University of Chicago
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?
“Mom, I’m gay,” I whispered quietly into her ear. I had waited three years to tell her in the hopes that she would understand, but she did not. Instead, she told me I was an abomination, and at that time I was fragile, so I believed her. Feeling terrible about myself, I fell into depression and gave up on school during the seventh grade. After failing all my classes that year, I began to hate school. However, when I realized that allowing my mother’s words to affect me negatively would only lead to my demise, I renewed my focus on school, my grades improved, and they have been excellent ever since. Although, at first, words hurt me, they ultimately taught me courage and prepared me to fight ignorance and injustice.
My love for the written word helped me learn courage. I vividly remember my first time walking down the dusty, opaque hallways of Newark’s Public Library. I picked up a stack of tattered and neglected books that, in many ways, reminded me of myself. I read the books in silence, inspired by each word I read. Each of the characters in the novels displayed courage that I hoped to embody. Percy Jackson fought valiantly against the Titan scourge, and Esmeralda Santiago fought against the American invasion of Macún....
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