Ivey AEO Essay

Jan 14th, 2020
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  1. Essay#1: Character in leadership matters. At Ivey, character is defined as an amalgam of virtues, values and certain traits. Character speaks to who a person is rather than what they are able to do. Some would say the virtues of courage, humility and humanity are equally as important as the virtues of accountability, drive and integrity. Do you think this is true? Relate your answer to your experiences in the activities you've included as part of your application.
  3. What is a leader? And how can I become one?
  5. I struggled to find the answer as I looked on some of my grade 9 peers who have become leaders in the school and community. I observed their abilities from afar in awe; the elaborate plans they were able to conceive, the compelling and confident voices they spoke with, and the numerous team accomplishments they had achieved. Yet, I also witnessed times, where despite the abilities of the leader, the group ultimately fails to reach their goals. I was confused. I wanted to know the secret standing between leaders who succeeded and failed. My search for the answer continued as I progressed through high school. Slowly learning from my experiences in team settings, I recognized that while the capabilities of the leader is intrinsic to succeeding, character is also an important element of leadership⁠—it is how we interact with the world around us. Ultimately, it is the character that influences us to make the type of decisions that we make. When viewing character as a whole, I think it is true that the virtues of courage, humility and humanity are just as necessary to the conception of leadership as other virtues, like drive and integrity. They are all equal in importance because they work together—a leader cannot be successful if they think some virtues are greater than others.
  7. One of my greatest learning experiences in becoming a leader would come from working part-time at a restaurant. My executive positions in school and community extracurriculars may have allowed me to demonstrate my strengths in characteristics like courage and initiative, but they never taught me the value of becoming a more rounded leader. Unfortunately, I learned it the hard way⁠—I lacked patience in my character, leading to a reckless decision that affected one of my team’s success. The workplace taught me otherwise. Everyshift, my colleagues inspire me to work with a sense of responsibility. I admired their bravery; they would always greet me with a cheerful smile, preserving through the financial and emotional struggles they had at home. In my numerous conversations with colleagues and customers, one common theme I’ve discovered is: everyone is just trying their best. What an empowering thought! When I get frustrated at a low tip, or impatient with the new busboy-in-training who keeps on making the same mistakes, I try to be as empathetic as possible knowing that they are trying their best. My time at the restaurant has helped me develop virtues of compassion and humility, components of leadership that are sometimes overlooked, but necessary for success.
  9. I believe character is developed through different opportunities and experiences. Becoming a leader is a lifelong journey! I look forward to implementing my definition of leadership at Western Ivey, where I will continue to develop my character and seek to become a better leader. While the perfect leader does not exist, the pursuit of becoming one certainly does.
  12. Consider all the extracurricular activities (community involvement, paid and/or volunteer work experience, entrepreneurial ventures), that you have been involved in during the past four years. Select TWO activities that you feel demonstrate your leadership abilities best. Focus your description on elements that demonstrate: leadership, teamwork, initiative, achievement, commitment and breadth. Each description should focus on one activity only. You must add two activities to this section to be able to submit your application.
  14. Essay#2
  15. One win and twelve losses. My first year in high school basketball was filled with disappointment from start to finish. We certainly had the talent to accomplish more, and we looked forward to a fresh new start. When the next season arrived, it seemed as if nothing had changed.
  17. One of our key players would often receive ejections for behavioural misconduct on the court. Several other team starters would show a lack of commitment and miss practices. As the rest of the team looked towards our coach in need of guidance and direction, he idly stood by, ignoring our concerns. Our team was crumbling apart.
  19. It was difficult for me to stand up and take a lead, having always been the 3rd or 4th option of my basketball teams. As the season progressed and losses started to pile up, I realized that the idea of giving the title “leader” only to the best player on the team is harmful. Leadership is not exclusive to one person, it can come from anyone. One of the fundamental elements behind leadership is courage. The courage to shoulder the responsibilities of the team. The courage to take a stance when no one else is willing to do so. The courage to criticize your teammates, even if they are your teammates. A leader is willing to do whatever it takes to elevate their team.
  21. I took the initiative to challenge my teammates and encourage them to work hard. I received backlash from teammates who I was critical of, but I continued in my efforts. I helped guide them in their academics—staying behind after school to assist them in their homework so that they were able to play in the games. I was the vocal cord of the team on and off the court, exhorting my teammates to be the best that they can be.
  23. We fought our way to the ____ Regional semi-finals, where we lost a close match to the eventual champions. It was not a victorious journey, nor was it a pretty one. Yet, there was a beauty in how we were able to come together and play to our full potential as a team. At the end of the season, coaches and peers recognized my efforts, and I was awarded the Most Valuable Player.
  25. Playing on the school’s basketball team was one of my first significant leadership experiences, and it set the foundation for the type of person I am today. I learned from the challenges, struggles, and successes to become a capable individual who is confident in his abilities to lead a team. I no longer play basketball competitively, having suffered from a minor back injury. However, I continue to dedicate time to the sport I love as a volunteer coach at the ____ Basketball Youth House League, where the skills I have developed as player allows me to succeed on the sidelines. Likewise, whether I am a part of the restaurant staff, on club executive committees, or volunteering initiatives, I am able to lead my team to victory.
  27. Essay #3
  28. Hot, hazy, and humid. Growing up, summer has always been my least favourite season. It did however, have one redeeming quality that made it somewhat bearable. Year after year, a younger me would look forward to the third week of August, the week of Vacation Bible School. VBS is may be a faith-based camp, but it teaches many valuable lessons and skills that extend beyond religion. It was because of our group leaders, who provided a safe and encouraging environment, that I was able to learn and have a great time at VBS. They compelled me to provide others the opportunity of having the same amazing experiences.
  30. Over the last 4 years, I’ve volunteered as a VBS youth leader at ____ Missionary Baptist Church. As a team leader, I assumed direct responsibility over a group of 16 children from the ages 4-12. My assistants and I worked tirelessly throughout the week in order to provide for our children—from serving and cleaning up their food, making sure that everyone is always safe, and most importantly, becoming the positive role model and mentor that they can look up to.
  32. One year I noticed how the older kids would gradually take on a leadership role in the group, whether it was by assisting the leaders or directing a smaller group within the team. Noticing their small actions gave me a great idea to implement in my future groups. In order to encourage more leadership involvement, I assigned a role to each group member. As an example, one team member would carry the supply bags, and another would be in charge of lunch-time prayers. I would also offer incentives such as daily prizes to the campers who behaved well, further fostering a positive environment in which they could grow. Through these actions, I hope to prepare them as leaders in our community, such as having them lead VBS in the future—continuing a beautiful tradition. In fact, several former participants have now joined the volunteer team. One of the more memorable participants was a boy by the name of Martin, who transformed from a constant troublemaker in my group to a mature young man.
  34. The camp has now become widely popular in the _____ Chinese community, selling out in a few days each year. I would feel an overwhelming sense of gratification when parents tell me how much their children loved VBS and that they couldn’t wait to come back the following year. Witnessing the growth of the participants and their drastic changes year after year was another rewarding experience.
  36. At VBS, I am able to see the changes and the positive impact that I can inspire through my actions. The results have compelled me to join more youth-related initiatives such as becoming the chair of the ____ Youth Action Committee. In addition to making a difference in the community, my volunteering experiences have also facilitated my own personal growth—developing my character and competencies as a leader.
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