A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Should I Include This Information In My Application?

Yes
6
75%
No
2
25%
 
Total votes: 8

OCJD
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:49 am

A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby OCJD » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:18 am

[Posting under an alt for reasons that should be clear soon]

Since I was young I have suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I'm not talking about liking things organized, washing my hands, and the other stereotypes. The experts who have treated me have said that I am the worst case they have ever seen and it's incredible that I'm not a completely paralyzed shut-in instead of the extroverted, risk-taker that I am.

My question is this: should I include the fact that I have overcome this challenge in my personal statement or a very brief addendum? I feel that the extent of my achievements can only be appreciated knowing the sheer willpower I have had to exert to overcome my problem. I am certainly not saying I faced more disadvantage than someone with a life-threatening disease, or extreme poverty, but neither have I lived as charmed a life as my resume would suggest -- my struggles have just been invisible.

My main concerns are
1) coming of as insensitive because, as I said above, there are many far worse off than I

2) I may be shooting myself in the foot due to the stigma attached with mental illness, even when treated, especially when questions of fitness to practice may arise (never-mind I'm sure many successful lawyers suffer from mental illness (Judge Friendly, Lincoln, anyone?)

What are your opinions on whether or not to include such information in my application? And if so, how to approach it. Many thanks in advance and good luck to all those taking the LSAT Saturday!

Curious1
Posts: 964
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 pm

Re: A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby Curious1 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:21 am

How did you overcome it? I think to prevent any problems, you should make it very clear that this is not going to be a problem in law school and later on when/if you practice. If done right, this can certainly be very interesting. Good luck.

OCJD
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:49 am

Re: A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby OCJD » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:38 am

@curious1:

Thanks for the input

I overcame it partly by therapy when I was younger. More importantly though, I made sure to take initiative myself, and expose myself to situations that once made me uncomfortable. I still do. I would say I am better adjusted and stronger for it. Living with anxiety on a daily basis makes high pressure situations seem like a breeze because I've basically built an immunity to pressure. I don't really see it becoming a problem in the future -- if anything I believe I'm tested and less likely to crack than people who have never experienced pressure on the level one finds in law school and litigating.

Curious1
Posts: 964
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 pm

Re: A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby Curious1 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:40 am

Great, so I would focus on exposing yourself to situations...etc, actually made you MORE resistant to stress and MORE likely to overcome future challenges. Remember the point is to show them how you're BETTER than everyone else.

User avatar
redsox
Posts: 612
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:40 pm

Re: A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby redsox » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:46 am

Not trying to be a dick, first contrarian argument that came to mind:

Suppose that an admissions officer's job is to gauge your potential for future achievement: If your OCD is still an issue and will be in the future, why should he expect you to perform any better in the future than you have in the past? Sure, your willpower and resolve is clearly stronger than the other guy's, but so are the challenges that you face and will continue to face in the future. Among those with similar past performance, your expected future achievement is no different than anyone else's, since your issues and your ability to overcome them net out.

It would be different if you had an issue in the past, overcame it, and don't expect to have that issue in the future. Then, you would be expected to perform in the future better than you performed in the past, as the issue is gone but the ability to overcome future issues remains.

User avatar
Ernert
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:35 am

Re: A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby Ernert » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:54 am

Curious1 wrote:Great, so I would focus on exposing yourself to situations...etc, actually made you MORE resistant to stress and MORE likely to overcome future challenges. Remember the point is to show them how you're BETTER than everyone else.


Agreed. I think since you have overcome it, there is no reason for any "stigma" to hamper you, and it actually makes a pretty compelling story in my opinion.

OCJD
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:49 am

Re: A Unique Case of Overcoming Hardship

Postby OCJD » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:05 am

Thanks for the help, folks. Would this be something better suited to my PS or a short addendum in the vein of a diversity statement?

Also, redsox, you're not being a dick at all -- I have my own reservations and asked for honest opinions and appreciate that you gave one. I still have to mull this over a little longer for sure.




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