I read my personal essay to my roommate Paige. This process, as well as the input of classmates, gave me many helpful ideas of how to revise my draft.
Listening to my essay, I noticed some tense errors, as well as some other grammatical mistakes and repetition. I also found myself adding words to emphasize the effect of certain phrases and even to preface one event. I wrote in many changes that will help my essay be less redundant and more interesting.
Paige’s response to my essay helped me figure out what I should expand upon and emphasize with more imagery and descriptive language. For example, she laughed at the description of my siblings at the airport, but seemed to be less engaged during my description of my family at home. Through this, I realized that I had included much more colorful, detailed characterizations in the former than the later. I was also able to get feedback that my transitions were not confusing and this helped clear up some of my concerns about my writing.
Also, I had to explain the Book of Mormon component of my essay to her because it was a quote that does not seem explicitly scriptural until you see the citation. This made me reconsider expanding this aspect of my essay and adding more analysis.
In the last part of my essay, where I talk about my baby sister, Paige responded with a big “aww.” This led to me sharing more about her and my family. Paige told me more about her family, which is also big. I was able to share my experiences of being a Mormon with a big family in Minnesota and Paige compared it to her experiences in a large family in Idaho. It was cool to hear the differences and similarities in our perceptions of this common background.