College Admission Essay | Personal Failure

It was a regular self-studying period. The whole class was under the control of Jane, a class committee member whom the teacher mandated to maintain absolute silence during this period. I could not even inquire an academic-related question because Jane would brutally proclaim my name without considering my explanations, embarrass me in front of the class and report me to the teacher. So I held my head down, laid low and smiled – I was about to change this “tyrannical ruling” tomorrow at the new class committee election. Believing that a good committee member should promote democracy and fairness, I expressed my aspiration to revolutionize the traditional management methods to my classmates and earned their support. The next day, I passionately presented my speech and won the election.

It seemed that I had a great prospect for my “revolution” since I had heard of many successful precedent cases. At my first self-studying period, I took charge with confidence and excitement. I had private conversations with the talking students, avoided sounding authoritative, and kindly offered my suggestions with a smile. However, it did not go as smoothly as I expected. People gradually refused to comply. Eventually I lost control of the class and had to use Jane’s traditional methods to restore order. Although disappointed, I continued trying to implement my concept, but failed to realize it. Weeks later, I lost prestige among the students and had no chance to save the situation, so I resigned regretfully.

After this failed revolution, I spent some time analyzing and reflecting on what I had done wrong. It occurred to me that my classmate and I interpreted “democracy” very differently. In my election, I depicted a democratic environment during the self-studying period; what I meant was that students could quietly discuss academic problems and have a chance to explain their actions. However, it was not my intention to misguide them into thinking that democracy was equivalent to the complete freedom of doing whatever they want. Such discrepancy caused my classmates to believe that my regulation impinged on the utopia they had envisioned in the election that they withdrew their support once their “freedom” was threatened. This issue could have been resolved had I modified my management methods; I could have communicated with my classmates to learn more about their thoughts and reach a consensus with them to avoid the snowballing of my failure. Instead, my decision to blindly stick to my original plan led to my fiasco. Since then, I have learned not to excessively rely on plans and theories but to adjust and develop my own resolutions according to reality.

Later in a school soccer match, my team fell behind because Ben, one of our core players, often played alone without cooperation. As the team captain, I showed him my appreciation of his effort and told him I hoped that he would be more cooperative (I read that it would be more effective to begin a constructive criticism with an affirmative statement). But when this conventional method failed and he still didn’t recognize the seriousness of his problem, I decided to confront him and point out his issue explicitly during half time. I believed that it was important to make him understand the consequences of his behavior. In the end, his change of attitude proved me right and we became a stronger team. From then on, I learned that Ben prefers candid suggestions and became more straightforward with him during conversations.

Looking back, I am glad that my failed attempt to manage the self-study period has alerted me to never fully rely on plans on many occasions; instead, I now spend more time analyzing problems and contemplating applicability before I adopt any methods. This way I can develop my own problem solving methods such as how to effectively communicate with different people to meet practical needs in many aspects of life.

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