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I have felt shy for as long as I can remember. I can vividly look back on my days in high school and can see I was the epitome of a withdrawn and reserved student. I sometimes would stutter when being singled out by teachers in the classroom. My social anxiety made speaking up in class a nightmare. If I didn’t understand how to do a lesson, I resisted asking for help. When a pretty girl walked by me in the hallways, I often froze and avoided making eye contact, much akin to a deer in the headlights. Throughout my high school career, I felt my shyness held me back. I was often too hard on myself, and I would consistently beat myself up over silly mistakes that had minimal repercussions. I was hardwired to think negatively. The majority of shortcomings caused me to be on the outside looking in, and as a result, keeping many of my inner thoughts to myself. I realized if I were serious about wanting to attend law school, I knew I would have to step out of my comfort zone, and that being an introverted and cautious individual would prove as a great detriment to my future prospects. I decided to challenge myself by being more open to new situations. In my undergraduate studies, I decided to enroll in an Oral Communication course centered around public speaking. I learned how to overcome the discomfort surrounding my insecurity. I found success in this setting by making preparation a daily action, by scripting out my speeches, and rehearsing them for endless hours until I became confident in my ability to deliver a rewarding presentation. I trained myself how to display confident body language, such as making direct eye contact when talking and projecting my voice more clearly.
I also decided to take a job at a real estate tax firm that demands social interaction and engagement with an important client base on a consistent basis. This requires me to build and maintain relationships with key individuals and personnel within certain national and local retailers. I was mortified. However, I was able to learn skills in building rapport and engaging with people I did not know. The more I interacted with people, whether it be via email or in-person, the more invested and interested I became. My shyness gradually decreased. Now, in my current state, I feel more socially adept than ever before. Despite all the progress, it doesn’t mean I’ve extinguished all avenues of relief. I still prefer small gatherings as opposed to large parties, but I now have the confidence and ability to step up when need be.
One of the chief reasons why I want to attend law school is that I not only want to empower myself, but also empower those that belong to marginalized populations, and to serve as a voice for the voiceless. I hope to work as a public defender and make a positive change in the community. I have a desire to tackle the injustices that I learned about in my undergraduate studies, most notably concerning the overcriminalization for juveniles of color. What really matters to me is going home and helping individuals that have problems. That is amongst the main reasons is that makes the idea of attending your law program so attractive. I want to be close enough to home so I serve as an active voice in my backyard community. In a 2010 sit-down interview with Larry King, actor Al Pacino told King that ‘I’m so shy, I wear sunglasses everywhere I go.’ Being an introvert myself, I couldn’t imagine that my favorite actor of all-time, the revered Al Pacino, also being shy. If anything, Pacino’s success and status in his field demonstrate that shyness isn’t always a curse, it can be a blessing in disguise.
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