Campus Life mit essays that worked

A physics Olympiad that was almost bad


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? (200-250 words)


I overlooked my anxiety each time my brain froze mid-answer. However, I realized the destructive effect of this problem when two hours had passed with me just staring at the Asian Physics Olympiad test. I prepared myself in an attempt to tackling the experimental section. In the rush, I spilled corn syrup over my arm. This triggered my eczema to kick-in fiercely. My skin turned red and irritated; I couldn’t help but scratch until the pain outweighed the itchiness. I broke a banana that was on the table into pieces and rubbed it against my arm to moisturize and calm the inflamed area.

By the time I switched back to the test, a neglected anxiety problem was at its peak, a sticky area covered my arm, empty test pages were sitting on the table, and only two hours were left. I knew it wouldn't end well. I stopped looking at the clock every five seconds and calmly realized: I don't give my fullest for egos, prizes, or even myself; I'm doing my best only for the past Ebrahim who did everything to get here. My mind cleared. I held the pencil and started writing.

Being a half-point away from becoming among the first Saudis to get a prize in the APhO won’t let me forget this experience. I never faced test-anxiety again because my perspective on test-taking changed; from counting on myself and stressing mid-situation to counting on what I learned in the past and my efforts. I used this perspective and found that solutions started to come in my mind quicker.