The Edge

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?


A six-year-old girl stands at the edge, unsure about the leap she must take. She is nervous; very aware of the challenge at hand and the expectations she must meet. In the next moment, she finds herself suspended in the air, entering the watery unknown. She perseveres and passes the momentous test that most kids her age fail. I have never been prouder in my life.

The young girl on the edge was Avery, my protégé. As a certified lifeguard and swim instructor at Spring Lake Day Camp, my responsibility is to teach children the fundamentals of swimming and help them develop their skills. Not only that, but to be a role model, inspire them to flourish, and build their confidence as swimmers and as individuals.

In order for young campers to be allowed to swim in deep water, they are required to pass a Deep Water Test. The requisites of the Deep Water Test are to swim a lap in eight-foot deep water, using freestyle, followed by treading water for one minute upon completion of the lap. While this task may seem simple, it is one of great difficulty for five and six-year-old children.

Upon meeting Avery at the beginning of the summer, I noticed a girl who was curious about the world; one who did not fear exploration or challenge. She...

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