Critique my DS please!!! Be Brutal if necessary

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
osalinas44
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:32 am

Critique my DS please!!! Be Brutal if necessary

Postby osalinas44 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:14 pm

This is my optional Cornell Diversity statement. Thank you in advance I greatly appreciate it.

Up until about the age of twelve, I thought everyone was Mexican and Catholic. I also thought that everyone who attended school had free lunch and their grandparents spoke Spanish. I didn’t have my first Caucasian friend until I was fifteen years old his name was Andrew McMillian. Before that, all of my friends were like me, Mexican American, and had very similar backgrounds. Growing up as a Mexican American, especially as a male, education was not seen as a priority. Instead of having the support and encouragement to do well in school, priority was given to immediate work rather than pursuing higher education. However, I was fortunate enough to see the long term benefits of continuing my education, though to many in my Mexican American community I was being lazy and trying to get out of having a full time job. Until recently, I viewed a college education as something only very few people would ever have the opportunity of obtaining. Because of this, I never believed I would ever have a decent shot at attending law school. This was, and still is the mentality of the average individual who grows up in the border-town of Brownsville, Texas.
When I attended college, I found out that not all public schools offer their student’s free lunch. Schools in the Brownsville Independent School District were able to offer their students free lunch because more than half the population in Brownsville lives below the poverty line. Growing up in Brownsville I didn’t consider myself to be a diverse person because I felt that everyone around me was just like me. I began to notice how much I didn’t blend in when I entered college. I was given the opportunity to attend an academic seminar in Washington D.C. It was at this seminar that I noticed how unique of an individual I was. Between my peers in college and the individuals I met at the academic seminar I realized that I have a perspective on life that is filled with passion and compassion for others and especially the less fortunate. I noticed that I am a unique person, aside from my ethnic diversity; I have a wealth of diverse life experiences that have shaped my outlook not only on life, but also on the law and its function in our society. The dedication Cornell University has toward assisting those who are less fortunate is an aspect of the school that I would very much want to be a part of. My determination and perspective would be an asset that would provide a sense of diversity to the law school community.I am a strong believer in an idea that we should all have the right to a fair trial with adequate representation. I revert back to two life experiences that have forced me to realize the importance of this notion of a fair trial.
When I was seventeen my close friend’s brother, Albert, was murdered in Tyler, Texas. He was shot four times in the back; he was running away from an individual who was trying to rob him of his chain. I still remember the funeral and I can still hear his mother screaming, “they took my baby”. The police arrested the individual who murdered him and I remember hoping that he would suffer, I was angry. I wanted his trial to be over quick and sentenced mercilessly. However, I realized that I was being a hypocrite. When my friend, Jesse, murdered someone I was hoping somehow he would be found innocent, given an extremely light sentence or even get off on some sort of a technicality. So, I realized that it is fundamentally important for our legal system to be fair and impartial and should not be driven by emotions, but rather by facts. I see it as an important aspect of the lawyer’s profession to adequately convey their client’s side and each side should be given an equal opportunity to be heard in the court of law.
I also have an interest in Cornell’s reputable international law program. The life experience that fueled my interest in international law was when my closest friend throughout high school, Luis Villa, was deported. He was born in Matamoros, Tamulipas, Mexico and when he was about eleven months old his family moved to the United States. From then on they were classified as illegal immigrants. Luis recently was pulled over by the police in Brownsville, Texas and it was discovered that he was an illegal. He was then deported back to Matamoros. Although Matamoros is where Luis was born, it is not his home. Luis has virtually no family in Mexico other than very distant family. He has lived in the United States practically his entire life. Luis and his family have made Brownsville, Texas their home. And now he will never be able to return to the place he calls home. This story is difficult for me to think about since Luis would spend weekends at my house and we were very close. Although he was born in Matamoros, Tamulipas, Mexico, it is a foreign country to him. It is not his home. The only difference between him and I is that he was born on the other side of the border. Because of this, he is unable to have the same opportunities that I have. This experience adds to the diversity I bring as a student because most people do not actually know someone who is an illegal. It allows me to look at the immigration system in our country as being a system that needs to be re-evaluated. I also see that the immigrant struggle is the story of my ancestors and had they not gone through that struggle I would not have the great opportunities that I have today.
If admitted, I will not only bring my cultural diversity, but I will also bring a unique voice that will add an interesting perspective to the Cornell School of Law. Diversity is what has made this country great and diversity in education, especially legal education is thought provoking and incites a level of engagement that can only enhance the education. I believe diversity is important, the fact that different people from different backgrounds can come together in one classroom and study toward a common goal is something that should be valued and cherished. My life experiences, geographic and ethnic diversity will provide an interesting perspective to the law school community.

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merichard87
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: Critique my DS please!!! Be Brutal if necessary

Postby merichard87 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:23 pm

I read the first paragraph and lost interest. I scanned the rest and it doesn't really seem cohesive. Also, if your friend was recently deported which ignited an interest in law it would seem that immigration law would be your area of interest and not necessarily international law. If I was you I would take that last paragraph and expand it.

mrwarre85
Posts: 685
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:40 pm

Re: Critique my DS please!!! Be Brutal if necessary

Postby mrwarre85 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:02 am

I liked the first paragragh a lot. I also liked a few of your one-liners.

I didn't like how some of it flowed, and I didn' the two stories at the end. They didn't come off entirely right. I think they seem a little forced to me, like you wanted to tell those stories but you can't figure out how to make the paper flow.

You may just want to take them out.
osalinas44 wrote:I began to notice how much I didn’t blend in when I entered college. I was given the opportunity to attend an academic seminar in Washington D.C. It was at this seminar that I noticed how unique of an individual I was.


I didn't like this but can't really explain why. I suppose I don't think its a good transition.

Good luck! It seems like you are a good writer and I bet this is going to be awesome when you are done with it.

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whirledpeas86
Posts: 1393
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: Critique my DS please!!! Be Brutal if necessary

Postby whirledpeas86 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:34 pm

I think you've got a great start, though I do think that it's a bit meandering and unfocused. It seems like you're trying to say a lot of different things at once and some potentially powerful material gets overshadowed by everything you've got going on. I think if you describe your background a little more briefly and then move into talking about your friend, Albert, and how that situation inspired you to go into law, I think you would have a really moving DS.

And make sure someone edits your statement for spelling/grammar. It's always useful to have someone else read over your written work to see if it makes as much sense to them as it does to you, you know? Another helpful trick, if in a pinch, is to read your essay out loud, as hearing it can bring your attention to any awkward phrasing that reading it in your head doesn't catch.

Rick471
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:51 pm

Re: Critique my DS please!!! Be Brutal if necessary

Postby Rick471 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:50 am

I'm with whirledpeas. Your grammar/punctuation needs to be checked. Also, your transition on when you are talking about the two different murders needs work. I figured it out but you need a better transition to Jesse's story.

Also, I know its a diversity statement, but the use of the word "diversity" through your statement has turned me off. I would not use as much and let the story of your life show how you are diverse instead of pointing it out to the reader.

I agree it's a good start, just needs some refining.




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