In my first year of college, I thought photographer might be an interesting career for me. Or put it differently, I didn’t know what I really wanted to do in the future. I joined a photographer’s club only because I wanted to escape from the confusion about future. Wandering around the city and taking pictures of people and buildings were forms of escapism for me. At the end of my freshman year, I became the vice-president of the club. Still, I didn’t think much about my future career.
The real change came in my second year, when an American photographer came to our university to give a speech on death penalty. I was his translator then, for his daily life and the speech. He showed the photos of death row inmates, and shared their stories with us. He went through a lot of obstacles in getting these photos. He had to communicate with the bureaucrats, which must be tough for a quite person like him. Nevertheless, he managed to get the permission from them. I asked him why he would put so much effort in taking all these pictures. His answer was simple: “I don’t think the death penalty and the hatred can make the society better. Only love can.” This was the first time I truly realized that we have to bear social responsibilities. It is our duty to make the society better, by taking care of each other. He did all he could to help people, to pursue what he thinks is right. I was ashamed of myself when he said “I really want to attend law school. With formal training in law, I will be more helpful to those people” – I occupied a seat at a top law school, but didn’t take my classes seriously; I took pictures of people but didn’t care about their lives and sufferings.
Soon after he left China, I started to work hard on my law courses. Gradually I realized the law’s incompetence in protecting the social vulnerable groups’ rights. During my third year, I went through a competitive selection and got into the Legal Clinic Program, with the hope that I could use what I learn to help whoever in need. Our team got a case of a poor lady, whose employer refused to buy insurance for her. She was sick then and could barely afford the expensive medical fees. The life of her family became even harder. For weeks, we traveled around the city to gather evidence, to communicate with the company as well as the government, and had countless group meetings to discuss arbitration strategies. But I didn’t feel tired at all. Finally, we got a compensation of 30,000 CNY for her. The smile on her face was so beautiful when she saw the decision. She insisted that we must have dinner at her home that night. I brought my camera and took a picture of her family gathering together happily. This could be one of the best photos I got in my “photography career”, I thought.
After our success, many of her colleagues, whom the company did not buy insurance for, also came to our Legal Aid Centre for help. They once thought they could only be submissive to their company, given their disadvantages situation. But now since they knew that there were people here willing to help, they would love to take their right seriously.
I still take pictures today, as mediocre as always. But unlike my freshman year, I know the stories behind my photos. Most of the time, I’m part of them. I think I can understand the photographer better now: it is never tough to do the things you think are right. I want to apply for your JD program because you always emphasize the values of human as well as the law. I believe my legal education in William & Marry Law School will give me greater abilities to help people in need.
This is specific for William & Mary. For other law schools, I guess I will only change the last paragraph. Please give any suggestion you have on my PS. I know that non-native speaker is not an excuse in sending lousy PS to law schools. Thanks a lot!
BTW, I already sent 4 PS, which have typos and grammar mistakes.... Will this ruin my applications...? Among the four schools, two are target, one is reach, and one gave me application fee wavier.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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