Second draft- I need YOUR help please!!

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Anonymous User
Posts: 273183
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Second draft- I need YOUR help please!!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:40 am

My eyes were fixated on my mother as I peered through her bedroom door. The blue glow of the computer screen was painted on her face as she nodded off and on. She had not always been like this. Once upon a time she would blast “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison throughout the house, crooning while tapping a wooden spoon against the kitchen countertop as if she were part of the live band. She was happy then, and our beautiful home on Grand Summit was a lively place full of family, friends, and fabulous food.

In 2005, my mother began abusing the pain medication she was prescribed for her infrequent migraine headaches. Terribly worried about her, I confronted my dad about the situation. Angrily, he replied, “Nothing is wrong with your mother,” effectively silencing me. Countless times my extended family reached out to intervene, but the three-way phone conversation between her, her dad, and siblings routinely concluded with her hanging up without a “goodbye.” The slurred speech and off-topic rambling were, according to her, a result of her exhaustion.

Coming out as a lesbian coincided with the beginning of her addiction. I had myself convinced that it was my fault. If I had just been the daughter she had always envisioned, the daughter who preferred men to women and shopping to sports, then my mother would still be blasting “Brown Eyed Girl” throughout our home on Grand Summit. At each milestone in my life, whether a competitive soccer tournament or graduation, my eyes anxiously scanned the audience full of proud parents in search of my mother, hoping that this time she would be there cheering me on, but she never was. Her absence made me feel that my accomplishments were insignificant, frivolous “achievements.” Thus, I adopted the attitude of indifference in all aspects of my life. I dwelled on my mother’s addiction, and my desperate attempts to encourage her to get help only pushed my parents further away. My concentration waned, and my grades were not indicative of the student I once was. I started my freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University unsure of who I was.

My self-confidence and my perspective on my life and future transformed during my junior year of college when I started to volunteer weekly with the I Have a Dream Foundation. It was not until I tutored Erik, a ten-year-old, energetic Hispanic immigrant, that I rediscovered the untapped reserve of my potential. The odds were stacked against him. His dad worked 80-hour weeks. His mom lived thousands of miles away in Guatemala, yet he was ready for any challenge and ready to overcome any obstacle to fulfill his dreams. His self-confidence, emanating through his smile, reminded me of a part of myself- the me who believed, the me who knew the sky was the limit. For the remainder of the school year, I volunteered with the Foundation. Both my grades and my outlook on life improved. I became empowered by the notion that within me existed all that I needed to accomplish my dreams. This belief enabled me to accept what I could not change and to move forward with my life.

With each volunteer opportunity, internship or job, my path towards what I wanted to pursue became increasingly more defined. The responsibilities I have had thus far, whether it was coordinating a pro bono legal clinic or writing briefs to persuade the U.S. government to grant parents of U.S. citizen children prosecutorial discretion, have guided me towards, and eventually into, a career in law. Now I work as a paralegal in an immigration law firm. I am able to have a significant role in helping families reunite for the first time in years and to assist children fleeing gangs in El Salvador to seek asylum. This has given tremendous meaning to my life and has quickly become my passion. The greatest part of my job is when the Immigration Judge grants asylum to a young boy, markedly similar to Erik. A child with a huge bright smile can now rest easy, far away from the constant gunfire of his ‘barrio’ or neighborhood and study hard to become the doctor or lawyer he has always dreamed of becoming. The system is not perfect. There are families who will not be reunited, and there are children who will be denied asylum. However, cases that do not have an ideal ending only challenge me to work harder to draft a more compelling brief. I know that what I am doing now is not the end of the road for me—I want to practice law, and I will not rest easy until I can argue cases in front of a Judge. Unlike the previous “me” who put dreams on the back burner, consumed with trying to change the things and people I could not, I understand now that what I do control is myself and my dreams. I eagerly welcome law school to achieve those dreams.



Just a few notes:
When I posted this essay previously someone suggested that show how my relationship with my mother has reconciled. I love my mother and want to reconcile the relationship, but I have accepted it will never be what I want it to be (we do not have a terrible relationship). I can only encourage her to seek help-- not force her,esp without the support of my father. I don't want the essay to come off as I am a jerk, or that I don't care because I do...I have just come to the conclusion that I must move forward beyond what I cannot change as it has only held me back in the past.

Also, this essay is just over 2 pages. Are there any parts that are redundant or do not add anything to the essay that you think I can take out?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273183
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Second draft- I need YOUR help please!!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:22 pm

I made additional edits (disregard the first version):


My eyes were fixated on my mother as I peered through her bedroom door. The blue glow of the computer screen was painted on her face as she nodded off and on. She had not always been like this. Once upon a time she would blast “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison throughout the house, crooning while tapping a wooden spoon against the kitchen countertop as if she were part of the live band. She was happy then, and our beautiful home on Grand Summit was a lively place full of family, friends, and fabulous food.

In 2005, my mother began abusing the pain medication she was prescribed for her infrequent migraine headaches. Terribly worried about her, I confronted my dad about the situation. Angrily, he replied, “Nothing is wrong with your mother,” effectively silencing me. Countless times my extended family reached out to intervene, but the three-way phone conversation between her, her dad, and siblings routinely concluded with her hanging up without a “goodbye.” The slurred speech and off-topic rambling were, according to her, a result of her exhaustion.

Coming out as a lesbian coincided with the beginning of her addiction. I had myself convinced that it was my fault. If I had just been the daughter she had always envisioned, the daughter who preferred men to women and shopping to sports, then my mother would still be blasting “Brown Eyed Girl” throughout our home on Grand Summit. At each milestone in my life, whether a competitive soccer tournament or graduation, my eyes anxiously scanned the audience full of proud parents in search of my mother, hoping that this time she would be there cheering me on, but she never was. Her absence made me feel that my accomplishments were insignificant, frivolous “achievements.” Thus, I adopted the attitude of indifference in all aspects of my life. I dwelled on my mother’s addiction, and my desperate attempts to encourage her to get help only pushed my parents further away. My concentration waned, and my grades were not indicative of the student I once was. I started my freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University unsure of who I was.

My self-confidence and my perspective on my life and future transformed during my junior year of college when I started to volunteer weekly with the I Have a Dream Foundation. It was not until I tutored Erik, a ten-year-old, energetic Hispanic immigrant, that I rediscovered the untapped reserve of my potential. The odds were stacked against him. His dad worked 80-hour weeks. His mom lived thousands of miles away in Guatemala, yet he was ready for any challenge and ready to overcome any obstacle to fulfill his dreams. His self-confidence, emanating through his smile, reminded me of a part of myself- the me who believed, the me who knew the sky was the limit. For the remainder of the school year, I volunteered with the Foundation. Both my grades and my outlook on life improved. Despite the upheaval in my familial relationships and the suffering I endured watching my mother as a victim of addiction, I found purpose in working with those less fortunate. I became empowered by the notion that within me existed all that I needed to accomplish my dreams. While my mother’s support would have been welcomed at any point, and often was desired, it was not and is not a necessary component to my happiness nor success. This belief enabled me to accept what I could not change and to move forward with my life. My self-confidence blossomed, and I grew eager to chase my aspirations.

With each volunteer opportunity, internship or job, my path towards what I wanted to pursue became increasingly more defined. The responsibilities I have had thus far, whether it was coordinating a pro bono legal clinic or writing briefs to persuade the U.S. government to grant parents of U.S. citizen children prosecutorial discretion, have guided me towards, and eventually into, a career in law. Now I work as a paralegal in an immigration law firm. I am able to have a significant role in helping families reunite for the first time in years and to assist children fleeing gangs in El Salvador to seek asylum. This has given tremendous meaning to my life and has quickly become my passion. The greatest part of my job is when the Immigration Judge grants asylum to a young boy, markedly similar to Erik. A child with a huge bright smile can now rest easy, far away from the constant gunfire of his ‘barrio’ or neighborhood and study hard to become the doctor or lawyer he has always dreamed of becoming. The system is not perfect. There are families who will not be reunited, and there are children who will be denied asylum. However, cases that do not have an ideal ending only challenge me to work harder to draft a more compelling brief. I know that what I am doing now is not the end of the road for me—I want to practice law, and I will not rest easy until I can argue cases in front of a Judge. Unlike the previous “me” who put dreams on the back burner, consumed with trying to change the things and people I could not, I understand now that what I do control is myself and the path to achieve my dreams. I eagerly welcome law school to achieve those dreams.




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