Diversity Statement about an experience?

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chelssd3232

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Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:29 pm

Hi all! I was wondering if it would be acceptable to write my diversity statement about an experience that I've had that has impacted me rather than the more typical topics? I know those types of things are usually saved for a personal statement, but I really like the one I currently have and am trying to think of a way to make it work that I can use both things. Thanks!

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zot1

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby zot1 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:30 pm

Write it, post it, then we'll tell you.

chelssd3232

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:09 pm

I was thinking something like this, though it obviously still needs a lot of work.

Friday the 13th. Most people associate that day with bad luck, black cats and walking under ladders. But, for me, that date holds so much more significance. It is the day I personally experienced a terrorist attack. The fall of 2015 I spent my semester abroad in Brussels, Belgium. My friend and I had decided that the two of us would venture to Disneyland Paris for a weekend getaway. After barely making our train, my friend and I made it to Disneyland and had a wonderful day in the park. After dinner, something was clearly wrong. As we waited for the bus to take us to our hotel, the train station connected to the park was frantic. There were hundreds of people pouring out, all visibly confused as to why they were forced off the train. Befuddled by the swirling foreign French dialect and exhausted after our day of Disney, it was not until we got back to the hotel and turned on the TV that we learned that day did not have the happy ending we anticipated. What started as a wonderful weekend was quickly tainted by terror attacks just a few kilometers from where we had spent our day. We learned that the borders were closed indefinitely, neither of us spoke French and all transportation was cut off. We were stranded. Being in the city during such a tumultuous time taught me a lot about inner strength and self-reliance. There were no parents there to hold our hands, no professors to tell us what we needed to do. We needed to grow up and make decisions for ourselves. I was truly thrust unexpectedly into an adulthood that I had never planned to experience. I was terrified, and felt helpless.

While in America, being the “yankee” at a southern school was as diverse as I could get. However, during this time of terror, I experienced what it was like to be isolated, to be an outsider. After our school ordered us to leave the country, getting on that plane home brought a surreal sense of relief I had never experienced before. As comforted as I was leaving, there was also an unyielding sense of anger. It infuriated me not only that this was my temporary reality, but a permanent reality for so many people across the world. We need change. When I think about how I am going to be a part of that change, I think about that trip to Disneyland. I think about how something so special was so quickly tarnished, and how vulnerable I felt. That helplessness is my motivation to study law—I want to be a champion for those who cannot be one for themselves. My experiences in Paris have motivated me to take on new challenges, and confront life with an attitude of ability—an ability to play an active role, an ability to make an impactful difference and an ability to face whatever challenges I may see head on.

mrtux45

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby mrtux45 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:20 pm

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Last edited by mrtux45 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chelssd3232

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:23 pm

Thanks! That was kind of my thought too, my pre-law advisor was just really pushing for me to include that story. Do you think this would be better, or should I scrap a DS entirely?

When most nine year old boys have a light that they need, people would assume nightlight—something to lessen their fear of the dark. Growing up, my younger brother Nick had a light, but while it served the same purpose, the dark it was protecting him from was much more haunting. My baby brother Nick was diagnosed with severe depression at the age of nine. A diagnosis that is almost unheard of for someone so young. While I personally did not suffer from depression, the impact Nick’s diagnosis had on my family was life changing. I came from a loud, boisterous Irish family where teasing was part our upbringing—growing up my nickname was Double Stuffed Dawson for the unyielding love I had for Oreos. Nick’s diagnosis changed that. My family and I were forced to become more aware of the culture we were cultivating in the home. We worked hard on it, trying our best to always encourage Nick and make sure he was spending time with his light and taking his prescribed medication. We minimized the teasing, and tried to always put on a happy face when he was around us.

All of our efforts seemed fruitless as he continued further and further down a dark path that no person, especially a child, should be forced to face. As his depression worsened, our family united together to do everything we could to pull him out of it. All of our lives came to a screeching halt my sophomore year of college when I received a call from my mother that she was with Nick at the hospital, and that he was being committed to a mental institution. That spring was the hardest part of my family and I’s lives as we tried to make sense of what had happened. We continued to work with Nick to try and bring back the bright blue eyed boy we knew was still in there somewhere. What I’ve been able to learn from my experience helping Nick is to never give up, no matter how bleak it may seem. While Nick still receives treatment, he is with our family again and has far more good days than bad. Nick has also taught me to approach things from a more sympathetic view, and with far more compassion than I had before his diagnosis. I am the type of person who prides myself on being tough, but my experiences with Nick helped show me that sometimes there are better options. My life goal is to be an Assistant US Attorney, and I think my experiences of coping with my younger brother’s mental illness have helped prepare me for the emotionally charged issues that lawyers face on a regular basis. Working with Nick through his depression has helped make me a more understanding, compassionate and well-rounded person, all skills which will ultimately benefit me in the practice of law.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby lymenheimer » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:24 pm

I agree. "A few kilometers away" does not equal "personally experienced a terrorist attack". Even if it did, I'm not sure it works as a DS.

eta: are you writing for your brother to get into law school, or you?

eta2: those are written more like personal experiences, as opposed to diverse experiences. Scrap the DS imo, unless you have something that does make you diverse.

chelssd3232

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:28 pm

lymenheimer wrote:I agree. "A few kilometers away" does not equal "personally experienced a terrorist attack". Even if it did, I'm not sure it works as a DS.

eta: are you writing for your brother to get into law school, or you?


Me, my brother is only 13; high school is usually a pretty expected prerequisite for law school haha

chelssd3232

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:29 pm

lymenheimer wrote:I agree. "A few kilometers away" does not equal "personally experienced a terrorist attack". Even if it did, I'm not sure it works as a DS.

eta: are you writing for your brother to get into law school, or you?

eta2: those are written more like personal experiences, as opposed to diverse experiences. Scrap the DS imo, unless you have something that does make you diverse.


Awesome, thanks I will definitely keep that in mind!

mrtux45

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby mrtux45 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:32 pm

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Last edited by mrtux45 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zot1

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby zot1 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:32 pm

I don't get why this would qualify as a diversity statement.

chelssd3232

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:37 pm

zot1 wrote:I don't get why this would qualify as a diversity statement.


Several of the schools I'm applying to mention a "family hardship" in the DS prompt, and since I am not an URM that is really the only one I can qualify under which is why I tried to find something that would work. But not submitting mean less editing for me to do 8)

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zot1

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby zot1 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:44 pm

chelssd3232 wrote:
zot1 wrote:I don't get why this would qualify as a diversity statement.


Several of the schools I'm applying to mention a "family hardship" in the DS prompt, and since I am not an URM that is really the only one I can qualify under which is why I tried to find something that would work. But not submitting mean less editing for me to do 8)


I'm sure they mean class diversity, but I could be wrong.

This one would be pushing the envelope. I wouldn't do it.

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby HonestAdvice » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:15 pm

At the risk of sounding insensitive, if the definition of impacted by terrorism is defined as including those in a 20-30 kilometer radius then any soldier who did tours in Iraq or Afghanistan would include a DS statement, plus the majority of applicants from the Middle East. For many applicants, it would be more diverse to not have been impacted by a terrorist attack.

chelssd3232

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby chelssd3232 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:54 pm

HonestAdvice wrote:At the risk of sounding insensitive, if the definition of impacted by terrorism is defined as including those in a 20-30 kilometer radius then any soldier who did tours in Iraq or Afghanistan would include a DS statement, plus the majority of applicants from the Middle East. For many applicants, it would be more diverse to not have been impacted by a terrorist attack.


I mean I understand what you're saying, the angle I was more trying to hit was having experienced what it is like to be the minority in a crisis situation (no understanding of the language, no working phone since they were limited to Belgium, only knowing one other person in the country) since there is not a whole ton that is diverse about me otherwise. But again, since it didn't come across that way I'm definitely going to scrap it.

deference

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby deference » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:04 am

To be frank, it doesn't sound like you'd be a good candidate for a diversity program (but what do I know). What they're looking for is either what you have done to promote diversity or what you could have done to promote diversity if given this position/degree. In both cases, it doesn't sound like a degree/legal position would have helped..maybe in your brother's case but that is a stretch if your focus was to be on mental health law.

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Re: Diversity Statement about an experience?

Postby HonestAdvice » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:04 pm

chelssd3232 wrote:
HonestAdvice wrote:At the risk of sounding insensitive, if the definition of impacted by terrorism is defined as including those in a 20-30 kilometer radius then any soldier who did tours in Iraq or Afghanistan would include a DS statement, plus the majority of applicants from the Middle East. For many applicants, it would be more diverse to not have been impacted by a terrorist attack.


I mean I understand what you're saying, the angle I was more trying to hit was having experienced what it is like to be the minority in a crisis situation (no understanding of the language, no working phone since they were limited to Belgium, only knowing one other person in the country) since there is not a whole ton that is diverse about me otherwise. But again, since it didn't come across that way I'm definitely going to scrap it.

That's more of a cool story. To answer your question, they're looking for a diverse life experience, not one instance. If you were a terrorist involved in the Belgium attack then you'd potentially have a diversity statement, but would have to deal with homeland security.



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