- Does it cover what it needs to? I had some trouble trying to tell a genuine personal story while also orienting the PS around law school.
- Is the last paragraph about my future plans too hokey/does it feel shoehorned in?
- Does the flow of the metaphor work?
- Obviously, any problems in spelling, grammar, diction, etc.
American Airlines flight XXXX had just touched down at Personal Statement International Airport. Two gruff-looking men peered past my window seat trying to spot their luggage as the ground crew offloaded the storage compartment and the first-class passengers slowly began to deplane. "Look at that" one man said to the other as he pointed at two blue plastic bins covered in layers of TSA security tape. "Someone's got a funny taste in suitcases" he continued as the other man chuckled in agreement. All I could do was respond with a shy smile and a nod of my head, knowing that those two funny suitcases held all my earthly possessions. My checked luggage may have seemed like overkill but at the time it was my only feasible option. I was heading off to college and leaving behind an empty house that my parents had already put on the market. Of course, that part was nothing new; I had already lived in 15 or so different houses by the time I graduated high school. When you move around this often, you are forced to be much more critical of how valuable your possessions really are. You find that if something has been sitting untouched in your closet for the past year, it's probably not worth packing, moving, and unpacking just to sit in your new closet for another year.
But even if packing up and moving was old hat, this time was different because my parents weren't moving from on house into another, but into an R.V. that would become their home for the next couple of years as they crisscrossed the country. My parents may have been happy with their 150 square foot home, but it meant that I needed to get everything I owned out of our house and either get rid of it or bring it to college. A few trips to Goodwill later and my blue bins were on their way to Personal Statement University. Be it college, law school, or a new job, I am confident that I will arrive with very little baggage.
But being able to pack all of my things into a box hardly qualifies me as a strong law student or defines who I am as a human being. No, what I'm really concerned about is another definition of baggage. When we say that a person "has baggage," we generally aren't referring to duffel bags or rolling suitcases but to the emotional and intellectual impediments that prevent personal growth and clear thinking. And although it cannot be donated to Goodwill, this is the sort of baggage that I pride myself in being able to let go. This attitude has served me well in my personal life as it has allowed me to easily adapt to new people and new challenges without feeling like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Yet I cannot help but think that this baggage becomes an even greater problem in the legal field. We have all heard the stories about law students sabotaging their peers to gain a leg up on the grading curve or associates completely abandoning their personal lives to move up in the firm. Even though these stories may be exaggerations or unique cases, I have no doubt that there is some truth to them. Even just going through the law school application process, I have seen how fiercely competitive my future classmates and coworkers are going to be - how else can you explain the websites, spreadsheets, and forums dedicated to determining one's chance of admission down to the percentage point. And to be honest, I am probably just as competitive as the rest of them. This competitive environment is precisely the reason that I believe letting go of baggage will be so important to my success in law school. The analytical and detail-oriented nature of legal work requires law students and attorneys to constantly give their full attention to the task at hand. Nowhere is there room to get held up personal issues or past mistakes. Beyond grades, beyond test scores, it is this positive baggage-free attitude which I hope will guide me to success in law school.
At this point, I do not know exactly where I want to go with my legal education. I certainly want to be a practicing attorney, but there are so many different routes I can take to get there and so much more I have to learn before I can choose the one that fits me best. One thing I do know is that no matter where I end up, the only baggage I'll be carrying is two blue plastic bins.