« on: October 03, 2006, 10:00:54 AM »
I have quite a few arrests to explain (5 actually) spanning ages 16-22 (I'm now 28). I was arrested for everything from theft (at 16) to fake ID (at 19) and DUI (at 22). The only things on my record are fake ID and reckless driving but of course, I know I have to disclose all of the arrests regardless.
Inasmuch as I have quite a bit of explaining to do, I am taking a bit of an unorthodox approach to my "arrest addendum". Anybody interested in giving some advice on whether this is a BAD idea? Part of the addendum is below. Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!!!! Also, if any body is willing to take a look at the whole thing let me know.
NOTES: (1) I've been employed in the financial industry for the past 10 years (so, good employment history). (2) My dad had a brainstem stroke in 2003. This fact is discussed in my personal statement and it is mentioned in the addendum. (3) The numbers in "" are footnotes.
As I discuss in my personal statement, because of my fatherís neurological illness I became something of an amateur expert on brain function taxonomy. In the process of understanding his disability, I also gained some insight into my own my own anti-social behavior as a teenager.
I learned that the brainís prefrontal cortex deals with impulse control, understanding of consequences, and emotion-based responses. Various studies have shown through the use of magnetic resonance imaging that the prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until the early 20s and that some young adults and some teenagers lack the basic awareness (or concern) that actions of the present can have harmful and destructive consequences in the future. In fact, such studies on the frontal area of the brain were central to the Supreme Court (juvenile death penalty) case Roper v. Simmons in 2004.
Elsewhere in this application, I have listed the consequences of the terrible decisions I made as a teenager. I simply did not recognize that a momentary decision could have lifetime ramifications. Notions of acceptance by so-called "friends" ruled my self destructive behavior and fundamental moral or ethical considerations were conveniently suppressed.
Does all this research seem like an attempt to rationalize plain bad behavior? I hope not! Although the neurological explanation helped me to make some sense of the very different person I once was, I want to be clear in communicating my firm belief that the mistakes I made were entirely my own. For these I take complete responsibility. On the other hand, I also take ownership of the decision to better my life.
The specific process by which I came to the realization that I wanted build on my strengths and not cater to my weaknesses was dynamic, but three concurrent events were most influential: (1) I was promoted to an executive position at my job, (2) I began attending college full-time and, (3) I completed court-mandated counseling.
The gratification I felt at doing well scholastically and professionally was a completely new experience for me. I was never a good student and I always assumed this was because I wasnít very smart. My self-esteem couldnít handle failure if I made an effort so I decided Iíd rather not try. Yet, when I returned to college in 2003, I did so because I wanted an education. I believed education was the single best path to professional success, something that was absolutely the goal I hoped to achieve. When I put forth effort, I was very surprised at my intellectual capacity and at the gratification I felt at doing well.
Even after deciding to turn my life around, lifting myself out of that previous life was fraught with challenges....