I'd really appreciate input about my topic. I'm not sure if it says enough about me as a potential law student. Am I at least heading in the right direction or should i scrap it and start with a new topic? I don't need grammatical editing right now, just a a little advice about my topic choice. The first essay if focused towards immigration law, the second is pretty random.
I put the mouse in my hand and slowly circled the mouse pad as Marguerite, a fifty year old immigrant from Cape Verde, watched my hand. As I clicked on icons on the screen, we watched new windows open. As I typed letters on the keyboard, we watched words appear on the computer screen. When I signed up to volunteer in an English and computer skills class at the International Institute of Boston, I didn’t realize how basic some of the skills I would be teaching would be.
As a member of the first generation of ‘computer-students’, I felt prepared to explain the internet and its uses. I expected the internet to be the most difficult aspect of the computer class for most students, so it came as a surprise to me when the physical features of the computer were the first problem for many. The physical movement of gliding a computer mouse across a mouse pad and lining up the cursor with the icon I want to click is as fluent a movement as walking is to me. For the immigrants and refugees in my class who had come from all corners of the world, including Eritrea, Bolivia and Egypt, this movement was the first barrier they needed to overcome. At the end of my time with the students, they had all overcome the movement of the mouse, but were continuously faced with new barriers like using a search engine and changing a font in Microsoft Word.
Eventually, Marguerite was able to take the mouse in her own hand and begin using simple computer applications. Unfortunately, while she was able to slowly grasp computer skills Marguerite was having more difficulty with the English language and finding a job to help support her family. She was also having problems with her legal immigration status but was unable to afford a private lawyer to help her navigate the system.
Another student, Michali, an Eritrean boy my age, was one of the students I helped get beyond using a mouse and was able to help set up an e-mail account. As I helped him enter his chosen screen name and password on the Yahoo! homepage, Michali looked the happiest I had ever seen him in class. His life in Eritrea had never given him the ability to use the internet or even use a computer. Now, in the United States, he had access to the entire world through the use of the internet. I have had access to computers for as long as I can remember and I have never struggled with the English language. Working with the immigrants and refugees at IIB made me infinitely more aware of how difficult adjusting to life in the United States can be.
Marguerite, Michali, and I were at the International Institute of Boston for drastically different reasons. They was fighting to stay in the country, I was simply trying to fill some of my free time. At the end of my few months volunteering with the institute Marguerite and Michali was steps closer to understanding and solving their immigration status’ and I was steps closer to understanding what I would like to focus my future studies on. While the ability to use the internet is not nearly as important as things like access to food and medicine or a stable political system and economy, it is one marker of development that we in the United States often take for granted.
In my four years at Simmons College, I have had several other experiences working with immigrant communities. I worked in low-income preschools in the Boston area for two and a half years. The majority of my students were first or second generation immigrants. Because of the difficulty involved with immigrating to the United States, the only option these parents have for their children are under-funded schools. These children often receive a less than quality education and as a result have a difficult time finding quality jobs as adults.
I also spend a semester interning in the administration office of the International Institute of Boston. This allowed me to see the paperwork side of immigration. Many of the forms and instructions I came across were confusing to me, an educated fluent English speaker. I can’t imagine how puzzling the immigration process is for someone new to the country.
Through my experiences with Jumpstart, by working with many low-income and first generation immigrant families, interning and volunteering with the International Institute of Boston and my coursework in the fields of political science and international relations I was able to come to an understanding of the daily challenges faced by many immigrants in this country. I hope to obtain a law degree in order to continue working with the immigrant community by helping to aid and represent those who are often left unable to attain their own help privately.
I kicked the gear-shift into neutral instead of second. The engine on my bike revved and I knew I had messed up. I had only been given a couple hundred feet to get the bike into second gear and was then expected to do a quick-stop. After hitting neutral instead of second, I stalled mentally, and then after getting into second gear, my bike jumped forward and quickly stalled. There I was, in front of fifteen male strangers, the only girl in the motorcycle license course, and I stalled my bike on one of the easiest parts of the test course. After fumbling with the gear shift and clutch for a moment, I got the bike running again. My teacher told me to circle around, get in line and try again. I had another chance. I wasn’t supposed to get another chance. My heart was beating faster than it had in a long time. I don’t like losing, I don’t like failing, and I really don’t like messing up in front of people. As I sat on the Honda Rebel I had been riding for the previous two days I tried to calm myself down.
Getting my motorcycle license was something I had set my mind on several months before. I didn’t tell anyone I was taking the course, no one even knew I had any interest in riding. It was something I wanted to do for myself. I had gone from hating the sound of a bike going past my window in May, to smiling at the same sound in August. I made it through the first day of the weekend course without incident. During most of our practice exercises I had been complimented on my riding ability, considering I was a girl and had never successfully shifted any type of vehicle in my life, my classmates seemed impressed.
I think by stalling during the test, I surprised everyone else in the class as much as I surprised myself. I let the stress of taking the test get to me. I let my surroundings take hold of me and let my skills fall to my fears. I was afraid of stalling, I was thinking about stalling, I stalled.
As I rode my bike around to the end of the line of other riders, I tried to compose myself. I was given a second chance, whether I deserved it or not. I took several deep breaths. I did what I could to relax myself and by the time I got to the front of the line I was a little less shaky. I kicked my gear shift past neutral and into second gear and was able to stop my bike in time to successfully complete the exercise and go on to pass the entire test. I am now a licensed motorcycle rider.
Now, two years after getting my license, when I hear a motorcycle ride past my window, I smile at the sound of a revving engine, and I can get on my own bike and ride. The freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle is the biggest draw for most riders. For me, it’s important, but it’s not the most important factor. I like that I am doing something unexpected for me, something that I did on my own without help from others, and something that I came so close to not being able to do. Almost failing my license test makes every ride that much more special to me. It wasn’t handed to me and although I did need a second chance, I took advantage of the opportunity and passed the test.
I still stall my bike occasionally, but I’m getting better. My riding skills are constantly improving and so is my confidence. By coming so close to failing the test, I needed to work that much harder in order to pass and become a skilled rider. The challenge pushed me to work even harder, and showed me that if I try I really do have the chance to succeed.
Thanks for the help!
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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if you have something more personal to write about you should pick that. its not boring, just a little clicheed i think--i took on a project and persevered, i persevere in general, etc. at least its not about running a marathon. maybe play up the "i think outside the box" thing. also i'd kick up the feminist outrage but people call me a feminazi so maybe you shouldn't follow that advice.
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