Please help with my diversity statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:24 pm

Here is a copy of my diversity statement i plan to submit to schools. It is a rough draft but be as brutal as possible.

The way I talk is usually the first giveaway that I am not from Texas, but that’s about as good as it gets when trying to pinpoint where its from originally. The usual guesses range from somewhere in the east coast, New York, or the occasional Jamaica. I owe my unusual dialect to what I affectionately refer to as an “amalgamated mess” of an upbringing.
Listening closely, you detect a sudden hint of a foreign accent. I attribute this to having been born in Nigeria. I would describe growing up there as sleepy, as days were spent playing football with the neighborhood kids, and nights mingling with tourists on bar beach. Others have remarked that I am surprisingly well spoken. I lay the blame at the feet of England, where I spent my primary school years in London, from age 9 -13. The years spent there were highly influential, as I got my first taste of the western world, plus it was my first time being introduced to a culture completely different from what I grew up in. Finally, the usual slangs we all know pepper my speech, and this I blame on my years spent in the United States, from age 13 to the present. Emigrating here was a revelation, as this country has mostly shaped the person I am today.
Nigeria and England have left deep imprints in my upbringing that even I have trouble explaining. This initially caused fitting in to the culture of the United States to be difficult, as it was a jarring contrast to the to the life I had before. Life in England and Nigeria was much slower; here life seemed to pass at lightning speed. Diversity was never an issue in England, as I remember my primary school had students from France, Portugal, Spain, Columbia and the West Indies. In contrast, my high school days in Texas, diversity was a bit harder to come by, being one of only 5 African-American students in a mostly Caucasian graduating class of 300 plus. Fortunately, I learned early in life that adapting, accepting, and embracing was key to surviving in a different culture and this has allowed me to thrive here as well.
Growing up in three distinct cultures has afforded me a unique background and outlook on life that I believe is a valuable asset to the Duke law community. Being immersed in these cultures allows me to critique and discuss American policies as a foreigner, but also as a citizen, because I have experience from both lenses. Furthermore, living in these countries has enabled me to see firsthand the impact of policies that were enacted beyond the framework of the American legal system. In Nigeria, policy making had often had religious reasoning behind them, whereas in England, governmental policies often came from a socialistic framework. For example, at our time in London, the government was legally obligated to provide housing for us, as we had a family size that went beyond their legal requirements for government housing. The Duke community brings its own unique mores and values, one that I gladly look forward to the opportunity to enrich as well as learn from.

ARTfulDodger
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:46 pm

Cut the first sentence. You have some good ideas, but I would be careful about coming off as too "conversational." Also, while I was reading this, I felt like you were using too may "big words" that made your whole diversity statement seem a bit awkward.

P.S- Don't say "slangs," don't start with "listening," don't say "as good as it gets." You want to sound professional.

Overall, you have some work to do, but it's an okay start.

HTH

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:53 pm

ok thanks for the insight. I'm trying to rework the first sentence

ARTfulDodger
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:54 pm

You're welcome! Let me know if you have any other questions.

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:09 pm

The way I talk is the first giveaway that I am not from Texas, but guessing what region its from is the hard part. People's guesses range from somewhere in the east coast, New York, or often Jamaica. I owe my unusual dialect to what I refer to as a “mess” of an upbringing."

I reworked the first couple of sentences into this. I trimmed most of the fat from it

ARTfulDodger
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:17 pm

It still seems a bit awkward to me...I think it's the wording. Try using "speak" instead of "talk." I don't like how you used the word "giveway" either....and "people's guesses" needs to go....

Also, why do you refer to your upbringing as a "mess?" It seems like a pretty negative statement to make; in my opinion, I believe your diversity statement should be positive.

Overall, I still don't like the first sentence. Perhaps you could start your statement differently? What other changes have you made?

You're getting there, though....

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:25 pm

i am eliminating a lot of the big words in the first and second paragraphs. I am almost done reworking it

ARTfulDodger
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:37 pm

Okay

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:41 pm

This is the reworked version

Someone’s manner of speech is influenced by where they grew up. I am no different but an educated guess to where I come from is hard due to my unique upbringing. When you listen closely when I speak, you detect a foreign accent. I attribute this to having been born in Nigeria. Growing up there was sleepy, as days were spent playing football with the neighborhood kids, and nights mingling with tourists on bar beach. People also remark that I am surprisingly well spoken. I lay the blame at the feet of England, where I spent my primary school years in London, from age 9 -13. The years spent there were very influential, as I got my first taste of the western world, plus it was my first time being introduced to a culture completely different from what I grew up in. Finally, a familiar dialect pepper my speech, and this I blame on my years spent in the United States, from age 13 to the present. Emigrating here was a revelation, as this country has mostly shaped the person I am today.
Nigeria and England have left deep imprints in my upbringing that even I have trouble explaining. This initially caused fitting in to the culture of the United States to be difficult, as it was a jarring contrast to the to the life I had before. Life in England and Nigeria was much slower; here life seemed to pass at lightning speed. Diversity was never an issue in England, as I remember my primary school had students from France, Portugal, Spain, Columbia and the West Indies. In contrast, my high school days in Texas, diversity was a bit harder to come by, being one of only 5 African-American students in a mostly Caucasian graduating class of 300 plus. Fortunately, I learned early in life that adapting, accepting, and embracing was key to surviving in a different culture and this has allowed me to thrive here as well.
Growing up in three distinct cultures has afforded me a unique background and outlook on life that I believe is a valuable asset to a law community. Being immersed in these cultures allows me to critique and discuss American policies as a foreigner, but also as a citizen, because I have experience from both lenses. Furthermore, living in these countries has enabled me to see firsthand the impact of policies that were enacted beyond the framework of the American legal system. In Nigeria, policy making had often had religious reasoning behind them, whereas in England, governmental policies often came from a socialistic framework. For example, at our time in London, the government was legally obligated to provide housing for us, as we had a family size that went beyond their legal requirements for government housing.
Finally, the relationship between a culture and an individual isn’t strictly in one direction. What we put in is in equal amount what we get out of it, and I welcome the opportunity of this one I hope to be a part of.

ARTfulDodger
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:54 pm

Comma after "different" in the second sentence. Cut "I lay blame at the feet of England." Change the comma after "western world" to a period. Place a comma instead behind "plus."

The whole sentence starting with "Finally, a familiar dialect pepper my speech..." is not grammatically correct and extremely awkward in nature. Either reword it or cut this sentence completely.

Great points about learning how to accept, embace, and adapt...I would add to this point because I think it is the core of your whole diversity statement...

Near the end, when you say "at our time," instead say "during our time." Don't say "isn't."

I also notice that you use "jarring" a lot. It's not particularly a bad thing, but I think it would be helpful to use it a bit less. The las sentences of your diversity statement need a second look.

Sorry if I seem extremely critical, but I hope this is helping.

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:03 pm

oh i did not catch that, i just noticed a comma needed to be there. Yes i pretty much just slapped on the conclusion. No you are helping a lot a lot of people have said my sentences have awkward structures

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:10 pm

The years spent there were very influential, as I got my first taste of the western world, plus it was my first time being introduced to a culture completely different from what I grew up in. Lastly, an American accent starts to come through, having spent my time here since age 13 to the present. Coming here was a revelation, as this country has mostly shaped the person I am today.

Reworked sentence leading to america

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:20 pm

I learned early in life that adapting, accepting, and embracing was key to surviving in a different culture and this has allowed me to thrive here as well. The American culture had a lot to offer; I learned that that hard work was all that was needed to succeed in life, and everyone deserved to have that opportunity given to them.


Expanded on adapting, accepting and embracing

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mpasi
Posts: 324
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:26 pm

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby mpasi » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:34 pm

Fixed the last sentence. It's important to end it on a strong, coherent note.

The Duke community brings its own unique mores and values, one that I gladly look forward to the opportunity to enrich as well as learn from.

The Duke Law community offers a set of unique principles and values that I look forward to benefiting from and subsequently contributing to as a member of the community.

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:41 pm

ok that sounds better

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:26 pm

Here is a revised version of my statement

Trendy clothes, gold watches, shoes, designer handbags, jewelry; all items designed to say “look at me”, in short, designed to sell. I had to hand it to my Mother; she had an uncanny eye for what was “in” for someone who was out of the pop culture loop. The above-mentioned goods laid in a warehouse floor somewhere in Fort Worth, Texas, totaling about $10,000 my mother had worked hard to save. That was the last time we would see them, as it was all gone in an instant, seized by the United States Customs. This set up a chain reaction that would apex in losing the family dollar store business, a financial disaster my family and I are still trying to recover from.
The above event highlighted the relationship between the law of the United States and our lives. My mother, due to her lack of understanding of the law, had unwittingly violated it, as she had not cleared the goods through the proper channels. This was one of many situations stemming from legal ignorance that I experienced as an immigrant when I first came to the United States. The U.S was a land of opportunity, but I could not take advantage of because I didn’t know how things worked. One example of this was in high school, where not much stock to my G.P.A, as I had been used to the pass/fail system of England and Nigeria. Wisely, my parents and I made it a point to study the social environment we were in, a decision that bore fruit for us. I began to see that the United States was a true meritocracy, where advancement in life did not depend on who your political contacts were. For the first time I developed a strong work ethic, and I knew that whatever I wanted to be in life, there was always a plan of action in place to get there. Furthermore, I began to see that the laws that were in place were not there to make our lives more difficult, but to ensure that we continued to enjoy the level of stability we loved America for.
Unfortunately, it is a common problem for people arriving to the United States for the first time to view the laws here as cumbersome and sometimes unjust. The laws governing their home country and those of the States is often very different, so much so that adjusting to the legal climate can a difficult one, an ordeal I have experienced. I understand the importance of having a working knowledge of the judicial system and a law degree will help me do that. It will also enable me to help change this misconception. One way I can do this is through immigration law, where there is currently a lot of misinformation and fear concerning this field. Better education of clients will help to show that naturalization through the proper channels is one that is designed to safeguard the society they have come to love.

ARTfulDodger
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ARTfulDodger » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:31 pm

Do you mind PMing this to me? I'll try to look at it tomorrow and I don't want to rush and look at it now while I'm tired. :D

ufo0001
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Please help with my diversity statement

Postby ufo0001 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:39 pm

no i do not mind at all, I'll gladly pm it to you.




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