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? (250-650 words)
I'm a prospective international student from Japan. Please proofread my essay and give me some feedback. There might be a lot of errors because English is not my first language.
"Just relax...", I exhaled with my eyes fixed on the hurdles. I could hear my heart beating faster than ever. My hands kept shivering. I couldn't tell if it was from fear or from the insanely cold New England weather (or may be both).
"On your mark! Set...", I put my feet on my favorite starting blocks adjusted perfectly for my position.
Sound waves from a starting pistol reached my eardrums.
With my explosive block start, I was the top runner.
Then, at the second hurdle, I stumbled. I saw a cold blue ground of the track coming close to my face.
I fell... at the last championship. That was my last chance to be qualified for the State Championship.
But I swore to myself, standing up, "I will never ever give up what I started!" I started sprinting again. I was the very last runner to step the goal line. It was at that moment that I had noticed that I awfully failed. It was a very regretful experience, but at the same time, I felt so proud of myself.
Before I left to Connecticut from Tokyo for about eleven months in my junior year, I had made my mind to try anything new to me during the exchange program. I ate pepperoni pizza watching the Super Bowl rooting for New England Patriots, went to Christian church singing gospel music with my host family, and danced with my friends at Home Coming, which doesn't exist in Japan. I really enjoyed the life there. English barely interfered with communication No failures... before I joined the Varsity Track and Field team.
Truth be told, I had never really failed before I started hurdling because I had chosen as safe and stable paths as possible in my life. So I hadn't really neither achieved anything great nor desperately failed. Then I realized that I was one of many "smart" Japanese students who pursue stable careers, avoiding risky paths. That's one of the reasons why I decided to take a risk for the first time in my life even though I was the only one who chose to study abroad among other nine hundred students in my high school. I didn't want to be "one of them" and I thought this huge risk-taking in my life would change me somehow.
When I first tried hurdles, however, I thought I was never going to make it because the height for the boys' hurdles was above my hips. I made excuses and limited myself. I was so scared that I couldn't even take a first step.
("Have I been changed since I came here?")
Then my coach said, "Shuto, it's natural to be afraid of hurdles, but remember, better hurdlers have stumbled and fallen a lot. That's how they get better because they know how to stand up from miserable situations. You gotta keep moving forward!" His words encouraged me and I finally could managed to take the first step and get over the first hurdle. At that moment, I was released from tensions, which had pulled me not to fail, as I "felt" the sense that I thought I "knew" that I would overcome nothing without making mistakes.
After many practices (and falls), the CREC Athletic Championship took place. I can't say I do not regret the result, but I'm certain that I learned more than hurdling. From this experience, I learned the importance of keeping moving forward. Since then, I always try to take action as soon as I can because time doesn't wait for me to stop and think about what I do next. And now I feel that going to a college in the country that changed my life is the right choice for me. No matter what happens in our lives, we should not stop. As my coach says, "Stop stopping!!"
Thank you for reading! Do you think my essay is unique?
As a former admissions officer at a top school, I can tell you that this response is wayyyyyy too common. I would dare estimate that about 95% of students will respond to this prompt with a very similar story. Not that you did not answer the prompt well, just that this type of response is expected, safe and will not do you any favors. Try to dig deeper. Engaging in sports is not the only time that we experience failure as humans. Talk about another experience, something unique. Something that really forced you to leave your comfort zone and something that will grab the attention of the admissions officer who is half way through his/her day of reading over 1,000 essays. - Admissions Advice Online (.com)