Grade point averages and LSAT scores, extracurricular activities and past achievements are all part of the mysterious mix of talent and potential that admission officers must weigh in selecting the members of each incoming class. But perhaps no single item provides as much insight into the hearts and minds of applicants as their personal essays, 800 simple words that endeavor to capture a lifetime on a single page. Reprising a feature published five years ago, BC Law Magazine presents voices from a new incoming class, five 1Ls who will graduate in 2017. They write about the horrors of war in Iraq and Afghanistan or overcoming the loss of a father to become the first in the family to go to college—and law school; about enduring racial slurs or throwing off the mantle of communist oppression to seek a brighter future in a free society. Their experiences reveal a common aspiration, a moral imperative to make a difference. Here are their stories.