Embracing Spontaneity

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? (650 words)


I couldn't breathe. My lungs rebelled, desperately attempting to inhale, as if I were drowning. My hands trembled. I could no longer comprehend that my impending audition speech for the Varsity debate team, which had only two spots left, was occurring in just minutes.“Breathe, Meghan. You’re okay.”For much of my life, I have strived above everything else to be prepared. Perfectionism was my wingman, pushing me to excel. In the face of potential failure, however, doubt would pull me from sanguine and strong to simply… scared. The first morning of middle school, for example, I had neglected to organize my materials in my preferred size, color, and subject ordering system. I had been so excited for a new start, but my pursuit of perfect made me miss the bus and start school with a yelp rather than a roar.The detailed research required for debate has been the ideal outlet for my desire to be prepared. At the same time, the improvisation of a debate competition has been a cure to overcome perfectionism - but it has taken a while. My first year on the team, I ordered an extra-large binder, in which I spent months filing excessive notes and collecting evidence on our 36 topics. Everything was color-coded and in its proper place. But...

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