University of California - Santa Cruz
UC Essay #1
Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
Each summer, I work as a high ropes counselor for middle school students. My goal: to push campers out of their comfort zones and into the “growth” zone. Yet that goal isn't always easy to reach. I had one camper named Aldo who was absolutely terrified of heights but was determined to get to the top anyways. After he tried to climb for the sixth time, he declared he was giving up.
I asked Aldo why he thought quitting was right for him. He just kept saying he “couldn’t do it.” I took off my glasses and told him I wouldn’t make him do anything I wouldn’t do. “You’re 100% safe and if you don’t want to try again I’m still impressed you tried so hard.” Then he asked me, “You would do it?” Without replying, I threw on a helmet and a harness and clipped myself in. I motioned Aldo over and said, “Let’s go.” We started climbing together and once he reached a quarter up the pole, he froze. Nervous he wouldn’t continue, I climbed to the top and when I got there, he looked up at me like I was absolutely insane. In hopes of him following, I said to him, “Your turn.” He took a deep breath and said, “If you can do it, so can I,” and slowly but surely made his way to the top. I was smiling so much my face hurt. I was so excited for him. We...
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