COMMON APP ESSAY

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?


At 6 AM, March 2nd, 2014, I woke up glimmering with hope. However, at 1 PM that fateful, unforgettable day, I came in second place in the Orange County Spelling Bee, lost my chance to compete at nationals. I breezed through almost every word. Although I spelled “perestroika,” “scherzo,” “schadenfreude,” and “realschule,” I eventually tripped over a seemingly easy word.“Chaplain," announced the judges. After hesitation, I spelled it after Charlie Chaplin, the only context I recognized this foreign-sounding word in.

"C-h-a-p-l-i-n."

The buzzer stung as I rushed to my chair, confused, distraught. Next, my opponent arrived to the podium, winning the grand-prize with "editorial." In the days after, I complained that my opponent’s teacher tutored him weekly while I couldn't afford tutors and studied alone. I made excuses that I didn't have chances to compete in elementary like other contestants. I justified that “the dictionary relates chaplains to churches. How unfair! I'm not Christian." Although runner-up earned three-hundred dollars and a trophy, I wanted more. I still sobbed profusely for failing to fulfill my childhood dream of appearing on television to make my friends and family proud. I couldn’t forgive myself because...

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