Personal Statement & Diversity Statement Forum

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Signal3

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Personal Statement & Diversity Statement

Post by Signal3 » Mon Sep 19, 2022 3:59 pm

When you wonder why I am disclosing somethings in the diversity statement, the answer is because I have a low GPA, and 5-6 addendums needed for explaining disciplinary issues and misdemeanors etc... Therefore, I focused on explaining a trend that can account for these issues.

Some people may say that I should probably take some stuff out of the diversity statement and put them in the addendums instead, however, keep in mind that that may result in me having to explain the trend of what explains all these issues, bit by bit in different addendums and not give me the opportunity to explain it all at once. See what I'm getting at?

Feel free to be brutal on the diversity statement, however. It's all good. Bring it on and thank you for your feedback, once again!

Personal Statement, 849 word count

I was ready for a challenge, after several years of improving nutritional health and working on mental discipline. I determined working as a correctional officer would allow me to have a respectable amount of prestige, allow me to experience chracter growth in confronting my fears of prison and violence, test my stamina and resilience, and it would allow me to answer questions I had from my previous socialpsychological studies concerning how humans can function and overcome adversity in the worst of conditions.

Everyone says that the first time the prison gates close behind you, that is when you feel the fear. That wasn't the case for me! I loved it, and in fact I remember standing in the parking lot, gazing into the prison yards and staring up at the barbwire fences in awe. No, the fear for me hit about an hour later, when they opened the door to an inmate dormitory and I saw a dirty foot hanging off of a cot two feet away from the door, and I for the first time realized that the inmates were not all locked up in cells and that they would be all around me, roaming around!

After a couple minutes of profuse sweating and trying to maintain a neutral expression, my fears of all the inmates all standing up and shouting that I was weak and couldn't handle being there, did not materialize. These occurences did happen eventually, but I was prepared to handle them when they did finally occur.

It took me a few months to get my nerves under control, but I was a hard worker, and was promoted to center court control, which controlled the movements of all inmates from every dormitory to their daily appointments. During this time I witnessed a lot of bad habits from officers. I partook in some, like letting inmates trade bags of chips with eachother, which was against the rules for officers, but as a new officer who had witnessed my supervisors allowing it, I allowed this to happen because I noticed the inmates would keep their dormitory cleaner and would get into formation much more quickly when I gave an order. I continued to do this until after I returned from the academy.

However, I vehemently rebelled against some actions, like officers actually taking bags of chips from inmates. This was illegal and I made my voice heard to stop it. When I returned from the academy, I was ready for greater responsibility and requested to be put in the most difficult section, maximum security. This section housed inmates caught doing gang activity, very violent offenders, and inmates in protective custody or awaiting a disciplinary hearing.

After a stabbing, and I learned that an inmate designated as an "Enforcer" for the security threat group, Latin Kings, was to be joining us in disciplinary confinement, I took a special trip down to his cell, because I wanted to look into the eyes of someone who had just stabbed another human being based not on a personal grudge, but because some other inmate at another prison, had given him orders to carry out violence.

At first glance, this man's looked to be full of pure rage, but after we stared in eachother's eyes for several seconds, all I saw was someone who felt trapped. I nodded as if to say, "I'm just doing my job, I'm not here to take away your eigth amendment rights," and for some reason from my simple nod he took a deep breath, completely relaxed, looked down at the ground and nodded back.

I do not support violence, and will always place the person receiving violence higher in terms of who will receive care first, but that does not mean this person who committed violence was not also a victim. He would suffer consequences with a higher security level and years added to his sentence, but, I couldn't help think that this man was probably abused as a child, had no positive role models or even sense of family, until he for the first time in his life began to feel valued by a gang in prison, like a family. We throw these people in prison without any mental health care possible, because the first thing I learned in mental health counseling school was that it requires a "safe therapeutic environment," which prison does not provide.

I want to be a public defender, in a better position to affect change than a prison guard, and I want to work with the lost people who would never seek mental health counseling. I can network with mental health counselors in order to help lower recividism of the clients I defend, and maybe even act as a pro bono mentor for a non profit. As a public defender, I will provide concrete value to people needing help, which I believe will allow me to share perspectives with them in a more efficient manner than a mental health counselor who they are forced to see would be able to.

~~~
Diversity Statement, 524 word count

I was an only child to a single mother growing up in [redacted]. We moved around a lot, and by the time I dropped out of high school to get my GED, I had changed schools 10 times.

There was a brief period in my early development that acts as nurturing memory. Between 4th and 7th grade, my mother and I lived with my grandparents in redacted, redacted. I was an altar boy, played sports, and played Joseph in our school Christmas play. We had a lot of extended family in the area, and we would take trips to my uncle's residence in the luitenant governor's mansion full of wonderful surprises like autumn haybail rides, hidden staircases, and a mysterious state trooper posted at the end of the driveway. My grandfather had become CEO after working 50 years for the same company, starting as a mail clerk, and my grandmother always made sure I did my share of yard work.

When my mother and I left this family network, moving to Virginia where I entered public school, I started smoking marijuana, ended up neglecting potential football scholarships, and often skipped school. My junior year I skipped more than half the days in school, and would call the school office every two weeks in order to pick up my homework.

In 10th grade, my mother met my step-dad, ironically, the same year I started smoking marijuana and hanging out with a crowd that ultimately was harmful. For the first time, I felt all alone, and I fell into a depression.

When I joined the Army, I still had some depression, but the structure was enough to allow me to do very well. When I got out of the army I tried various education and careers, sometimes thriving and sometimes having issues.

What I've come to learn through writing these essays over the last several months, is that there is a theme of a fear of being rejected in relation to something or someone I love. I loved counseling, and loved my family, and when I was confronted with not being valued in those capacities, I responded with a lack of appropriate coping mechanisms.

These essays have been a great exercise in finding clarity in my life. I have identified the conditions I need to be able to thrive in a career, greatly improved nutritional health and mindfulness, and with a newfound understanding of what has been holding me back from being willing to be vulnerable, love and trust others, I am much more prepared to practice cautious optimism as well as empathy and respect for the boundaries of others, in my next steps in life and career.

What I bring to my law school class that is unique, is 20 years of struggling with depression due to a fear of being genuine and trusting others. And since I am now able to so openly admit this truth, in my opinion, it means I am ready to share my wisdom and experience with others in a fruitful way, thus contributing to the positivity, realistic and positive perspective, and mental health of my academic class.

Signal3

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Re: Personal Statement & Diversity Statement

Post by Signal3 » Mon Sep 19, 2022 4:45 pm

One thing I see needs changed is, when I say "i loved counseling" in the diversity statement, I have to make it clear I was talking about when I was practicing as a counselor in school, not as a client receiving counseling, haha. The reason I brought this up was due to a disciplinary issue at the school at that time.

So I will fix that.

Signal3

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Re: Personal Statement & Diversity Statement

Post by Signal3 » Mon Sep 19, 2022 11:15 pm

After some more thought, and this being an initial draft of the diversity statement, I think I'm going to just scrap the diversity statement altogether. It is too difficult for people to understand depression, and even if they did, they probably wouldn't enjoy it. These aren't trained psychologists reading the diversity statement, so it perhaps is better left unsaid. I'll just write the addendums and rely on a positive personal statement, strong LSAT, and a 7 year positive trend. That should be fine.

Mods, if you can, just delete this thread. Thank you.

nixy

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Re: Personal Statement & Diversity Statement

Post by nixy » Mon Sep 19, 2022 11:45 pm

I think that's a good idea. I think it needed some focusing and tightening, but even apart from that, I don't think it's a great idea to make a diversity statement about a mental health status. First, there's still often a stigma - even if depression has less of a stigma than, say, schizophrenia, you're still admitting to a negative health condition and you don't want schools to see you as at risk of a recurrence and failing out. Second (and it's sad to put it this way, but) depression is so widespread now that I'm not sure it's a good basis for a diversity statement. I'd bet some ridiculously high percentage of law school applicants have grappled with depression.

I think there are circumstances where it can make sense to write about depression/mental health, but I think they would primarily be 1) in your PS, if it's truly front and center to your path to law school (for ex., your own experience with mental health has led you to law school with a passion to work specifically, directly, and exclusively on the intersection of mental health and the law - and this can still be risky though I think done well it can be worth it), and/or 2) in an addendum explaining either academic or legal issues.

Signal3

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Re: Personal Statement & Diversity Statement

Post by Signal3 » Tue Sep 20, 2022 12:05 am

Thanks buddy. I do appreciate it :) I think since it has been 7 years since any issue and I have a few awards in that time period that it probably isn't worth it to bring up the mental health stuff to explain issues prior to that, being that the issues were relatively minor. Ironically, the stigma stuff is exactly why I'm needed as a public defender, and that would have made a really cool story for, perhaps a personal statement, but, I agree that it is a risk and imo likely too big a risk. Oh well. At least I learned a lot throughout the experimental drafting stage!

Thanks for all the help. I'll likely start finalizing and making minor tweaks from here on out so may not post any more drafts. I wish you the best, and perhaps will see you around in another area of the forum in the future :)

nixy

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Re: Personal Statement & Diversity Statement

Post by nixy » Tue Sep 20, 2022 12:07 am

best of luck to you!

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