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"Hook up,climb and abseil", ROCK CLIMBING; Common app-Extracurricular activities

Harein 1 / 2  
Dec 29, 2012   #1
Both of my essays are on rock climbing, i know. my first essay is pretty bad, all help is appreciated :D both are within the limit btw

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below (1000 character maximum).
The end of the climb, I look out the window and catch my breath. Both because I'm physically exhausted and catching a glimpse at the fantastic Malaysian skyline takes my breath away. It always gets me being able to get to the top of such an impressive structure, not by taking an elevator, but by climbing. The biggest reward of this is the solitude of only having the neighbouring skyscrapers for companions.

That's how I would describe one of my greatest pleasures of rock climbing, unfortunately, none of those adjectives can be accurately used to describe the skill I have for the sport (I only recently began climbing for more than fun), in other words, I'm not very good.

While I don't climb competitively, every session ends with sore muscles and blisters on my fingers. I enjoy climbing so much that when I went to Singapore for a holiday to Singapore, I ended up spending more time in the climbing gym near my house rather than with my family I had gone to visit.

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Climbing Obstacles
Hook up, climb, and abseil. Rinse, repeat. Like many disciplines, rock climbing is in a nutshell, repetition. Three years on, I go back every week. Why would a fickle teenager choose such monotony? Because I learned to love it.

It began at a birthday party three years prior. Obsessed with rock climbing, he held his soiree at a popular climbing gym in Kuala Lumpur. I had always shied away climbing gyms due to self-diagnosed acrophobia. Yet there I was, being buckled, harnessed, and encouraged to take my turn climbing up a gargantuan wall of doom. Awkwardly I meandered halfway up the concrete obelisk. Many failed foot holds later, I looked down. Frozen describes it poorly - I felt anesthetized. The whole party was looking up at me, and me them... except they were really far away. I had two options, and one was to be belayed to the ground like the 9 year old before me. So I began climbing. I climbed and climbed some more and at some point, I summited. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. Worse than bungee jumping, which meant that overcoming it was far sweeter. I never looked down or back, again. I fell in love.

Through the following year, I climbed all over Malaysia and even turned a family holiday to Singapore into a climbing expedition as I sought out every wall I could get my chalked fingers on. Then tragedy struck, too close to home. A freak climbing accident sent Mr. Wilson, our beloved principal, on a 40 foot fall when an automatic belaying machine malfunctioned. He broke his back. Later seeing him in a wheelchair raised serious questions about my newfound passion. Was I prepared to put my life at risk for rock climbing? The heroic response would have been, 'absolutely!', mine was a meek 'no.'

I quit cold turkey for a year. It was a painful experience not being able to climb. To have that imposition come from within, out of fear, was difficult to swallow. I was hardly losing my sleep over it, but I did need feel a thrill again, a bolt of energy. Even at seventeen it was plain for me to see that this fear was a major obstacle towards my happiness. What happened to Mr. Wilson was unfortunate but accidents happen. The diligence of safety checks and being mindful of risks is an important discipline to adhere to. That was the lesson to take away from the accident, not to live my life cloistered away.

Taking risks requires understanding them and also being as ready as you can to handle them. I should not have allowed his accident to be detrimental to my life, but that's ok, it's in the past now. Fear is a useful motivator, but a massive hindrance to human progress. So one day, quite recently, I reached for my chalk bag again, took a deep breath, stopped looking down, and started looking forward. Climbing has never been more fun.

shiverrrrs 2 / 4  
Dec 30, 2012   #2
I think your second one is very very well-written, you tell a story while also showing something important about you, great job!
You said the same thing about singapore in both essays as well, I would take it out of one of them.
OP Harein 1 / 2  
Dec 31, 2012   #3
thanks for the feedback! ive actually rewritten my short answer completely because i thought repeating the topic would just make me look like someone who only ever does one thing; climb.

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below (1000 character maximum)

'Abang, could you pass me the crayon?' Iman inquired innocently.
At that moment, I couldn't help but slip into a flashback. Three years prior, when I had met him for the first time, through my school's community outreach program, he was the four year old Burmese refugee who refused to speak. I clearly recall my hour-long negotiation, by the end of which, I was able to coax him to whisper his name in my ear.

Fast forward back to the future, and Iman had transformed from a shy little boy to my "adik" (Malay for little brother). I passed the fuchsia crayon, and pondered over what he had referred to me as. Did he just call me his big brother? His five letter expression, which his cognition most probably did not think twice to utter, had made my pride swell. As I mentally reminisced over every Thursday I had spent with him for the last few years, I felt belated at the idea that my time had shaped his future positively even the least bit.

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