to represent in the future.

...that's why I think the childhood thing has cropped up so much--because everyone is using this organizational structure:

1) Important/colorful childhood anecdote
2) maybe something about the parents
3) how this "changed me"
4) How I made life decisions from that point on
5) where I'm at today--lemme in law school!

...which is not to say that it's a bad structure--I'm just saying it has been astonishingly common. Setting up essays in chronological order is very natural and easy to do, but it may not be the only, or even the best way to intro a subject. Just sayin'--I could see how it would get monotonous for adcomms.

best,

dani

100
Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: December 31, 2005, 09:33:13 PM »
a childhood anecdote into a tragic story, eh? I guess I'd just advise that you make sure it doesn't just end up reading like a really long venting session.

Here's a fourth one I've seen pretty frequently:

4) The Overshare--telling the audience waaaay more than they needed to know to "get the idea." If some extraneous detail falls to the right of 3 on the 1-10 Jerry Springer Scale (JSS), really think about whether the anecdote will help get you into law school. The adcomms don't know anyone's backstory, so any plays for sympathy could easily fall flat--what you share might be true to you, but in 1000 words to a stranger on paper, will just make you sound...well...crazy. ;-)

You know how easy it is to mis-interpret tone and intent of emails? Personal Statements are the same way. Don't give adcomms any reason to think you're a nutjob.

dani

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