Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lessons Learned

Reading these essays was interesting for me. I liked how the students covered a wide range of topics and that they each handled their topics differently. I noticed that a lot of students picked similar topics (such as losing a loved one or mission experiences) yet they were each able to put their own unique spin on things that made them fun to read.

After reading these essays I have gained a few ideas for topics that I can also explore. Some of these topics include personal loss and the healing the Gospel can bring after death, struggles with difficult roommates, finding peace in writing, and family experiences that teach about the importance of eternal families.

As I watched the intros and read some of the essays I learned a couple things I hope to apply to my own personal essay. First, with the video intros, I learned that the shorter videos tended to grab my attention more than the longer ones. To be able to summarize the main idea of an essay in a succinct way pulls in your audience more quickly than a long, drawn out introduction.

Next I learned from the essays that the incorporation of different scripture examples and stories needs to be done very carefully. Some of the essays incorporated stories extremely well, using them to add to their personal experiences. However, in some of the essays the scriptural allusions felt like after thoughts and too much of a stretch to connect to. I'm not saying don't add scriptural allusions, I'm just saying be mindful of how you're doing it and make sure it's done tastefully.

Finally I learned that stories communicate a message more effectively than simply explaining a principle. Stories ground what you're trying to share and make it easier for the audience to understand. They also help the audience connect to the author personally which adds understanding to a piece.

Photo courtesy of (found through creative commons)


  1. I'm glad that you mentioned that the scriptural references need to be placed carefully in with the story. I noticed that too, that some of them were kind of randomly placed. That's definitely something to watch for because while it might make sense to me, it doesn't always make sense to my readers.

  2. I like that you share your own ideas for your personal essay directly in relation to the gospel. Also, your attention to the details (importance of the length of the video, the tact needed in relating scripture, and emphasis on the story itself) is really important and I think that will help a lot of us to remember those things and how important they are for us.

  3. I also agree that some placements of scripture references were well blended with the essay while other essays seemed to just place the reference and it seemed random. I like how you described that a story more effectively gives a message for I got a lot of great messages out of those essays

  4. I agree like everyone else about the scriptural tie-ins. Personally, I don't think we should add scripture unless it really is apart of our experiences OR feelings about the situation. Scripture is so important, and go fit into every area of our lives, but I think we can effectively share testimony without quoting a reference or story.