« on: January 13, 2009, 12:24:46 AM »
Hello, all. I've been a lurker for a while and am making my LSD posting debut with a request for feedback/critique on my PS. I'm absolutely willing to return the favor if you want. Any feedback or criticism is welcome and I'm not going to give you lip if you don't gush over my PS. Thanks in advance and here she goes:
Going to college was an act of cowardice on my part. At least, that was what I was afraid it was when I first began to attend. Coming from a long, unbroken line of family members serving in the Armed Forces, the decision to be the first person to break that chain and go to college made me feel less like a trailblazer and more like the runt of the litter. I didn’t discuss my choice with my family much, largely because I desperately wanted to avoid it. Being wrought with guilt for feeling as though I was betraying the grandest family tradition we held did not make me eager to go into detailed discussions that may thrust my ignoble qualities into the spotlight. This sentiment and doubt I held of myself and my decision intensified greatly very shortly after my decision to attend college was under way.
My family has always felt the need to prove ourselves and our worthiness to the country and military service has always served as the conduit with which to be exonerated from any suspicion on that count. With the Sept. 11th attacks, this idea was heavily reinforced; active-duty members of the family were moved from nearby bases to overseas staging areas while family members in the reserves, such as my near-retired father, were activated and deployed while none protested, complained, or hesitated. As I watched the ranks of my family being called to duty without flinching, the pressure I felt to leave school for service intensified and took a much more urgent tone. My decision to attend college and subsequent ambivalence with my studies was now racking me with guilt as military duty was starting to appear as a much more vital charge than attending college.
I brought my concerns and feelings of trepidation to my family and, to my surprise, my family was more supportive of the idea of me continuing my education than of me trading it for boot camp. My decision to attend college, which I had always imagined was a disappointment to my family, tradition, and duty and as an act of cowardice, was instead looked upon with pride by my family and as its own kind of important and brave course.
After this endorsement and voice of support, I started to approach my time in college with a greater sense of pride and purpose. I became more involved in extracurricular activities, even going so far as to create and become president of a club in college titled “Alternative Sports Club” with the goal of creating a forum for students to meet others that are interested in popular “alternative” sports that are not sponsored by the school, such as Skateboarding or BMX and even Cricket. My increased involvement and sense of duty in college also extended into less recreational areas. For two years I worked as a Peer Advocate in the Multi-Ethnic and Cultural Affairs office where I would help fellow students find means to help finance school through scholarships and loans directed towards minority and disadvantaged students, supervise students that had received scholarships to ensure their progress, planned campus events like poetry jams, and aiding other students find and utilize various campus resources.
I approached my academic pursuits with more determination as well, helping me to be awarded the annual Outstanding Student Award in the field of Sociology in 2003. As my drive increased, my attention to my writing increased as well, resulting in a physics paper of mine being published as the lead essay in my college’s annual publication “Una Voce.” My sustained focus for writing was rewarded again when I was fortunate enough to be nominated by faculty to become, and shortly afterwards began my new-found duties as, a Writing Fellow. One of my proudest achievements was being the recipient of my university’s Multicultural Achievement Program Diversity Scholarship, which rewards students who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to multiculturalism and diversity.
My successes in college provided me with a sense of accomplishment and my family was also very proud of every one of my achievements (no matter how small). As I was progressing through my college career towards graduation, though, I was becoming more and more unsettled; I still was unsure what I was going to do next. After graduation came and went, my uncertainty still lingered and the familiar sense of guilt and avoidance of duty began to creep back into my conscience. Once again, my fears and uncertainties were assuaged by my family voicing their support in me and in the importance of making an unrushed, deliberate decision for the next step of my life. After graduation, I began the process of weighing my options between entering the permanent workforce, continuing my education, or enlisting. Once I felt I had enough time away from school as well as having all the information available, I came to the decision that law school was the best next step for me. After beginning my pursuit of this goal, I have only grown more confident in the decision. And I know that whether I choose something which would lean towards my family’s historical career route such as JAG Corps or something more intrepid like Intellectual Property, I don’t have to make that decision based on which would be seen by others as the braver course because, as my father has told me, being the first in your family to “break rank” and blaze your own trail is not something characteristic of a coward.
Thanks for taking a look and, again, any feedback is welcome.