Law School Personal Statement Draft #1
From the banks of Troy Odysseus’ return journey to Ithaca spanned a decade, overcoming shipwreck and danger he finally arrived home. Four years ago I graduated high school, promising student and athlete, little did I know my own Odyssey had only begun.
Periods of unexplained sadness and sleepless nights would last for weeks until in the spring of my graduating year my family doctor began experimenting with anti-depressant medications. I arrived on the campus on Marquette University with dreams of making top grades and running my way to division one all-american glory. My early athletic performances were subpar and as a consequence of the medication I had gained over ten pounds. Late into the month of September I made the choice to discontinue the medication in hopes of finding my athletic form. For the first time I felt inadequate as a student and athlete, I decided to leave Marquette University, drop the pressure of an athletic scholarship and transfer to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
The change in scenery did little in terms of changing my life. My grades were still mediocre and my athletic performances remained non-existent. The Scylla in my Odyssey became alcohol. For the average college student, binge drinking is a way of life but for someone with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder it becomes a six-headed monster. Nights of heavy-drinking led to poorer and poorer class attendance, my anxiety mounted and fueled depression. Over the next three semesters things would remain largely cyclical, a good couple of weeks would inevitably be followed by bad ones. Shaky class attendance, missing homework and physical exhaustion.
Things would change in the summer of 2011 but not without one last shipwreck over the horizon. My fifth semester in school was my first time making the Dean’s List and I had finally started to regain my distance running form. Early in the summer I met with a therapist whom told me it was anxiety causing my depression and that I could control it through my lifestyle. This simple proposition seems commonsensical although I have come to learn more and more that simple is not synonymous with easy. By the end of the August I had strung together three months of near one hundred mile training weeks. Then disaster struck, a poor try-out race left me cut from the cross country team then soon after I was injured and ultimately cut from the indoor track team as well. A familiar fog rolled in, lunch became my morning wake-up call and attending class before noon was out of the question. As final examinations closed in December I received my worst grades of my life and was contemplating quitting athletics. For someone who always defined himself as a high-level athlete and student there could be no lower point.
No quest is ever fulfilled without help from others and mine was no different. My family never gave up on me. At the most trying moments, when it would have been so easy to give up, there was never anything but love and support. With my dreams of law school and athletic success fading, I resolved to try once more. The idea was simple, attend class and run every day while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Avoid alcohol and other anxiety causing activities. Progress did not come quickly, yet as the semester moved on my classes were going well and my body growing stronger. I was given the chance to run track and field outdoors and finally recorded faster performances than high school. After near perfect attendance I was able to again make the Dean’s List.
The following fall my life seemed to have finally stabilized, my grades were not perfect and the cross country season didn’t bring the glory I dreamed of four years prior. However there was a feeling of satisfaction that came with good honest work, I knew with patience the success I sought was just around the corner.
As the spring semester of 2013 arrived in late January, my indoor track season was a snowball of momentum. With each race I grew stronger and in the final week of the regular season I qualified for nationals, running the third fastest mile in La Crosse’s storied history. The following week I went on to make the all-america team but more importantly our team won the national title. Carrying that gold trophy for a victory lap made three years of struggle seem worth it. But in the classroom something remarkable had happened as well. Dr.Eric Kraemer had agreed to an independent study where we evaluated various journal articles in Ethics. His friendly demeanor hides his scalpel like reasoning ability. We repeated an exercise he did as an undergraduate student under famed American philosopher Philip Quinn. Each week I read for hours in preparation for a two hour meeting in which we would discuss various arguments. There has never been anything more academically gratifying than him acknowledging a salient point or clever counter-example. This interest in deconstructing philosophical arguments made classwork feel like a hobby and nothing academically could be better.
Rainy Wisconsin April became May and my grades were the highest they have ever been only falling narrowly short of perfection. Again I qualified for the national championships and again our team hoisted the gold trophy. After three challenging years I had finally arrived at the place I foresaw myself as an eighteen-year old. It was not a straight forward path and it certainly was not easy. My character has only been strengthened through adversity and I will never again question whether giving up is in my heart. As my athletic career moves quickly towards it’s end next spring the burden of meeting expectations has relented. My only aim is to do good work and focus on the process of success. Soon one competitive career will end while another will begin next fall. Law school will bring a whole set of new challenges, great mentors like Dr.Kraemer, and fierce competition. Arriving at my own “Ithaca” has given me unshakeable confidence, through diligent work and clean living I will be ready for success.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
1 post • Page 1 of 1
Who is online
The online users are hidden on this forum.