“Describe one way you overcame an obstacle in your life and what you learned from it.”
When I was filling out college applications two years ago, this was one of the essay questions I had to answer. It was, in fact, the question I had to think about the most. We tend not to think about those obstacles and what we learned from them. Once we get over it, we move on with our lives; not spending time to reflect. Everything in life happens for a reason. It is important to learn why.
One thing I have learned from overcoming obstacles is the importance of teamwork. During my first trip to Belize, I was a part of a construction team. We replaced the tin roof on a school in four days. There were only eight of us -- sixteen hands -- all working together for the same goal. One of the days we were working, it was extremely hot and the temperature was rising. Working with tin in extreme heat is not fun. That day, it felt like time was moving by slowly and like we could hardly get work done. At times, I thought I was going to pass out. Through everything, though, we kept pushing and finished the roof.
Another thing I have learned from overcoming obstacles is the importance of relationships and being around those who will build you up. Whether it be an illness, a death, or the loss of a job, family and friends can help support you. At times, when you feel alone, these people are the glue to help you stay together. In the moment, we will become wrapped up and shut out the world. Be sure to include those people who want to help you into your life.
After you have defeated this rough patch in your life, it’s good to reflect on what happened. Was this something that could’ve been prevented? If so, figure out ways to change your lifestyle/mood/etc. to prevent an obstacle like this from happening again. Saying, “It is what it is” is not going to help you become a better person. If this obstacle was unpreventable, focus on what knowledge you have gained from the experience. You may realize some new things about yourself or others.
Life is short and messy. It’s good to find beauty in the mess of life. Whatever roadblocks we may stumble upon, we just pick ourselves up and keep on going.