After evaluating hundreds of submissions, we have selected the winner for our Hach & Rose, LLP Annual College Scholarship for 2022. This year’s winner is Alexa Bufi. Below is her winning essay.
A tragedy is like being lost out at sea; waves of peculiar emotions continuously crash over you as the current drifts you farther from what you once thought was normal. On the morning of October 17, 2014, my father, a mason worker, fell from a collapsed scaffold three stories down, harshly hitting the pavement. The scaffold was not erected safely and maintained properly within its capacity, which directly caused it to collapse, nearly killing my father. As he fell through the seemingly endless sky, the panic of death began to set in. As the emergency personnel began treating my father for a suspected head, neck, and spinal injury, they rushed him to University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. He suffered multiple skull fractures, loss of consciousness, and injuries affecting his vision, hearing, and comprehension. My father was not expected to survive the night, but against all odds, he did. Through the wake of this unimaginable tragedy, God granted him a miracle: the miracle of life.
As a result of the fall from the scaffold, my father needed to have quadruple bypass surgery. However, he was unable to have the quadruple bypass immediately because his body was too frail from his pre-existing injuries to undergo anesthesia due to the chance that he would not make it through the surgery. Finally, five months later, my father recovered enough to withstand the surgical procedure, though his chance of survival was exceptionally low. The thought of having to lose my father a second time is a feeling I still cannot put into words. My father is my backbone, the one who holds my family together, and losing him would have meant losing a part of me. After twelve hours in surgery, Dr. Elman told us that my father made it through a successful surgery, but had a long road ahead.
My father is the primary reason that I want to pursue a career in law because October 17, 2014 not only altered my life forever, but it validated the profession that I wanted to pursue. If the scaffold was properly built that day, it would not have collapsed, and he would not have suffered life-threatening injuries. Due to his permanent injuries, my father has not been able to return to work, which has placed my family in financial hardship, and forced me to work multiple jobs to help my family survive. I was a double major in Jurisprudence & Political Science with a dual minor in Public Administration & Leadership Development Through Civic Engagement, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Through law, I want to prove that everyone is equal, and that accountability should be taken when wrongs are committed against another. But most of all, I want to demonstrate that consequences one faces are the result of their actions. Thus, I want to help protect individuals like my father who were affected by a failed system, and show that their lives matter too.
Besides taking law and political science courses, which have further confirmed my career path, I have also acquired significant work experience. For over three years, I have been interning at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office in the Special Victims Unit. I was tasked with watching forensic interviews and writing summary transcriptions in case files regarding statements from victims, offenders, and potential witnesses. I observed court proceedings and gathered information on case law and evidence to help prosecutors further prepare for trials, and annotated important documentation for the prosecutors. Working alongside prosecutors who successfully completed law school and excel in their careers is a dream come true for an aspiring lawyer. Montclair State University’s Law and Governance (MA), Legal Management Concentration is a crucial step to reaching my educational, personal, and professional ambitions. It is made up of a diverse and intellectual student body with challenging courses, and I truly believe I will excel in this environment. This much I can say with certainty: we all have something to give, and a life of service expands one’s world exponentially and unexpectedly. Thus, I would be honored to be given the opportunity to be a recipient of the Hach & Rose scholarship.