So many introductions so few conclusions

I’ve agonized for week now on my law school personal statement and have written no less than 14 introductions.  I’ve only finished two of them and I’m torn over which one I like better.  The first one is about my family, my partner and the boys and our little acts of activism and then ties into my desire to make a bigger difference through law.  The second one is about my background, being a first generation college student, not necessarily having a roadmap but coming to law through my desire for social change.  I’m worried that the first one will make me sound too “family” oriented and the second one I worry that the second one will seem like I’m saying “poor me.”  My babes are so important to me but they are nowhere in the second essay.  I will keep plugging away on both, but if one speaks to you in a more authentic way, please let me know which one.  And, no I don’t want to merge them together because the length is already a big issue and I think I need to keep the topic pretty tight.  Of course, you can e-mail me if you don’t want to post the comment on my blog.

Option 1:

The hairdresser hoisted my son into the booster seat that topped the parlor chair. She proceeded to comb out his rusty ringlets and looked shocked at the length once the tresses were wet and tame.  She twisted the locks into thick piggy-tail braids then stood back to admire her work.  She retrieved her scissors, glanced at my partner, then at me, then at Riley himself.  We each gave her a decisive nod.  She held up the bulky twisted clumps, chopped them off, and then sheared until only a spiky half-inch remained.

When my son Riley was three years old, a friend from daycare was diagnosed with cancer.  In response, Riley decided to grow his hair “all the way to sit on it” so he could donate it to another child in need. His friend with cancer received treatment and recovered.  Still, Riley grew his hair.  For more than two years Riley never wavered from his goal.   When he finally cut it, he donated twelve inches to Locks of Love.

Option 2:

I grew up in a small oilfield town that endured cycles of boom and bust correlated with the cost of a barrel of oil. My father joined the oilfields as a laborer alongside his brothers just like his father had done. My mother’s brothers worked the oilfields too and she and her sisters married men in the business. My dad progressed up the ranks and carried job titles that included worm, roustabout, roughneck, derrickhand, driller and finally, toolpusher. It was difficult, dangerous work and the dangers often struck close to home. One uncle lost the use of his arm in an accident, another uncle broke his leg, and my uncle Richard was killed.

It was shortly after my uncle’s death, when I was ten years old, I decided I was not going to marry anyone in the oilfield; instead, I was going to go to college and make it on my own. I came to that realization in a flash. I was standing in the emergency room at the local hospital after my mother received a frantic message that my father had been involved in an oilfield accident and was receiving treatment there. As she pulled me through the sterile halls of the hospital I accepted what I assumed was my father’s death and realized that my mother, whose only work experience was preparing meals in a rehabilitation center, was going to have to raise four children on her own.

Don’t worry, if neither one will do, I have a dozen more just waiting to be fleshed out.  Maybe I’m hyperobsessing because my test score gets released on Monday and there’s a big part of me worried that my score will take me out of contention for a good school before I even get any further down this road.


5 Responses to “So many introductions so few conclusions”

  1. Avoiceofmyown Says:

    I like option 2… My question is what are you trying to convey to your audience and who is your audience? I’d direct it to your audience.

  2. Carrie Says:

    I like #2 also BUT with your fantastic LSAT score, any old essay will do!!

  3. kim Says:

    just sayin — i’m proud of you

  4. Will C. Says:

    I adore your children. But I vote for option 2 as well. As I read both, the question in the back of my mind was “what does this have to do with going to law school and being a lawyer?” Option 2 starts to answer that. Option 1 does not.

  5. Doug Says:

    i am not as good with words will c. hit it close to the way i fill

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