Essays on challenges in life

However, candidates often struggle to answer these types of essay questions. Those who have suffered a trauma may have trouble writing about their past because it evokes painful memories.


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Undergraduate admissions experts say that one common misconception among college applicants is the idea that they need to write about a tragedy in their college essay in order to become a competitive candidate for a highly selective college. Conversely, experiencing a moderate challenge may serve as the foundation for a great essay. Experts also note that adversity-themed college essays are rarely mandatory. In instances where an essay about overcoming adversity is required, perhaps as a school-specific supplemental college essay that complements the primary college application essay, experts advise thinking broadly about what counts as personal difficulties.

For other students, it might be the struggle to find a summer job, or the struggle to achieve some important goal — understand calculus, win a role in the play [or] complete an ambitious service project. According to Hooker-Haring, the key to success in a hardship-focused college essay is the same as for any other type of college essay: authenticity. Experts urge students mentioning a relatively minor difficulty, such as moving and going to a new school, in an adversity-focused college essay to acknowledge that the magnitude of their difficulty was small in comparison to more serious calamities, such as homelessness.

Joseph Adegboyega-Edun, a Maryland-based high school counselor, suggests that applicants who have faced enormous obstacles strongly consider using that experience as fodder for a college essay.

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Each hair on the back of my neck sprang to attention, as I strained to hear the women's inflammatory remarks. I gripped my bag of McDonald's harder with each insulting phrase. I had been living in Geneva, Switzerland for four years, during which time I had attended an international school consisting of over 96 different nationalities.

Free life problems Essays and Papers

I had already become fluent in French and had become accustomed to the new culture in which I was living--a culture which I had believed to be rich in tolerance and acceptance. Naturally, the women's remarks hurt. Was I really an "ugly American? Had I not been touched by the new world I had been exposed to? Without question, my four years in Switzerland changed my life in countless ways.


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From the minute I stepped off the plane at Cointrin Airport, the vastly different sights along the clean street, the ubiquitous smells of rich delicious French cuisine, and my feelings of excitement about my new surroundings told me that I definitely was "not in Kansas anymore. Although it was sometimes difficult trying to find links between my self and my Saudi Arabian, Hungarian, French, Nigerian, or Chilean friends, I soon came to enjoy my new stir fry environment. By the time I left, I was wondering how I ever could survive the boredom of attending a homogeneous institution.

This is not to say that, prior to this, I had been closed up in a bland box of a world. I had traveled to India, my father's home, and England, my mother's home, annually: a practice my family and I continue to this day. I had been brought up without specific religious beliefs, but an awareness of my parents' spiritual backgrounds of Judaism and Hinduism.

How To Overcome Obstacles in Life - Overcoming Obstacles and Setbacks in Your Life

Thus my exposure to these various different nationalities in Switzerland built on my found-ations of cultural awareness, rather than laying the cornerstone for it. My understanding of my new environment was aided tremendously by my ability to speak French, and was subsequently one of the best gifts I brought back from my four year stay in Switzerland.

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Essays on Overcoming Challenges

An entire year of school lessons could not have taught me as much of the language as I learned form speaking with my Swiss friends, shopping in the local stores, or apologizing to my neighbors for hitting my ball into their yard. My proficiency in French earned me a regular spot on a nationally broadcast Swiss radio program, in which a Russian child and I discussed tensions between major world powers. This was a rare opportunity, as, although Stephen and I were peers, the fact that Russian children attended the Soviet Embassy school meant that we were not classmates.

Though, even if we had been allowed to speak casually before, I am not certain that our conversation would have reached the depth of discussion we achieved on the show. America will never again seem the same to me. Geneva gave me enough distance to look at my country through objective eyes.

Traveling throughout Europe was like a trip with Gulliver: it gave me the ability to look inside myself and discern my country's faults as well as its numerous strengths. Like the Swiss women's remarks, it hurt me to find that the United States is not the only country in the world with a rich and stimulating environment.

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With my new perspective, I saw that America was not what it had been. Then I thought for a moment and realized that America had not changed, but I had. One officer called this, "A good example of a foreign culture essay that works. This is because in most of her classes, she will be required to support any opinions. The vocabulary is sophisticated without seeming labored. I do not suspect that the author had a thesaurus at hand! This essay is very well written. The essay demonstrates a transformation of the student from just an American in a foreign land to someone who embraces the international experience and grew with it.

What I like about this essay is that it shows that the traditional categories of "extracurricular activities" need not be the only way to demonstrate that one has something of interest to bring to the college experience. I think this writer would be a fascinating person to get to know, because she would be able to contribute a fresh perspective to conversations about many of the important ideas that we wrestle with in college.

She might well be someone who would be especially adept at bringing together diverse members of the student body because she would not feel intimidated by differences, but would, instead, seek them out and value them highly. Reluctantly smearing sunblock over every exposed inch of my fifty-three pound body, I prepared mentally for the arduous task that lay ahead of me. After several miserable fishing ventures which had left my skin red and my hook bare, I felt certain that, at last, my day had arrived.

I stood ready to clear the first hurdle of manhood, triumph over fish. At the age of seven, I was confident that my rugged, strapping body could conquer any obstacle. Pity the fish that would become the woeful object of the first demonstration of my male prowess. Engaging me deeply was my naive eagerness to traverse the chasm dividing boy from man. In fact, so completely absorbed was I in my thoughts that the lengthy journey to our favorite fishing spot seemed fleeting.

The sudden break in the droning of the engine snapped me to reality. Abruptly jarred back into the world, I fumbled for my fishing pole. Dangling the humble rods end over the edge of the boat, I released the bail on the reel and plunked the cheap plastic lure into the water. Once I had let out enough line and set the rod in a holder, I sat back to wait for an attack on the lure.

The low hum of the motor at trolling speed only added to my anxiety, like the instrumental accompaniment to a horror film. And then it hit. A sharp tug on the line pulled me to my feet faster than an electric shock. I bounded to the pole, and when I reached it, I yanked it out of the holder with all of my might. My nervous energy was so potent that when I tugged on the rod, I nearly plunged headlong over the side of the boat and into the fishs domain. Although adrenaline streamed through my veins, after five minutes both my unvanquishable strength and my superhuman will were waning steadily.

Just when I was fully prepared to surrender to the fish and, with that gesture, succumb to a life of discontentment, pain, and sorrow, the fish performed a miraculous feat. Shocked and instantly revived, I watched as the mahi-mahi leapt from the oceans surface. The mahi-mahis skin gleamed with radiant hues of blue, green, and yellow in a breathtaking spray of surf.

Pros, Cons of Writing About Challenges in Your College Application Essay

Brilliant sunlight beamed upon the spectacle, giving life to a scene which exploded into a furious spectrum of color. The exotic fish tumbled majestically back to the sea amidst a blast of foam. With this incredible display, the fish was transformed from a pitiful victim to a brilliant specimen of life. I cared no longer for any transcendent ritual I must perform, but rather, I longed only for the possession of such a proud creature. I hungered to touch such a wonder and share the fantastic bond that a hunter must feel for his kill. I needed to have that fish at any cost.