I woke up to a harsh knocking on my front door. Nervously, I walked to the living room, knowing what awaited me. As expected, two sheriffs were standing outside. The clock on the wall said 10AM, the time assigned by court for my family’s eviction. My stomach was twisting and I felt as if the oxygen level in the room had suddenly decreased. Our home of ten years was no longer ours. We stood outside and watched the sheriff throw our things onto the curb. I felt as if everyone on our block was staring at us, I felt humiliated, embarrassed, and angry. I was angry at my father, angry at the system, and angry at this unjust world. As my family of six packed into our car to go to a shelter, our home for the next few weeks, tears rolled down my eyes as I looked at the house that I once called home. Not only was I now without a father, but also without a home. I look back now and realize that even though this experience was horrible to say the least, there is a lot that I learned from this and many other experiences that life threw my way.
At thirteen, I lost my father in a car accident. I did not lose him because he passed away from his brain injuries; I lost him because he deserted his wife and five children. My father became emotionally and physically abusive after his car accident, a consequence of his accident that tore our family apart. He put many restrictions upon us, such as no guests allowed, no heat on regardless of how cold it is, no TV or any such noise, and that we could not hold any jobs. Furthermore, if he was in a bad mood we had to stand his physical beatings and degrading swear words. I watched as he hit my older brother with a belt before his middle school graduation, for making “too much noise”. I watched as he called my mom names and sometimes pulled her hair or slapped her. I felt helpless knowing there was not much I can do to help. I hid in the room I shared with my two sisters during these violent episodes at home. I resorted to books and kept myself busy with school work. It was during the Fourth of July weekend that my father left, I guess he was tired of the fighting too. I was not home but I remember getting that call from my mom when I was at friend’s house and the freedom I felt is indescribable. My dad tried taking everything from us after his accident, but soon I became aware that whatever I learn in school and whatever I accomplish cannot be taken away from me. His behavior made me motivated in school and to try to be the best I could.
I did what I knew I had in me; I graduated from high school in three years with a perfect GPA and a great ACT score. I was ready for College, my maturity level was not that of other 15 year old children and nor were my experiences. Throughout high school and college I was the head of the household after my father’s car accident. My family depended on me because I was able to talk to strangers and not behave shyly. I would call the various credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and other creditors to whom we owed money, spending hours making arrangements for payment plans. I was indirectly given the responsibility of the financial situation at my house, the role most fathers fulfill. Throughout all this school was something I was not willing to give up on, because for me that would be accepting defeat. College was no different than high school; I worked hard because I expected nothing less from myself. Taking the maximum credits allowed each semester allowed me to complete Loyola’s 128 credits required for graduation in three years. I was my own worst critic, if I did not do well on a test or in a class, I would tell myself it was not okay and that every time I fall I need to get back up again.
My strength for getting back up has always been my mother. She left her entire family behind in Pakistan so that her kids could have the life she never did. I will not let her struggles go to waste. She pushes me each and every day, my mom mother never ceases to amaze me. After the death of her sister my mother took legal guardianship of my two cousins, knowing that she already has five kids to raise on her minimum wage income. Looking at her strength gives me my own. How could I disappoint the woman who raised me for the past 13 years alone, while my father was always at work, the same woman who took jobs and worked morning till night as a single parent to make sure I have food in my stomach and a roof, no matter how small, over my head? I became grateful for these experiences because they cleared my vision that was once blurred and fastened my heart beat that was once slow because it lacked direction and passion. I look at her and know that I want the best for myself and that I can accomplish anything, because of her I know I want to be a lawyer. I want to be that lawyer that helps people like her struggling, no one was there to help us, but I want to be there to help the women fighting.
It was hard to juggle a full class load freshman year, work numerous hours a week, and then also commute back and forth from school to save my house from foreclosure. This was the first time I had the opportunity to experience the legal system up close and personal. No longer was it a foreign world. I was spending hours talking to free legal services about how to represent my mother in court to save our home, understanding summons letters and various other documents being dropped off to our house, drafting legal documents, attending court over and over, and collecting the necessary paperwork requested by the judge. Even though I was not able to save our home, one positive consequence of the experience was my awareness of my passion for the law. I instantly fell head over heels for the justice system because it had logic that my life lacked. There was always a solution to a problem and predictability, again something my life did not have.
I grew up in a third world country but at that age I barely could understand the situation I was in. Therefore, I decided to study abroad in China for four months. China has one of the highest numbers of human rights cases. I got to witness this firsthand through my Silk Road academic excursion for two weeks where I had the opportunity to travel over 2,000 miles and got the opportunity to talk to many Chinese natives who were not impressed at the way the government was handling things.
The only thing no one can snatch from you is whatever is inside your mind,, this includes the education you attain and the life changing moments you experience. This motivated me to receive the best education I can and to work hard to help others attain it as well. While I am headed in the right direction, I still have major steps to take. A legal education would give me the tools needed to make better use of my abilities. If I am given the opportunity I will bring willpower, maturity, and seriousness of my purpose to my legal studies. With my extensive professional experience, community service involvement, and multicultural background I am able to contribute distinctively to the diversity of law school.