I think I'm slightly closer to being on the right track

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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:30 pm

I think I'm slightly closer to being on the right track

Postby lornarose07 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:12 pm

Honest critiques are always welcome

At a very young age, my father taught me the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

I wouldn’t come to understand the gravity of those words until many years later, when I was nestled comfortably in my seat, on the first day of my Cultural Diversity class, listening to the professor explain to us that being a social worker means being a “change-maker.” Up until that point, my life had been full of circumstances that I could not control. I was nine years old when my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and I watched my father begin to unravel almost ten years of sobriety and succumb to his previously dormant drug and alcohol addiction. I went from accompanying my father to weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (with subsequent trips for milkshakes afterwards), to making for myself the only two things I knew how to cook on my own for dinner, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. While my grandmother struggled for her life, in and out of hospitals and nursing homes for the next ten years, I struggled to get out of bed and have to face what my life had become every day. I had little to look forward to, outside of my love for school, reading, and being a computer nerd until four o’clock in the morning (I suppose that was one of the perks of having an alcoholic parent: no one was ever home to tell me to go to bed).

When I was 11 years old, I realized that I wanted to become a lawyer, so I could practice family law and defend neglected and abused children. So, naturally, entering my freshman year of college was exciting, as I was looking forward to working towards my degree in social work—a strong foundation, I believed, for a lawyer looking to practice family law. It was also a fresh start for me to move on from the physically and emotionally abusive relationships that I had been in and attempt to form some healthier relationships that had been absent from my life. Unfortunately, it was no more than one and half months into my freshman year that I was sexually assaulted, and the beginning of my college career became tremendously disrupted. It has been inexplicably difficult, the road to recovery from that incident, and finding my niche within the XXX University community two years and two college transfers later aided me on that journey in many ways.

Inspired by my coursework as a social work major and by my professor who charged us all to be change-makers, I finally learned to muster the courage to begin changing the things that were within my control. I became an advocate for raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence through the Miss America Organization, where my public speaking appearances elicited such feedback as “You have changed my perception of what a beauty queen is,” and “You’ve inspired me to go to court and face my attacker, not just for me but for all women like me” (it must be noted that the latter statement came from the mouth of a 15-year old). For my senior year field placement, I am currently an intern at XYZ, a sexual assault and domestic violence center and shelter. My duties include helping victims fill out orders of protection, facilitating services and taking crisis calls on our 24-hour call line.
While I cannot change the experiences I have had, I can change how I allow them to affect me. Every Monday that I walk into family court as an advocate for petitioners, every time I sit in Domestic Violence court and take notes on how each case is handled by the DA, and every time I attend a conference about the legal remedies available for various populations who are victims of violence, I can feel my heart beat a little more strongly. I can feel an internal itch that must be scratched when I graduate in May, a feeling that can only be satisfied by continuing my education in law school. My desire to practice family law has now been supplemented with the desire to defend crime victims, and my school work and field placement at XYZ are preparing me for this line of work. I may not be able to change the fact that I have been a victim at many times in my life, but I have since found the courage to become a survivor.

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