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- Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:49 pm
When I was in seventh grade, my parents urged me to be in the school band. I absolutely refused. I was so shy then, and the prospect of being in such a large group terrified me. I had no doubt I would do well if I tried, but the thought of being in front of my peers for auditions was terrifying. It could not get any more embarrassing than that, could it? My parents were unrelenting in their quest. They knew me too well. They saw potential, and absolutely knew what I was capable of. The simple act of taking that first step, as reluctant as it was, was a life changing event for me.
To my surprise, the auditions for an instrument went smoothly. Sometimes, having a group of people doing the exact same thing, will result in a great amount of empathy from each participant for their fellow participants. There was no laughter. Even when someone had a terrible time, and couldn’t get a sound out of a flute, or a trumpet, or a clarinet… no one made fun of them. Students’ cheeks would puff, and turn various shades of red, as they put everything they had in to making the instrument sing. No one laughed. A tiny fragile sounding squeak might emerge. No one laughed. Even loud and obnoxious sounds came out from time to time. Still, no one laughed. We were already a unit of sorts. Imagine, an entire room of sixth and seventh graders who did not pick on each other, even it if was for such a short time.
We had amazing leaders. They were able to earn the respect of each member, and each of us would have done anything to make them proud. I didn’t know it then, but it wouldn’t be long before I would have a chance to be one of those leaders. We learned to have pride in what we do, and in who we are.
Over those six years I watched good friends leave that group, but was also constantly making new friends as they joined our tight knit family. I have no doubt that every person that left us, left a stronger person than when they began. I have no doubt that I was made stronger as well. That experience prepared me for life after high school, more than any other thing I did during that time. It was an amazing transformation for me. I went from being the shiest little girl you have ever seen, to enjoying the challenge of being in front of others.
By the end of my senior year, I had auditioned 49 times for both the directors and for camps I attended. I earned a trip to San Diego, California because I ranked in the top eleven clarinetists in the state. I composed an entire musical piece, taught the band to play it, and conducted it at my senior concert. None of those things would have ever occurred if I had not taken that first step. Looking back, it seems so small, but had felt like a chasm before me.
Without realizing it, I had grown leaps and bounds over those years in band. I had my life planned out, I would go to college, then maybe grad school… maybe become a doctor or a lawyer. As I entered college, there still seemed to be something holding me back. I was not the shy girl from sixth grade anymore, but I still felt completely daunted by the prospect of college, much less law school or medical school. I have since struggled through working up to three jobs at a time while in college to provide for myself and my family. I lacked direction because I was too afraid to follow the dreams I once had. Each year that passed seemed to create more, not less fear. My friends were all graduating college, and there I was, once the top of the class, still struggling to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I spent my time trying my best to enjoy life, hoping that at some point, I would figure everything out. There was so much out there to explore, something had to be right for me. I went rock climbing, sky diving, scuba diving, and earned a black belt in martial arts. I traveled, got married, bought a home, sold a home, got a job, then got a better job.
The turning point took ten years to find. My husband and I were expecting our first child in May of 2008. However, the Thanksgiving before she was due, we lost that baby, and my own life was put into jeopardy. The trauma and pain from that event was more than I ever thought I could handle. Once I was discharged from the hospital, we were essentially homeless. Our landlord decided as our lease ran out, he did not want to rent his unit anymore. Only two months later, just as we found a new rental, life threw another curveball. My husband’s brother was killed in a tragic accident. Our world had been shattered. It was the worst “make lemonade” moment I had ever been through, simply too many lemons to deal with. When I made it through that time period, I knew then, I could do anything. It was the critical moment, the one when I was set free from the fear and had the world open to me again.
I took some time to heal from the losses. I authored and published a novella, Mariam’s Faith, which chronicled my life to that point. The writing was therapeutic for me, and I hoped others could read the story and find comfort in times of loss. A year later, I successfully gave birth to my little boy. He is truly my miracle child, and it was after his birth that the idea of law school came back in to view. Once I returned to work from maternity leave, I had the opportunity to dive in to a new area of expertise. I was given the responsibility of handling certified payroll on all of our government jobs. No one in the company had done any leg work in the field, which meant I had to take a leadership role. Immediately, I delved in to researching Davis Bacon and Related Acts, along with FLSA and the Copeland Act. I read all of the CFR’s, and after about six months of working in this new area, our legal department was using me as a resource and local “expert” in the field. I put in place new policies and procedures to benefit the company. It was this that led me to discover my love, not only for the law and research, but also for my love of helping others understand and comprehend the law. Our subcontractors called almost daily to gain understanding for one rule or another. Before long, I was getting calls from people I had never worked with. They had been referred to me. I have helped defend our subcontractors in regards to submission requests from MDA and HUD, along with various consulting agencies, and through my research have successfully gotten them to back down from requirements that were unnecessary. I have also helped the subcontractors understand why certain requirements are out there and how to comply with them.
I know my GPA doesn’t reflect the typical law school candidate, who knew from day one what they wanted to do in life. However, I know I have the ability to do well, and in addition to that, I have the drive and willingness to work hard, and knowledge about the “real world” that only experience can bring. I hope that through my entire application packet, you are able to see this, and look beyond the time it took me to find my direction in life. I’ve had the tools all along to build something great, and until now, never knew what to build. I would love nothing more than to build on the foundation I have started, with an education in law from Tulane, and eventually to use that education to help others on whatever path may lie ahead. That moment in seventh grade, my parents knew my potential. Today, I know my own.
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- Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am
It's extremely muddled. Parts read like a list of excuses for bad grades, parts read like a list of extracurricular activities, and parts read like they want to be a personal statement but aren't quite sure what that means.
That same year, as part of a new graduation requirement, I conducted a piece of my own composing at the final concert of the year.
[And this is where I get confused. Is this an academic addendum? If not, you're spending waaaaay too much time trying to explain away bad grades, and you need to focus on what you've learned, how you've changed, and how awesome you are now because of (x) in your past. If it is an addendum, you've written about 5x what is needed. Addendums don't need personal stories, just facts laid out to explain whatever you're trying to explain.]
However, I am applying today, not due to my academic achievement in college, but due to my life experiences, and where I know I am headed. Because I have always worked full time, up to two and three jobs at once, while in college; I was unable to participate in many college related activities. However, I made it a point to try many things on my own, where the schedule did not conflict. I have grown as a person with each experience: TaeKwonDo, skydiving, scuba diving, traveling, getting married, buying a home, selling a home, changing jobs, etc. I am so much stronger than my first days of college. Buy why now? Why can I finally apply to law school?
[A miscarriage could be an incredible topic for a personal statement, but it would be better if you opened up a little further about it and didn't just skip past it in 3 sentences. Obviously you might not want to do that, which of course is totally fine, but know that it doesn't really put any wow into the essay the way it is. Someone reading this will go 'that's sad, she had a miscarriage,' but won't get anything more about you out of it. It's such a sensitive subject that now I feel like I'm telling you to milk a traumatic experience for admissions points. If I sound that way, I apologize. But I mentioned several times that I feel like you're telling, not showing, things that could be more vividly illustrated with a few sentences, and this is the same thing.]
Though the writing process helped, I could not truthfully say that I was healed until a year later when my beautiful, healthy son was born.
Through my new duties, I discovered
Given the entirety of the information provided to you in this application, it is my hope that you can see the value in my character, and the passion I will apply to an education in the field of law.I can draw from my personal and work experiences from the past ten years, and will be a well rounded student for xxxxxxx.
The ending would still need work...but I'm tired and want to go to bed now. Maybe someone else will take a stab.
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- Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:49 pm
Clerkship, Spring The candidate will engage in cutting-edge constitutional litigation. Will have the opportun... read more
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