As A Native Of Los Angeless inner city where

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gang violence and drugs are key aspects of the landscape, 1 was one of the lucky few to survive childhood with spirit and ambitions intact. The poverty and despair that were all around me crushed the hopes and dreams of many of my peers; few finished high school, and even fewer went on to college. Most are now unemployed, in jail, or dead. This sad circumstance is something that is never far from my consciousness even now, as I face the exhilarating prospect of entering law school and beginning to prepare myself for the legal career that has long been a cherished goal.

I am the only member of my family ever to go to college, but at one time it seemed that this might not happen. I started my undergraduate career on a- football scholarship, but a midseason gridiron injury hospitalized me and temporarily derailed my academic pursuits. Discouraged by my monthlong incapacitation, I decided to defer college and instead go to work. For two years I worked as an assistant buyer for a stereo store; for two additional years, 1 served as an inventory analyst for a major national toy maker. This latter job gave me the opportunity to interact regularly with both accountants and business executives, an experience which helped refuel my ambition to prepare myself for a professional career. Reentering college, 1 earned virtually all A's while studying economics. My success in this endeavor bolstered my confidence and helped me to cope with the challenges 1 faced later upon transferring to a top-rated West Coast university.

Like many law applicants, I kept an active extracurricular agenda

As a native of Los Angeles's inner city, where gang violence and drugs are key aspects of the landscape, I was one of the lucky few to survive childhood with spirit and ambitions intact. The poverty and despair that were all around me crushed the hopes and dreams of many of my peers; few finished high school, and even fewer went on to college. Most are now unemployed, in jail, or dead.

while an undergraduate. Among many diverse activities, I served as student liaison for my university's Black Alumni Association and as placement director for the Washington, D.C. Government Internship Program, as well as founding the Minority Business Association and tutoring inner-city children in math and English.

I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to do a summer internship in the nation's capital with the Legal Aid Society. Working with this group gave me a chance to sit in on depositions, accompany attorneys to court, and draft interrogatories. Moreover, I was able to play at least a small role in helping an indigent population that was unable to articulate their problems for themselves in court or afford legal counsel. 1 was struck by the dedication of the lawyers who staff the Legal Aid Society and by their altruistic use of their training and skills.

For the past two years I have worked (25 to 30 hours per week during school, full time in the summers) for a ten-attorney Los Angeles law firm. This experience has provided me with insights into the demands a lawyer faces and a realistic perspective on what the profession involves. 1 know that the effective attorney must bring many skills and talents to bear in meeting his responsibilities and that stamina, persistence, and patience can never be in short supply.

As a man who is 27 years old, I believe I would bring a maturity and seriousness of purpose to my legal studies that perhaps many younger applicants cannot offer. I have had experience in the world, 1 am aware of my capabilities, and 1 know with certainty what 1 want to do with the rest of my life. I have survived the mean streets of the inner city, and 1 have made my way in executive suites. I have a 19-year-old cousin who is an incarcerated gang member and an older cousin who has his own law firm. I know how to relate to and communicate with many different types of people, and 1 am interested not only in the possibility of pro bono work in my old neighborhood but also in legally serving a full spectrum of clients. I have the intellectual prowess, commitment, and enthusiasm to be an excellent lawyer, and I hope you will allow me to take the vital first step toward this goal at your School of Law.

MARTIAL ARTS AND medicine. They seem worlds apart, but they both have played significant roles in my life and for reasons that are surprisingly similar. They both offer challenge, require great discipline, and necessitate a goal-oriented approach.

I first became involved with the martial arts when I was only 13 years old. At that time 1 began studying karate in my hometown in northern California. Even then 1 was a goal-oriented individual who was attracted to the step-by-step progression involved in studying karate. Within a year 1 had earned a brown belt (the next-to-highest ranking) and was actually serving as an instructor at the karate academy where 1 had learned the sport. Dedication, discipline, and physical and mental prowess were behind my success, which included being the youngest person in the area to attain the brown belt.

In college 1 became involved in Tae Kwon Do, which is the Korean counterpart of karate. This sport, too, requires patience, determination, and a clear mind in addition to physical strength, endurance, and agility. Within a year I had become president of my university's 80-member Tae Kwon Do club, which ranks among the top sports clubs on campus. In assuming this position I began to have the opportunity to test myself as a leader as well as an athlete.

One of the reasons 1 became interested in medicine is that it, too, requires a meticulous, goal-oriented approach that is very demanding. Of course, it also happens that the substance of the profession holds strong appeal for me, both in terms of the science and the potential for serving others who are in need.

Most of my exposure to the profession has occurred within the areas of surgery and emergency medicine. After first serving as an emergency medicine volunteer technician at a northern California hospital (where I had a moving experience with a young girl's death), 1 acquired the EMT-1A/CPR certifications and then worked as an Emergency Medical Technician-1A during a subsequent summer- This job was a fascinating, educational, and high-pressure experience that exposed me to the realities of medicine as practiced in crisis situations.

My extensive involvement with cardiothoracic surgery research over the last three years, first as a volunteer technician and currendy as a staff research technician, has further fueled my desire to become a physician. I have had to rely upon my own ingenuity and problemsolving skills as well as what 1 have learned in the classroom, and this has been exciting. One of the more unusual aspects of my work has involved me directly in the procedure of heterotopic heart transplantation in rats. This precise and technically demanding procedure encompasses microsurgery and usually is conducted only by residents. In fact, 1 am the only undergraduate student doing this procedure, which has shown me the extent of both my manual dexterity and capacity for learning sophisticated techniques.

1 have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to participate and contribute in almost every way during experiments, from administering anesthesia and performing extensive surgical preparations to analyzing the data obtained and operating monitoring and recording equipment, ventilators, and the heart-lung machine.

I am a somewhat shy individual, but 1 have found that within the medical environment that shyness evaporates. The opportunity to help others one-on-one is so rewarding and comfortable for me that I feel very much at ease, regardless of with whom I am working.

1 think one of the particularly attractive aspects of medicine for me, especially within such specialties as internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology, is the potential for forming close, lasting, meaningful relationships with a wide array of patients.

For me, medicine emerges as the perfect avenue for indulging my impulses to contribute, to be involved with science, and to establish important links with others at both critical and noncritical moments in their lives.

FOR THE PAST 14 MONTHS I have worked in the County Clerk's Office of the local Superior Court. As a deputy clerk in this office, 1 have acquired a rare, hands-on knowledge of the inner workings of the legal system, learning intricacies of the judicial process unknown even to many attorneys. 1 have seen the difficulties and frustrations faced by both lawyers and litigants, and I have observed the many inequities that are a part of the system. Much of what I've encountered might easily have dissuaded me from seeking a career in law, but instead I find that I am more eager than ever to prepare myself to become an attorney.

Working at the Superior Court has afforded me an education I could not have obtained anywhere else. 1 have not only learned the dynamics of the court system but also have discovered more about both myself and the world. Most of my colleagues are poorly educated, low-income people with few good prospects for advancement in their careers. These people have, in many cases, become my friends, whose efforts to do their best, even when treated rudely, have won my respect. But working with these men and women has meant interacting with a very different group of people than that to which 1 am accustomed. And as a deputy clerk 1 also deal regularly with drug dealers, felons, auto thieves, rapists, and other criminals who represent a part of society with which I was previously unacquainted. So my position has provided me with an opportunity to see how 1 relate to many different types of people, also including lawyers, jurists, clerks, sheriffs, and the general public. In addition to becoming more aware of both the judicial process and people in general, I have also become more compassionate, more patient, and more diplomatic as a result of my time at the superior court. In seeing how I am capable of performing in a wide array of new situations, I have gained a heightened sense of self-confidence and a renewed enthusiasm for working within the legal arena.

What 1 knew about the law previously came from talking with and observing my father, who is an attorney specializing in insurance defense. He loves his work but he has never made any effort to conceal the tribulations, tedium, and disappointments that are a part of his profession. For years I have seen how hard he works, so I have never thought of the law as a glamorous field. At the same time, however, I am aware of the pleasure and feeling of personal accomplishment that can be derived from discovering a precedent, winning a point (or, even better, a case), and helping a client who has placed his trust in you. I am someone who thrives on intellectual challenge and stimulation, so this is another facet of the legal profession that holds great appeal for me. Having learned that I can interact effectively with many different types of people, the thought of also being able to serve them through a knowledge of the law is one which I find very exhilarating.

I am also excited at the prospect of continuing to lead a life that is very well rounded and filled with a diversity of activities. I grew up in a very warm, close-knit family in which sports and fitness were always a big part of our existence. My older brother, who is currently a law student, was a nationally ranked junior tennis player, and I played, even if with somewhat less distinction, on my high school team. I think this was the source of at least part of my competitiveness, which is still very much an aspect of my personality. 1 am a dedicated runner and have participated in at least half a dozen 10K races. 1 also swim, do aerobics, and spend as much time as I can with my friends, several of whom I have known all my life.

As someone who has always been very goal-oriented, 1 am looking forward to taking the first step toward becoming a lawyer. This is an objective 1 have had under consideration for several years and which my recent experiences have only reinforced.

LAWYERS HAVE PLAYED an important role during three pivotal moments in my family's life and thus impressed upon me the significance of what they do. Before 1 describe those events, though, 1 must provide you with the context of the unusual circumstances under which 1 grew up.

Except for the fact that my parents had married and divorced each other three times, I had led a fairly normal life up until the age of ten. My father worked in a General Motors factory and provided his family with a middle-class existence that included a house and two cars. When I was ten, however, my world collapsed. My parents divorced for the fourth and final time, setting off a nasty custody battle, depleting our financial resources, and forcing my mother, brother, two younger sisters, and myself to go on welfare. (My mother had just given birth to my youngest sister and so was not able to work yet.) It was a demeaning situation that 1 will never forget. Our food and clothes were in limited supply. We would eat the same type of meal for two or three days in a row. Everything was a struggle, and worst of all, depending on others was humiliating.

After four years of this predicament, my mother was able to get a job cleaning houses. She often had to work nights, so it fell to me as the oldest child to care for my siblings. 1 became, in effect, a surrogate parent. In fact, my youngest sister was calling me "Dad" by the time she was three years old.

When I was 15, our family suffered another blow. A careless physician's faulty conclusion that my youngest sister had been molested prompted authorities to remove both my sisters from our home for several months.

Upon my sisters' return, my mother took a second, nighttime job, which placed even more responsibility on my shoulders. 1 had no time for a carefree teenage existence because 1 was too busy looking after my sisters and brother. I had concerns totally outside of the thinking of my classmates at school. This turned me into someone who was somewhat more serious and mature than many of my peers.

Somehow 1 still managed to do well in high school, graduating in the top five percent of my class and winding up as 1 of only 2 (of 400) seniors being accepted at my top-tiered university. Because of my family's dire financial situation, I had never dreamed that 1 might enjoy such an opportunity, but a generous scholarship made it all possible. My undergraduate years have been exhilarating and rewarding, and I have compiled a respectable academic record even while commuting two-and-a-half hours each day.

Law has emerged as my career choice for a number of reasons. As 1 indicated earlier, attorneys have been present at three key moments in my family's history. A lawyer was there during the custody battle that my mother won, a lawyer provided the' counsel that led to my sisters' being returned to us (he recommended that a second doctor examine them, thus negating the molestation charge), and a lawyer helped my mother through a critical period when she had gone deeply into debt (not surprising for a woman raising four children on $8,000 a year).

As 1 move toward the completion of my undergraduate days, I feel very grateful for the blessing of the education I have received. My parents, both Peruvian immigrants, never went beyond high school. While I enjoyed all the benefits of my university experience, my mother was still cleaning other people's toilets in order to try to make ends meet. As a lawyer, 1 will be in a position to achieve some measure of financial stability and help out my mother. I will also be able to give something back to others. (I speak Spanish, which should be an asset to me in Southern California.) Majoring in history has refined my research skills and prompted me to recognize that 1 will likely enjoy studying precedents and other aspects of the legal process. 1 enjoy writing, relate well to others, and, not surprisingly, feel a special compassion for those who are disadvantaged. Last year, in fact, I spent six months doing volunteer work at the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, which provides leads to individuals who are seeking food.

Considering my background, 1 believe I have already come a long way in my life and have demonstrated that 1 am both a survivor and a hard worker.

I AM A VERY PASSIONATE, driven, and intense individual who thrives on both challenge and competition. Although I did not distinguish myself academically as an undergraduate (distracted as 1 was by a difficult outside work schedule), I have had many opportunities in the intervening years to test myself in demanding situations and see that I am bright and highly capable. Indeed, 1 have more than held my own while working in sophisticated settings with MBA graduates and other business people with substantially more experience and training than I. Fortunately. I am a quick study and am able to grasp new ideas quite^easily J have strong interpersonal and communication skills, Hand I "am an adept negotiator who now has considerable experience in this area. 1 tend to lead by example rather than charisma, although I am personable and seem to inspire loyalty in those who work with me. I have discovered in the professional world that 1 am a principled person whose integrity leads me, when faced with difficult decisions, to do the right thing, keeping in mind how my actions impact other people. I have a social conscience because, as a first-generation American, I am very aware of the struggles of my mother's family, which came here from El Salvador, where human rights have little significance.

In terms of developing myself, I want to learn to be more persuasive. Although I communicate well and function with great effectiveness as a negotiator, I believe that I need to become more capable of bringing others to my point of view so that a consensus can be established. I also would like to develop further my ability to work as part of a team.

I believe the most distinctive thing about me is that-Leagerly take on challenges that other people are reluctant to assume. I like being challenged, being pushed to be resourceful, being forced to go beyond what I might have previously considered my limits. Agreeing to handle the complex task of running a major 10K race for the homeless is a perfect example of this. Similarly, 1 was typically the broker who { consented to accept difficult institutional clients with whom others j were loath to work. J

DURING MY FRESHMAN year, 1 was seriously ill with what was eventually diagnosed as mononucleosis. Extreme fatigue, swollen glands, and such secondary problems as persistent colds and sore throats were among the symptoms from which I suffered.

Because the mononucleosis was not correctly diagnosed and proper treatment begun until the second half of the school year, 1 went through many months of feeling terrible. The consequences for my academic performance were devastating; 1 earned the poorest grades of my life during the prolonged period of my illness. The only up side to this episode was that I suddenly realized, much more than most teenagers ever do, that good health is a very precious commodity and one that can never be taken for granted. In addition, I gained a very deep appreciation of the role physicians can play in improving their patients' lives.

With this in mind, and considering my long-demonstrated proficiency in the sciences, it is probably not surprising that the follo'iving school year I decided to follow a premed curriculum, with biology as my major. I found myself taking the most difficult, challenging courses 1 had ever faced, but I also found myself more exhilarated and excited about my studies than ever before. I enjoyed the entire premed environment, including not only the learning and intellectual stimulation but also the competitiveness that is such a big part of it. I have always considered myself a problem solver, and the premed curriculum provided me with a plenitude of opportunities for defining and solving a wide variety of problems.

When I completed my undergraduate work, I chose a somewhat unconventional course for someone intent on becoming a doctor.

Rather than heading straight for medical school, 1 did something entirely different. After taking a physics course that I had not been able to work into my schedule previously, I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for five months to attempt to become an expert skier. Always an above-average skier, it was my goal to become a great skier. I knew that once I entered medical school and, later, the medical profession, I would never have the time to realize this objective. So 1 took a part-time job in Jackson Hole (first as a resort cashier, then as manager of a concession stand) to support myself while 1 took lessons and skied furiously in the pursuit of excellence. The results that I achieved were outstanding and were a great boost to my self-confidence, especially since Jackson Hole offers some of the biggest challenges in skiing. The time I spent in Wyoming was very beneficial for me in other ways as well because it gave me a chance to immerse myself in a totally different environment and reassess my professional objectives. I came away from Jackson Hole not only feeling refreshed and recharged, but also with a renewed sense of enthusiasm about my plans to attend medical school and become a doctor.

MY INTEREST IN SCIENCE dates back to my years in high school, where 1 excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college (such an advanced-level class was not available in high school) and earned an A. It seemed only logical that I pursue a career in electrical engineering.

When I began my undergraduate career, 1 had the opportunity to be exposed to the full range of engineering courses, all of which tended to reinforce and solidify my intense interest in engineering. I've also had the opportunity to study a number of subjects in the humanities, and they have been both enjoyable and enlightening, providing me with a new and different perspective on the world in which we live.

In the realm of engineering, I have developed a special interest in the field of laser technology and have even been taking a graduate course in quantum electronics. Among the 25 or so students in the course, 1 am the sole undergraduate. Another particular interest of mine is electromagnetics, and last summer, when I was a technical assistant at a world-famous local lab, I learned about its many practical applications, especially in relation to microstrip and antenna design. Management at this lab was sufficiently impressed with my work to ask that I return when I graduate. Of course, my plans following completion of my current studies are to move directly into graduate work toward my master's in science. After 1 earn my master's degree, I intend to start work on my Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Later I would like to work in the area of research and development for private industry. It is in R & D that I believe I can make the greatest contribution, utilizing my theoretical background and creativity as a scientist.

1 am highly aware of the superb reputation of your school, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to deepen my interest in attending. 1 know1 that, in addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities are among the best in the state. I hope you will give me the privilege of continuing my studies at your fine institution.

HAVING MAJORED IN literary studies (world literature) as an undergraduate, I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature.

1 am especially interested in nineteenth-century literature, women's literature, Anglo-Saxon poetry, and folklore and folk literature. My personal literary projects have involved some combination of these subjects. For the oral section of my comprehensive exams, 1 specialized in nineteenth-century novels by and about women. The relationship between "high" and folk literature became the subject for my honors essay, which examined Toni Morrison's use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. I plan to work further on this essay, treating Morrison's other novels and perhaps preparing a paper suitable for publication.

In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine more closely the relationship between high and folk literature. My junior year and private studies of Anglo-Saxon language and literature have caused me to consider the question of where the divisions between folklore, folk literature, and high literature lie. Should 1 attend your school, I would like to resume my studies of Anglo-Saxon poetry, with special attention to its folk elements.

Writing poetry also figures prominently in my academic and professional goals. I have just begun submitting to the smaller journals with some success and am gradually building a working manuscript for a collection. The dominant theme of this collection relies on poems that draw from classical, biblical, and folk traditions, as well as everyday experience, in order to celebrate the process of giving and taking life, whether literal or figurative. My poetry both draws from and influences my academic studies. Much of what 1 read and study finds a place in my creative work as subject. At the same time, I study the art of literature by taking part in the creative process, experimenting with the tools used by other authors in the past.

In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, and going into editing or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistantship program would provide me with the practical teaching experience I am eager to acquire. Further, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature would advance my other two career goals by adding to my skills, both critical and creative, in working with language. Ultimately, however, I see the Ph.D. as an end in itself, as well as a professional stepping-stone; I enjoy studying literature for its own sake and would like to continue my studies on the level demanded by the Ph.D. program.

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