Realization of Inner Strenth Through Unfortunate Circumstances

by Christina
(California )

Grasping the sides of my legs with sweat dripping to the tips of my fingers my body trembled, but my mind stayed calm and collected, ready for anything. The detective asked if I was ready and with a one word answer from me, “yes” I was faced once again with the random individual that had sexually assaulted me at gun point. I already had the characteristics of his face etched in my mind, so when the light shined down on him on the other side of the one way mirror it only took me a matter of seconds to identify him. In those few seconds I felt more empowered than ever with the confidence that the legal system could now pursue my case completely.
After growing up in a small suburban area outside Chicago, moving to the big city was a new and exciting change for me. I had just completed my Associate Degree and already had developed a love and passion for argumentation and analysis. I was ready to pursue a four year degree in philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago with confident aspirations of attending law school. I settled into my new apartment and adapted to the changes that correlated with a new environment and more difficult course work. I was determined to live out my goal of excelling in my classes, making new friends and preparing my mind for the rigors of law school.
As I adapted to my new surroundings and the upbeat pace that the Chicago lifestyle had to offer, I became more comfortable and confident with the change. Unfortunately, with the fast paced lifestyle and large population, crime is bound to occur. I just never thought twice that I would fall victim to a crime, especially one as horrible as rape. Feeling scared and alone I did not know where to turn at first. After rationalizing everything that had just occurred in my head, I opened the front door to my apartment and knew what needed to be done. With the support of my family I reported the incident and took all necessary steps to begin an investigation.
People asked me if I was going to return home to the safety of the suburbs after falling victim to such a crime, while others urged that it would be in my best interest to leave the city limits all together. I have always been a determined person and gone above and beyond to reach my goals. I had met my goal of being able to move to the city and attend UIC and there was no chance that I was going to let a random individual hold me back from completing my goal of obtaining my degree and moving on to law school. My passion to attend law school was ever growing as I reflected back on the crime I had fallen victim to and the empowerment that had been given to me by all those involved in the legal system. From this experience I built an emotional connection with the power that the law holds and the justices that can prevail.
Having reported the incident and talking with police and medical staff, the case was now out of my hands and into those of the legal system. There was no point in dwelling on the incident, shutting down or giving up on the goals I so desperately wanted to reach. Keeping persistent and determined, I continued with my course work choosing to take classes that I felt would be exceptionally helpful for law school. Philosophy taught me the beauty and art of argumentation and analysis while Criminology taught me the foundations of law and the interconnections between the different aspects that make up the legal system. This combination of classes has helped me to become a more insightful and knowledgeable person while preparing me mentally for the ultimate goal of attending law school.
As a survivor of rape, I do not feel that there is any need to be embarrassed and certainly no need for anyone to be sorry for me. If anything, the experience has showed me how strong of a person I can be and what feats I am able to surpass with my dedication to reach goals. After seeing the legal system in action and justice being served, I have an even deeper respect for the law and passion to be in the field.

Become-a-Lawyer Comments:

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.

First and foremost you clearly express a genuine interest and reason for attending law school, which is good because most aspiring law students do not really know why they want to go to law school. (That is usually where most aspiring law students fall short.)

The major problem with your essay is your use of the “story telling frame”. From an outside reader's perspective this essay is more about what happened to you vs why you would be a great lawyer (or why you want to go to law school).

You have to put yourself in the shoes of the people who will be reading your law school essay. They are lawyers (or at the very least have a law degree). They will have a stack of law school essays in front of them, and will sort them into one of three piles; 1) Yes, 2) Maybe, and 3) No. Obviously they will have very little time to dedicate to each essay, so they will quickly read your essay and what will stick out most in their minds will be proper “frame”.

You need to frame you law school personal statement as a legal argument, which consists of 1) answering the question right from the start, 2) support your argument with specific facts.

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 and should be the first sentence of your opening paragraph.

Then come up with three - four main points that support your one sentence answer. If I was writing your essay I would organize it as follows:

Paragraph #1): “I want to become a lawyer because… (discuss the unfortunate real life contact you have had with the law)

Paragraph #2): Demonstrated determination… to fight for what was right.

Paragraph #3): Perseverance… through emotional trauma and stress, will continue in law school and in legal practice.

Paragraph #4): You didn’t just fantasize about law school you got up and took action… you enrolled in law classes to obtain more information that this was the proper path for you.

Paragraph #4): Conclusion, bring it all together.

Rearrange your law school personal statement and we will be happy to take another look. Overall, this could definitely be developed into a great law school essay.


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