This is a new version of my first personal statement attempt. Please ignore all grammatical errors for the moment. Thanks.
I looked out over valley below and watched as the inversion caused the smoke to lie down heavily over the trees. The cool, damp air that the night brings in is always appreciated by wildland firefighters. Even though we were in Alaska, where during the summertime it can stay light till midnight, the humidity levels rise and fire activity decreases. The calm that sets in after this happens always seemed unnatural to me. Earlier that day the ten acre area where the fire had started was a site of constant activity. We had arrived as an Initial Attack Team by helicopter in the mid-afternoon. The team consisted of myself and four other firefighters of various levels of experience and expertise. I had been designated as air-to-ground radio operator and drop zone coordinator. As my co-workers began to employ basic wildland firefighting procedures, I set up a drop zone and began talking to two different helicopters and the airplane that would drop the smoke-jumpers and supplies out by parachute.
To the outside observer the entire scene might have seemed unorganized and chaotic, but to those of us with experience and training it was all beautifully orchestrated. It is not easy work. Everyone sweats, breathes smoke, and tries to put up with the heat of the flames, their eyes stinging, and the deafening sound of the rotors overhead. On a small fire such as this one, you do this until either you stop the fire or the fire escapes you. If you can hold the fire back or just slow it down until nightfall, you have won the battle. That night we knew we had done our jobs successfully. There were no hot showers, warm meals, or cold beers for waiting for us. At the end of the night you sit around camp, eat military rations (MREs), and converse with your ash-covered friends and co-workers.
It was here, in these quiet moments on the job, that I would begin to evaluate myself and my future. Should I stay with this job and give up my dreams of attending law school and eventually becoming a practicing lawyer? I had risen through the ranks fast, earning many qualifications and several promotions. In the beginning it had began as a great summer job with good pay and even better experiences. Now I was finding it difficult to give up the excitement, the friends, and the reputation that goes along with being a wildland firefighter. The red sun began was hardly showing over the hills, leaving us with a few final moments of light before retiring for the night. I knew it would be difficult to give up nights like this, but in reality I had always had much bigger plans for my life.
I had been so successful with this job for the same reasons that I had succeeded with everything in my life. Early on, I learned from my father that hard work and perseverance always pays off. I was successful in high school, sports, college, and every job that I have ever had. Even the local gas station was sad to see me go. I can’t be satisfied with myself unless I have given something my best effort. This meant that I could never be satisfied with giving up on law school and continuing with forestry. Knowing that I could have done more with myself would have soon made me miserable. Instead, I began to look forward to a different sort of thrill. The anticipation of receiving grades in law school, the excitement of the jury’s final decision, and the satisfaction of knowing that I have succeeded in one of the country’s most difficult and respected careers would replace any and all sources of motivation in my life. This is why I have applied to attend [LAW SCHOOL]. I look forward to my next great set of challenges and successes.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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