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The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Moving is always hard, but moving from a poor school district to one of the finest in the state was challenging. Education came first in my family and I was consistently pushed to do my best. By the end of elementary school I was way ahead of the curve. I was pulled out for both English and math and was writing nearly all the content for the school newsletter monthly. My parents moved before high school specifically for the opportunities that a well- funded school system on Bainbridge Island offered. While registering for middle school my parents were worried that the school might not even be able to accommodate my advanced math, how laughable. Not only could they accommodate me I was tested to be smack in the middle of the pack. They were kids behind me, but even more ahead of me. It was a humiliating blow to realize that I was exactly nothing special in a better funded school.


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At first I was crushed, I felt degraded and embarrassed. I did not even know what a smart board was, let alone how they worked. I literally gasped when a video began playing in the middle of the room, it looked like magic to me. There were rooms in my old school that did not even have a chalkboard. In seven years of school I had never taken a single science, art or music class. As a freshman in high school one of the first projects was gene sequencing and biology. All the children were reminded of Mendels experiments that they did in elementary school. I went to elementary school with a kid name Frank Mendel but I‘m pretty sure that’s not what they were talking about. I felt deflated. The learning curve seemed insurmountable. The other children had been exposed to so much more. They had computers and those magic smart boards and I felt like a poor country kid doomed to failure. My parents were encouraging and gave me the best advice I’ve ever received, “Don’t be defined by where you came from but by where you are going”. I wanted to feel on top again, I wanted to be the big dog again, but realistically being in the top 10% of this class would be an accomplishment in itself.

I went and received tutoring and help every single morning before school for an entire school year to be placed in a higher math level. I studied at home and on weekends extra material to receive the highest marks in every class. I went up and beyond the expectations for every subject, if an assignment asked for three pages I gave six. It all paid off and I joined the National Honor Society in 10th grade and have a 3.87 GPA in the toughest school in the state. I learned many skills in high school but I never forgot where I came from. I’m still friends with Frank Mendel.