personal statement

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personal statement

Postby Jewuh » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:36 pm

Could somebody help me please edit this

As a child I never understood why my parents subjected me to an inhuman experience that was education. Now looking back, I am exceedingly thankful for that “inhuman experience” because all the adverse incidents that I encountered then, prepared me to bear and overcome challenges that I continually face even to this day. I attained elementary education from a small rural missionary founded school in the southwestern XXX district of XXX. With no shoes to guard my frail feet from the sharp stones on the rough road to school, I daily braved the cold weather in short khaki pants and a white shirt; a handmade green sweater was the only protection I had against the cruel chilly weather typical of the hills of XXX
. Constantly apprehensive of the physically abusive punishments my teachers wantonly administered in the name of discipline, I hardly concentrated in class. I witnessed a lot of my school friends snatched away from the path of education by drugs, poverty, and early forced marriages amongst other things. Although these experiences were sufficient to deaden even the strongest of wills, my determination, desire for success and an encouraging mother kept me on course even through high school; my mother never ceased to tell me about the importance of education.

Scarcely had I completed my first year of high school when my family was forced to relocate, leaving me in the care of my 15-year-old brother in a house close to school. With no parental figure in a dwelling that had no electricity, doing homework and studying for school were nearly impossible. Malaria was so rampant in this part of Africa that I repeatedly fell victim to it. A large fraction of my school time was spent in the hospital bed as my body wrestled against this pestilence. I never yielded to these odds but strived for success. I made optimum use of daylight and utilized candles by night to make up for the school days missed. I was not ready to let these adversities deprive me of a bright future that lay in education. Two years before I graduated from high school, my father left us, abandoning the whole family to the sole care of our mother, a housewife. Recognizing that a family of seven could not survive on a housewife’s meager income, I had to fend for myself to be able to graduate from high school. By hard work and an undying optimism, I excelled in school and became a beneficiary of the high achievers bursary that paid for the rest of my high school. At the end of the final year of high school, I graduated as the top student and was awarded a four-year Honors College scholarship to study law at XXX University. At the completion of my bachelor of laws degree, graduating as one of the top students in my class, I was awarded a highly competitive scholarship by the government of XXX to study XXX for a diploma in legal practice.

Law school required a lot of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. As a student I faced various challenges; in addition to the tiring coursework, I was required to do two extra honors college advanced assignments every semester. Although this was a demanding requirement, I graciously exploited the advantages it carried in its train. Every occasion of doing an advanced assignment was an opportunity to develop research, writing and speech skills, which were helpful as I wrote my final dissertation, went on to pursue graduate studies, and finally as I began working in the legal field.

In spite of the demanding nature of the requirements of law school, I made time for extracurricular activities such as volunteering at Orphanages of AIDS victims, offering career guidance to high school students, and other service projects. In 2005 when I volunteered as a legal assistant at a Legal Aid Clinic that provided legal assistance to indigent and vulnerable people in XXX, I saw innocent people suffer inconceivable injustices due to poverty and ignorance. Most of this clinic’s clients were disinherited widows, orphans and criminal defendants. To these people justice was a highly priced good that they were never to access but for the legal aid the clinic provided. Volunteering at these places was not only an opportunity for me to help people who would otherwise be helpless but it also helped me to appreciate the importance of community service. To this day I find value and pride in doing voluntary acts of service, which are exemplified in my involvement in my current community doing yard work for a local historical society, participating in the summer Bible school, working at the farmers’ market, assisting nursing home residents in various activities, and speaking to high school history, government, and geography classes about XXX.

I remember in a Jurisprudence class reading one of William Twining’s works, “Pericles and the Plumber” where he portrayed “Pericles” as a critical thinking lawyer who questions the object of legal rules, reflects on purposes and values of the law and promotes social change; and the “Plumber” as the technical lawyer to whom a liberal education is wasteful. The Image of Pericles was very appealing to me and I since sought to emulate it. I conceive law not as distinct milieu of rigid technicalities but as a body of knowledge that is shaped by history, philosophy, ethics, and science, amongst others. I believe that when analyzing a legal issue, one should seek the spirit of the law rather than merely adhering to its letter.

I believe that my descent from XXX, a third world African country whose constitutional history has been characterized by military coups and dictatorial regimes, whose Supreme court recently upheld death penalty by hanging as a legitimate punishment, and whose parliament is currently debating a bill that, if passed, will punish homosexuality with death or life imprisonment make me a unique person who will contribute to the ethnical, cultural and socio-economic diversity of XYZ University. Also, my travel to Rwanda where I not only had the opportunity to witness the effects of the 1994 genocide on this country but also the steps it is taking towards accountability and reconciliation, the experience I had in my academic career and the exposure I have had in legal practice make me an valuable asset worth having in a law class.

When I went to university in XXX, I wanted to become a lawyer. Now that I have migrated to the United States, I still want to realize the desire I had when I first joined law school. I look forward to face the challenges of law school in a new education system, to share a unique perspective with fellow students and faculty at XYZ University and to graduate as a well-rounded lawyer whom will be a leader, a servant and a change agent.

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