Please Help! (First draft)

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llachans
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Please Help! (First draft)

Postby llachans » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:37 pm

Here is my first draft of a personal statement. Any advice would be really helpful. I feel like some of the transitions are terribly awkward. Thanks for any input!

Encounters with individuals inevitably change the course of your life. My grandmother’s struggle with cancer taught me strength and character while my biological mother, an addict and alcoholic, continues to provide the blueprint of what decisions to not make in life. However, the encounter that has perhaps most impacted me is with a fourteen year-old boy I have never even met. The first time I saw Lawrence King, I noticed his soft features; his delicate eyes and long eyelashes that contributed to his innocent expression. His portrait drastically contrasted the dark headline that preceded his picture: Lawrence King was murdered by his classmate because he was gay.

News stories have the ability to captivate individual and national attention and Lawrence King’s story did precisely that. The story consumed my every breath and began to invade my everyday thoughts. The visuals and emotions that absorbed me when I followed the news coverage of his death impacted me more powerfully than any news story ever has and probably ever will. The story of Lawrence King changed me: following his death, I switched my major from English to Political Science, a field in which I believed I could help advocate change for the LGBT community.

I hail from Wheaton, Illinois, a conservative suburb of Chicago that proudly boasts it has more churches per capita than any other town in America. While Wheaton is a safe place for a young family to raise its children, its traditional viewpoints often isolate individuals who stray from the norm. I entered the University of Iowa as a self-effacing eighteen year-old who struggled with a heavy burden - - I was a closeted lesbian who was terrified to come out to family and friends. However, my social opportunities at the University of Iowa allowed me to accept my sexual orientation, come out to family and friends, and eventually join the LGBT group on campus. The tools I learned through the campus LGBT group were invaluable in allowing me to cope with the religious opposition I faced from my hometown. In November of my junior year, I faced the harsh reality of being out as an LGBT individual. I lived in the dorms and six girls and their boyfriends discovered that I was lesbian. The following weeks consisted of threats and incessant taunting, pounding on my bedroom door, and even being physically barricaded into my room. While this experience could have easily shoved me back into the closet, it was the single most pivotal moment of my college career - - a moment that was ultimately positive.

While the threats initially caused shame, embarrassment, and fear, I eventually contacted the LGBT group’s administrator: overnight a security camera was installed outside of my room and a panel was arranged to speak to students on my floor. Several individuals from my campus group and I sat on a panel to address the girls’ questions regarding homosexuality. Overall, and to my surprise, the panel was a success. The other girls on my floor visibly supported me and the bullies eventually ceased their harassment. That initial panel, coupled with the urgency I drew from Lawrence King’s story, formed the last two years of my college career. I served on many LGBT panels visiting middle school, high school, and college classrooms. In addition, I participated in bi-weekly phone banks with One Iowa, an organization committed to ensure that Iowa’s same-sex marriage is not overturned, and protests for the Day of Silence, a national day acknowledging the bullying that is often directed at LGBT individuals. Overall, the University of Iowa’s environment has been instrumental in allowing me to accept my own sexual identity and help promote the LGBT community on campus.

The images of Lawrence King continue to parade my mind. Lawrence King had no way of knowing that his young life would personally affect a stranger as much as they have, but I carry his story as an integral part to my own story. To me, the Lawrence King story is not a story about a gay boy expressing his attraction to other males; it is instead a story about a boy striving to be completely true to himself even if society discouraged him from doing so; it is a story about society failing to protect self-expression. Brandon McInernery, Lawrence’s killer, is currently on trial and I anxiously await the verdict. For the past three years, Lawrence’s story has continued to personally impact me and challenge my own perception of my self-identity. I hope that Brandon McInernery faces a sentence that dictates the path that society will follow in the future: a path that does not limit justice to the majority. Lawrence King’s murder and my own struggle with my sexuality have caused me to become more socially aware of the legal issues facing the LGBT community. I am committed to the advancement of human rights and the protection of social, economic, ethnic, racial, political, sexual, and gender minorities. Through taking law classes as an undergraduate, I have witnessed why reforms to domestic and international legal protections of minorities are necessary. I believe that society must be reformed into one that reprimands instead of perpetuates hostility. I believe that this change will be best achieved by causing changes in legislation that can then trickle down to society. It would be a privilege to attend XXX Law School in order to help enact this transformation towards greater equality and pursue my dream to act as an advocate for minority rights.
Last edited by llachans on Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Please Help! (First draft)

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:29 pm

"...and I anxiously await the verdict."---This is a troubling phrase in your personal statement that suggests a lack of growth from your experiences.

llachans
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Please Help! (First draft)

Postby llachans » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:31 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:"...and I anxiously await the verdict."---This is a troubling phrase in your personal statement that suggests a lack of growth from your experiences.


Thanks for the advice. I can see how it could come across like that. I'll definitely find a way to re-word that less dramatically.




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