This is 3 pages. I think it needs condensed. Thoughts on the subject, length, etc?
“Do over!” Growing up, when a neighborhood street ball game was interrupted by traffic we would shout “do over”. This became the universal signal that no one was to be penalized for the timeout. The nice thing about a do over was that you often had a glimpse of how the play was developing and could make a change. Looking back, I have used the do over rule to make changes in my own game plan.
With little fanfare, I was the first person in my extended family to graduate high school. As a junior, like many of my friends had done, I wanted to drop out of school. My grades weren’t bad, I was a C+ student, but academics were second to earning money. In my house, college was not a way to a better career, it was a four year delay in getting a job. I spent the summer before my senior year looking for a job. It didn’t take long before I realized that without a diploma, I wasn’t going to find anything beyond a minimum wage laborer position.
“Do over!” I decided being poor didn’t have to mean disadvantaged. Going to school was something I had to do to get an advantage in the job market. I graduated in May 1991 and enrolled in XXX Community College in June 1991. I worked full time during the day and attended classes part time at night. I had thoughts of getting a degree in an area I really enjoyed, but as time passed I became a husband and father. School was viewed as a hobby and not a necessity. Although I took classes I was interested in, I wasn’t there to be a student; I was there to earn enough credits to fill a resume with a certificate or degree. It took me 11 years, at three schools, to get an Associates Degree. I did find a better job in the process so going to school was a means to an end.
I started working at Co X in a third shift production role. By all accounts, this was a pretty good job. I had benefits and all the overtime I wanted at a growing international company. The company philosophy is to promote from within and to “throw associates to the wolves” in new roles. The basic requirements for promotion were hard work and an ability to be innovative. There was rarely an education requirement associated with a promotion. Although I wanted to finish my degree, it wasn’t a requirement and I had little time for more than one class per semester. I spent the first ten years at Co X working 50+ hour weeks not only for the pay but to show I wanted more responsibility. Without the benefit of a degree, I worked my way from a production role to an engineering role. I grew up at Co X and as I was promoted from one position to the next, no one ever asked about my resume outside of work experience. It was assumed that I had some type of technical degree or at the very least a Bachelors of Science. What mattered most was that I was not only successfully filling a role, but was always rated at the top of my peer group on annual evaluations.
After 11 years, I wanted to do something different. I hadn’t been in school for a couple of years and there wasn’t a job at Co X with enough appeal to get me back into a classroom. I always worked to pay my way through school and without a steady job school would have to wait a little longer. I decided to start my own business. The first year had mixed results; lots of work but little profits. I had to learn how to sale and build a business. The second year started off very well and before spring I had hired four employees. I was the owner of a new small business that was showing signs of success. By the end of the second full year, the business had come to a crossroads. I either needed to mortgage the house to grow or make the decision to stay a small company but never realize the income I had left at my previous job. Growing up poor, money was always a concern.
“Do over!” A passing conversation with a former manager presented me with the biggest game plan change of my life. Co X was experiencing tremendous growth and he mentioned that my old position was open again. I commented that “it is days like these that I wish I was still there” and within two weeks I was interviewing to return. It was tough to close a business that I thought had promise. Over the four month transition of closing my business and returning to work, I did a lot of soul searching. I knew that I didn’t want to be an old man with regrets of not pursuing a dream. The adolescent dreams of being a multi-millionaire had passed but I knew I wanted to do something I loved.
When I decided to return to Co X I also decided to return to school. I not only wanted to finish my bachelor’s degree, but I wanted to attend law school. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy this time around. I was now a father of three, active in many volunteer organizations, and again working 50 hour weeks. I had to apply the time management skills and determination to school that made me successful at my job. I was determined to finish the last 64 hours of my degree in 2 years. I wanted to attend law school and graduate before turning 40.
“Do over!” I finished my undergrad in two years and I am very proud of how my cumulative GPA increased semester after semester. I had a 3.06 GPA over this period. For the same reasons I have been successful in the workplace, I will be successful not only as a law student but also as a lawyer. Over the years, I have refined my skills as a problem solver and to make my case for a fact based opinion in a persuasive manner. I am a tireless worker and bring applicable real world experience to the classroom. Attending law school not only helps me advance my career, but also gives me options for a second career. In my existing role, having an understanding of business and intellectual property law will help with design and international projects. Later, I would like to open a small practice in the neighborhood I grew up in. As the years have passed, the one solo practitioner has retired and there isn’t a law office in the four zip codes that make up the PXX community. With a little luck and a spirit of volunteerism and serving, I can give someone else a chance at their own do over.
As a non-traditional student, attending law school has to be as much practical as it is educational. I am confident my numbers don’t reflect my true ability. Academically there were long periods out of school, but through perseverance I finished and I want to prove this time I can be an exceptionally successful student. I know what I want to do with a law degree and am making one application this cycle. XXU is the school I want to attend.