I came to the United States when I was seventeen years old from a country where women had very few rights. Although I am very proud of my Iranian Jewish heritage, I sometimes wonder why I was born in Iran and why I had to witness all that I did. The revolution in Iran happened when I was 13 years of age. At the time I could not deeply comprehend what was going on. My school was right across the street from the famous “Tehran University” where most of the demonstrations and riots occurred. As a result, I witnessed the revolution right outside of my school’s doorsteps. Occasionally I would be glad when our school was shut down as it all got to be too much! People were getting beaten up on the streets in search of freedom and justice. There was blood, violence and terror everywhere. In the evenings, there were curfews and we were prisoners in our own homes.
As the years went by, I realized that freedom in Iran was replaced by oppression, tyranny and cruelty, especially for women and religious minorities. Aside from having to obey the Islamic veil uniform, women had a harder time getting into the universities and they were considered a second-class citizen. The repercussions of not being appropriately dressed in the Islamic uniform were too high. I witnessed my girlfriends dragged to jail and whipped by the authorities when a strand of their hair was showing through their scarves. Schools were segregated and boys and girls were not allowed to talk in public or in private unless they were relatives. Public sports such as skiing, swimming and or tennis became almost impossible for women due to the strict uniform laws. Attending a birthday party where boys and girls were together was a dangerous and unsafe activity because at any given moment the “Hezbollah Police” would break into one’s house and arrest everyone. Music, dancing, movies, and theater were all banned. I remember once as I was walking from school to my house I waived hello to a guy friend and was immediately arrested at gunpoint by the “Hezbollah Police”. Fortunately, I was able to convince them to set me free using the excuse that my father was serving in the Iran/Iraq war as a physician and was relieved when they finally dropped me off in front of my house!
After a few years, I made a difficult decision to leave my family and friends and start a new life in the United States. At the time, due the fact that I was a religious minority, the only way to exit the country was to escape via the borders. I packed a backpack and with the help of a specialized guide, left Tehran on a journey through the deserts of Iran-Afghanistan and ultimately into Pakistan. I was traveling with a group of people, and we were caught several times by the different authorities and each time we were let go, after paying the bribes requested. We slept in the desert and hid in the back of railroad tracks when were chased by the Islamic police. One day, our guide lost his direction and we were lost in the dessert for two days without food. The only source of water was a river nearby.
This journey was a life altering experience for me. I will never forget the taste of fresh, clean water and real food, after spending a week in the desert.
After six months with the help of Hias organization in Italy, I applied for my US citizenship, and arrived as a political refugee.
I immediately immersed into high school and finished 12th grade in 4 months. I remember hearing other girls plan their prom night while I was relentlessly studying for the TOEFL and SAT’s as well as applying for college. After two years, my parents joined me in California. I was so excited to reunite with my family once again. Although I was working at two jobs and attending college full-time I made sure that my parents were settling comfortably in their new environment.
After graduation from CSUN, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and years later supervised a 45 person, Travel Agency. Part of my duty was to negotiate complex wholesale contracts with the airlines. I enjoyed negotiating and saving my company and my clients money. Then came the dreaded day of 9/11. I watched on television the twin towers falling in disbelief and felt rage at the injustice! This reminded me a lot of what I had experienced in my teens in Iran. I felt helpless and wanted to go out there and help. When I arrived at my office that day, I realized that I had hundreds of travelers who were stranded in different airports and needed my help. Miraculously, I spent the next two days and got each and everyone of my clients on the next plane/train/bus safely to their families without any additional cost to them or to the company.
The events of 9/11 and the revolution in Iran will forever be a reminder for me to not take anything in life for granted and to strive for freedom no matter at what cost. I now feel that I can overcome any obstacle with perseverance and to learn from any adversity.
My father-in law, a Supreme Court Judge in South Africa whom I respected immensely, always told me it is not too late to follow my dreams and to pursue what is truthfully mine. He was an honorable man and I know that one day I will follow in his footsteps and make a change for a better and safer world for all people regardless of race, sex, religion, and or political beliefs.
Become-a-Lawyer Comments: This is a great start, you have an amazing story to tell, however your organization needs major work. You did not tell us what the question was for your law school essay; I will assume "why you want to be a lawyer" and my comments are relevant to same.
You have to rework this essay so that you clearly answer the question at hand. From reading your essay I can indirectly conclude why you want to go to law school but you don't really say that until the end of the essay. You have to start the essay with an answer to the question and then have supporting points that will make up your subsequent paragraphs, and finally you have to wrap it all up in a conclusion.
Start by doing the following exercise: Answer the question asked by the law school in one sentence. That sentence should set the tone for the entire essay.
Then come up with three - four main points that support your one sentence answer. Then write paragraphs for these points.
Rewrite it with this type of organization and we will be happy to review it again.