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Personal Essay

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Several different types of essays fall under the category of personal essay. Even though personal essays are all about the author and incorporate their voice, it is important to still have essay structure and focus. Several things to remember when writing a personal essay is that there needs to be an introduction, body paragraphs expanding on the topic and a conclusion.

Let's talk about personal essays, now several different kind of essays can fall under personal essays. Maybe it's a narrative or your telling a story about something that happened to you or maybe it's your colleague essay where you have to communicate yourself in 500 words to somebody else. Maybe it's even a statement of belief like the M.P.R this I believe statements. All of those things add up to you talking about you. So let's talk about some pointers that I have for how to get that done effectively.
The first is, don't forget our structure. So even though personal essay is not going to be as rigid in structure as maybe an academic essay would be, you still want to have an introduction that sets some sort of purpose. Gives a reason for telling the story or kind of sets out what your going to say. A body that actually tells the story and then a conclusion that returns to that purpose and reminds the reader why we are doing this.
The next thing you want to make sure you do, is focus. Really horn in on what the point is here. Why are we telling this story, really go at it with some direction. And then finally and perhaps most important, make sure you include detail. Show don't just tell. So instead of talking about your car, talk about your bright red VW bug. Or instead of talking about your school, call it Hemsworth High School.
Other things that you can do to make your personal essays more effective, make sure you include dialogue. That really makes people jump off the page and really adds that showing and not telling. So for instance, if you are talking about your brother who's so very mean, rather than saying he's a super mean older brother, maybe give him a voice. Give him this voice "Who do you think you are sneaking late like that? Like I wouldn't notice. Do you think I'm dumb or something?" This makes him jump off the page a lot more than "I have a mean older brother" It really shows the reader what you're talking about. So, use dialogue.
Next, use your voice. Instead of saying, "I was extremely frighten" in a very proper way, if you talk like this say, "I was so freaked out I had to concentrate on not peeing my pants." Alright, we want your voice to come out here. And then in a personal essay, you also make sure you focus in on using first person. And sometimes in high school academic writing, we are trained out of that. But we are asking you to talk about you, so get used to using I, me, us, we, our. You can even use 'you' but use it sparingly because you do not want to assume to much about your reader. So hopefully this pointers will help you approach the personal essay a little easier.