Updated: February 19, 2010
My oldest Son, Tommy, is currently finishing up his internship for the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington D.C. and tomorrow morning my wife and I will be driving there to pick him up (he wrecked his Mustang, whole other story…), bring him here to our home for the summer before he starts the next segment of his life, law school! Tommy has been accepted to law school at Penn State and is still waiting on replies for a couple of other schools in the Washington D.C. area. He is pretty excited to be going to Penn State, to my chagrin he didn’t even apply to U of Florida… he thinks Florida is too hot, GEEZ!
Anyway, Tommy sent me a copy of his application. His personal statement each school required is what caught my eye. As you may know he of course followed me around to all my duty stations (he attended three high schools for crying out loud) then still went on to join the Navy where he completed a six year enlistment as an ET Nuke aboard the USS Nimitz. Upon discharge he utilized his Montgomery GI-Bill and completed his undergrad in political science.
I like the way he was able to show how his extensive life experiences has made him a better person. His personal statement;
The first time I sat down in the reactor operator’s chair of a nuclear power plant, it hit me; here I was, too young to consume alcohol, operating a multi-billion dollar piece of equipment. How was this possible? Sure, I had received extensive training in nuclear engineering, reactor plant design, nuclear physics, chemistry, plant operation, etc. but surely there is no training on how to overcome the fear and excitement of having the responsibility associated with sitting in the reactor operator’s chair. Less than a hundred feet from me, neutron fission reactions were taking place creating enough energy to power a small city. How in the world did I get here?
Between my father’s time in the military and my own service as a nuclear reactor operator in the United States Navy, I was given the rare opportunity to live all over the United States and travel all over the world. Before I was twenty-five I had lived in twelve states and traveled to ten countries. Most people express sympathy when I tell them this but the truth of the matter is that I feel extremely fortunate. Because of my travels, I have been able to experience the broad scope of humanity. I have lived in impoverished areas such as Camden, New Jersey and I have also stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai, U.A.E. I have seen the human trafficking in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. I ran from the erupting geysers in Iceland and I watched as a mother kangaroo hopped around with her joey in her pouch in Perth, Australia. I would not trade these experiences for anything. It is I who feel sympathy for others.
After six years of service to my country I decided that it was time to serve the American people in an area more suitable to my talents, and also where I would be able to better apply my wide array of diverse life experience. My heart and my mind led me to the law. Never have I been more fascinated with a subject. Even during my undergraduate education in political science, I have had the opportunity to see the legislative side of the law during my internship with the Tennessee State Legislature Senate Judiciary Committee and the process of litigation and adjudication during my internship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
My internships allowed me to see the real world workings of law and government and apply much of the knowledge I had collected during my undergraduate studies. I felt very fortunate to have had the chance to work with these professionals who exude the same dedication to service and civic commitment that I have. During my time working at the state and federal levels of government I learned many valuable lessons about the challenges associated with justice and politics. I was consumed with a passionate desire to find an outlet in which I too could become civically engaged. The prospect I was seeking came in the form of a state level student government with close ties to the same legislature which had sparked my interest in public service.
During my sophomore year of college, I applied for and was chosen as a representative in the House of Representatives of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL). TISL is an organization where colleges from all over the state of Tennessee send representatives and senators to the state capital in Nashville to propose legislation and debate bills. This proved to be a very enjoyable and educational experience. During the 38th General Assembly, I was given the chance to serve as vice-chairman of the Committee on Education. The legislation I proposed concerning Sunday alcohol sales swept through the house and senate and was chosen to be published in the TISL Bluebook. I was so impressed with this organization that I decided to run for a political office within TISL. My interest in law and devotion to service led me to campaigning for the position of Attorney General.
On the last day of the 38th General Assembly, I was elected and sworn in as Attorney General. I also was selected to serve on the Executive Council which is the administrative board for TISL. My time as Attorney General taught me many valuable lessons. I litigated an impeachment, drafted numerous pieces of legislation and important constitutional amendments, defended the TISL Governor in an appellate level case before the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court, and wrote several Attorney General Opinions on various issues that arose during my tenure.
As Attorney General, I was also given the opportunity to represent the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature at the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3). AMC3 is an appellate level moot court competition held each year where colleges and universities around the state send teams to compete. The teams prepare cases and briefs for an appeal and then take turns arguing both sides of the case before a panel of judges. My team and I performed exquisitely and won, not only the case, but the competition. It was a very proud and rewarding day for all of us seeing our hard work pay off.
My experiences have taught me many valuable lessons in compassion, integrity, and honor. I could say that I’ve been lucky but that would be an inaccurate representation. I have worked very hard for my achievements and it is only through hard work, perseverance, and self-motivation that I have come to be where I am today. Furthermore, I owe a lot of gratitude to my friends, family, and colleagues who helped me along the way. As I continue my education in the field of law, I see worlds of opportunity in which I may serve the very fabric of our nation and its people. I sincerely appreciate your consideration of my admission.
I think he will do just fine :)