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"Long jumping with Eva, my friend" - significant experience common app


tinytractor 1 / -  
Dec 6, 2010   #1
Hi, I was wondering if my essay was too boring, or if there was anything wrong with it.
Do let me know if there's anything I should take out or elaborate on. It runs 597 words.
Thanks in advance!

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

The muscles in my thighs burned. Stopping was out of the question. I sprinted to where my coach was waiting, stopwatch in hand. "Better," he said, "much better." It was my third year on the track and field team and it was going to be my best one yet.

My lesson in perseverance was a hard one. Track and field tryouts were compulsory in my secondary school, and I was picked as a jumper. It was not an activity that allowed for coasting on by; practice sessions were three times weekly and were a grueling mix of weight training, running drills, and plenty of jumping. My main event was the high jump, which meant that my afternoons were often filled with the repetitive dull thud of bodies hitting the mattress.

Initially, I viewed myself incapable of devoting so much of time and energy to a single commitment. I often woke up exhausted the day after a training session, wondering how I would be able to live through the next one. My poor performances were also discouraging. I was not fast enough; the arch in my back when employing the 'Fosbury Flop' technique was not pronounced enough; I had low stamina. There came a point in my third year where I was sorely tempted to quit, to prevent myself from further disappointment. While the championships were months away, I felt stuck in a rut of mediocrity that I just could not extricate myself from.

My best friend Eva, a long jumper, talked me into giving myself a chance. While the events that we did (long, high and triple jump) were individual efforts, she reminded me that I did not have to view myself as struggling alone. We were a team - the thought gave me new purpose every time I laced up my spiked shoes. It is easier to keep pushing forward when you have friends by your side. I put aside my negativity and began to take notice of the smaller things, like the fraction of a second's improvement in my sprints; each bar that I managed to clear.

The whole team grew so much closer that year, leading up to the Singapore National Inter-school Track and Field Championships. I had never trained so hard in my entire jumping career. We were each other's pillars of strength, providing the necessary morale boosts and encouragement to keep going.

That year, I placed second for my division in high jump. The medal was, for a brief time, the end goal for me, but what I achieved in the end was not just something material. The whole year was a testament that friendship, hard work and above all, belief in yourself can help you achieve things once believed to be impossible. I found that I had the determination to work for what I wanted; all I needed then was a subtle push from Eva. In my last secondary school year, I was made the team captain, a position I gladly and proudly served.

I stopped high jumping after graduating from secondary school but I have kept what I learnt during those four years. I fight off thoughts of giving in to failure and will persist in doing things that I believe I have a real shot at - for example, my writing. It currently seems like a long journey to becoming a self-respecting and self-supporting author, but I refuse to give up in the way of challenges. There is, I have realized, no shame in trying and failing a few times. The pity is in quitting before you give yourself a chance to succeed.
StillLifeWitHam - / 15  
Dec 6, 2010   #2
This is a really strong essay. It's interesting, communicates everything it should, and has a very nice ending. Good luck!
glaserjf 3 / 14  
Dec 6, 2010   #3
Well written. Particularly liked the last paragraph.
gradbound2011 1 / 3  
Dec 6, 2010   #4
I thought this was well written... My only suggestion is to watch for overage of commas. Other than that I thought it was a strong essay that focuses on you- bravo.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 18, 2010   #5
I think mat is a better word than mattress.

My best friend Eva, a long jumper, talked ...morale boosts and encouragement to keep going. ---I think all this content can be condensed into about 3 sentences.

If you do that, you will be making room for more discussion of your aspirations (i.e. writing, and other ways to use the sense of determination. That is where the real essay is. The essay is not in telling all the details about struggle, a pep talk, persistence, and a payoff, because everyone knows that common story. What is uncommon is for you to be able to make brilliant conceptual connections between this story and other aspects of your studies, career plan, etc.

:-)
mariumi57 3 / 8  
Dec 18, 2010   #6
This is a very well written essay. It talks strongly about you and your values. It's also very intresting and shows that you never give up easily. Good Job!


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