At this point my parents finally somewhat recognized how self motivated and independent I had become. Being accepted as a finalist was icing on the cake. The idea that I could live in a foreign country, with a family I had never met, for two months, and the effort that it took for me to reach that point, drove home the idea that I was independent, I truly was an adult.
The author has drafted a thoughtful coming-of-age story by exploring their relationship with their parents and how it influenced their own ability to independently make decisions about their interests and goals. As they imply in their essay, self-determination is a process which all children must undergo at some point—they must find who they are, what they like and believe, and what they hope to accomplish free from the influence of the pillars in their life who have largely determined that for them up until the point of realization.
Did they feel that they could only truly accept themselves as independent once their parents accepted it? They should also spend more time reflecting on their own realization about their adulthood and how they came to take the reigns of their own future.
What did this feel like? Was there a particular moment when they realized that the work would no longer be done for them? How did they grapple with this sudden burden of responsibility? The essay needs to focus on their own realization here, and less so on the process of proving their maturity to their parents.
Secondly, the author should take a step back and think about what true independence and adulthood means to them. Though the essay focuses on this coming-of-age period in their life, they never talk specifically about what this peak achievement would mean for them personally.
Was it that they could get on a plane and go to Morocco and be alright without their parents, or was it that they had the ability to decide that they were interested in an immersive experience and that they took the necessary steps to achieve this interest? Adulthood and independence mean different things to different people and look a little bit different to each of us depending on our different situations. Lastly, the essay could benefit from a deeper exploration of their relationship with their parents.
The author talks in very broad terms about how they were raised and how their separation led to growth. Early in the essay, they mention a battle between their wishes and those of their parents. What did these conversations, either internal or external, look like? They should show this in their writing, rather than telling it. Remember that the success of the essay depends on the ability to deeply personalize it and explore the relevant emotions and reflections associated with each step in the journey to adulthood.
While their journey to adulthood may include their parents, this essay should center around the author and their own recognition of their personal milestones and accomplishments. The twisting roads, ornate mosaics, and fragrant scent of freshly ground spices had been so foreign at first. It was hard to believe that only a few years earlier my mom was worried about letting me travel around my home city on my own, let alone a place that I had only lived in for a few weeks.
While I had been on a journey towards self-sufficiency and independence for a few years now, it was Morocco that pushed me to become the confident, self-reflective person that I am today. As a child, my parents pressured me to achieve perfect grades, master my swim strokes, and discover interesting hobbies like playing the oboe and learning to pick locks.
I felt compelled to live my life according to their wishes. Of course, this pressure was not a wholly negative factor in my life —— you might even call it support. Despite all these achievements, I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success. I had always been expected to succeed on the path they had defined. As early as middle school, I was riding the light rail train by myself, reading maps to get myself home, and applying to special academic programs without urging from my parents.
Even as I took more initiatives on my own, my parents both continued to see me as somewhat immature. I would be studying Arabic and learning my way around the city of Marrakesh. Although I think my parents were a little surprised when I told them my news, the addition of a fully-funded scholarship convinced them to let me go. I lived with a host family in Marrakesh and learned that they, too, had high expectations for me.
If I messed up, they patiently corrected me but refused to let me fall into the easy pattern of speaking English just as I did at home. Just as I had when I was younger, I felt pressured and stressed about meeting their expectations. However, one day, as I strolled through the bustling market square after successfully bargaining with one of the street vendors, I realized my mistake.
I had applied for this trip, and I had committed to the intensive language study. Similarly, the pressure my parents had put on me as a child had come out of love and their hopes for me, not out of a desire to crush my individuality. It is short, which means every word has a purpose. It uses compelling language to encourage the reader to keep reading. A strong personal essay also depends on choosing the right topic.
While the overriding topic is the individual's life, personal essayists must learn how to pull an event or topic from their life to write the essay on. Personal essay topics drive the writing and keep it focused on a particular point, which makes the essay strong and effective. To write a personal essay, you will need to understand how to choose personal essay topics, the structure of a formal essay and how to make your writing compelling.
Looking at examples of personal essay writers can also help. A personal essay is not a biography. To write one, you will need to brainstorm specific topics from your life. Ideas may include:. Anyone can write a personal essay, but some authors have been able to make a career out of it.
In this short work, Dillard masterfully tells her experience of watching a total eclipse. From the very first word, she engages the reader with sensory-rich language. David Sedaris is another popular personal essayist.
Your introduction will help you grab the reader's attention and provide an interesting tidbit bout yourself or your personal experience. This can be a fact or short story, but it should give the reader a reason to engage with your essay.
Most essays will have three paragraphs, but you can have more or less depending on the main topic of your essay. Include descriptive details and go through the events in order to reach the defining moment of the story. In the body paragraphs, make sure you keep the main point of your essay in mind. You aren't just telling a story about your life. You are using the essay to make a specific point. Finish your essay with a conclusion. This should summarize what you have written about, bring closure for the reader and give you the chance to reflect on what the life event taught you.
Before you start writing, know what your main points will be. Structure an outline that determines what each part of your essay structure will talk about. This will drive your writing. Your main points may simply be the order of events, or they may be more specific facts that drive the details of your story. Choose the main points before you start writing. Is there a universal truth you wish to convey with your essay? For example, you may want the reader to come away feeling as though they can do anything if they work hard and push through obstacles, or you may want to explore the impact that one person can make on another's life.
If your essay has a universal truth, state it in the introduction and use it as you plan your outline. Keep this truth in mind as you write, ensuring that every sentence continues that truth. Effective personal essays grab a reader's attention from the first sentence and keep it through the conclusion. Use words that appeal to the senses to craft your writing, but avoid dipping into cliches or overly flowery language, which can detract from your meaning.
You can grab the reader's attention with an interesting anecdote, common quote or shocking statistic in your introduction. Then pull from that attention grabber to naturally draw the reader into your essay. Because personal essays discuss something that happened to you, you will need to have a clear sequence of events.