(Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?) Common app prompt 2
"God! Shoot the freaking ball, what are you doing?!" my classmates were shouting at me in German, they looked anxious and outraged. To be honest, I was never a soccer lover and the only reason I joined the soccer team was because I wanted to become part of the class. The idea flashed through my mind: 'Every time... I always screw things up...This is probably why nobody likes me.' The next thing I know is the ball got taken by the other team.
Being a new student in a new country where I barely spoke the language did not seem to be that frightening to me when I encountered. I was 15 years old and excited about exploring a new country but the excitement quickly burned down the reality. For a very long time, I had no friends, cried in the bathroom, ate lunch by myself and was mocked constantly. If I am the main character of these cliche romance movie, it was the perfect for my Prince Charming to save me out. But I had no one but myself.
I tried hard to make my life better. Everyday after school, I would take a beginner's german class for three hours. I practiced German crazily with anyone I could find. I learned to hide my real emotions and pretended to be as positive and proactive as possible in front of people. So when one of the girls from the school soccer team came and asked me to be the backup player for the next game, I told her 'Yes!' without any hesitation. I thought I made it.
The timer stopped.
I didn't remember the exact score of the first half of that game, but the other team was ahead of us by a lot. The coach walked towards us, technically to me. There were other team members who did not play well, but I knew the coach was coming for me. She did not like me. As she was approaching, the light from the gymnasium became brighter and brighter and finally it hunted my eyes.
It was difficult how to describe the moment when she told me to quit playing and to take some more German class instead. My body was trembling slightly. I thought I was going to cry and beg for her to let me stay, but instead I just turned around and left quickly and quietly, without telling anybody it was my 'sweet sixteenth' birthday today, a day I thought I could finally be part of something. I went to the ice-cream store next to my school, bought myself two ice-cream balls and told myself 'Happy Birthday Jasmine.'
If I will ever have a chance to talk with myself in the past, I will really like to tell my 16-year-old self, 'Thank you. Thank you for not giving up yourself.' Surprisingly, whenever I look back to my experience in Germany now, it does not seem as terrible as it used to be. I still remember the nights I suffered from homesick and the time when I had to find a new school and a new host family by myself. But what appears most on my memory are the trips I took individually around Germany and the reflection section I had every morning.
did not seem to be that
frighteningfrighten to me
the writing is pretty great!
Holt Educational Consultant - / 10,535 3447
Jasmine, try to collect your thoughts and focus on the true center of the story. The reader should be learning about the outcome of the failed volleyball game. The lessons that you learned from it, and how it helped you evolve into a better person. That said, your story seems to be all over the place at this point. So you failed to help your team score a point during the first half of the game. How did that affect the final score? Did the team lose? Were you the cause of the failure of the team to win the game? Explain why you feel it was your fault. What happened after that? Discussing your birthday deviates from the topic. I don't really feel like there was a lesson to be learned from this failure because it sounds like you gave up during the game. As a failure, you should have learned something from it. Probably something like "I decided to concentrate on learning the language instead because that is what I was good at." or something along those lines.
The rest of the essay sounds more like you did give up on something. There was no sense of you gaining a lesson from the event and using it to help better your future somehow. So when you say "Thank you for not giving up", the story doesn't relay the same message from my point of view. The rest of the information you provide about travel around Germany and the like do not relate to the story you told so it doesn't help to move your story along. In fact, it deviates from the topic and creates a secondary story that does not manage to tie in with the first story towards the end.
My real intention is not talking about the failure of the soccer game because I was forced to quit the soccer. I was trying to use it as a piece to reflect my failure year in Germany and how my German experience affected me late on my growth.
Thank you for the advice tho. I am really struggling with the reflection part because I have too much to write about. I want to mention how I solved my dilemma and also my life now in America and big chunk of other reflection too.
Holt Educational Consultant - / 10,535 3447
Hi Jasmine, I know that I will be offering unsolicited advice here but I'd like to try and help you get the refection part written. Now that I know what you are trying to write about, I believe that I can offer you more relevant advice. There is actually a writing process that you should go through in order to better develop your reflection paper and it starts with narrowing down your discussion points. That means you have to choose the 2 connected experiences in your life and explain how it affected your development as a person through the lessons you learned.
With regards to your Germany experience, I feel that you should totally omit the volleyball story because it does not have an ending that relates to your story. It is actually open ended at this point. There is no conclusion to it. For a better and more relevant discussion, I would suggest concentrating on the discussion regarding your learning how to speak in German. This is a topic that you can better connect to your American experience
If you opt to discuss the difficulties that you had in learning German, then somehow, manage to relate that experience with a specific event that happened to you in the U.S. , something that shows how your perseverance (never give up) attitude was enhanced in the U.S. by your previous experience, then the essay should be more reflective of your learning experience.
Trying to pile in different types of information into your essay is what is holding you back from clearly reflecting the requirements of the essay. Just use one or two (related) experiences as the foundation of your essay and things should come easier for you in terms of developing your reflection essay.
My critique will only be about the content of your essay. Usually, when students answer prompts like this one, they build up the story by showing exactly how much dedication they put into the effort. You did not do that here and just barely talked about soccer and not doing well. Because of this, the story falls flat and doesn't resonate as powerfully as you may want. Illustrate fully to the reader your dedication to the sport(Practicing at school and on your own) and then the reader will appreciate more your story of failure and learning from it. -selectiveadmissions
Thank you for your suggestion. Instead of talking about the failure of Soccer game, my intention is to use it to lead to my failure year in Germany. My awful year in Germany and the reflection from it should be the main focus that I wanted to talk about. I guess it is my writing that confuses the readers.
Thank you for your advice