Personal Recount Model Essay #1
Write about an occasion when you had to step out of your comfort zone to complete a task.
While waiting for my turn, I tried to calm my nerves by doing mental sums. Nonetheless, instead of helping me to relax, it only contributed generously to my great height of anxiety. I was out of my comfort zone and was a nervous wreck.
“The next contestant is Annette Lim from 3B. Please give her a big round of applause!”
My heart skipped a beat when I heard my name being called. Biting my lip nervously, I strode onto the stage gingerly, my hands clammy from perspiration.
“God, please help me!” I prayed desperately.
However, when I saw the countless pairs of eyes staring at me, the rubber band of stress in me snapped.
It all happened about two months ago. I was in the girls’ changing room belting out my favourite song when my music teacher walked in. She commented that I had a mellifluous voice but I did not think much about it. The next thing I knew, she had signed me up for the Teachers’ Day Singing Contest. When I first learnt about it, I was flabbergasted and protested immediately.
I had always been an awfully shy person who disliked any form of attention. I hardly spoke up in class or participated in group activities. Thus, it was not surprising that my history teacher of two years did not even know my name. Being in the limelight stressed me out, so asking me to perform on stage in front of the whole school was as good as telling me to jump off a plane without a parachute. The thought of it caused me severe emotional distress. I refused to come out of my cocoon and began to conceive a believable excuse to wriggle my way out.
“I can’t do this. I have a throat infection,” I floundered in a trembling, almost stricken voice.
“Stop giving excuses, my dear. When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone to complete a task? You have the talent. You just need to have faith in yourself,” my teacher said in her usual affirmative voice.
She then showered me with many words of encouragement. Eventually, I decided to give the contest a shot as I did not want to let her down.
Standing on the stage, I looked at the audience with mute horror. The music had started playing but I could not utter a single word. An irrational fear overwhelmed me, causing my heart to palpitate so fast that it might just leap out from my mouth. I had never felt more nervous and embarrassed in my life before. How I wished the ground would open up and swallow me.
“Calm down! There’s nothing to be afraid of!” I psyched myself as beads of perspiration trickled down my forehead.
I took a deep breath and asked the judges if I could start again. Perhaps out of pity, they agreed readily. The familiar music played once more. Shutting my eyes, I blocked out all negative thoughts in my mind and sang my heart out. To my surprise, the audience were so blown away that they gave me a rapturous ovation. Happiness bubbled up inside me as I walked off the stage. Although I could not see my own face, I knew I was glowing in delight.
In the end, I came in first for the contest. Frankly, winning was not that important to me as I was just glad that I had listened to my teacher and stepped out of my comfort zone. That said the prize was definitely an added bonus.
GCE O-Level, 2011, English Tuition