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"With Pressure, the Fruits of Labor Will Taste Even Sweeter" Common App


Melafire29 2 / 8  
Dec 24, 2008   #1
This is ridiculously long so I was wondering if there's any parts I could cut out... it's been revised over 5 times already so I think every part in the essay's important somehow... Thanks in advance

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
With Pressure, the Fruits of Labor Will Taste Even Sweeter

Ever since I was introduced to volleyball at the age of four, the sport has become an integrated part of my life. It was a connecting door to my social life, and the cooperation and communication the sport demands taught me various lessons throughout the years. There are many things I can write about when it comes to overcoming adversities; whether it's preparing for huge exams or working through critical times in friendships, I have encountered many obstacles that I have conquered and learned from. However, when it comes to the most heartfelt achievement, an accomplishment against a monstrous task with outrageous pressure, I would have to go with that one time, in the summer of 2006, when my club volleyball team competed in the Junior Olympic Tournament. The tournament, a five-day national indoor volleyball competition featuring more than fifty teams, was our season's final challenge, and it stood as the ultimate test of our team's perseverance, cooperation, and skill.

Thanks to my dad, my skills in volleyball were polished to a shine at the age of twelve. It was at that age when my parents, inspired by recommendations, took me to the Sports Performance Volleyball Club, where the program for both boys and girls reigned among the top in the nation. The club's commitment level was high as it demands much time and effort into practices and competitions, and yet I continued to stay for many reasons. My self-refusal to be a quitter, the pride of being in such an elite organization, the continuous flow of great people and friends, and the privilege to participate in many major tournaments are just some of the motivating factors of my perseverance. Unfortunately, joining the club comes with realistic consequences. Besides consuming most of my high school life, the club's insane demand for athleticism and competition was enough to drive many members away. In fact, it almost happened to me once when I was sixteen, at which the Junior Olympic Tournament took place.

With the extra strain of preparing for the national tournament, our coach, the director of the entire club, worked our team mercilessly over the start of summer. We ran countless hills, stayed late for endless practices, and lifted weights as if we were preparing for a bodybuilding show. Our goal is to finish in the top of the contest, and that meant defeating many Californian teams, whom we have always considered our toughest rivals. It was grueling, but after a month, the day we longed for finally came. On the flight to the Country Inn hotel, our whole team was confident and ready to play. We felt like nothing could stop us from success. Sadly, the self-assurance that radiated out of every single player that day would soon be snuffed out like a candle flame.

To put it bluntly, we had a horrendous start to the tournament the first two days, losing to teams we were supposed to beat with ease. The pummeling that ensued from the next two teams, one Californian and another Puerto Rico, left us with a record of two to four. It was needless to say that, soon enough, our team was feeling dejected and unstable. Our coach was disappointed, but instead of giving us another round of encouragement, she did what a great coach would have done: she threw the reality of our situation into our faces. After dragging the whole team into a corner of the convention center and letting loose her dissatisfaction upon us, our coach then told us of her plan. She decided to do something that became, for the lack of a better term, the turning tide of our experience in this dreadful tournament, and that is to switch the positions of certain players. I was one of the two players selected. As the new setter for the rest of the tournament, my new job was to exploit the opponents' defensive strategies by coming up with effective retaliating plays, all in a short period of time.

It was an honor to be selected as a setter, as it was equivalent to being a quarterback in football, but I still grimaced from the pressure as my coach told the rest of the team to put their trust in me. I was so ridiculously nervous switching to this new position that I literally foresaw my team's failure and their blame upon myself. Amidst that premonition, I was still secretly excited that my coach chose me as the setter, since the position requires tremendous court awareness, skill and leadership. Even though I tried not to expose my jumble of emotions, my teammates understood my situation and encouraged me, loosening up that tightness in my stomach. At that point, there was only a minute chance for us to place top in gold, and the only way to get there was to win every single match we come across. Remembering all the work our team has put into preparation for this tournament and all the times we have shared together, our group was again renewed with energy. We decided to give every single match our best performance and, with luck, turn our dilemma into a miracle.

It was actually this very tournament that caused me to believe that with great perseverance comes great rewards. On the third day, we struggled through and passed our elimination round, getting the rest of the afternoon off. We kept our heads together and won all three matches the penultimate day, one of which was against the tournament's first-seeded Californian team, the team whom many spectators thought would stop us there at twentieth place. Before each match, I renewed my focus by remembering our team's goal and the responsibility I hold with my new position. In the end, through sweat and unrelenting determination, our team succeeded in clinching fifth place out of the whole event.

It wasn't the acknowledgements and awards we received that made the experience memorable, but the process that actually set the awards in place. The sensation when a group works hard together to achieve a goal was the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. Our coach, with her persistent support helping us step over the milestone, inspired me to become as great of a leader as she is. Besides my joy for the team and admiring respect to my coach, I was very relieved and pleased with myself that I did not back down from this challenging request. I realized that I obtained much more than just a medal from this contest. The excitement involved in this particular tournament made me realize that with leadership, teamwork, and discipline, it is possible to overcome any obstacle in life. This memorable experience was one of my best accomplishments; I found myself willing to work through anything, even under an outrageous amount of stress and risk, to reach my target. The quote, "No pain, no gain", is often heard in the world of sports, and in my case, I feel the pain is definitely worthwhile.

stimpsimp 6 / 37  
Dec 24, 2008   #2
It was a connecting door to my social life. The cooperation and communication the sport demanded taught me various lessons throughout the years.

There are many things I can write about when it comes to overcoming adversities; whether it's preparing for huge exams or working through critical times in friendships, I have encountered many obstacles that I have conquered and learned from. - This is rather unnecessary.

However, when it comes to the most heartfelt achievement, an accomplishment against a monstrous task with outrageous pressure, I would have to go with that one time, in the summer of 2006, when my club volleyball team competed in the Junior Olympic Tournament. - Sooooo long. Try and cut back on this to like a short sentence.

How about...

One time, in the summer of 2006, my club volleyball team competed in the Junior Olympic Tournament. There was a lot of pressure to win the tournament.

Or something like that.

You can edit so much out of it cuz i just wrote one a few days ago and I think there was a limit on this, i vaguely remember, but its pretty long. Try and keep it short and to the point because as EF_Kevin told me, you really say more by saying less.

Those are just some corrections. Gotta go so I can read it for you and help you another time. Good luck
OP Melafire29 2 / 8  
Dec 25, 2008   #3
Thanks a lot stimpsimp, I really think that latter phrase is much more succint and thus more effective than the stuff I had before.
Thanks!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Dec 26, 2008   #4
Well, it shows that you have done a few drafts, because this is very well-written. Now, to cut it down, you need to get in touch with the real message you are trying to convey. After all, if you are writing purposefully, you are trying to convey an idea... and that idea should be able to be summed up even in a single sentence or paragraph.

Eliminate what is unnecessary... even though this material below is good, it does not help to convey the message of the essay as much as the other parts do:

Thanks to my dad, my skills in volleyball were polished to a shine at the age of twelve. It was at that age when my parents, inspired by recommendations, took me to the Sports Performance Volleyball Club, where the program for both boys and girls reigned among the top in the nation. The club's commitment level was high as it demands much time and effort into practices and competitions, and yet I continued to stay for many reasons. My self-refusal to be a quitter, the pride of being in such an elite organization, the continuous flow of great people and friends, and the privilege to participate in many major tournaments are just some of the motivating factors of my perseverance. Unfortunately, joining the club comes with realistic consequences. Besides consuming most of my high school life, the club's insane demand for athleticism and competition was enough to drive many members away. In fact, it almost happened to me once when I was sixteen, at which the Junior Olympic Tournament took place.

Now, just like eliminating the weakest links of a chain,find all the unnecessary sentences, unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and delete the,! It makes the essay more powerful. Is there a word limit for this?
OP Melafire29 2 / 8  
Dec 26, 2008   #5
There's no word limit, it just gives the question and leaves it up to the writer I guess.
..and thanks Kevin for the comment, now that I look at it, the paragraph does seem out of place in the whole scheme of things.

I'm soo glad I found this site


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