Failure Essay Topic Ideas

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vrazzles

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Hey guys!

I'm writing a failure essay for a secondary application and wanted to get some feedback on the following potential topics. Also, is it desirably to write about a failure that was ultimately turned into a success? Or should it just be left as a failure and elaborate on the lessons learned? I can't honestly think of any truly unmitigated failures that occurred after high school. If I could write about my pre-college experiences, I could wax poetic on my many failures.

1. During one of my semesters in college, I took a 23 credit hours of upper level math and CS classes, and due to being constantly busy, I failed to be a good friend to someone who was going through a really tough time with personal family stuff. Our friendship really suffered that semester and almost ended up breaking apart. From talking with my friend, I learned that the problem wasn't that I was constantly busy - it was that I was making it seem as though everything was fine on my end and not properly communicating how busy I was and my reasons for not being able to offer more support. This experience taught me the importance of communication in maintaining my personal life and friendships in a stressful environment as well as the necessity of setting reasonable boundaries and expectations for friends and others that I am close to.

2. As a Peace Corps teacher in an African country, I was responsible for helping my kids succeed and achieve the highest grades they could. In my first 6 months as a volunteer, I taught additional periods, added office hours to my schedule, and tried various techniques to improve performance. Much to my surprise, however, students' performance dropped significantly lower than historic norms. I met with the head of the school and he basically told me that I needed to pull up their performance or the school would terminate its relationship with Peace Corps. Feeling very discouraged but wanting to do right by my students, I did a series of anonymous questionnaires to assess what I could do better as a teacher. The overwhelming answer was to teach in Swahili and to do this, I threw myself into learning Swahili. As I improved, so did my students, and recently, that first class of mine led all the other public schools in the district in national examination performance. Through this experience, I learned about the need to persevere and adapt in the face of adversity and the importance of understanding the unique needs of the population that I am serving.

3. During my first 6-7 months of volunteering in a research lab, my supervisor told me that I was like a magpie - quite smart but also easily distracted by the first shiny thing that I saw. His comments came from the fact that I would often get distracted from my primary project by an interesting potential lead that I saw on PubMed and start testing a tangentially related hypothesis instead. Due to this inability to focus on a single thing, I produced no valuable data during my first 6 months as a research volunteer. I took his advice to heart and began to really hammer at a single hypothesis, even if I saw something else that I thought was "shiny." This experience taught me the value of being focused on a single objective and not trying to answer 10 different questions at once. Since that time, I have produced valuable data that has led me to be named as a coauthor on multiple publications.

Thoughts?

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I always advise that failure essay topics avoid academics. We like to see that candidates have a life outside of schooling. Your #1 can work, bult will just need some emphasis on the friendship angle.
 
2> 1>>>>>>>>>>3

I always advise that failure essay topics avoid academics. We like to see that candidates have a life outside of schooling. Your #1 can work, bult will just need some emphasis on the friendship angle.
Thank you Goro! Could you comment on whether you think a failure essay should be left as a failure or whether it should include steps that I took to improve the situation and ultimately make it not a failure?
 
Thank you Goro! Could you comment on whether you think a failure essay should be left as a failure or whether it should include steps that I took to improve the situation and ultimately make it not a failure?
The point of the prompt is to tell us how you dealt with failure. Thus, we are seeking info as to your coping skills, your ability to learn lessons, and resilience.
 
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