Sep 8, 2011

Personal Statement

By Rahima Sohail

When I was younger I was absolutely terrified of heights.

When I was 11, I climbed up a park swing. It involved climbing a ladder to the top, jumping into the skylight and dropping onto a trampoline several feet below. Clearing my head, I climbed all the way to the top. Needless to say freefall wasn’t my thing. I looked down below and realized how high up I was; looking behind I saw no other kids climbing the ladder – I decided to back down. I saw no point anyway. It wasn’t like someone was going to come out and give me a medal or a certificate for accomplishing this feat. But as I was climbing back down, I realized I was denying myself an experience I’d never had before. Life’s greatest achievements aren’t measured in medals and certificates; knowing that I didn’t give up would be much more satisfying than going home and wondering how it must feel – to let go of all control.

So I closed my eyes and jumped. It was exhilarating. A scraped knee was forgotten as I basked in my new found courage.

Ever since that day, I’ve let myself fall. As a result I’ve overcome my inner fears. I’ve signed up for debating and elocution sessions. For basketball and poetry recitals. Everything I wouldn’t do. The knowledge that I won’t win, and that I may end up stuttering like a pro or become grammatically handicapped under the spot light has never stopped me.

I’ve had trouble at school. Lessons were never my strongest point. I’ve had to put in more effort than many other people to get a decent grade. My parents have been called at countless parent teacher meetings to discuss my grades. My desk holds more certificates of participation rather than medals of success. I have tripped over and fallen countless number of times. I have learnt the meaning of success only through these failures. I have learnt to pick myself up and move on ahead while overcoming the obstacles that have come in my way.

I have tested new grounds and let myself fall. I have let myself brush shoulders with failure. I have realized that it is better to fail knowing that you tried. That it is better to experience mortification in front of hundreds of people rather than sitting at home in a corner and hoping for an alternative existence – one where I could be bold enough to survive under public scrutiny. I have realized that it is better to fall a hundred times than to never take a step forward.

Learning from failures is one of the lessons life hopes we learn. My life is constituted of many failures. But it has taught me to take risks and forget what other people may think of me. Brushing shoulders with failure is never easy. Not even when you’ve done many times. Everytime I fail, it hurts me. You never get used to it. But it has prepared me. It has prepared me to expect what I should be expecting in college, and it has taught me how to overcome them.

In many ways life is like a freefall. You jump and you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know what awaits you at the end, or even in the middle. All you can do is close your eyes and take that leap of faith. I have.


Misal Shujjat said...

I absolutely loved this - how you highlighted that the experience and what you learn from it is what counts, not always the medals or certificates of achievement. Great job :D

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