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"my pursuit of elusive perfection" - Common App Activity and Main Essay

spak417 2 / 6  
Dec 30, 2009   #1
It was time. The principal's voice echoed through the speaker's static. The results were in. The entire school was listening, including my classmates standing in a single-file line behind me. I sighed deeply. Although the wait seemed immeasurable, instantly, it was over. "The winner of Student Council President is Blake Stokes." Not me. The election results reverberated through my head, cutting deeper wounds. I tried to suppress the growing knot in my throat unsuccessfully. The liquid glaze that coated my eyes ruptured and tears rolled down my cheeks. I buried my head in my fourth grade teacher's embrace and thoughts of self-doubt flooded my mind. I wasn't accustomed to defeat - to failure. I wasn't prepared for defeat either. My naïve perception of the world was shattered. I guess this is what they meant by life isn't fair. But never, I vowed, would I be the cause of these pangs of disillusionment.

So began my pursuit of elusive perfection.

My newborn fear of failure spawned a new journey in my life - one centered completely on being flawless. Throughout middle school, my goal seemed within reach, but with the onset of high school I encountered greater obstacles. I found myself burdened by the exhausting duo of harder school courses and morning swim practices. In order to achieve in these two important aspects of my life, I made other sacrifices. I was motivated to study during meals, forgo hours of sleep (but never morning practice), and stay home Friday or Saturday night to remain ahead in school (or to recuperate from the grueling week). What was my source of motivation? My coercive fear of failure. I studied to assure myself that I wouldn't miss an answer in class - to assure myself that I wouldn't be subject to the jeers of disbelief among my classmates when I was wrong. But was there really anything to be embarrassed about? I realize now that I was still naïve.

After four years of high school I have realized that perfection isn't simply elusive, it's unattainable. In retrospect, my goal of sheer excellence was too lofty and misguided. What is perfection? Does it even exist? Everyone's perception of flawlessness varies. In pursuing perfection, I sought an imaginary standard always beyond of my grasp. I placed false expectations on myself - expectations I couldn't fulfill. My motivation was based on the artificial presumption that I was supposed to be perfect. I expected it of myself - others didn't, I only believed they did. My struggle towards the acme of achievement imposed an unnecessary, encumbering pressure on me, and compelled by this pressure, I strove to achieve at the expense of other opportunities. At times, the strain of expectation became overbearing, but in retrospect my apparently unsuccessful chase can be viewed as fruitful.

In pursuing perfection I have ingrained a compelling desire for excellence within myself. I've learned not to place limits on my goals or dreams because they may be seemingly impossible. In searching for perfection, the most valuable idea that I have learned is not to be compelled by my faults, but motivate myself with my aspirations. For now, I'm content with myself - individually and imperfectly.

My muscles tense as I dive from the starting block and immerse myself in the chilling water. I unrelentingly disrupt the water's calm - forcing my arms through the undulating waves, kicking my legs furiously. As I swim my mind wanders to my reflection moving along the glossy black line below, but I divert my attention back to the race. I carefully devise my race strategy and visualize myself finding the wall first. Fatigue begins to set in and my muscles ache, yet I continue to force myself through the resistant water. I rely on the hours of training I dedicated to prepare for this moment; I rely on my teammates' support and cheers; I rely on myself. The black line disappears as my fingertips embrace the wall. I gasp for air at the finish - my heart pulsating, but there is no more pain. I find only self-satisfaction in the moment.

I'm not sure if I like the first essay, but I'm also crunched for time. Should it be considered as an experience and its impact on me or a topic of my choice? The short answer is about swimming and is supposed to be my thought process during a race.Thanks for reading and commenting!

damo 9 / 36  
Dec 30, 2009   #2
I wasn't accustomed to defeat - to failure. I wasn't prepared for defeat either.


I wasn't accustomed to, nor prepared for, defeat nor failure.

besides that id say you did a fairly decent job

i really like the second one as well
MonsieurWise 2 / 21  
Dec 31, 2009   #3
The essay was very well-written, I like the content, it shows your personality perfectly.
The only thing I see trouble within your essay is the last 2 paragraphs. You need a stronger, clearer and more memorable one, for the rest of your essay is strong. I get lost reading the last 2 para, I think you can use more effective ideas and words.

I have read one similar to yours. Consider this idea: "However, as time goes by, I realized that the higher I placed my goal, the higher I achieved, though not necessary accomplished my "real mission."" then you'll give one or two of your accomplishment that put you beyond your peers, thanks to your thrive for perfection...etc.

I personally like the essay and against the idea of throwing it away. It is good, a little embellishment would make it perfect :D.
Ah, could you read mine and leave some comments too? Heheh :PP.

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