Application Essay Assignment
I am not sure who said, “The best way to escape from your challenge is to find a solution,” but it surely appeals to me. The word “challenge” is inseparably connected to the word “solution.” Challenges, like solutions, appear to come in all shapes and forms. For some it could be as trivial as not having enough sugar in a cupcake for the child’s class or something more serious such as getting a call from the space saying, “Houston, we have a problem.” Regardless of their depth, everyone encounters them.
My memory does not serve me well regarding how I got into it, but I loved playing soccer. I would either play every day or constantly think about it. Studies were fun but soccer was serious. By middle school, I was playing competitive soccer, traveling with my team around North Carolina and winning tournaments. As a striker, I naturally bore the pressure from my teammates to score the goals. Years went by and I started developing a problem. Asthma. In summer of 2017, allergies kicked in pretty badly, worsening my asthmatic condition. My parents figured I would do better indoors with less exposure to springtime elements. Nevertheless, I was adamant, insisting on carrying nebulizer treatments to the field, hoping to get a quick respite from the short breaths and wheezing lungs. In the US, about 8% of children under 18 suffer from asthma, and outdoor air quality is one of the primary triggers. Severe restrictions from outdoor activities were associated with springs and summers.
While trying to manage asthma, another problem emerged. My height. It appeared as though I was shrinking when my teammates were all growing taller. By early high school, I was often the shortest player on the soccer field. As a striker, I increasingly found it harder to outmaneuver the bigger defenders. That I was getting better on the field did not help the situation, as my opponents would get annoyed and start fouling me deliberately. With bottled up anger, I often sat out and watched my team play, staring in the face of twin obstacles over which I had no power. Obviously, my ability to perform well started to drop and I wondered if I was becoming a liability to the team. In 2018, in the off-season, having assessed my health situation I realized that giving up competitive soccer was the best choice. So, I revised my perspective for the overall good of my team.
Sometime between my frequent asthma attacks and tenth grade, I started to coach and mentor middle schoolers. As a FRC Business Co-Lead at InspireNC, a non-profit organization that coordinates outreach and volunteering events in robotics and STEM related activities in Triangle area, I work with the young teens on grant-writing, coordinating outreaches, identifying potential sponsors, and giving presentations to judges at FIRST® robotics competitions. In the last 3 years, InspireNC raised $44,000 and I am honored to have contributed to its success.
While, I grudgingly gave up competitive soccer, I was consoled by playing recreational soccer and mentoring young kids. This is tremendously satisfying as it involves community building and gaining experience with middle school kids. Although asthma placed limitations on me, I learnt to accept what I have no control of. Now, as a freshman at Temple University, the learnings over the years helped me cope effectively during the COVID times and staying away from family and doing well in school. I firmly believe that the true solution cryptically lies in our ability to comprehend and decipher our obstacles. My newfound insight is that problems are perhaps nothing but opportunities waiting to be converted into solutions. This has definitely been the biggest learning so far in my life.
(Editor: This is a college application essay to UNC from Temple University. Please edit the essay to fit into no more than 650 words)
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Application Essay Assignment
I've always believed that the best way to escape your challenge is to discover a solution. The words "problem" and "solution" are inextricably linked. Solutions, like challenges, tend to come in various shapes and forms, but regardless of their depth, everyone comes upon them. My recollection isn't great to me when it comes to how I got into it, but I had a tremendous passion for playing soccer. I'd either play every day or think about it all the time. To me, studies were enjoyable, but football was serious. By middle school, I played competitive football, traveled over North Carolina with my squad, and won tournaments. As a striker, I was inevitably subjected to pressure from my teammates to score goals.
Years passed, and I began to develop a problem. Asthma. Allergies kicked in pretty badly in the summer of 2017, exacerbating my asthmatic condition. Nonetheless, I was adamant, insisting on carrying nebulizer treatments to the field in the hopes of getting some relief from the short breaths and asthmatic lungs. In the United States, approximately 8% of children under the age of 18 have asthma, and one of the key causes is outdoor air quality. Spring and summer seasons were associated with severe restrictions on outdoor activities. My parents reasoned that I would do better indoors, away from the springtime elements.
While attempting to manage my asthma, another issue arose: my height. When my teammates were all growing taller, it appeared as if I was shrinking. I was frequently the shortest player on the soccer field by early high school. I found it more challenging to outmaneuver the bigger defenders as a striker. Getting better on the field didn't improve matters because my opponents would become irritated and intentionally foul me. I often sat out and watched my team play with bottled-up anger, gazing in the face of two impassable obstacles. Consequently, my ability to perform well began to deteriorate, and I began to question whether I was becoming a liability to the squad. In 2018, after assessing my health status throughout the off-season, I decided that retiring from competitive soccer was the best option. As a result, I updated my perspective for the benefit of my team as a whole.
Between my prevalent asthma symptoms and tenth grade, I accepted my life obstacles and began coaching and mentoring middle students. As an FRC Business Co-Lead at InspireNC, a non-profit organization that coordinates outreach and volunteering events in robotics as well as STEM-related activities in the Triangle area, I work with young teens on grant writing, coordinating outreaches, identifying potential sponsors, and giving presentations to judges at FIRST® robotics contests. InspireNC has raised $44,000 in the last three years, and I am proud to have participated in its achievement. While I regretfully left up competitive soccer, I found solace in playing recreational soccer and mentoring young scholars. This is really rewarding because it encompasses community building and acquiring experience with middle school students. Despite the limits imposed by asthma, I learned to accept what I couldn't manage.
As a freshman at Temple University, I was able to cope efficiently during the COVID-19 times, stay away from home and family, and perform well in academics, thanks to the lessons I had learned over the years. However, I am certain that the genuine solution is hidden in our ability to comprehend and interpret our problems. My newfound realization is that challenges may be opportunities waiting to be translated into solutions and the lessons we learn from them are indeed crucial to our future success. This has undoubtedly been the most significant learning experience of my life.
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