"Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
noahzak
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:31 pm

"Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

Postby noahzak » Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:18 pm

Hi All,

I'd love any feedback on this- I am open to any criticism and have been having a lot of trouble with my statement, so I'd appreciate it!

When I was in kindergarten, the school principal told my mother I’d have a wonderful career as a translator. She had overheard me talking to my grandmother, who had come to pick me up one day, and a friend’s father, arranging a playdate for myself. My grandmother, who was born in Afghanistan and didn’t speak English, often relied on me for her everyday tasks, whether this involved grocery shopping or telling her what was transpiring on the news. From a young age, I’ve understood the power of words and how an otherwise intelligent person can be cut down due to their inability to grasp a particular language. Ultimately, I think that my exposure to this phenomenon as a child shaped my desire to become a writer, a veritable master of words.

After I graduated from college with a degree in journalism, I worked as a magazine editor, a freelance newspaper writer, a social media expert, and a copy editor, so it’s safe to say that I applied what I learned at school into developing the career I thought I wanted. It was working for my father, however, that showed me where my talent lies, and what I need to do with it.

As an Afghan-American businessman, my father believed it was his utmost responsibility as an Afghan to return to the country after 9/11 and to assist in its rebuilding. For the past nine years, he’s been taking frequent trips to Afghanistan, despite safety concerns, and in between these journeys, he communicates with officials ranging from ambassadors to health ministers via email. In English. Despite American citizenship and despite the fact that he has lived in the United States for almost 25 years, however, my father has elementary knowledge of the language. So, when I moved back home after college with a writing degree, I became his unofficial secretary.

My old principal was right; perhaps translating is where my strengths are. However, what I enjoyed most about working with my father was the hybrid job description I created for myself and the new strengths I discovered: I became a translator, writer, editor, and champion for causes I didn’t even think I cared about.

In the summer of 2010, my father traveled to Afghanistan and hours later, my mother received a call from him during a layover in Atlanta. With shaking hands, she told me to call him, and I scrambled to my phone. As I spoke to my father, whose anger I’d experienced many times but his embarrassment I’d never encountered, I tried to fight the wave of pity that engulfed me.

Despite the fact that my father had reserved seats near the front of the plane weeks earlier, the airline had inexplicably moved him to the very last row of seats. As he asked person after person why he was being moved, he was met by unexplainable hostility: From mocking mispronunciations of his name to threats of removal from the plane, the airline had done everything they could to humiliate my father in front of his fellow passengers. When he asked why he couldn’t ask why they moved him when his reserved seat was still empty, he was quieted with a “Sir, if you ask one more question, you will be thrown off this flight.”

As I fumed on the other end of the phone, my father asked me to call the airline the next day to find out what had happened.

“We need you to call because you don’t have an accent and they will take you seriously,” he said.

19 years after kindergarten, I was relearning the power of words. I called the airline the next day expecting resistance, already balking at how I would properly explain what had happened. Over the next two hours, however, I was personally apologized to by at least three heads of the airline. Ultimately, while I was ecstatic that they were sorry, I couldn’t help but wonder how often an experience that I take for granted, like uncomplicatedly boarding a flight, turns into a gross mistreatment.

I won’t lie and say this is the moment I considered becoming a lawyer. As an assertive child with a defiant streak and a tendency to enjoy defending those weaker than me, i.e. my younger siblings against my parents’ perverse threats of lower allowances and earlier bedtimes, I’ve always entertained the idea. Although my current career as a journalist has offered me the ability to learn more about people than I’d ever imagined, I’d like to do more with my words. I want to be able to change circumstances through the law.

As an international lawyer, I’d like to work in human rights, and I will draw on my own experiences as both an Afghan and an American to relate to my clients. From my American side, I’ve learned organization, but from my Afghan side, I’ve learned perseverance. I’m American in my belief that anyone can succeed, but I’m Afghan in my stubbornness to prove my personal success. I’m American in my ability to sympathize with all types of people, but I’m Afghan in my deeper understanding of what it feels like to be sympathized with.

I know what it is like to work with people who are disadvantaged, whether that disadvantage manifests itself through social misunderstanding, a language discrepancy, or economic or political differences. As a lawyer, I don’t expect to change the world, but I do expect to change the lives of the people living in it.

yumberry
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:48 pm

Re: "Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

Postby yumberry » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:18 pm

your essay was amazingly interesting to read! the descriptions of your experiences were particularly striking. at first i was convinced that there was too much going on in one essay, but after some thought i realized they all tie into one succinct message. i don't profess to be much of an expert on how personal/diversity statements work, but i just wanted you to know that to me, yours is phenomenal and definitely persuaded me :D if only i was the dean of admissions to my own law school.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18420
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: "Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:23 pm

There is way too much about your father in this DS.

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: "Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

Postby bdubs » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:26 pm

noahzak wrote:I won’t lie and say this is the moment I considered becoming a lawyer. As an assertive child with a defiant streak and a tendency to enjoy defending those weaker than me, i.e. my younger siblings against my parents’ perverse threats of lower allowances and earlier bedtimes, I’ve always entertained the idea. Although my current career as a journalist has offered me the ability to learn more about people than I’d ever imagined, I’d like to do more with my words. I want to be able to change circumstances through the law.


I've read several statements that admissions officers absolutely hate it when people reference being a stuborn (whiny) child as a reason for wanting to be a lawyer. I am sure you can come up with a better example than this given the experiences you have had.

A final paragraph at the end which more clearly emphasizes what you want to do with your law degree would be helpful (even if it is just one of many possible areas of law you are considering), the one you have now is too generic.
Last edited by bdubs on Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: "Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:27 pm

Your diversity statement is fine since it is well written & effectively communicates different cultural experiences & viewpoints. Overflowing with mature observations.

noahzak
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:31 pm

Re: "Diversity" Statement looking for Advice

Postby noahzak » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:15 pm

Thank you all for the advice and comments :) I will take it all into consideration....




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.