NoodleyOne wrote:Edit: Final Draft. I think I have all of the grammatical mistakes, and I like the word choice for the most part. Changed it to a more active voice, and I also cut out that god awful sentence at the end of the second to last paragraph. Any final thoughts?
When you are ten your role models are firemen, professional athletes, and movie stars, and at that age I was no different. But when my 15-year-old brother was arrested for shoplifting, the experience led me to add lawyers to my list of heroes. He faced juvenile hall, and with my mother on welfare, there was no way my family could afford a good lawyer to help him with his case. My mother was desperate, though, having already had one son end up in prison after trouble in his youth, so she sought out a local attorney to see if there was anything she could do to prevent another one of her sons from going down that path.
I was not there for the meeting, and I do not know exactly what she told him, but whatever it was resonated because he agreed to take my brother’s case pro bono. What stands out most to me about my brother’s day in court and is not the objections, the evidence, or the dozens of other things my ten-year-old brain could not understand The image that stands out for me on that day is my brother hugging the lawyer, my mom in tears thanking him profusely, and the lawyer seeming almost embarrassed with the thanks he was receiving.
From that day forward, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “a lawyer” without hesitation because I knew I wanted to help other people like someone had helped my family. While was not always the perfect student, my goal drove me to succeed in school. My path was not one without challenges, though. The town I grew up in was way back in the mountains and very poor. I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the small town environment, that seemed as out of reach as becoming a movie star or a professional football player. People where I come from do not become lawyers. They become carpenters or mechanics or maybe a manager at a local store. Lawyer? Not a chance. That type of thinking began to poison my mind, and that led me to fear that my goals were out of reach.
My brother, the same one whose troubles indirectly set me on the path to becoming a lawyer, was now a decorated soldier in the Army, and he would not let that mindset hold me back. He knew that becoming a lawyer had my dream since I was a child, and when he heard of my uncertainty, he encouraged me in the way only an older brother can− he threatened to beat me up if I did not go to law school. While I did not take the threat seriously, I did take what was behind it with all the gravity it deserved. My upbringing, while undeniably difficult, was not something that I would allow to slow me down.
Even with the finish line in sight, the path was still fraught with challenges. My mother was unable to help me with my school expenses, so I had to work two 30-hour-a-week jobs just to support myself. I would find time to study when I could, whether while walking to work or on my breaks, but I never let my financial circumstances, or my lack of sleep, for that matter, keep me from realizing my goal. My academic success provided me with the opportunity for an academic research fellowship, which led to even less sleep, but also gave me an invaluable experience into the realities of academic research. More importantly, I proved to myself that I had the talent and ability to perform well in a competitive academic environment.
When the resolve sets in to pursue your dream no matter what, everything after that becomes easy. Tasks in school that many found arduous I tackled with relish because I knew that every step of my journey was crucial to my becoming a lawyer. That ten year old kid, so hopeful, is now a twenty-eight year old man with a goal and the drive to succeed. That lawyer, the hero from my childhood, surely did not know when he took that case that he would have such an impact on my life. He probably thought he was just keeping a stupid kid from juvenile hall. What he actually did was keep me, a kid from the middle of nowhere, from becoming trapped by his circumstances.
This is really minor, but this sentence is driving me crazy. It just seems too long, particularly because the preceding sentences are also very long. Try to vary your sentence length a little. Otherwise, nice job!