Sample essay from "Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air." --Ivan Pavlov Upon graduation, I will be able to analyze medieval Spanish poems using literary terms and cultural context, characterize the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative obstacle. Despite knowing how to execute these remarkably appropriate tasks, I currently fail to understand how to resolve a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a wonderful insurance policy. A factory-model school system that has been quit essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development. I have been conditioned to achieve tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding. I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, expecting my scores were the only aspect that defined me; and they were. I was getting everything right. Then, I ran for Student Government and failed. Rejection. I didn’t even make it past the first round of cuts. How could that be? I was statistically a smart kid with an excellent head on my shoulders, right? Surely someone had to have made a mistake. Little did I know, this was my first exposure to meaning beyond numbers. As I was rejected from StuGo for the second year in a row, I discovered I had been wrongfully measuring my life through numbers--my football statistics, my test scores, my age, my height (I’m brief). I had the epiphany that oh linger, maybe it was my fault that I had never prioritized communication skills, or open-mindedness ( qualities my fellow candidates possessed ). Maybe it was me. That must be why I consistently had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help--no one regularly petitioned me for it. I resolved to alter my mindset, taking an unusual approach to the way I lived. From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills. I had never been further uncomfortable. I forced myself to perceive to be vulnerable by begging questions even if I was terrified of being unjust. My proficiency in using data evidence could not explain me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores display me how to be additionally more open to criticism. The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, transpired to be understanding from those around me. Turns out, I couldn’t do everything by myself. The process of achieving this unusual mindset arrived through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the modern perspectives each person in my life could offer if I undoubtedly took the time to bridge. Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I established to cogitate the big-picture consequences my engagements could have. People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to receive to disburse more attention to detail to understand every point of view. I took on the state of what I admire to call collaborative independence, and to my delight, I was elected to StuGo after my third year of trying. Not long ago, I would have fallen apart at the presence of any uncertainty. As I further accept and advance brand-new life skills, the better I realize how much remains uncertain in the world. After all, it is quite desirable my future job doesn’t exist yet, and that’s okay. I can’t conceivably plan out my entire life at the age of 17, but what I can do is plan myself to take on the unknown, doing my ace to accompany others. Hopefully, my wings continue enabling me to fly, but it is going to take more than just me and my wings; I have to continue putting my faith in the air around me.