Saturday, January 24, 2015

Going Deeper

Photo courtesy of (found through creative commons)
I quite enjoyed reading the personal essays from past students. Many of the students picked major life-changing events to write about, such as loss of loved ones, abuse, or serving a mission. These major events in our lives, whether they are positive or negative experiences, shape us into who we are today. It's interesting to see the impact a single event has made on us, but often we don't realize how much so until we re-experience it through writing or sharing the experience.

I believe it's so important for us to share what we learn from our experiences, but it can be really uncomfortable or awkward to do so. That is why writing can be such a great tool in sharing our experiences. As I watched the videos, I noticed that several students seemed to feel awkward, which was perhaps due to being camera-shy, but the subject of their topic could also have made them feel hesitant in sharing. I particularly liked one girl's video and essay, where she talked about attending the funerals of her grandmother and father only nine days apart. In her video, she explained that her essay contained a lot of raw emotion. In reading her essay, I found the raw emotion everywhere, but it was also interesting to note that the event occurred roughly 10 years ago. I think that writing her experience out helped her understand herself a little better, even though it wasn't a new experience. It felt very real to me and it is amazing how much readers can connect to authors that they have never met as they share times of growth.

Many of the personal essays took a story format, which I found very engaging. The essays that were more hypothetical ideas or not a specific story were harder to connect to, perhaps because they lacked imagery and the deep emotion of a personal experience that is often hidden under the surface. I found that the video introductions supported the essays by making them feel more personal, like a friend that wants to tell you a story that is very important to you. As for my personal essay, I would like to make sure that I can connect it to a larger audience. A personal essay should be inspiring and help people to want to experience things on a deeper level.


  1. I agree that the essays with personal, specific stories were easier to connect to. I think part of that is they show the personality of the writer while giving us something to ground the essay in.

  2. You mentioned your goal to connect to a larger audience when you write your own personal essay--how do you plan to do that, exactly? You talked about the story format being effective( do you have any other specific plans or goals for when you'll write?

  3. I like and agree with Katie's comment above. As I have been thinking through what I want to write about, I have been trying to figure out what sort of audience I want to connect to. I'm curious what your thought process will be and hope that maybe by sharing that, you'll help me figure out my audience as well! I like that you point out the experiences we have often are better understood in hindsight.