May 27, 2020– I get asked by my co-op students and high school volunteers for advice on how to write different types of papers; one topic, writing personal essays as instructed by their professors, can leave them scratching their heads. What exactly is a personal essay? Simply put, it’s about something that matters to you and can include a person, event, or life lesson. The whole purpose of it is to share something about yourself. It’s important to think about the reader when writing your paper because you want them to think about what you’ve written, and make them feel something. That’s the whole point of writing, to make the reader feel something, to get them to ask questions, to get them to put themselves into someone else’s shoes.
As with all writing, you should use an outline, and your work should have a beginning, middle, and end. Ensure that you revise and tighten just like you would with any other piece of writing. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to write about for your personal essay, browse the list below for possible topics:
- A “first” in your life
- How you overcame adversity
- Something that scares you the most
- Something you’d never do again
- A loss
- Something that fundamentally changed you
- A person who has influenced you or a personal hero
- A childhood memory
Remember to focus on a single topic and don’t get confused with a memoir or autobiography, which is entirely different. Show, don’t tell and be honest; don’t sugarcoat your story.
I challenge you to write your personal essay this week. Happy writing! X LLB