What the frack am I going to write my personal statement about?
A thought that has probably haunted many a person reading this for the past few months. And even after you’re done writing it, you have to read it, which is a lot like hearing your own voice on camera – i.e., “Gross. Do I really sound like that?” Even worse, you have to get someone else to read it to catch the typos and confusing tangents. And most people fall into one of two categories: the ones who tell you it’s perfect and not to change a thing (thanks, Mom!) and the ones who basically tell you to rewrite the whole thing.
To say that I was nervous about submitting my personal statement to BC is kind of like saying Boston got a few snow showers this past month. Race is such a sensitive topic of discussion, and I felt like I was really throwing caution to the wind in dedicating my entire admissions essay to the subject, but I couldn’t help it – it didn’t make sense to me to write about anything else. Then when I got the request to publish it in BC Law Magazine, I was even more anxious. I typed the confirmation email quickly and hit “send” before I could change my mind.
But I have received such an outpouring of love and support since the link went up 5 days ago (you can check it out here at BC Law Magazine online). I got emails and Facebook messages and texts from my closest friends, but also from people I haven’t spoken to in years – my former teachers and professors, family members from Kenya, old neighbors, my friends from undergrad, and of course, the BC community. Some asked me for permission to share it with their classes, some told me it moved them to tears, some just wanted to say that they had struggled with the same feelings their entire lives.
So here’s my point: You’ll have so many chances to tell your story, even after you get into your law school of choice, and really, in anything you end up doing. You’ll have to write more personal statements, have to explain why you are the person you’ve become. And even if the story is unpleasant, even if the ending isn’t perfect, even if it’s a work in progress, your story matters because you matter.
And if you’re afraid? Good. Tell it anyway.
I’m what I like to call a 1.5L (first year, second semester). Check out more of my posts here to learn more about all those questions you feel are too simple to ask about transitioning to law school. I’ll post every Monday about things I wish I knew as an incoming 1L so you’ll actually know them when you get here. My inbox is always open so you can comment on here, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.