College Essay: Once Bitten Twice Shy

Finally, I started writing my college essay. It doesn’t matter if I have to construct it or think about my accomplishments. I was taught to be humble about my achievements. It’s not bragging that I find it difficult to apply for college. The majority of college essays you will read about me mentions top-to-bottom achievements.

I’m still learning, so it’s not a complete solution. I am still learning how to navigate the adulthood thing. People who have experienced great success are better prepared than those who haven’t. They are well-informed and know what works. They shouldn’t. They have an idea in mind. They think they know everything about life, or at least believe so. They are incorrect. Failure is the best teacher. Give it a second. Wisdom comes from experience. Failure is the only thing that can lead to experience. From there, the transitive property is what you get. Because I failed, I know that it was a turning point in my life. Although I was the winner of the race, the moment I saw the finish line I realized that I had made a slight mistake and lost track of the race, I quickly slowed down to get a D.

A D is not the worst thing in the universe, but it’s something that no one wants to see on college applications. I received it back, in red pen, from my mid-year exam. It was only a third of the grade that our teacher had promised us. My chances of getting into four-year college were already in jeopardy.

What’s the matter? I’m not an A student. I will receive the occasional B, along with the occasional A. D’s is a bit outlandish and enough to grab my attention. My short summary is that I didn’t study as hard and don’t recall why. There are always reasons to not study. I didn’t study so I showed up to the exam completely unprepared.

Two options were available to me here. I could accept that my grade was actually D, contrary to my beliefs. I could also study hard for next week’s test and attempt to increase my average grade. What I discovered was quite important: even though I had forgotten about the reason I didn’t study, my grade never went away. I realized that the grade was more important to me than anything else.

Imagine, instead of a C or even A, what it would look like if? Although it would have required blind, pure luck, it could have been possible. If I had failed rather than succeeded, I wouldn’t have learned anything. Or, I might have discovered that I didn’t need to study which is exactly what any college-bound senior should know.

I chose work harder. I was already aware of the negative consequences of not learning from my mistakes, which resulted in me getting a D. I got a higher grade for the final year than I should, based strictly on averages. Teacher weighed improvement over other issues. People who worked hard and persevered throughout the year were rewarded. My hard work was rewarded twice. If I hadn’t failed, I wouldn’t have learned anything. My finals could have been worse because I didn’t know how important studying was. Instead of failing, however, I was capable of writing my course. College was a great experience for me. I know how important hardwork is.



Reuben Young is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been teaching in the United States for over 10 years, and has written extensively on educational topics. He is also a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and has been honored with several awards.

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