Common App: Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? (250-600) Please help specifically with eliminating the unnecessary, answering the questions I left unanswered, and alleviating boringness!
Perusing the paint aisle, there are hundreds of variations of the color white. Very subtle differences comprise shades of latte cream, eggshell, or pearl. However, spring of my sophomore year introduced me to an alien shade: pass-to-the-principal's office white. My name was crawled in opaque black ink that seemed to cause the immaculate foreground to glow up into my face. I had literally never been in any sort of trouble before in my life, so this piece of paper felt heavy in my hand as a trudged to the office in a baffled fog. The edges of my vision were fuzzy, every member of the cognitive team on a mad search through their files to uncover a possible cause.
I sat down in the chair across from Mr. Minnitti's desk and he said carefully, "Miss Lignelli have you been working on some sort of project... something called a Gold Award?"
"Yes," I squeaked timidly.
"Well a woman called me today who was pretty upset about your project," he began, hoping I would pick up his train of thought. I did not disappoint.
"What on this Earth about??" I erupted in genuine confused outrage. I did not know it then, but this cloud of bafflement would cast its haze for the rest of the week. When I left the office, I had four voicemails.
My project focused on urban development. I wanted to designate a pathway through town that people could use to exercise. It would, in the long run, increase community involvement and stimulate local business by trafficking pedestrian flow as well as serve its literal purpose as an athletic track (for more information, please visit my website and locate the "Gold Award" tab). However, I was sentenced asked by city council to gain permission of residents who owned property along the projected trails. To accomplish this, I made a doorhanger with project information and my email address. The day after I hung the doorhangers, I received a pass to the office, an invitation to like the Facebook page "Stop Project Wellness", and phone calls from my superintendent, project adviser, Girl Scout Program Director, and a woman from the U.S. Postal Service. I had angered this one woman so much by the simple prospect of extra commotion near her home that she devoted the entirety of her day to unraveling my efforts. She acted as if I had proposed to open a Neo-Nazi meeting house in her basement. Her reaction caused a lot of my superiors to question whether or not I should even be permitted to continue. It was the first time I had ever not succeeded on the first try and I felt like someone had glued my feet to the bottom of a snowglobe and turned it over.
Looking back, I actually believe that the incident precipitated a better product. That week, I had to go to city council meetings and Girl Scout meetings and apologize for the trouble; convince everyone that the project was worth continuing. I had to really bunker down and ask myself, "Why are you doing this? Why is this important?" so that I could relay to those who were doubting me. It helped me to refocus, and finally winning back the support of funders and advisers gave me a jolt of energy that lasted me to the Award's conclusion. I can reminisce with laughter about my principal-office panic and the blind scrambling to nurse my work back to health. I have not since had the ground crumble underneath me the way it did that day, but for all the smaller battles I find myself up against, I charge them head-on, because I have witnessed the service a little failure can do.