Friday, November 20, 2009
Out of the different types of assignments given to students, one would be that of a personal experience essay. As the name suggests, this essay focuses on a real experience that the person has had in the past. It comes under narrative essays, as you are narrating an experience. It is quite similar to an autobiographic essay.
There is one very obvious difference between an autobiographic essay and a personal experience essay. The former concentrates on you, where as, the latter has its focus on the experience you have had. To put it in another way, you could also say, a personal experience essay is more about what life has taught you; but an autobiographical essay talks about the kind of person you are and the way you lived your life. Even though it is not much of a difference, it is good if you understand where exactly to draw the line between both.
The most important thing to remember while writing an essay related to your own life is that it is not easy to make it interesting to another person. Personal experiences can be interesting while communicating verbally or between a group of people who knows each other. But while addressing a crowd who knows nothing about you, it is not so easy to make your life sound interesting. There is no reason why your experience should sound appealing to a stranger, unless you present it so. Hence, the most important part of writing an interesting personal experience essay is the presentation.
When you are given the theme, look back to see what all comes into your mind immediately. From the few you might be able to remember, pick one that is closest to the given topic or theme. Try to look at your choice from another person’s point of view to determine how well the experience matches with the topic. This is necessary because you may not be able to judge your own life very well from your own view point.
For a personal experience essay, it is not mandatory to give a separate introduction. If you feel that your experience needs an introduction, you can go ahead and give one. But you can also start off straight away with your narration of your experience. But make the first line intriguing enough to make the reader inquisitive about the rest of the content.
Your body paragraphs should be rich in narration. You should be able to take the reader through the incident rather than tell them about it. If you have good narration skills, a personal experience essay will indeed be a very easy assignment for you. But if you are not one of the lucky ones who can keep people still, for hours while they are talking, you should find out what you can do to improve your narration skills.
Your personal experience essay should be concluded with a brief note on what you learned from that experience and why you still remember it so vividly. Try not to include fresh parts of the story in the conclusion. Don’t end your assignment abruptly. Remember, a smooth ending is as important as a good beginning.
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