Shaun Kua read Law (Jurisprudence) and graduated from the University of Oxford. This personal statement was part of his successful admission to the University of Oxford, University College London (UCL), King’s College London (KCL), and University of Exeter. He also claims that in hindsight, if he was given a chance to reapply for universities, he will not take the same unorthodox approach in writing his personal statement.
A disclaimer: I am not one of those whose legal ambitions coalesced in the early days of his childhood.
I confess, I only ever wanted to do Law, since the good fortune (or misfortune) of being elected President of the Students’ Council in my secondary school. If I had to describe my presidency, being the “bridge between the students and the School was like tiptoeing on a tightrope. Between two skyscrapers. During a hurricane. My rock was the students’ insistence on changes to school policy, my hard place – the persistence of the School Management with the lack thereof. Did I consider resignation? Of course. Did I resign? No. Why? Because I had the rare honour of reaching out to and sharing in the ideas of the foremost, most eminent ne’er-do-wells, rebels-without-cause and all-round no-good troublemakers of my alma mater. Undoubtedly, some of their opinions, more often than not, differed greatly from my own, much less the ideals held by the Management. But, when some of our initiatives ran into crippling opposition from the Management, their wholly unexpected enthusiasm reminded us to push on. It sparked the realization that championing this alternative perspective is where the Council had to make a difference, igniting my desire to continue giving such views a fair hearing as an adult.Yet to be fair, formulating school rules and regulations is never easy. School rules are the product of an explosively violent laboratory reaction between theory and practice. They essentially prescribe the School’s ideals, and yet paradoxically must take into account purely descriptive realities, say, practicalities of student life, so as to remain reasonable and thus valid. At this juncture, I must also give due credit to Mr. Hobbes, Mr. Locke, Mr. Kant and Mr. Bentham for influencing my views, individuals I became acquainted with over the course of three years in Lincoln-Douglas debate (though there were times when Kant was simply befuddling) They were of great assistance to me in Model United Nations (MUN), when I had to formulate practical solutions to complex real-world situations (they just had to assign me the United States, on Afghanistan and Iraq). Let’s hope the debaters and MUN delegates I coached in my school and college years felt the same way.
Returning to Law, I maintain that school policy and the law are similar, if not the same, in essence. They are the imposition of the ideals of a higher authority to human behaviour. Very interesting. Of course, I run the risk of presuming too much about the nature of the law. Perhaps for that reason, I am not too insane to spend three weeks of my glorious summer attaching at two reputable (read: exhausting) law firms in Kuala Lumpur. An example of a naive assumption of mine being shattered by the realities of the office would be that lawyers had shorter working hours than doctors (law firms are just better than hospitals at putting fine print into human resource advertising). Indeed, this profession is one of pure passion, a notion I try to drill into the malleable minds of my juniors in the Law Society of my college, slightly disappointing perhaps, but at least one unclouded by “The Practice” and “Boston Legal”. In conclusion, I find the study of law to be in a comfortable position of praxis, as compared to philosophy (too wishful) and political science (too apathetic). If I found such fascinating complexity in the omnipresence (not necessarily good) and omnipotence (assumed) of school policy, I believe I will find the same or even more in the law. Of course, similarly, I hope to gain the same emotional fulfilment of advocating for the silent in court or in the boardroom.
About the Author: He enjoys reading richly-written novels, devising contrived birthday present schemes, getting lost in Wikipedia and jogging, in his free time.
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