LSL Yale250 Bank

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KENYADIGG1T
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LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by KENYADIGG1T » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:55 am

The purpose of this thread is to have a repository for Yale250s. If you applied (regardless of decision) it would help future applicants to see the range of topics that can be covered in a 250.

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KENYADIGG1T
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by KENYADIGG1T » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:56 am

My Yale 250 (admitted Dec '17).
Spoiler:
When we talk about the 12 million people without status in the US, our language is key. Depending on who is talking, we are either “illegal” or “undocumented.”

“Illegal”, though dehumanizing, is accurate. Though I believe that no human being ought to be illegal, the law can and does refer to us as “illegal aliens”. This usage is important because the terms embedded within law allow the public to conflate what is legal with what is right.

“Undocumented,” however, suggests that lacking status is not a choice, but rather an effect of escaping poverty, violence, or lack of opportunity. However, while “undocumented”’ succeeds in humanizing us, it fails to describe what we deal with daily. Undocumented immigrants in fact have documents: diplomas, medical records, certifications. “Papers” are clearly not the problem.

And even if we get status, what then? As the Black Lives Matter movement makes clear, formal citizenship means nothing if some are systemically oppressed, prevented from enjoying their rights.

Thus, I argue that, when discussing those without status, the term “illegalized” is preferable to “illegal” and “undocumented”, because it captures the ongoing, dynamic processes by which legal institutions marginalize people based on their social identities, denying them due recognition under the law.

“Illegalization” as a lens is important because while the terms we use must recognize our humanity, those terms—and the analytical frameworks motivating them—must also interrogate the world in which we live. Combating illegalization is an international, intersectional, and interdisciplinary mission we all must undertake.

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solennita
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by solennita » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:07 am

Thanks for starting this off!! My 250 below (admitted Feb '18).
Spoiler:
I have a complicated relationship with social media. It gives me the opportunity to stay
connected with my family in Venezuela, create advocacy and awareness campaigns, and
mobilize communities. At the same time, I often feel pressure to curate my life on social media,
creating a disconnect between “picture-perfect” moments and reality.

I created a project — #TheValueProject — to resist this pressure, centering it on the idea
that everything I share on social media has value, from wonderful and dreamlike experiences to
the gritty realities of life. I began to talk about my mental health in my posts, honestly discussing
some of these difficult moments. I realized that the more openly I talked about my life and
mental health through this project, the easier it became to open up in my personal interactions.
As a result, I grew more engaged in my own experiences, and I strengthened my support systems
outside of social media.

I was moved by the support I received for this project from my close family and friends,
as well as from distant acquaintances who shared their own experiences with mental health and
social media. Hearing others tell me my project made them feel they weren’t alone showed me I
wasn’t either. #TheValueProject began as a self-care strategy, a way to reconcile my love for
social media with the anxiety and pressure it can sometimes cause. Yet, seeing how this project
helped others encourages me to continue stimulating honest discussions to fight stigmas against
mental illness.

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KENYADIGG1T
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by KENYADIGG1T » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:35 pm

solennita wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:07 am
Thanks for starting this off!! My 250 below (admitted Feb '18).
Spoiler:
I have a complicated relationship with social media. It gives me the opportunity to stay
connected with my family in Venezuela, create advocacy and awareness campaigns, and
mobilize communities. At the same time, I often feel pressure to curate my life on social media,
creating a disconnect between “picture-perfect” moments and reality.

I created a project — #TheValueProject — to resist this pressure, centering it on the idea
that everything I share on social media has value, from wonderful and dreamlike experiences to
the gritty realities of life. I began to talk about my mental health in my posts, honestly discussing
some of these difficult moments. I realized that the more openly I talked about my life and
mental health through this project, the easier it became to open up in my personal interactions.
As a result, I grew more engaged in my own experiences, and I strengthened my support systems
outside of social media.

I was moved by the support I received for this project from my close family and friends,
as well as from distant acquaintances who shared their own experiences with mental health and
social media. Hearing others tell me my project made them feel they weren’t alone showed me I
wasn’t either. #TheValueProject began as a self-care strategy, a way to reconcile my love for
social media with the anxiety and pressure it can sometimes cause. Yet, seeing how this project
helped others encourages me to continue stimulating honest discussions to fight stigmas against
mental illness.
No problem! I'm also gonna start a PS bank later today as well.

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Yowza41
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by Yowza41 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:14 pm

Here's mine, though I've been ghosted since November, so not sure how useful it is.
Spoiler:

I walked into a hospital room where an elderly man sat in a wheelchair by the window. Bright blue veins showed through his translucent skin, and his white hair glistened in the sunlight as he shook with coughing fits. This man was [blank blank], and I was there to interview him about his service as a naval gunner in WWII.

He smiled and laughed as he reminisced about his family and life before the war. I could picture him as the strong young man of his past. He told me how he grew up in Ohio, how he happily helped his father run the family farm, and how he spent his free time hanging out with friends and chasing girls. Then he was drafted. At this point in the conversation, [blank's] laughter stopped and his smile faded. He stared into the distance; the pain in his eyes made my stomach clench. "I did my duty" he whispered.

[Blank blank's] happy life was shattered by the hammer of war. His story is not unique. It is paralleled by thousands of other narratives. Some people, like [blank], were lucky enough to hold onto the fragments of their lives. They worked tirelessly to piece them back together, bit by bit, but the cracks remained.

When I left, I looked at [blank] one last time. He was still a frail old man, but now I could see the shadow of the soldier he used to be in the way he squared his shoulders.

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rachelac
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by rachelac » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:25 pm

KENYADIGG1T wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:35 pm

No problem! I'm also gonna start a PS bank later today as well.
I think both of these threads are great ideas! Happy to contribute to PS bank and I'm loving reading everyone's 250s.

lanyard
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by lanyard » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:59 pm

Applied Mid-November, haven't heard back yet:
Spoiler:
I drove fourteen hours to see The Great American Eclipse. The name bothered me the whole time.

John William DeForest yearned for “The Great American Novel,” a work that would paint a picture of idyllic American existence. In 1868, he felt such a novel was not yet achievable: the country was too divided, and its democratic ideals remained too fickle. America was not ready.

149 years later, as I lay on a grassy hill outside Dad’s Bluegrass Campgrounds surrounded by strangers, I doubted we had made much progress. Charlottesville reeled from violence and hatred. People seeking freedom from oppression faced uncertain futures within our borders. The country seemed to be coming apart at the seams, and I wondered if we deserved a Great American Anything.

But then the sun disappeared.

For two minutes, I felt a connection to those around me that sent shivers down my spine not only for what it was—a shared experience of wonderment and humility—but also for what it transcended. Despite our polarized politics. Despite our damaged national pride. Despite it all, there we were. Sharing in our brokenness and our pain and our fear, and in the beauty that existed despite them. However briefly, I saw DeForest’s dream materialize on that small hill in Franklin, Kentucky. I saw a portrait of the American soul.

The first rays of golden light burst from behind the hole in the heavens, and I had no choice but to look away.

I wish I had more time.

doji33
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by doji33 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:10 pm

Admitted December '17:
Spoiler:
As I huddled with the rest of [publication name redacted]’s senior staff, we uncovered something insidious. An insider had embezzled nearly two thousand dollars, with attempts to access far more. In our tight-knit community, the breach of trust was unconscionable—and devastating. I remember the sting of betrayal as we whittled down the suspects and identified the perpetrator.

He was a rising star, someone whom we trusted and envisioned as the publication’s future. Moreover, I had personally mentored him and considered him a friend. Under pressure, he confessed and returned his ill-gotten gains.

My conscience tugged in a million directions. The culprit was more apologetic about being caught than for the crime itself, but my instinct for magnanimity competed with my desire for just reprisals. I feared, too, that a lack of consequences would embolden him, yet expediency dictated that we avoid a protracted legal battle. And in the crucible of this dilemma, I realized something about justice itself: the deeper challenge was not in assessing guilt, but in formulating a fully satisfactory response to proven wrongs. Torn between competing moral and practical considerations, that lofty ideal seemed just out of reach.

An earnest passion for writing made the [publication] worthwhile, but it is these unexpected—and occasionally painful—moments that made it formative. In the end, we settled for an uneasy détente and went our separate ways. This outcome still feels rather unsatisfying, perhaps because it came coupled with the insight that fundamental questions of justice are inherently nuanced.

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b-a-n-a-n-a-s
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by b-a-n-a-n-a-s » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:02 pm

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I loved all 3 admits' 250s! Will edit in my 250 after I hear back from YLS.

Oldersupersplitter
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by Oldersupersplitter » Thu May 03, 2018 2:10 pm

Here's mine! Not accepted, but that probably had more to do with my exceptionally low GPA than with my essay lol (Yale was always a moonshot):
Spoiler:
I’ve lost part of myself over the years – a big part. It began slipping away around the end of high school, almost imperceptibly at first. A series of small, seemingly insignificant decisions I made, adding up to something drastic. To lose so much of your old self is life-changing. Sometimes I would look in the mirror and not even recognize the man staring back at me. My childhood friends hardly recognize me either, but they have been supportive nonetheless. Many of the people I met as an adult don’t even know about that side of me, and probably wouldn’t believe me if I told them.

I’ve lost part of myself – a part I wish to forget. It will always lurk in the shadows, threatening to return if I grow careless. But I am determined never to let it back into my life. By destroying this piece of myself, I have learned to love myself. After years of dedication and sacrifice, I am now free. Free of the stigma, free of the whispers, free of the heavy burden crushing me day and night. Free to become the man I was meant to be, and free to enjoy a long life full of rewarding experiences and meaningful relationships.

I’ve lost part of myself – one third of myself, to be precise. 106 pounds of self-consciousness, insecurity, and shame, melted away through diet and exercise. By losing my old self, I’ve found my true self, and no sugar in the world tastes as sweet.

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tinycatfriend
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by tinycatfriend » Fri May 04, 2018 12:53 pm

Here is mine! Accepted!
Spoiler:
It’s an accident of birth that I’m American, that my experience of the Algerian civil war was a matter of months, not years, that I only crouched below windows to dodge bullets a few times, that I was never pushed face-down into a muddy ditch by a soldier on my way to school.

My cousins were not so lucky.

My cousins are just as brilliant as me. They’re just as sharp, as curious, as driven, yet they spend their time and energies fighting an educational system that changes requirements every few months, where success is more dependent on whom you know than what you know.


In Islam, gifts from Allah come with responsibility. If someone is given wealth, they’ll be asked on what cause they spent it. I’ve been given this citizenship, and the ease that accompanies it, so I will be asked how I used it.

I would love to say that I used it to bring justice, to make the greatest country in the world also the fairest, to improve its moral standing, rather than its military might, to create a world in which citizenship doesn’t determine destiny.

But those are big goals, and I’m one person. My life isn’t long enough, and my skills aren’t broad enough. So, I’ll aim for the duaa that my imam taught me, the same one I always recite: Ya Allah, let us be the reason people have hope in the world, and never the reason that someone may dread it.

cj385
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by cj385 » Sat May 05, 2018 11:03 pm

These are absolutely beautiful! Mine was focused on research on the Indian Supreme Court, while my personal essays are much more narrative and personal. I've redacted some information as I'm hoping to eventually publish, but still thought this could be useful to show the diversity of 250 essays. There really is no one size fits all.

Feminist scholars in the 1980s such as Flavia Agnes, Rochelle Albin, and Susan Brownmiller challenged the claim that rape was an isolated crime perpetrated by mentally ill individuals who could not control their sexuality. The Indian Supreme Court also rejected the so-called ‘psychopathological model of rape’ though a series of court cases in the 1990s. Applying [framework] onto Supreme Court rape judgments published in the last five years, I argue that rather than being erased, the psychopathological model of rape has been re-incarnated [in specific linguistic ways]. [Additional information about the harms this new approach creates.]

This paper was inspired by Mrinal Satish’s doctoral study at Yale Law School, where he examined unwarranted disparities in rape sentencing in India. I hope it will deepen scholarship on the Supreme Court’s impact on rape law in contemporary India.

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TheHonorableTirefire
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by TheHonorableTirefire » Thu May 10, 2018 1:48 pm

Undecided on whether to post mine, but just to add to the data points: I included a graphic, and the essay was a description based off of that graphic. The essay was about bias in data analysis. I was waitlisted (and withdrew), so I'm not sure what you can get out of that. It wasn't a hard "no," I suppose.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you felt like you had something perfect to say about it. I didn't do it to "stand out" but because it was just a niche of expertise I had.

beekind
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Re: LSL Yale250 Bank

Post by beekind » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:10 pm

Rejected
Spoiler:
It can be easy to mistake positive economics for a science without values. Its language is mathematics and a formula does not declare if the phenomena it describes is good or bad. However, there is a difference between describing rates of spending or economic growth and attempting to quantify something like human development which is composed of more than just strict economic factors.

On its face, the Human Development Index (HDI) is, like the Gini Index or Consumer Price Index, a silent formula, but closer inspection reveals that value judgements can be written in the language of mathematics.

A country’s HDI is found by taking the geometric mean of three scaled indicators: income per capita, life expectancy, and education. The HDI’s method of aggregating these indicators allows improvements in one indicator to compensate for a decline in another. This substitutability implies that a reduction in life expectancy can be justified by economic growth and also allows the monetary value of human life to be calculated. Doing this calculation makes the troubling suggestion that human life is worth less in poorer countries.

All of this is implicit in the formula’s construction.

Yet, this is not necessarily a flaw in economics or the math that underlies its concepts. In fact, the ability to express a value judgement in a formula is a powerful tool. However, in order to use it responsibly, implicit judgments must be made explicit lest the formula be allowed to dictate our values rather than the other way around.

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