Failing While Baling

The lessons we take from failure 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?


The first time I tried to bale hay was a colossal failure. I walked into the job with the naive feeling of “Oh, this will be easy” and that it would earn me some gas money. I came home my first day smelling like sweat and Alpaca dung, and so coated in mud and hay that my mother made me wait in the driveway until she could hose me off with a garden hose from a safe distance upwind. I reeked so badly that when my parents finally let me in, my sister dove into her room and shut her door, announcing, “I will not come out until you have the entire house fumigated”. Even my dog, no stranger to the smell of manure, gave me a wide berth.

Additionally, I was the most tired I have ever been - my limbs felt encased in granite. I had also been foolish enough to wear shorts, which allowed microscopic bits of hay inside my clothing. Hay rash is a topic too repulsive to describe in an admissions essay, but suffice to say, I learned my lesson. Upon emerging from the shower, my hands so raw I could barely open the door, I flopped into bed, and reflected on my day.

Despite all of the sweat and hard labor, nothing I did went right. Haybales I bound burst, spraying fifty pounds of alfalfa hay all over me and the rickety trailer I was riding on. I...

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