recaldo wrote:Hi everyone. I would like some critiques and criticisms on this first draft GPA Addenum. Let me know if you can feel the wound.
My poor undergraduate performance was something of my own making and I take full responsibility for the bad academic choices I made while at <top 10 school>. As the LSAT shows, there is a distinction between correlation and causation and, as far as I know, we are still working on the causes of human behavior. It has taken over four years of deep self-reflection, eights years of temporal distance from events, and an everlasting, if naïve, belief that terrible events can be explained, examined, and can lead to a conclusion about one’s personhood in order to write this GPA Addendum. This is my best explanation of the circumstances surrounding my academic performance. It is not meant as an excuse. I offer it to the Admissions Committee for use as a partial explanation for my trajectory.
To be an orphan is to not know one’s roots or past. Between my Senior year of high school and my freshman year at college, a bread-winning member of my family developed a severe psychiatric disorder where she became violent. I was routinely abused physically, emotionally, and mentally. Police were present at my house often in response to violent acts. I was sometimes locked out of my house and forced to live outside during cold winters in makeshift bedding that I constructed myself. Other times, I was imprisoned, or handcuffed, for days at a time. School counselors and advisors, well-informed of a destabilized family situation due to the smallish nature of <small town> advised me not to attend college, rather they suggested that I “take a year off,” presumably because they knew I was too damaged to perform at <top 10 school>. I responded, “and stay where?” I was homeless in many ways – I could not count on shelter, on stability, or support. I could, however, count on violence, verbal explosions, and barbarism. Adding to the trauma, it was revealed that my brother, <name>, who never really looked like me, was not the product of my mother and my father, but rather my mother or my father! The intense fighting brought out the truth sixteen years after his birth, long after he was assumed to be of my blood.
Despite having a low GPA, <top 10 school> never asked me to leave and never asked me to take time off(the traditional method of dealing with low GPA students) because they were aware of the situation. I was, frankly, screwed up. But within two and half years I was already recovering. I received much higher grades between my _ and _ years, led student groups, and obtained competitive internships where I was offered full-time jobs.
But then, unfortunately, there was more trauma. CNN to see my apartment building in New York City in flames; the very apartment building I returned to between my years at <top 10 school>. The place I now called home. My refuge. A plane had crashed into <address in nyc>; right into the apartment where my father had moved to escape the same broken home I had escaped only years prior. It was a direct hit As I watched flames shoot out of the building on CNN, the camera panning to gawking pedestrians and desperate fire fighters, a sinking feeling came over me: I was homeless again. When I eventually returned to the building after the accident in which two people died and one was severely burned, I stood on the precipice of the gigantic hole the plane and explosion had formed on the <floor #> of the <building official title>, wind whipping in my hair, and the lights of the New York City skyline closer than ever before and realized that it was no different than any other time in my recent memory. I was living in a vacuum. The hole in the building was the hole I had felt since high school, the hole in my family life. The hole in my entire life.
This was the day when things turned. I had nothing but myself now and my experiences. I was a wounded orphan. But I’m over it.