The Fall

Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? (350 words)


The room is spinning. The lights seem to burn straight into my skull. I look around, seeing nothing but eyes watching my every move. I feel as if I’m weightless, floating in the abyss of space. Suddenly, the white tile on the floor gets closer.

Needless to say, public speaking doesn’t come naturally to me. Nonetheless, I had my eyes on debate as my activity -- one I could lose myself in. Things fell into place quickly; I fell in love with the world of policy debate. Soon, the jargon seamlessly blended with my regular vernacular, earning an eye roll whenever “topicality” or “inherency” would carelessly tumble out of my mouth.

After what is now lovingly referred to as “the fall,” I was shell-shocked. Never in fourteen years had I experienced stage fright, but the moment I was to pose my thoughts on the merit of domestic surveillance, my legs turned to putty. An immovable object had met its unstoppable force.

However, I was still in love with debate. I ritualized speaking up in class, practicing my speech, and, above all, learning everything about a topic. After months of this, I discovered that my trepidation was rooted in primal fear, not of being wrong, but being ignorant. This epiphany lit up a world of possibilities --- it...

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