This includes most of what I want in my PS- I can't imagine discussing what led me to law without discussing my science background, my mother's role in it, my political/cooperative work, and how it all fits together into "why law." My biggest fear is that in attempting to do both a character sketch and a chronological narrative I ended up bungling both. I also wish I had more satisfying content regarding the fight between us about my major change, but it really was just a year of arguing followed by her getting over it- nothing terribly climactic there. Lay in!
I rubbed sunscreen into the back of my neck for the third time in as many hours. “Excuse me,” I raised my hand and Dr _________ turned to look at me. “When we observed the ‘O’hi’a Lehua down on the beach, the leaves were waxy and stiff. Why are they suddenly furry so close by?”
Dr. _________ turned and grinned at me. “You should ask the tree.”
It was the sort of thing my mother would say. If there were lessons to be learned from even the smallest observation, my mother would poke and prod at my brother and I until we found them. When she was young, she had become fascinated by the lush natural world of her grandmother’s farm in (state). In an attempt to explain how thirteen acres fit together, she enrolled in and graduated from the biology program at (University), and returned for her Master’s. Her advisor in the Microbiology program at (University) had been vocal about how women and minorities would ruin the job market, how they didn’t belong. She left without her degree a few months before Title IX was signed into law.
I inherited my mother’s face, her intellect, and her feminist ethos. When I entered college at the age of 16, I majored in biology at her urging. I did well there, well enough that I found myself in the forests of Mount Kilauea on field study, where Dr. ___________ was staring at me expectantly. I looked down at the leaves. Not far away was the beach, where salt and sun leached moisture from everything that lived there. Up here in the forest, on the rainy side of the island, they would need to catch water rather than retain it. The same species had, over the space of miles, adjusted its attributes while remaining true to its original family, adapting to its environment as it crept up the shore of the island.
I enjoyed my time studying biology, but ultimately the natural world held little interest for me. I kept coming back, over and over, to the systems and processes that governed people. I became politically involved, taking bus trips to the Capitol to lobby for (organization) and attending protests at (landmark). When I applied to U_ at the end of my gap year, I called my mother and told her I was studying International Relations. She was disappointed, and for over a year we argued about my place in her legacy, my place in a laboratory, and a woman’s place in the world.
Living in cooperatives made me enchanted with direct democracy as I took on a series of progressively more difficult leadership roles. While I spent my days at U_ memorizing the theories of the systems that governed nations, at night I was collaborating with my housemates on the systems that would govern our kitchen. I found joy in not just recognizing and describing these structures, but working and advocating for change within them, and continue to do so to this day on the board of directors at (organization).
My mother’s face rests over mine. Like the veins of the ʻOhiʻa lehua’s leaves traced over my mind, I hold as part of me her desire to look into the complex and find regularities. In my work in cooperatives, her push to describe and test the limits of the world around her manifests while I argue records management systems and contract breach policy. The natural world she seeks to explain abstracts itself further up the shore into my fascination with the systems and procedures that govern human behavior. These systems and processes do not move quickly or change easily, but they’re ours. The form and function of the law rests over an equally large and mysterious planet while my mother and I search, back-to-back, for something that looks like order in the infinite.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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