This news may strike terror in your heart, as it does in mine, especially if you are a University of Michigan Law School graduate. Apparently, there's a very big storeroom somewhere in Hutchins Hall that is a repository for law school applications from years past. How far back I've been too afraid to ask. I'm guessing that if U of M is this anal retentive, other law schools are, too. (Note to worried self: as difficult as it is to think about someone reading my personal statement from 1985, at least I'm not a Yale grad from the era in which they photographed all freshmen naked.)
I know about the existence of the personal statement archive because Michigan Law's assistant dean and director of admissions, Sarah Zearfoss reveals it in an A2Z blog post, "Personal Statements, What Not To Do," in which she eviscerates her own self-exhumed personal statement for the benefit of future applicants. As she courageously exposes her flaws, Zearfoss shows great taste in subtly recommending Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, an exquisite primer on writing.
I have no recollection whatsoever of what I wrote in my own personal statement but I'm confident that it is embarrassing. As fun as it might be at this point in my career to see why I said I wanted to go to law school I'd just as soon spare myself the agony of reading it. Not so long ago I ran across an essay that I wrote that won a Scholastic Book award gold key 50 years ago and was so mortified by it that I shredded it immediately. Without getting too existential here, the person who wrote my personal statement and that ancient essay no longer exists, but I am nevertheless very protective of her. As I write this, I'm hoping, stupidly, that the future me will not be too mortified by the everlasting traces of this blog. I guess the goal is just to stay honest and keep trying to get better. Bird by bird.
Photo: Northern Mockingbird by bobistraveling