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Speak up. Don't be so shy. Be more assertive. Come out of your shell - I hear it alot...

kunell111 1 / -  
Dec 25, 2014   #1
Recount and incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
Speak up. Don't be so shy. Be more assertive. Come out of your shell.

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that...

Ever since middle school, I have considered myself to be more of an introvert. I was more quiet and soft-spoken than most of my peers, and I enjoyed my time alone. Early on I realized that there was a strong extrovert expectation in most class room settings, and even in most social settings. Leaving me to believe that there wasn't much room for a more reflective, thoughtful style. After all, it seems like extroverts are able to thrive in the kind of activities that I dread. So somewhere down the line I started believing that I had to change to be accepted, that I needed to act more like my extroverted peers to get ahead.

I spent so much energy trying to change who I was, trying to "fit in". I forced myself out of my comfort zone time and again by going to large social gatherings, joining clubs, and participating in conversations I actually had little interest in. But at the end of the day, I just felt drained of energy, and I found myself still dreading the next big social event.

I spent a large portion of my life thinking that my aversion to social gatherings and crowds was a defect or flaw, an obstacle that I had to overcome, but continuously failed to do so. I couldn't even enjoy my solitude because I harbored feelings of resentment for wanting it so frequently. For years I watched people seemingly so easily engaged in small talk-- something I have never found enjoyable-- and calmly give effective presentations in class, while even the thought of such activities would stress me out. I didn't understand why I was unable to enjoy the parties and outings that I figured must be innately enjoyable, despite my failure to tap into that joy. But now looking back, I realize that my true failure was in trying to change who I was in the first place.

For so many years I chased acceptance from others, I put on this fake persona in order to seek their approval, but I became so tired of of pretending to be someone I wasn't, of masking my true self and constantly wishing I could change. I knew I couldn't go on this way. So instead of searching for ways to overcome my introverted tendencies, which is what I had done for years, I tried to find the strengths in them. It was at this point that I was able to discover the true beauty of introversion, and this revelation began when I read the book Quiet by Susan Cain.

Now that I have stopped struggling against my true nature, I finally have come to understand and appreciate the complexities of introversion. It took me a while to come to this realization, to truly accept the more soft-spoken, gentle, introspective side of myself. I use to think that my quiet personality would hold me back, but I have learned that I can still achieve great things simply by effectively harnessing my strengths. Not to say that I shouldn't have to put myself in uncomfortably social or crowded situations, I'm aware that these things are part of life, but I've accepted that these tasks are difficult for me, and I intend to get the right training to make them easier. I plan on using my natural powers of concentration, keen observation, persistence and creative thinking to do work that I love and work that matters. If that requires public speaking or attending large social events, then so be it.

Susan Cain once wrote, "The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of available power, but to use well the kind you've been granted". Well if you give me the chance, I will prove to you that I have what it takes to succeed because of my introverted ways, not it spite of them. It is very possible to be both quiet and powerful.
rtan05 5 / 32 3  
Dec 25, 2014   #2
You've spent more time carping about your introversion that it seemed like you were more forced to accept, your feeling towards being a wallflower resonates most of the essay. Despite having a good conclusion, it came out weak.

I suggest you revise your prompt to strengthen your reflection and how you overcame your true nature. :)

Happy Holidays
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Dec 26, 2014   #3
You quickly mentioned a failed class presentation. However, outside of this, I do not see what your failure actually was. I am not sure how the more competitive schools will take an essay like this as they generally like students who are outgoing and motivated. Students who seek out and conquer challenges. Not to say that you are not motivated, but wanting to stay in the shadows is not something that let's say a school like Harvard would look for in an applicant. - Admissions Advice Online
wai019 4 / 10 3  
Dec 26, 2014   #4
I totally understand how you feel! I liked you essay but I agree with rtan05. You can discuss a bit more about benefits to having an introverted personality and why that made you believe you should stay true to yourself.
melramadhani 16 / 46 6  
Dec 26, 2014   #5
I like this essay, this is very honest and personal. However, I agree with admission2012 that you didn't tell clearly what your failure was.

I think this essay will fit more in prompts about identity / background story, as it is too general to be told in a prompt that asks for a single failure.

Maybe you can re-arrange this essay by starting with a story about a particular failure due to your introverted nature (ex : failed presentation), then how you learned about your introverted nature (that you did all these things in the wrong way by trying to fit in), then how you optimized your introverted nature to bring you success.

I hope it helps. Good luck and happy holiday :)

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