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I trained my cadets by encouraging teamwork and learning, trying to somehow make the harsh military training fun. Leadership was enjoyable until I discovered one of my cadets had cheated on a test.In the military, cheating is resolved with an immediate trip to the detention barracks. It was painful and brought a few tears, but I could not show any wavering or doubt, at least not in front of them.
I found leadership is not all about making friends and having others listen to orders.
The rest of my platoon learned, and didn’t repeat the mistake.
Leadership is the ability to make each student a part of something so much bigger than themselves.
It holds me accountable and keeps me engaged with my fellow humans even when I’m exhausted. Through vulnerability in times of stress and joy in times of celebration, grooming myself into a better leader has also made me a better student, friend, and daughter. Well, 30 actually, and they’re all around my age, some even older.
But over time I’ve learned that it’s more than competition that drives me to stay up all night looking for evidence: I love learning about the political and ideological underpinnings of our society and the way they shape us.
On an easy debate tournament weekend, I research foreign diplomatic agendas and synthesize the information into coherent debate evidence.
: The University of California admissions folks would like me (and you!
) to refer to these prompts as “personal insight questions” instead of “essays” or "UC personal statement". Sometimes students associate the word “essay” with an academic assignment and that is not (as you’ll see below) what the UCs are looking for.
This trend has increased my credibility in my debate league to such a level that my partner and I were invited to participate in a series of public debates at LA City Hall to defend the water policy for the drought.
The opportunity allowed me to actually impact the public’s awareness and accept a larger responsibility in the workings of my community.