When I was six years old, I found myself shipwrecked on an island. I remember the scent of the salty ocean air, the sight of the gnarled jungle that traced the shoreline, and the fear that gripped me when I realized I was not alone. The island was teeming with cannibals, and my chances of survival were slim. Four days later, against all odds, I escaped. My tiny six year old hand turned the final page in that dusty copy of Robinson Crusoe and I triumphantly slammed the book shut. I had fought through a maelstrom of words and ideas that my six years of life had left me woefully underequipped to handle, and yet I had survived. My apprehension about trying new things, on the other hand, never made it off that island. It was a loss that helped me become the bold student of the world that I am today.
My parents always viewed my education as a priority. My mother, a substitute English teacher, and my father, a math teacher, chose to homeschool me. They still taught me the normal curriculum for a child my age, but their primary focus was on instilling me with the urge to seek learning opportunities in everyday life and take pride in my own education, inside and outside of the classroom. Helping ladle out soup at the homeless shelter my mother ran helped me learn about poverty. Getting pulled along in a wagon by my mother as we marched in the annual MLK, Jr. March in San Antonio helped me understand the struggle for civil rights. Spending two weeks living in a commune and bathing in a river taught me about sustainable living and energy conservation. The world was my classroom and I was always looking for new chances to learn from it.
So when I first saw Robinson Crusoe on the bookshelf in the family living room, I recognized that book as my first chance to read a “grown-up book”. I knew my years of reading picture books and Goosebumps novels were probably not adequate preparation for a large novel, but I had also been taught that knowing you will be bad at something is no excuse to avoid it. Many times, as I struggled with the book, I recalled my father reminding me that “even experts were once beginners”. When I finished the book four days later, that lesson was affirmed; when you set your mind to learning something, all it takes is effort to turn inability into ability.
I have continued to live by this lesson. When I first decided I wanted to play golf, I sat on the driving range for four hours until my fingers were blistered and the ball finally arched into the air when I swung at it. When I entered organized schooling at the age of 14, I dove into the intimidating social arena by spending the first day introducing myself to everyone I could find. When I decided I wanted to learn how to breakdance, I spent the rest of the day wriggling on the floor and attempting to balance on my hands. Likewise, I have tried my hand at making sushi, horseback riding, windsurfing, salsa dancing, rapping, acting in school plays, kicking for my high school football team, participating in a poetry slam, joining a band, starting an online company, and countless other random adventures. Many of these efforts were less than successful, but I did always find myself one day better at those activities than someone who decided not to try. Moreover, each new experience – whether successful or not – has made me a little less scared of failure. That is the most valuable development of all.
So when I first realized that law might be a viable career path for me, I dove into learning about the field with the same sense of boldness that had fueled all of my other learning experiences. I interned with a lawyer, began taking law related classes, joined the mock trial team, and started studying for the LSAT. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the blend of introverted thought and extroverted advocacy that the legal field demanded. I loved the tremendous variety of subjects that law encompasses, and how each new case leaves the legal practitioner with increased knowledge of the law and the subject matter of that specific case. Just through my minimal exposure through internships and mock trial, I have learned about a plethora of diverse subjects such as scuba diving, wedding photography, maximum security prisons, and insurance limits. I have found a career that satiates my hunger for both practical and random knowledge.
While the scope and focus of my learning has shifted throughout the years, I have continued to live with the same sense of adventure that my six-year-old self did when he chose to open that copy of Robinson Crusoe. I hardly remember anything about the plot, but I still possess the love of learning that the book helped me develop. Now I have set my sights on a daunting new experience that will test me at every turn: law school. I don’t fully know what this adventure holds in store for me, but I have known for sixteen years – ever since I made it off that island – how to approach this new challenge: I just need to turn to the first page and start reading.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Not much negative to say about it. This was an enjoyable PS. Good job.
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matthewsean85 wrote:Not much negative to say about it. This was an enjoyable PS. Good job.
I noticed you were also one of the people who commented on my first draft, so I must especially thank you for the input that helped get my personal statement to this point. Couldn't have done it without TLS comments.
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