Law School Discussion

Another Night, Another PS (Help Appreciated)

Another Night, Another PS (Help Appreciated)
« on: November 23, 2008, 05:44:00 PM »
Thanks for reading. Any comments are greatly appreciated, and feel free to be honest.

This is a first draft, so my main concern is not in particular grammer errors as much as in content and style. However, I'd love to hear about any systematic grammer errors you might notice.

I have seen only three summers in the last eight years.

It began in 1999 when I took advantage of an opportunity to study abroad at the University of Illinois. Never having left the southeast coast of Australia, spending six months on the other side of the world in a place where I didn't know anyone was a daunting prospect. So I was glad when James (a friend since childhood) decided to come too. Nevertheless, by my first night away as I slept in a Japanese airport hotel en-route, I was again beginning to question the wisdom of my decision to leave the familiarity of Australia. And then I was awoken in the middle of the night.

It was pitch black and all I could hear were the blood-curdling screams of James in the bed next to mine. They were not screams of pain, but rather of sheer terror. It was obvious that whatever was causing James such consternation was likely to mean trouble for me too, and I began vocalizing my concern in similar fashion. After this had continued for what seemed like minutes without obvious bloodshed, I turned to James to ask him what was the matter. James, perplexed and understandably upset, informed me that he was only acting in response to my waking him up in the middle of the night with blood-curdling screams.

Evidently one of us had begun screaming in our sleep. This woke the other whose screams in turn woke the original screamer, who began screaming anew. We never did come to any definite conclusion as to who was ultimately responsible for the it, but I immediately found the whole incident very amusing. James did not, and was quiet for some time afterwards.

This was easily the best thing that could have happened to me that night. For a few moments I honestly thought I was about to die (we both did) and thus nothing that I subsequently encountered on my trip was likely to be nearly as frightening. Travel has since become an important part of my life. In the intervening years I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively across the Northern Hemisphere—through Western and Central Europe, Asia, and North America—and, although my being a student has ensured that this has occurred during the Northern winter, robbing me of my Southern summers, travel has rarely caused me any real trepidation since that night.   

Like many people, one of the things that motivates me to continue to travel is the prospect of encountering people with unfamiliar perspectives. In my experience, these encounters are often most fruitful when the people involved come from countries that share a lot in common, but remain importantly different. This is because the differences in perspective that emerge in these encounters do not typically derive from some fundamental difference in world view that is difficult, or even impossible, to reconcile. Rather, they stem from some consideration acknowledged by the culture of one interlocutor that remains widely unacknowledged in the culture of the other. For those with a mind open to the prospect, one is challenged to reevaluate one's beliefs—and even how one's society conceives of certain issues—in a way that one's own countrymen are generally ill-equipped to replicate.

Australia and the United States have precisely this type of relationship, and I have consistently found it to be mutually beneficial. A typical example comes from a conversation I had with an American friend about universal, government-sponsored health care. Even amongst the most right-leaning of Australians, one would be hard-pressed to find someone willing to question the merits of such a system. It's status as the right way to do things is not, in a sense, up for grabs. Given this and the fact that universal health care would be likely to greatly reduce the suffering of so many, I found it difficult to understand how a person as compassionate as my friend could be opposed to it. What I came to realize was that to her the issue was not primarily one of compassion, but of personal freedom. She valued the right to allocate her resources according to her wishes in a way I had not previously contemplated. Ultimately, she believed it was her responsibility, not that of her government, to provide what support she could to those who were in need of such support. I was forced to reevaluate the very foundations of my assumptions. More importantly, for the first time I came to realize that there was indeed room for debate in this case.

Law school has the potential to lead to amazing opportunities to apply the problem solving, research, and analytical skills that I have developed while studying philosophy to more concrete problems; and my primarily motivation for attending law school is in order to take advantage of these opportunities. However, I anticipate that law school will also prove to be an excellent venue for the sorts of exchanges outlined above. I hope that an open mind and an uncommon perspective are two of the qualities I bring to law school that enrich both my own legal education and that of my peers.

If you made it this far, thanks!

Re: Another Night, Another PS (Help Appreciated)
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 04:10:45 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. Very helpful stuff.