Personal statement rough draft #1

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Personal statement rough draft #1

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:44 pm

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

My heart sank to my stomach as I listened fixedly to the news. I was visiting a friend in the Navy when his brother, at the time a recovering drug addict, informed me that my own brother had been using heroin. This hadn’t come as a total surprise to me given my brother’s past history of minor drug use. Nonetheless, this news would have an enormous impact on my entire family over the next few years and ultimately change my life trajectory.

I come from a typical suburban town in (blank). On the surface it’s a normal, blue-collar community filled with middle class families. Many teenagers often complain that there is nothing to do in town, which may be a primary factor in why drug use has become such an epidemic amongst young people there. Soon after learning that my brother had become one of the many victims, I began to see the tell tale signs and feel the impacts of his drug use. Constantly, he would disappear for several hours only to return home late at night, high and bouncing off the walls. Items in the house suddenly began to go missing, such as precious Christmas presents that my parents had worked tirelessly to be able to afford.

A vicious cycle began to undertake amid his drug use. He would steal and pawn something off in order to get his fix and my father would kick him out of the house upon his returning in a stupor. This would always be a short-term fix as none of us truly had the guts to turn our backs on him and he’d soon return home. I often contemplated whether or not he would be better off in a prison for a time being. He was arrested several times for minor possession and DUI charges. Each arrest led to the same thing, a hefty fine that did nothing but place a financial burden on my parents who were already struggling to make ends meet. However, nothing ever resulted from his trials that aimed to help him overcome his drug addiction.

I knew my brother was not the monster he had become, and several times we would have deep conversations where he’d express a desire to get himself clean. He even checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic at one point, a free program run by a Catholic organization. However, he soon checked himself out after seeing how much older and more religious the rest of the patients were than him. I had researched many other rehabilitation programs in the area, but with my family having no health insurance these programs were simply impossible for him to attend. Soon enough the cycle would resume and he was back to his drug use.

Finally one night my parents could take no more and called the police upon one of his late night returns. He fled the house and the officers informed us that they would arrest him upon his return. Fortunately, he ended up at the (blank) Mission where he was able to finally beat his addiction. Visiting him for the first time in that old, under kept building on Christmas morning was one of the proudest moments I’d ever felt. Although he’s had several relapses since then, I’m happy to say that he’s been clean for over six months now.

Not everyone who deals with drug addiction is as fortunate as my brother was. Many are unable to break the cycle of addiction before it’s too late and they end up in prison or worse, dead from an overdose. I find the current system of minor financial punishment for drug offenders to be inadequate. Without presenting them with an opportunity to better themselves, these punishments are just another component in the cycle of addiction. I hope to one-day influence public policy, as a lawyer, to make quality rehabilitation opportunities available to those who cannot afford them and incorporate them into the judicial process as a means of criminal correction. If admitted to (blank) Law School I will work tirelessly to learn as much as possible so that I can one day make a positive impact on a plague that cripples so many communities across the United States.

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Re: Personal statement rough draft #1

Postby john1990 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:58 pm

Try to emphasize the impact you made on him and what interested you to begin working in the system that helped him. Did you ever have the chance to speak with any of his counselors?


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Re: Personal statement rough draft #1

Postby cslouisck » Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:55 pm

You write well and tell a good story--that story just needs to be about you.

At a basic level, the reader needs to learn who you are and why your application has shown up in their file, and your focus on your brother just doesn't allow you do that. You don't have to kick him out, but you'll find greater success wrapping his story into your own in way that says something meaningful about you. As it stands, we know where you grew up and that you hold a particular policy position, but that's about it.

And, perhaps problematically, your stated rationale for pursuing law probably fits better into a cover letter seeking a position as a drug policy reform nonprofit. Since you haven't yet married yourself to in non-dischargeable debt payment that's twice the minimum wage, do take a moment to consider whether law school is the best vehicle for achieving your career goals. I understand that you asked for a critique of your PS, and now I'm giving unsolicited career advice, but seriously, if drug policy reform is your thing, go do that right now! The vast majority of people I know doing policy work don't have law degrees--and they don't have law school debt either.

At any rate, good start on this, and good luck!

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