Amidst Failure, Success: My Mock Trial Experience

Think about the interests you have pursued outside of your high school classes (e.g. independently or through a student organization, part-time work, sports, playing in a band, volunteering, etc.). Describe any knowledge or skills you have gained as a result.

Finally, the long-awaited month of November has arrived. And we all know what that means: the start of another mock trial season. Case reports, opening statements, objections, the whole shebang. It is a time of hard work and diligence, but also frivolity and horseplay. But sometimes things go wrong. Last season, my mock trial team performed well enough at the regional competition to earn a spot in the state tournament. We were sure that this was the year we would finally usurp the reign of our arch-nemesis high school and take home the first place trophy. However, when we arrived and tried our first case, we realized that the competition was not the same as before. These teams were hardened, sharpened, strong. We were defeated. Our first place trophy became a tenth place plaque. We had failed. But we learned from the failure. We had taken techniques from veteran teams and adapted them to our own styles. We had seen the competition and the ferocity of the atmosphere. And most importantly, we had learned of our own faults as a team. And as that was last year and each member of our team still had yet another year of high school, we waited quietly and patiently for this year’s season to begin. Now that it has, we plan to utilize everything we obtained from last year’s failure to bring home the biggest mock trial trophy in the state. Not all was sad that day, however. Where the team had lost, I had won. After the team announcements had been made, the speaker of the tournament began to award individual prizes for excellence in mock trial ability. And as the short pile of awards grew shorter, the announcer called out a name that rang familiar to my ears: it was mine! After several dazed and confused seconds as my mind registered the information, I went up and received my shiny new plaque. It was more than just a plaque, though. It was a symbol of the hard work and perseverance so common in the mock trial program. It was a manifestation of everything I had done throughout the season to prepare myself for those two days at the state finals. It was a representation of the honor that came with it. It was respect. What I learned from it, however, was more than all that. I learned how to dedicate myself to achieving a goal and how to never give up on that goal. And how a little bit of creativity and a lot of effort can make anything possible.

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