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College essay review - learning to love what i hated

plutoz 1 / -  
Oct 30, 2021   #1

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others

hopefully this falls under prompt 5 on the common app.

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The creaking of floors. The chattering of small children. The conversations between adults. The faint smell of body odor and sweat. I hated it all.

"Well, what do you think? Do you want to do it?" my mother asked me as I put on my shoes. Her voice was loud enough that it brought the attention of the parents, students, and instructors there.

Small beads of sweat dripped down my face from my forehead, my heart was racing, still trying to recover from the amount of physical activity I took part in. I could feel the eyes of the public on me, and it created an immense pressure that prevent me from saying no. How could I say no when everyone's attention was on me? I didn't want to experience the embarrassment of declining my mom's offer nor did want my mom to feel the embarrassment of me saying no to her. And so, I told her yes, that I wanted to do karate despite constantly telling myself how much of a stupid idea it was to do it. I couldn't say anything but that anyway.

Why of all sports was she so adamant in me doing karate? Over the course of my life, I have had my fair share of experiences in numerous sports, and my eleven-year-old self would rather play a game of soccer with my friends that attend some karate class with kids I didn't know. And despite my obvious disapproval of karate, I always went reluctantly. For many years, I never found enjoyment in it. Even if I spent the majority of my days attending it, going in on early Saturday mornings and going there everyday after school, it was all but a chore for me. I had told myself that I was going to quit one day, that I would just do some other sport instead of something as embarrassing as karate. I was miserable, and I disliked it so much that even the instructors could tell that I didn't want to be there. But what could I do? The chances of my parents listening to my request were slim. I would just have to suck it up.

Maybe it was bringing home trophies and medals home after each and every tournament I made an appearance at. Maybe it was learning new techniques and giving a shot at weapons and sparring. Maybe it was forming friendships with kids who my age, and with even students who were way older than me or younger than me. At some point, I started finding enjoyment in Tang Soo Do. I looked forward to it, found some fun in it.

Maybe it was me warming up to those around me. Or perhaps it was me being confident in other aspects of my life. I wasn't afraid anymore. I wasn't afraid to speak up, make new friends, or put myself out there. I learned it was okay to make mistakes, and to fail, and to deal with mental blocks. With every mishap, every step backwards that I took, every time I steered away from the path I was meant to walk, I learned how to get myself back on track. I obtained a confidence and resilience no other activity could bring out of me.

And when I showed up to this year's past tournaments, I was able to stand with pride and confidence. It was the pride of the martial art I represented, no longer being embarrassed, or cowering away from the idea of me doing it. It was the confidence of my own self, not afraid to show of the talent I had uncovered over the many years of blood, sweat, and tears.

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