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The exam day had arrived. Personal Essay for Common App

akankshya 1 / -  
Nov 23, 2016   #1
The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

I opened the envelope slowly and there it was. The one paper that would determine my future, my final results of CIE. It was clearly written, terrible grades. I hadn't expected this at all. As I walked down the stairs of my school building, I felt a pang in my chest and my whole future seemed to tear into bits and pieces while my eyes were burning out. My past, my present and my future, everything seemed to flash in front of me. I just wanted to disappear for a while, and when I would come back, I hoped that everything would be okay.

As I reached home, all the guilt came over me. I felt ashamed to face my family. How could I show them the paper that would ruin my future? How did I mess up my exams so badly? Am I a complete failure? All those questions were running over my head as I was face to face with my parents. Their questions to me were my questions to myself as well. I felt lost and hopeless and scared. Nothing made me feel better, it just kept getting worse. The mean voices in my head couldn't be stopped; all I felt was that I could never be good enough at anything.

A few days passed, but the hopelessness kept taunting me. The ugly noises couldn't be silenced, but my friends and family stood by me, encouraged me and supported me. Finally, I realized that I was wasting my present pushing myself to a darker future. I had focused too much on how it happened and I realized that rather than that, I should be focusing only on how to change this and make it better. So I finally made up my mind. I was going to give my exams again.

Instead of seeing it as an extra burden, I looked at it as an opportunity to express myself. I tried to understand the chapters better and practice more and more papers. For a month, my course books, laptops, notebooks, pens and papers were my best friends.

The exam day had arrived.

In such a short time! Days felt like hours and month felt like days. But it was here. This was the now or never moment to prove myself. I gave in all I possibly could, and believed that whatever would be the results would be the best for me; I was not going to allow a piece of paper to bring me down.

Now that I look at this major event of my life, I feel like my failure was actually a blessing in disguise. It showed me how much I wanted to do well and achieve something. It allowed me to understand that no one but I was in charge of my own life. While the voices in my head were constantly comparing me with somebody else's better results, I put up a fight and believed that everyone has their own pace, own journey, own positives and negatives, so I could present my own masterpiece, my result of hard work on my own time.

I realized that my thoughts were my biggest enemy, which would put hurdles in my path and disturb my peace of mind. The destructive voices were making me lose all the hope, but I fought back and spoke against it. People regret their past mistakes, but I embraced it and took it as an indication to work harder. 'Failure and setbacks are ingredients for a great success story.', so this is my story just waiting to be successful.
nazzia30 5 / 13  
Nov 23, 2016   #2
I think this is a very well written answer. It makes one read it as you have made it very personal and given it a story like style. I particularly like the ending, so this is my story just waiting to be successful.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,524 3442  
Nov 23, 2016   #3
Akankysha, I think that your essay is running a bit too long when it doesn't need to be. Your first and second paragraphs can actually be shortened to simply represent the event and then how you felt after it happened. that way you can focus more on the real topic of the essay which is the lesson that you learned from the failure. The first and second paragraphs can be merged in the following manner:

I was crushed by the failing grades that I got in my final CIE. As I rushed home on the day the results were released, I could not help but think about what a big failure I was. How did I mess up my exams so badly? Am I a complete failure? ...

By merging the two paragraphs, you will end up focusing the essay on how you felt early on in the essay and be able to move on to the lesson you learned much faster. One thing you have to clarify in the essay though, did you have to retake the test? Is the narrative about the exam day that arrived dealing withe your second take of the test? That part is a bit confusing and needs to be clarified. Once you clean up that point, we can work on reviewing and editing the rest of the essay.

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