Last Place…?

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?

My choir director points at me, whispering, “You’re next.” Those daunting words make me falter back to my chair. As I wait for my turn, my hands start trembling with fear. I immediately slap my wrist hard enough for the choir director to turn around, looking at me oddly. The last note echoes in my ears, and I instantly stand up, letting my endless white dress drape down my legs.

I stride down the hall and hear the thunderous applause. I smile coyly to myself and take my stance. The room grows quiet, and I start my performance. Yes, here I am. I’m finally here standing on this stage with triumph in my eyes. As I start singing, I begin to feel melancholy, and my memories of tenth-grade start creeping back.

Two years ago

“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the James Logan High School Advanced Choir! Please welcome them with a round of applause!”

My choir members start walking in a synchronized form and halt as they get to their places. Soon, my row begins striding down the platform, and as I get into my center formation, I miss a beat and walk passed my stance.

“Shoot. Minus two points.” I grumble.

I shuffle back towards my place and bump into the person on my right. I feel a slight glare from her and gulp in fear.

“That’s another point.” I think.

The judges circle their papers fiercely, eyeballing us on our every movement.

Our choir director takes her place, she analyzes our rows, and as soon as she is satisfied, she starts conducting.

“Not bad. We did well for the first two songs.” I happily think. Then the piano hits a minor C, “Ah geez. Not this song. I’ve always hated this song!” My mind screams with agony as we start singing.

Towards the end of the song, my voice starts getting raspier and produces an ugly sound. The person on the right quickly taps at my side as an indication of saying, “Enough. Time to lip sync.” I follow her orders and start lip syncing as best as I can, trying not to seem as noticeable as I already am. Then I miss another beat, and the judges look at my lips moving with no sound coming out and start scribbling on their notes once again.

“Urgh. I bet that’s 10 points we just missed,” I complain under my breath.

My school’s choir ended up getting 10th out of 10th place.

As I bow down, the thunderous applause reactivates, and heartfelt tears start rolling down my eyes as I glance at my audience. I am back onstage, and this honestly felt like a blessing.

After tenth grade, I decided not to sing ever again. The nightmare found a variety of ways to creep into my sleep and wake me up in tears. My pitiful tears soon dried up, and anger formed an indestructible wall around my heart. I blamed myself and cowered away when someone asked me to sing for them. I raised questions all around me and became a weakling.

However, towards twelfth-grade, I was finally able to conquer the stage with triumph again. My family encouraged me to strive harder for the thing I wanted to do: sing. They broke down my insecure wall and reached out a warm hand. I instantly grabbed it, thinking it would get away from me if I didn’t act fast enough. From then on, I started opening up towards others and began auditioning in musicals. My inner joy came back after two depressing years.

From this experience, I have learned that accepting these challenges will bring me one step closer to the real world. They form me into a stronger person. I shall not cower away and take what life throws at me next in the future.

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