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Luke Schiltz

Mrs. Dott

English III Honors - Period 1

15 March 2018

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?

College Essay

The journey towards my first national level event in rock climbing was one that had taken

my entire life to work up to. Until the age of ten, my parents had forced me to try just about

every sport imaginable, with very little success. When we finally discovered climbing, it was an

immediate success. I jumped wholeheartedly into this new world of competition. That first

season of competing was full of hard work and training, but I had never felt more in my element.

About a year later, I discovered that I had qualified for nationals. I wish I could say that this was

a success story, but it is not. This was a journey of learning to accept failure without admitting

defeat.

At the time, I had not realized just how far out of my league I was, but regardless of

whether I knew it or not, that had never stopped me before. I entered that competition with all the

confidence I could muster, not acknowledging the fact that I was inexperienced and ill-prepared.

Completing the first route would be essential to progress in the competition. I began climbing,

and as I got farther, it got progressively more challenging, until I had reached my limit. My

anxiety began to overpower my confidence. My muscles were becoming increasingly fatigued,

and I realized that my journey was meeting its end. As I fell from the wall, the hill my emotions

had been climbing was suddenly met with a sheer cliff and with them, I plummeted.
For the next thirty minutes I was inconsolable, devastated by my disappointing

performance. I recall very little from this time other than one line that has stuck with me and

changed the way I view failure. My coach approached me and began talking to me, which was

met with nothing but forced responses until he said something along the lines of this. “You’re

only allowed to be sad about this for the next ten minutes, but after that, it won’t do anything for

anybody.” The harshness of his words caught me off guard, but I wasn’t angry. It made sense. I

didn’t fully understand, but with time, my failure showed me that there was nothing to be

accomplished from wasting my time brooding. I sat alone for the next few minutes, no longer

feeling upset with my performance, but making a plan for the next few months and for the rest of

my life.

This lesson has impacted every aspect of my life including sports, my grades and any

other place where I can improve myself by acknowledging that when my situation is worst is

when I have the most potential to grow. That day, I realized that failure is not something that

should be associated with finality. It has more in common beginning than a conclusion. This

wasn’t my last time feeling dismayed or defeated, but I no longer allow myself to accept that

anything is over before I want it to be.