This is a rough draft of my optional essay for the University of Notre Dame. Please comment and critique as thoroughly as possible! I'm sort of on a time crunch so the sooner, the better! Looking forward to your responses. Thank you!!!
When I began my hunt for the perfect law school earlier this year, I was flummoxed by the vast array of options in front of me. Every school had its attractions and pitfalls but none seemed to be able to hold my attention until I visited my aunt in Chicago during Thanksgiving. While I was there, my great uncle recounted tales of his own at the University of Notre Dame back in the 60s. My great uncle had come to America to realize the American Dream at a time when most Indians did not travel abroad. He was a pioneer in my family but he was unafraid to admit his insecurities about the move.
Having left India for America when I was eighteen, I could identify with my great uncle’s experience but what I could not identify with was the sense of belonging that he had developed during his four years at Notre Dame. My undergraduate life in America, while exciting and novel, had not been able to give me the one thing I craved most – attachment. I tried to grapple with this difference and there began my research into Notre Dame. At first, it was merely an interest sparked from my great uncle’s experience but as I delved deeper into the history and traditions of the institution, I began to understand why my great uncle was so at home in a place so far removed from home.
Growing up in India entails being deeply rooted in the culture and heritage of the nation but it also implies looking forward at the immense potential of a developing post-colonial nation. My upbringing, thus, was a happy marriage of tradition and modernity much like Notre Dame’s legacy. What drew me to Notre Dame was the balanced effort given to nurture both the mind and the spirit in the teaching of the law. This value based approached to education is both comforting and familiar given my missionary school background. As a child, I was taught to spend equal time on academia and personal growth, something that I felt I had lost when I moved to America. Notre Dame’s approach to academia and its persistence in honing its students to be lawyers with a conscience is what most appeals to my individual sensibility. Among all the schools that I have looked at in the last year, Notre Dame is the only school that espouses the same principles that have been ingrained in me since I was little.
While the legacy of Notre Dame drew me in, it is the academic curriculum, the multitude of domestic and international opportunities and the quality of life at the university that augmented my interest. As a person who learns more from hands-on experiences and diverse, open discussion, I find Notre Dame’s practical approach to studying law and interdisciplinary learning styles extremely appealing. Unlike traditional law schools, Notre Dame goes out of its way to train its students to be practicing lawyers instead of just relying on book learning which is undeniably one of the most attractive features for me.
Notre Dame’s extensive, active alumni network is another characteristic that appeals to me, not only for its obvious recruitment related advantages but because because it symbolizes a sense of community; a legacy that students are proud to carry on for generations. My great uncle’s heartwarming stories are proof enough that once you go to Notre Dame, Notre Dame becomes a part of your identity. Ever since I left India in 2008, I have sought that sense of belonging and I think Notre Dame is the one place where I will finally be able to find it.
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