Hello again! Be prepared, this one is going to be a long one. A little about me, a little about my writing process, and a little bit about where I hope this all goes.
I’ve been outlining and drafting personal statements here and there which is exciting but also scary and draining. I know I’m not the typical applicant. I didn’t even know I’d be applying until a little over a year ago and even then I thought “could this really be a thing?”
But it is a thing. I’ve made it a thing. I’m taking my LSAT prep, I’m networking with other attorneys and law students, I’ve been to an LSAC forum, I’ve registered for another LSAC forum, I have drafts for my statements, I’ve reached out to professors for recommendation letters.
This is really a thing.
So I wonder why I still have all this self doubt about whether I should even be applying. I look at myself and I don’t see the typical law school applicant, but isn’t that beneficial for me? Won’t my journey make it that much more interesting for how I got here and where I want to go?
I’ve been trying to articulate that in a personal statement and right now I’m finding that the most important contribution to me and the contribution that I would like to make involves community accessibility.
I never thought this career path was accessible to me because I didn’t see anyone who worked within the legal system in my community. I saw teachers and I saw nurses, all wonderful and educated, but neither seemed to really appeal to me. I also grew up in a community of immigrants. I found that story much more interesting. To be raised by a community figuring out their way in a new space is fascinating to me and gives me a different perspective on life, work, family, and community. These communities developed because everyone left their families to come here and work.
Community accessibility. When a new owner bought the nursing home where my mom and my “aunts”(the other Filipino nurses that my mom worked with that became our family) worked, they all lost their jobs. Suddenly the accessible and safe career choice wasn’t safe and I freaked out. I was convinced healthcare was the only career option. What was I supposed to do now? I stopped taking all the science prerequisites and focused on the subjects I was truly interested in. I took more literature classes, more Asian-American classes. I read more about immigration stories and I ended up taking a law class.
Asian-American Civil Rights and the Law taught by my Filipino-American professor. A Fil-Am lawyer! Who grew up in the states? Who didn’t have a stellar academic record? Who didn’t know he wanted to do this his whole life? Who is KILLING the game now as a lawyer and the creator of a non-profit organization for Queer Asian Americans? I was amazed. He was a tough professor and it was a tough class, but I was so determined to do well. I taught my self to work smarter, not harder for this class. I got an A at the end of the term after many classmates dropped out of the course. I was sure this was what I wanted to do. I want to be like him.
When I told one of the men who came during the retreat to help us with our statements, he said that this was exactly what I should write about. I should write about how I never thought this career was accessible, but that seeing someone that looked like me in the space allowed me to see myself in this space, and how I want to be that person for someone else.
I’m having a little trouble figuring out how to articulate how I want to be that for someone else or even who I want to be, but I think it’s so important to be able to see yourself in different spaces. If we don’t know what’s available to us, how do we know what we want?
Anyway, this clearly isn’t my personal statement. That’s still in the works. This is just me trying to mind map the ideas and the experiences I’ve had to come up with my compelling story for an admissions committee…. which is kind of terrifying. Is that good enough a reason to want to go to law school? I have plenty of other reasons. But this seems to make sense out of some of my experiences that are briefly outlined through my transcript and resume.
How are your personal statements going? Which one of your stories do you want to tell?