The Importance of Mentoring

The application gave the option to make your own question, so I tried to use this essay to show who I was as a person: smart, a leader, passionate, thoughtful, considerate, among other things.

Although I had assumed that my extensive knowledge of sailing as a sport would allow me to fulfill my role as coach without much difficulty, I learned immediately that I was much more than an instructor: everything I did had an impact on the kids. J.M. Coetzee writes in his novel Disgrace, “Irony does not escape him: that the one who comes to teach learns the keenest of lessons, while those who come to learn, learn nothing,” and I found the first part of this statement to be true. I am sure that I learned as much about the critical function of a role model as my charges learned how to achieve excellence and act with maturity and sportsmanship in a competitive environment. When you first take a job as a coach, they tell you that it is important not to single out an individual for special treatment, nor disregard another whose obstacles to achievement seem insurmountable, but to impart one’s knowledge upon another is among life’s most rewarding experiences. While I tried to remain equitable in my coaching, it was through the private instruction of a mentally challenged ten-year-old named Patrick that I gained new perspective on the definition of success.

When I first met Patrick, I was quite surprised that he had been allowed to...

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