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             I once believed that there was nothing I could not defeat because of my strong- minded nature. When I faced a problem, I always had the confidence required to solve it. Everything changed, however, when I developed an intense phobia of water after I almost drowned in the river at age ten. Initially, I was confused about feeling of suffocation I had when water fully touched my face. With time, this kind of feeling became more intense, until I started evading water altogether. I did not have the courage to face and overcome my fear until I was fourteen-years-old.
             That year, I was at Chinese Middle School. At this school, all eighth grade students are required to pass a swimming course. This course was not difficult for most students because it only required that they swim ten meters in order to pass. However, to me, swimming one meter was more difficult than climbing a steep mountain. On the first day of swimming class, we all went to the swimming pool after the teacher made it clear that water safety must be learned. All of the other students were eager to swim. I, on the other hand, was filled with dread and fear. In fact, I wanted to flee as far as possible. Day after day, all the students in my class became good swimmers except me. I was the only one in the entire class that did not pass the pre-test. .
             One day, my teacher called me to see her and told me the importance of passing the swimming course. I was told that if I did not pass, the school would cancel my qualification of "Three Good Student," the highest honor for students in Chinese schools. That night, I was unable to sleep. I could only think about how I was a .
             coward, wondering how long I would be unable to face my inability to swim in water. That night, I felt I was losing myself gradually. Yet I began to remember .
             my teacher's advice earlier that day: "Never be defeated by difficulty; try to be a winner in life.

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