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, detail the electronegativity trends on the periodic table, and identify when to use logarithmic differentiation to simplify a derivative complication. Despite knowing how to execute these truly singular tasks, I currently fail to understand how to resolve a tire, how to do my taxes efficiently, or how to obtain a favorable insurance policy. A factory-model school system that has been evacuated essentially unchanged for nearly a century has been the driving force in my educational development. I have been conditioned to finish tasks quickly, efficiently, and with an advanced understanding. I measured my self-worth as my ability to outdo my peers academically, judging 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 a valuable 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 precise). I had the epiphany that oh expect, 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 regularly had to be the one to approach people during my volunteer hours at the public library to offer help--no one invariably urged me for it. I resolved to alter my mindset, taking a fresh approach to the way I lived. From now on I would emphasize qualitative experiences over quantitative skills. I had never been better uncomfortable. I forced myself to attain to be vulnerable by begging questions even if I was terrified of being mistaken. My proficiency in using data evidence could not lecture me how to communicate with young children at church, nor could my test scores present me how to be better open to criticism. The key to all of these skills, I was to discover, developed to be perceiving from those around me. Turns out, I couldn’t do everything by myself. The process of achieving this brand-new mindset appeared through the cultivation of relationships. I became fascinated by the fresh perspectives each person in my life could offer if I certainly took the time to associate. Not only did I improve my listening skills, but I inaugurated to cogitate the big-picture consequences my engagements could have. People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to master to refund more attention to detail to understand every point of view. I took on the state of what I love 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 recent life skills, the further I realize how much remains uncertain in the world. After all, it is quite achievable 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 gird myself to take on the unknown, doing my outstanding 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.