Learning to Swim

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Staring up at the deflected rays of sunlight as I slowly descended toward the bottom, I began to realize the severity of my situation. As I fought to keep water from flooding my lungs, fear started inundating my mind. Only moments ago I had been sitting comfortably along the side of the pool, my feet dangling in the pleasant water. But now, as I sank lower, the water no longer felt warm. The sun was no longer baking my sun-screened back. Warmth was now replaced by a stingingly cold fear as my feet touched down on the smooth ceramic tiles. The bright sky appeared distorted by the twelve feet of calm water above me.

Panic forced me to flail my arms and legs in a desperate attempt to propel myself to the top, but I had never learned to swim and these awkward movements had frighteningly little effect. Death seemed inevitable when holding my breath became increasingly difficult. I felt like I had been under for hours, but only a few seconds had elapsed from the moment I foolishly dove into the deep end. Usually I avoided the diving board, but that day my embarrassment about not being able to swim trumped my fear and common sense. At the bottom of the pool my feeble act of bravery couldn’t save me; my survival instincts were not good...

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