"Runners take your marks, get set, collaborate? W..."
Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience.
300 - 400 words
"Runners take your marks, get set, collaborate?"
When one attempts to characterize the sport of cross-country, the term 'teammates' rarely comes to mind. More commonly, the activity is associated with words such as 'champion' or 'competitor', both singular nouns. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine the extent of my surprise when, stepping into my first-ever cross-country practice as a lanky ninth-grader, I witnessed the sense of camaraderie present among the more established members of the team. Despite my acknowledgement of these runners as teammates, I held my opposing views of cross-country and of collaboration at the poles of my mind, convinced that the two were terminally incompatible. Stubbornly clinging to this black-and-white philosophy, I carried it with me throughout the season's inaugural meet, unaware of the burden that such a dichotomous perspective created. Instead of tuning into the motivated cheering of coaches, I tuned into the laborious pumping of my arms, resultant of the intensity of the race.
Opposed to focusing on the changes in pace effected by my teammates, I chose to focus on the chafing around my ankles, resultant of an ill-fitting pair of racing spikes. Intent of ensuring my own success, I willfully ignored the reality that, although my teammates were assuming the role of rivals, my teammates were simultaneously assuming the role of collaborators, purposefully striving to ensure the success of one another. Consequently, the competing teams engaging in cooperative conduct similarly happened to be the teams with the greatest overall achievement at that first meet.
While witnessing the success of collaborative teams certainly set into motion a transformation of my polarized perspective in regards to cross-country, the true catalytic factor materialized itself as the interactions carried out between my teammates and I. As the season progressed, and as I gradually gained awareness of the team's nuanced character, I noticed that the strengths of one teammate served to supplement the weaknesses of another. Where one teammate may have fallen short on rhythm near the conclusion of a race, for example, another teammate would provide a blazing final 'kick'. Equipped with a transformative understanding of team dynamics, I ultimately came to realize that cooperative achievement arises not from compromise, but rather from the constructive amalgamation of distinctive individual qualities.
As I toe the starting line of an undefined future, I will undoubtedly carry these indelible lessons with me throughout the entirety of life's most daunting race.