First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

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Nmatthe
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:03 am

First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby Nmatthe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:16 am

There are no mistakes in life, no matter how irresponsible or irrational events may appear they are necessary to learn what we need to learn in life. To erase a mistake would be taking away an experience that help shape the person that stands before you. We’ve all made mistakes before and we will all make more mistakes as life progresses, the key is learning from your mistakes and you can only learn if you admit that you’ve made a mistake. I am far from perfect, and I definitely had my share of learning experiences in life. One such experience led me to pursue a career in law and shaped me to be the proud man I am today.

Honestly, I never saw the events of that winter afternoon coming. Heading out of my dormitory to take my last two final exams of my fall semester at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx University I couldn’t stop thinking about winter break, and my grades reflected my lack of focus for that semester. That fall semester was the first time I hadn’t had at least at 3.0 GPA in my academic career. I was heading to those exams to hopefully salvage what had been an exceedingly distraught semester with a remarkable fourth quarter performance on my final exams. I wasn’t proud of my accomplishments in or out of the classroom at the time; I felt like an iceberg with only a tip of my potential being displayed to the world and the most stimulating parts of my mind hidden away in the mist of the surrounding ocean. Nonetheless, you don’t get grades for having potential so I locked my dorm room door, and began the journey to hopefully turn a mediocre semester into an above average one.

Facing the narrow hallway I noticed two unfamiliar faces, both Caucasian males in their mid to late 40’s, I immediately noticed them because I walked that hall a million times this semester at the same time everyday and that was the first time I had ever seen these two men. As we crossed paths, I realized with one quick glance they definitely weren’t at the university to take classes, as the taller of the two men had a police badge attached to his belt buckle slightly hidden by his jacket. At this point I knew these two faces would not be easily forgotten. In fact these two men were actually on-campus detectives, with allegations that proceeded to change my life forever on that winter afternoon. That day in my dorm room those two men inflicted a fear in me, that to this day still rest on my conscience. The detective informed me that I was being charged with “Felony Attempted Robbery”. He used every scare tactic in the book, I felt like I was on an episode of “CSI: College Edition”. As my heart rate increased, I got that feeling in my stomach of fear that I use to get as a child when I knew discipline soon followed my actions. Things were moving too fast and the detectives kept asking questions before I could even formulate an answer to the prior one. After about 45 minutes of me answering questions for the detectives I sat in my classes room and I couldn’t formulate a thought that didn’t include felony-attempted robbery. While I was taken back with the news from the detectives, I wasn’t totally in the dark about the situation. I knew I had made a mistake earlier in the semester, but I thought I had taken care of that wrong.

Let me elaborate more on the situation and my mindset during the time. With a month left remaining in fall semester I was on my way back to campus from the funeral of my grandmother who I, and everyone else in the family for that matter, held very dear to my heart. To say that it was a trying time for my family and me would be an understatement. At this point late in the semester I found myself barely able to make ends meet financially. I was desperately looking for ways to feed myself for the last few weeks of school; I didn’t want to ask my parents for any additional money. Being a first generation college student has its gifts and its curses, especially since I have six other siblings. I gave my family something to be proud of, something to cheer for, but let’s face it my parents did not have the financial resources to send me through school. I know my acceptance into xxxxxxxxxxx University’s top ranked sports management program was a great opportunity that I could not let pass. So, I choose to attend xxxx regardless of the out of state fees. I just don’t think you can put a price on your “future”.

With my financial woes escalating every day, it was hard to simply focus on school, which should have been my number one priority at the time. I was dealing with the first major loss of my life in the death of my grandmother. There I stood, in the middle of a doorway to someone’s dorm room, contemplating the notion of going in and rambling for anything valuable, or to continue walking down the hall and around the corner to visit a friend of mine. I looked down the hallway one more time and then I took one step into the middle of the room, and quickly searching my surroundings I noticed a few expensive books, an apple iPod, a nice Macintosh laptop, and a good- sized flat screen T.V. There I stood inside the small four walls of the dorm room paralyzed with the guilt of my actions and flustered with thought of being caught by someone. What seemed like an hour in my mind of pondering the situation was only 30 seconds real time. Stealing from someone just wasn’t in me, and honestly I didn’t think it would solve my problems. I blame myself for even considering the easy way out of my situation.

Realizing that I had been in that room for entirely to long, I turned to exit the room, however, it was too late by then. A girl, who I assumed lived there, was standing in the front of the doorway of the room blocking my exit. I had never seen her before and I doubt it if she had ever seen me on campus. As you can imagine our dialogue was very brief, I assured her that I didn’t take anything from her and I let her search my book bag and all my pockets willingly before making a quick exit. I still remember that day, and the relief I felt when I was finally in the hallway again walking away briskly.

That winter day changed my life forever, what followed was the hardest time of my life to date. I was too ashamed of my actions to tell my parents or anyone else about the charges. The detectives pressured me to become an informant for them on campus and then they would reduce my charges, however they didn’t guarantee that I would be acquitted. I did not want to risk getting involved with campus drug dealers and thieves no matter how small time, and with every case I would have to testify in the court of law. I decided that was not the best option for me. I didn’t have anyone to relate to, I was continuously stressed about the state of my life between the pending charges, my grades, my finances and being so far away from home. I envisioned that I was in my last semester as a student at xxxx. The case lingered on throughout the entire spring semester, as the detectives delayed officially filing the charges in hopes that I would agree to become their informant, but wearing a wire and setting up fake small time drug deals wasn’t going to solve my problems. Once the detectives figured out that being their on campus informant wasn’t an option, they official charged me, booked me and took me to the county jail.

I was at the lowest point of my life standing in a holding cell dressed in a full orange body suit and purple low cut shoes. Things really could not get any worse than what they were at that point, I could see my dreams just fading away, everything that I had accomplished to this point negated by one bad decision. I was released the next morning and assigned a court date for later in the month.

As my court date came I was assigned a public defender, who honestly didn’t do much defending on my behalf. He advised me to plead guilty to a lesser charge of attempted theft. From the way the public defender painted the picture, this was my best option, in order to avoid additional court fees and the slim chance of going to jail, I should plead guilty to the lesser charge, take the two years of probation, and get the charge expunged from my record down the road when eligible. I was ignorant about law and the legal system at the time, so I took the advice of my public defender and took the plea bargain. Looking back on the situation now, I don’t think that was the best idea, but the burden it lifted off my conscience was priceless; for the first time since December I had peace of mind.

I’m not proud of the things I did during my sophomore year of college, I’ve told this story multiple times to various students I’ve mentored since. Yes, at one time I wanted to hop in the Delorean, go back in time and stop myself from ever walking into that dorm room, but now I understand exactly how that distressed period in my life helped shape me to be the person I am today. We all wish we could erase some dark times in our lives. I have realized erasing any of life’s experiences would be a great mistake. I needed to go through that adversity at the time to become who I am today. The best part about telling my mentees my story is when they see the things I’ve accomplished since. That experience could have easily been follow by dropping out of college or even worse multiple run ins with the law, but I used that experience as motivation.

I finally got back on track academically making the deans list twice after my sophomore year. I also became very active in the community as I interned with the xxxxxxx xxxxxx Community Center as a mentee and sports coordinator. I dedicated myself to make an attempt to make a difference in everyone’s life I’ve encountered since. I joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated during my junior year at xxxx. It was a humbling experience, and a step in the right direction for me. As the community service chair of the organization, I orchestrated opportunities to help people throughout the community. My first year in office I coordinated the first annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Christmas party for unfortunate youth in the xxxxxx xxxxxx, OH area. My fraternity has been the official sponsor for the last three years running. Joining that fraternal organization has been a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and network with individuals with similar goals and aspirations.

During my demanding junior year, a course on sports law offered me my first academic exposure to legal studies. The experiences of my sophomore year allowed me to relate to the subject matter of the course like none other. I literally enjoyed every minute of that class. I knew after the first week of the course that I wanted to pursue a career in law. My interest in law has only grown with time, after the legal issues I went through the year before I only want to help young men and women avoid similar situations if possible. What I’ve learned about myself over the past 4 years of college is that I really enjoy helping people, and I never pass up an opportunity to motivate and encourage people to pursue whatever endeavor they want to accomplish in life. I would like law to be the medium that helps me accomplish this. I believe that by practicing law I will have the ability to accomplish a great amount of good in my surrounding community. I cannot yet know the particulars of what it means to be a lawyer, but I am very eager to find out and receive the education required to do so. I hope my past mistake does not tarnish my candidacy; that mistake has made me the man I am today and motivated me to pursue law.

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kazu
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Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby kazu » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:20 am

Waaayyyy too long. You're going to have to cut it into half for Berkeley, into 1/4 of the current length for other schools.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:02 am

I enjoyed reading your essay. You are in a very difficult position. Your personal statement will almost surely block your admission to most law schools & most, probably all, state bars. The difficulty is not the crime itself, although that presents a substantial hurdle in your quest to become an attorney, but the suspicion that your personal statement is not entirely truthful. In short, some readers may wonder whether the man that you have become today is a liar.

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:05 am

As written, the only possible criminal charge that you could have faced was trespassing.

Nmatthe
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:03 am

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby Nmatthe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:31 pm

kazu wrote:Waaayyyy too long. You're going to have to cut it into half for Berkeley, into 1/4 of the current length for other schools.


I think it is too long as well, I'm just having trouble reducing the length.

Nmatthe
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:03 am

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby Nmatthe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:40 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:I enjoyed reading your essay. You are in a very difficult position. Your personal statement will almost surely block your admission to most law schools & most, probably all, state bars. The difficulty is not the crime itself, although that presents a substantial hurdle in your quest to become an attorney, but the suspicion that your personal statement is not entirely truthful. In short, some readers may wonder whether the man that you have become today is a liar.


Im sorry I had an error in the statement, looking back over my paper work the original charge was burglary, and the plea bargain was attempted theft, as it was determined that I went into the dormitory room for the purpose of committing a theft offense. Which was true, but I never took anything and exited the room with all my original belongings.

Nmatthe
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:03 am

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby Nmatthe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:43 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:As written, the only possible criminal charge that you could have faced was trespassing.


This is the conclusion that I came to as well, but at the time I was ignorant about the legal system, and didn't know any better.

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:46 pm

Unfortunately, the readers of your essay are likely to know better, as did the two detectives & your attorney & the judge. Judges, as you may know, are not permitted to accept a guilty plea without sufficient evidence of facts establishing the offense. Nice try, but it is doubtful that anybody will buy it.

P.S. You have several giveaways in your essay that suggest much more than you have shared.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nmatthe
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:03 am

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby Nmatthe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:48 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Unfortunately, the readers of your essay are likely to know better, as did the two detectives & your attorney. Nice try, but it is doubtful that anybody will buy it.

P.S. You have several giveaways in your essay that suggest much more than you have shared.


Any suggestions?

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:50 pm

Law school may be a waste of time & money in your case if these events were within the last few years & occurred after your age 18. I know people who were admitted to & finished law school but were not allowed to sit for the bar due to breaking & entering juvenile charges. Three years after completing law school I was told that one of the two was permitted to sit for the bar. But these were politically connected folks.
Consider consulting an attorney in your targeted jurisdiction (state) who specializes in bar disciplinary matters. Typically, these lawyers worked for the state bar prior to entering private practice.

Nmatthe
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:03 am

Re: First Draft of my PS/please comment/revise/thoughts

Postby Nmatthe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:03 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Law school may be a waste of time & money in your case if these events were within the last few years & occurred after your age 18. I know people who were admitted to & finished law school but were not allowed to sit for the bar due to breaking & entering juvenile charges. Three years after completing law school I was told that one of the two was permitted to sit for the bar. But these were politically connected folks.
Consider consulting an attorney in your targeted jurisdiction (state) who specializes in bar disciplinary matters. Typically, these lawyers worked for the state bar prior to entering private practice.


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