by Yvonne Kester
(Albany, NY, USA)
Law School Personal Essay - This personal essay helped me to gain admittance and a $17,000 scholarship to Albany Law School. - The tiny black eyes were unmistakably focused on me, intently following my every movement. This creature valued its life; I could feel its fear, and it became my own. Sitting on the floor in my youngest son’s bedroom, heart pounding, I felt trapped. Here were two windows, wide open to the night, yet how could I possibly convince this animal to fly through one of them?
This wasn’t the first time a bat had entered our home. A year ago I awoke in the darkness to a whispered, rhythmic whirring above my head. It took me a few moments to realize that a bat was circling our room, searching for an escape. I nudged my husband and alerted him to the situation, and he automatically assumed creature detail. Despite my strong feminist convictions against dividing jobs by gender, I did not attempt to intervene.
On this sultry summer night Bob donned sweatpants, a flannel shirt (sleeves securely buttoned at the wrist), leather gloves, and a baseball cap. Wearing this protective gear and wielding a butterfly net procured from the garage, he made his way back up to our attic bedroom where, perhaps because of the light, the bat had ceased circling and was hanging from the ceiling in the corner. Bob quickly plopped the net over it, but almost at once the creature began screeching horribly and thrashing about. Understandably, Bob reacted to this by throwing the net—with the bat still in it—out the window. Fear had mangled our best intentions. The bat died.
Now I sat in my son’s room, looking at this terrified and surprisingly cute tiny mammal, determined that it would not meet the same fate. I had armed myself with a plastic bucket, but did not trust in my ability to avoid panicking when that bucket held a screeching, thrashing wild animal. No, the bucket was definitely out. But what could I do? I remembered reading somewhere that music has a calming influence on animals, so I began to hum a lullaby. Sure enough, the bat closed its eyes. I was feeling calmer, too, but this was not getting Mr. Fuzzy out the window.
I am ashamed to admit it, but I began to use rather absurd tactics. I got up and attempted to show the bat how easily his freedom could be attained. I thrust my arms out the window and brought them back in; I leaned my whole torso out the window and came back in; I even began throwing small toys out the window, saying to the bat, “See how easy? Go on, fly! Be free!” The rational part of me, embarrassed at my antics, set about convincing the rest of me that the only way I was going to get that bat out unharmed was—yes, you had better accept it and get on with business—to use my own hands.
I grabbed a T-shirt out of the dresser to drape over my hand (prudence, prudence. . .we don’t want any bat bites here) and walked over to where the little one was hanging above the window. I began speaking to the bat, telling it that I knew how scared it was and that I was scared too, but we had to work together so it could go back to where it belonged and my son could go to bed. I imagined I was talking to a frightened child and put that love ahead of my fear. The bat seemed to be soothed by this and closed its eyes, but every time I moved my hand closer its eyes opened wide again. We went on this way for several long minutes until my hand was just about three inches away. My arm had been aloft for so long that it was an effort to keep my hand from shaking.
I made my final move and gently lifted the bat from the curtain. It did not struggle or even move. I brought it down, stuck my hand out the window, and slowly opened the folds of the T-shirt. The bat squeaked once and flew off into the darkness. For a few moments I remained, listening to the sounds of the night and feeling glad to be alive. Thank you Yvonne for sharing your Law School Personal Essay. Best of luck to you in law school.
Law School Admission Essay
Finding Oneself by Becoming Lost in Service to Others
Law School Admission Essay
A woman standing at the intersection stood almost motionless amidst a crowd of pedestrians scrambling to their offices during the morning rush hour. The only sign of movement was the slight rhythmic motion of her head, as she gazed from left to right attempting to decide upon her direction. I stared intently as minutes and footsteps passed her by, feeling that, for some strange reason, I could relate. “Did you find
this yourself?”, my lawyer asked as his voice brought me back to the grim reality that I was sitting in his office attempting to seek counsel regarding my colleague’s deportation proceedings. He held up the case I had located after going through volumes of Board of Immigration Appeal cases, Matter of Grullon, which was drowning in a sea of yellow high-lighter and chicken scratch; I nodded my head reluctantly, confused as to whether my amateur attempt to decipher the law pleased or annoyed him. His stoic face revealed the slightest grin as he congratulated me on my find, and informed me that the case I had located established that my dearest friend was eligible to be released from the deportation holding facility in Michigan, where she had already spent 2 months awaiting her fate. After consistently hearing that her release was impossible due to a prior criminal conviction, the lawyer’s words danced upon my eardrums. The sense of triumph that rushed through my blood was overwhelming. My excitement further heightened as he asked how I managed to stumble upon that case while lacking a legal background, and inquired about my plans to attend law school. While I offered him an ambivalent explanation, I glanced out the window to avoid his gaze and realized that the woman standing at the intersection was long gone. As I gathered my belongings and left the office that day, I understood why I felt as if I could relate to her; we had both been attempting to find a direction.
As an undergraduate junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I watched as my colleagues and classmates scrambled to the offices of guidance counselors, participated in career evaluation seminars, and confessed their fear of an uncertain future, all with a common goal in mind-- the ability to find a direction in life. Although I envied their journey, I realized that mine would have to be put on hold as I received news that my closest friend was being detained by Immigration and Customs officials, with deportation looming over her head due to a prior conviction. She fled her native country of Bulgaria to escape racial and political persecution, for, as a Roma, she faced heinous discrimination in her homeland. While most of my colleagues were studying for mid-terms, I was engulfed in studying volumes of immigration appeal cases, hoping to find an exception to the law which would allow my friend to be released.
Although I underwent a tremendous amount of stress and time constraints, I was proud that I was still able to make the Dean's List and excel in the University's Honors College curriculum. I decided to use this conflicting combination of ambition, inspiration and outrage and channeled it into a positive form by presenting the topic of "Hate Crimes against the Roma People" in my upper-level Victimization course in order to spread awareness. When I informed my colleagues of the situation that I was facing, the response that I received pulled at my heart strings ; I received support and applause from my classmates whom I had originally felt so alienated from due to the different journeys which we were embarking on. However, our different directions merged into one when I encouraged many of them to march with me at the Illinois DREAM Act Rally for Immigration Reform. We all shared the same goal that day as together we chanted, "One Nation, One Dream!" and "Education, not Deportation!"
My passion for immigration reform and my thirst for legal exposure did not end there; I also began to volunteer for the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice and the Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County, where I attended a multitude of courtroom sessions to observe and gather information about judges in an effort to better inform voters and improve the quality of the judiciary. This volunteer work enabled me to experience the intricacies of the courtroom first hand, and further deepened my interest in the legal system. However, it wasn't until my lawyer held up the case I located, Matter of Grullon, that my interest transformed into a deep appreciation.
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After I had gathered my belongings and left the lawyer's office that day, I couldn't help but continue thinking about that woman standing at the intersection. As the elevator slowly ticked down to the ground floor, I realized that although everyone is constantly searching for the collective right direction, the journey we embark upon is our own, unique and individualized in every possible way. My journey through the world of immigration reform has sparked a desire to study immigration law, and has allowed me to gain real world experience, strong leadership skills, and the ability to be a pro-active starter. I plan to continue upon this journey in law school, where I believe that I can find a direction by losing myself in the service of others.
Thank you Monika for sharing your sample law school admission essay. Good luck in law school.