I have revised my personal statement multiple times and finally feel comfortable enough to let the hounds of TLS grace me with their sharp but valuable advice.
Please critique this and let me know what changes I should make.
While mostly all ushered in the new millennium with promises of hope, new beginnings, and the enthusiasm of a newly crafted New Year’s resolution; I celebrated it by pressing my pre-pubescent ear tightly against the cold of the bathroom door, quietly deciphering the reasons for my mother’s muffled tears and sobbing. It was early January 2001 and my mother, my soon to be estranged brother, and I had just emigrated to the United States of America. At the time, I could not understand the cause of my mother’s discomfort, and it would take many years, vicious legal battles, the separation of my family, and a heartfelt appreciation of law in order for me to finally do so.
Upon arriving to the US, my mother sought shelter in the home of her sister—a green, humble, cozy apartment complex in the heart of Hollywood, FL. There were seven people living under one tiny roof, and I shared a small bedroom with my cousin and brother, but here was my first sweet taste of America. It’s also where I was taught my very first English words—“I don’t speak English”. After enrolling in school, I was immediately placed in bottom-tier ESOL classes. Fueled by an innate desire to communicate, I quickly learned the language and begged my mom to be transferred into regular classes. This request was met with skepticism from the school faculty, who refused to believe that I could pick up the language in such a short time. Finally, through multiple interviews, an oral exam, a written exam, and the unwavering support of my mother, I was able to overcome their doubts and become “a regular kid”.
The challenges I encountered in 3rd grade followed me into 4th, when a teacher I will always be thankful for recommended me into the gifted program. In usual fashion, the faculty balked at the idea of a newly arrived Mexican American student joining an accelerated program so quickly. In what would become the defining attributes of our relationship, and also my character, my mother and I worked tirelessly and persevered until I was admitted. At this point in time, I had been the first among my family to be placed out of ESOL, I was the only one to be promoted into the gifted program, and soon, my mother would become the only one among her sisters with the strength to file for divorce.
For all the times I had leaned on my mother, it was finally her turn to lean on me. A prudent, gentle woman lacking the tenacity and ruthlessness of her male oppressor, I felt a filial obligation to shield my mother from her own passive nature. Hands held, we dove head first into a legal battle that gave us our first victory in the procurement of a restraining order. Two hard fought years later, we celebrated success when the divorce was finalized. The intimate role I played in the dissolution of my parent’s marriage stunted my childhood, but accelerated my ascent into adulthood and maturity. Although we struggled on our own, and our finances deteriorated since the separation, I will always be thankful for the legal infrastructure that liberated us. Without diminishing our own efforts, it has become clear that law was the steady wind that propelled my mother and I toward our current destinations. Immigration policy did not pay for our plane ticket to Florida, but it awarded us with the required visas. Domestic relations and civil rights law could not foresee my abusive father, but it gave women like my mom a way out of the suffering. Harming and abusing your wife and son will always be wrong, but its criminal law that codifies it into a punishable offense.
There may be applicants with better grades, higher test scores, and a larger resume, but none who will match my passion for law. By seeking admission into a school of law, I hope to immerse myself in a field that protects and advances the legal faculties that have awarded me the opportunity to be where I am today.