an event, achievement, or experience
The prompt: In the college application process, you are constantly prompted for a list of your achievements, awards, and accomplishments. While this information is useful to us, we are interested in hearing more about you. Describe an event, achievement, or experience of which you are particularly proud but that will not show up on a resume, may not garner any recognition, and does not appear anywhere else on your admission application. This essay should not exceed 750 words in length.
I failed to make my school's dance team. Twice. This wasn't the first time I didn't make it past tryouts. My passed failed attempts at the gymnastics team, volleyball team, cheer team, and even spelling bee team forced me to reevaluate my natural talents and interests. I felt astray as my whole friend group made it onto the dance team. Yet, the next four years led me on a wonderful path to self-discovery.
As my old friends stuck together through their extracurriculars, I began searching for my niche. Eventually, I found myself at a debate practice. There I finally found a group of people to grow and learn with. Although, consistently placing second to last at multiple large tournaments discouraged me, I refused to quit. With every year, debate fosters my curiosity to stay informed about current affairs that don't directly affect me. Furthermore, I have learned to listen intently, despite my predispositions. With the development of my character and skills came success at tournaments from a local to state level. After arguing and advocating for change at debate tournaments, I became inspired to make a change in my community. In an attempt to provide a new creative outlet at my school, I founded the first PenOhio team in my district. I believe this program will not only benefit my school, but will also help further PenOhio's mission to spread literacy and encourage writing on a nationwide scale. Moreso, a part of me hopes this team could help someone find their niche and passion.
Experiencing failure has spurred humility within me. With each let-down comes self-awareness. At the age of four, I joined my piano teacher's group of students. At each recital, skill level determines the order of performances. I began opening the recital for the first few years; yet, with the growth of my hand-span and spirit, I began approaching the end of the line-up. Every year, I would become determined to play the piece the best student played. At certain points of learning the ten-minute long pieces, I would wonder why the piece didn't sound as grand as when the more advanced students play it. Having the notes engrained into my muscle memory was not enough. I became enthralled with the passion the highly-skilled students have when playing their pieces. Eventually, the emotion I poured into my practices and performances allowed me to close a recital. Despite my iteration of the piece containing skipped notes, I was proud to play the piece of a past high-achieving student. My parents later acknowledged the snafus in my performance and compared me to those who played the piece prior. Their passive disapproval stung slightly, yet I knew the hiccups did not take away value from my personal accomplishment. I know I'm not the best at everything I do, but I'm doing the best I can.
If I were prompted for a list of failures, the list would be quite expansive. Yet, I am not ashamed. Each rejection allows me to move on and discover more about myself. Can't do a backflip? Fine. Can't spell? Slightly troublesome, but that's why autocorrect exists. Despite all the time spent in gymnastics classes or skimming the dictionary, I learned at a certain point you must not push yourself to be good at certain things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a quitter; I have simply learned when to stop pursuing activities that I don't find fulfilling. My affinity for cartwheeling still exists, yet I have learned to channel that energy into my fitness routine rather than a goal for the Olympic medal. I am proud that I can accept my failures for what they are and move on.
I wandered into high school feeling defeated by my failed attempts at finding where I belong. Yet, I am emerging empowered with a newfound confidence and curiosity. Failing will continue to be painful, but my experiences lead me to believe something greater is to come from trying harder or putting my energy elsewhere. Providing some of my key failures helps better explain my motivations and psyche. A valuable lesson I learned, and will continue learning, is to fail until I succeed.