Do You Hear What I Hear?

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?

From the first game of "broken telephone" in kindergarten, I knew I was different. Diagnosed with moderate hearing loss, I resorted to books and to my imaginary haven. I have had three-sentence Spanish conversations with Dora, casted spells in the echoing corridors of Hogwarts, and lulled the Holocaust refugee children to sleep. Middle school went on worriless and my mind soared happily.

Soon, helping imaginary children no longer satisfied me. I was already volunteering at a local hospital, but I wanted to help other students now, in high school, with something I have been doing consistently, something I excel at.

So I dragged my dreamy self down from the clouds and hurled her into my physical body sitting in the theatre auditorium.

The director gave us glossy scripts to memorize lines. I did have my part memorized, but I could not acknowledge what the other characters were saying. I had not felt any inconveniences in the classrooms with the hearing of a seventy-year-old, but sound waves must travel differently in an echoing four-hundred-seat auditorium. It felt as if I plunged right into the Mariana Trench: I could detect fragments of vowels bubbling out from others’ parting lips, but they did not resemble any lines. My cast...

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