Personal Event Essay

A remembering an event essays tell a story. Using vivid descriptions and details, it explores a SINGLE event that has had an impact on your life. Whatever event or person is used, the essay should have a point—a reason why the story is important to both writer and audience. This type of essay reflects on the writer’s experience(s).

You will write about 3 to 5 pages on ONE SPECIFIC person, place, or event that has had some significance in your life which allowed you to grow and gain a better understanding of yourself and the world around you. It could be something from your childhood, a favorite teacher, a special family ritual, a perfect vacation, a memorable holiday, riding a bike for the first time, a favorite grandparent, etc. The main purpose of your essay is to inform your reader about how this one person, place, or event changed you. As such, you need to add reflection to your essay. This is strictly your voice—there should be absolutely no outside sources (including famous quotes, lyrics, etc.)
Avoid telling the reader that you had a piano teacher who meant a lot to you. Tell them WHY. Reflect!
Avoid telling the reader you went to Disneyland when you were 12. Tell them WHAT made that ONE trip so special. Reflect!
Avoid telling the reader that you were the first to go to college. Describe for them HOW that changed you as a person. Reflect!

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A lot of students have difficulty starting because they don’t know what to write about. Here’s some advice:
Brainstorm: Jot down some memories that have stuck with you over the years. You may not even know why they keep bouncing around in your head, but they are there for a reason. Writing them down can help you organize your thoughts. Work through the brainstorming phase and you’ll probably come up with one or two solid events to work with. Consider the following questions:
(a) Why does this moment stand out to you?
(b) How did this event influence who you are as a person now and/or how you look at life?
(c) Did this moment affect your beliefs? If so, how?
(d) Be Specific: Your topic should be about a specific event in your life. Pick an event that you can describe inventively and with creativity. For example, do not write about what it is like to be a parent. Instead, write about the moment your child learned to walk. Do not write about your ten-year marriage, but instead write about a specific anniversary. A good rule of thumb is the 24-72 hours period. This is a short paper, so you need to economize your words. Stick to an event that occurred within a one to three-day period.

A rhetorical situation occurs with any form of communication. Every rhetorical situation has three main components:
1. Audience — The audience for this paper is your instructor and your classmates. Therefore, your writing should be academic, but you can fold in conversational language as this is YOUR story. NOTE: You can use “I” in this essay, but please be wary of overusing the first-person pronoun.
2. Writer— You, as the speaker, need to convey as clearly as possible a specific event in your life. No one knows you better than you. Still, make sure you are writing as clearly as possible. The reader only has the details you give them. Show the reader that you remember the event rather than tell them. Be detailed!
3. Text — The subject will be different for each of you, but the core message of your essay should be clear for your audience from the outset. You will accomplish this by having a clear thesis, a well-organized essay, and a catchy title.

Your essay should be thesis centered, with your thesis being one (maybe two) sentence(s) long. Because this is a short paper, you will want to include your thesis in your introduction. This type of thesis, known as deductive, will make a claim and then backup that claim throughout the rest of your essay.
Ex: Although my mother’s death caused me immeasurable pain, it taught me the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Ex: Working overtime to pay off my credit cards and get rid of my debt has helped me become a more financially fit individual.

SAMPLE ESSAYS in your textbook:
“Calling Home” –Jean Brandt (page 18-22)
“From An American Childhood” – Annie Dillard (page 22-24)
“Tupac and My Non-thug Life” – Jenee Desmond-Harris (page 30-32)

As with all your major paper assignments, you should follow MLA 8th edition. Refer to the MLA section in your Rules for Writers and the powerpoint we went over in class. Also, per MSCC guidelines, “Each writing assignment for this class must be your original work. That means that you CANNOT recycle papers. In other words, you should not use a paper for this class that you have used (or are using) in other classes.” Therefore, this paper should be original work you’ve created for the first time after having read this assignment sheet. You cannot use a paper you have previously written! Doing so constitutes plagiarism.

Please choose a topic about which you are comfortable sharing with your classmates and instructor. Not all topics are appropriate for the classroom. As such, only write about a subject you feel comfortable sharing. Any critique of your writing from your instructor is not a critique of your individual experiences.

Other Reminders:
The Writing Center is there to help! Please make an appointment!
I am always happy to answer any specific questions you may have about your essay drafts as you complete the steps of the writing process for each essay; however, I will not look over any drafts for content-related issues after peer review ends, Wednesday, February 5th .
Per syllabus, when submitting the final draft of the essay:
The final draft of each essay must be typed via a Microsoft Word compatible program and saved as .docx, .docx, or .pdf. The essay must be submitted in class AND via D2L Assignment Submission Folder no later than five minutes in to class time. Any essay not submitted via D2L will be considered late (and thus, given a ZERO) even if the student submits a hardcopy of the assigned essay in class on the due date (and vice versa).

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