MIT Essay: Most Significant Challenge | Joseph

Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

I’d been disappointing myself at tennis tournaments for years. My coaches constantly said that my rankings were lower than my talent level. We thought it was a simple fix—a sports psychologist would do the trick. Eight visits later, my results were still terrible. What was I doing wrong?

The answer was right in front of me: when things got tough, I gave up. It was a way to protect myself from upsetting setbacks. To me, losing without giving effort was better than trying and still failing.

Thankfully, my coach took notice. Before lessons, he reminded me that I wouldn’t remember losses in the future—I would remember my character. If I didn’t put the effort in now, I would have to live knowing I had squandered my talents. That would be worse than the pain of failure.

Coach’s words stung. I was the one holding myself back. I wasn’t putting in the work during training. I didn’t believe in myself because I never gave myself a reason to.

“Better starts right now,” has become my personal motto, one that has halved my national ranking in less than 12 months. Whether it’s the end of a tournament, the end of my tennis career, or the end of my life, I want to know I achieved the most I could. After hard matches, I no longer have any regrets. Yes, failure sucks. But if I sacrifice everything and still come back with an L, there’s nothing left to say other than “well played.” Published in Successful College Essays, Successful MIT Essays

Joseph

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2024
Top Rated
About the Author 🎓
Major: Undeclared
Accepted Universities:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Northwestern University Vanderbilt University University of Southern California (USC) University of Michigan--Ann Arbor University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill (UNC) Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Case Western Reserve University University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Purdue University
Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Joseph is a verified Squired mentor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sign up to connect with Joseph and other mentors from top schools including Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League. Whether you’re looking for advice on your essay, program selection or application planning, Squired’s mentors are here for you.

Joseph

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2024
Top Rated
Joseph is a verified Squired mentor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sign up to connect with Joseph and other mentors from top schools including Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League. Whether you’re looking for advice on your essay, program selection or application planning, Squired’s mentors are here for you.

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