Solar Car Team - A Litany of Failure

Essay Prompt

The University of Miami's official mascot is the ibis. Folklore maintains that the native marsh bird is the last to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to emerge once the storm passes, making it an apt symbol of courage and resilience.

Considering your ability to control your own motivation and behavior, how have past experiences helped build your courage and resilience to persist in the face of academic and life challenges so that, once these storms pass, you can emerge in continued pursuit of your goals?

Sample Essay

I have devoted countless hours and buckets of blood, sweat, and tears to my solar car team. While we have had our share of successes on the team, our failures far outnumber them.

Sometimes our failures were minor and easily corrected, like when we used the wrong screws and the pieces joined by the screws fell apart in testing. Other times, they were major, like when we permanently welded an essential component of the car's suspension in the wrong position, only to discover it when the suspension mounts broke days before the race. Each time, humbled we summoned our courage and asked for help from our sponsors, engineers we knew, and even rival team captains. We fixed it and moved on. Despite the numerous failures, through hard work and determination, we have built and raced cars in three successive national Solar Car Challenges.

The picture I've just painted for you, a picture of an enterprise where failures far outnumber successes, is an accurate picture of my experience with the solar car team. But it isn't the picture I see in my mind when I reflect on the experience. Far from it.

I see a series of problems solved. I see three beautifully hideous creations that each did 18 miles per hour in the summer sun over the course of 600+miles and never broke down. I see the thousands of hours of hard work and the magnificence of crossing the finish line.

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