“Tell me something about yourself.” Isn’t that the most overwhelming question you get all the time? You meet someone new and they expect you to describe yourself in few sentences. It’s embarrassing. In most cases, you don’t know what to say.
There’s something even worse: having to write an essay about yourself. It’s the same overwhelming challenge, but now you have to do it in an academic format. How do you write a personal essay that conveys your character without making you look overly self-centered?
That’s what we’re here for today. This guide will show you how to write an essay about yourself.
Writing a Personal Essay: Tips to Follow
1. Get an Idea
When writing a paper about yourself, the prompt is not as general as “tell me more about yourself.” That’s the big point, but you have to make it more specific.
You can write about the time in your life when you were happiest. You may also write about an important event, such as your first day at school. You can write about someone who made the great influence on you, but remember: this should still be an essay about you. Write how that person changed you.
When you’re left with no guidelines and you must choose your own topic, writing an essay about yourself is hard from the get go. Here are few points that will help you brainstorm:
- What’s the first thing you can say about yourself?
- What’s something you really like?
- What’s the biggest change you’ve ever made in your life?
- What’s the hardest time you’ve been through?
- What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
- What’s the greatest success you’ve achieved?
- What values do you stand for?
Write down your answers. Look; you just went through the brainstorming stage, and that’s a huge step ahead. Now, take a look at those notes. What’s the one that inspires you the most? Focus on it and turn it into a specific topic for your essay.
2. Write an Outline of the Personal Essay
Now that you have your topic, you have a general idea of how your essay will look like. This is not the type of academic project that demands thorough research, so you can easily write the outline. What points will you make in each section of the essay about yourself (intro, body, and conclusion)?
The outline will help you keep things organized. It will make you focused on the main theme, so you’ll stay away from digressions. When you have this framework, the writing process will be a breeze.
3. Start writing!
“How do I even start writing an essay about myself?” This is a question that every student has on their mind when faced with this type of project. The beginning is the hardest part. But hey! You’ll get through it!
Beginnings such as “My name is John” or “The biggest challenge in my life was when…” don’t work. They are too plain and they don’t capture the reader’s interest at all. You have to think of a more creative introduction for the personal essay, okay? You may start with a quote that captures the point of your paper, and expand from there.
The best way to start is with a personal anecdote. Think of a specific event or moment in your life that made you change. “It was the last vacation I had with my family. I knew it was the last one. I remember sitting on the beach, watching the sunset. At that moment, I realized I was growing up. The boy was becoming a man.” Now that’s something that will get the reader’s attention.
4. Be Honest, But Not Pathetic
The essay about yourself calls for writing on sensitive topics. You’ll write about times when you were hurt, and you’ll write about causes that push you through life. Maybe you’ll write about a mental or physical illness that changed your life. Maybe you’ll be writing about poverty, or the way having too much money affected you in a negative way as a kid.
Even when you’re writing about happy times, the subject is sensitive.
Personal essays are touchy. That’s what they should be. They should be emotional and they must awaken the reader’s empathy. When you’re trying too hard, however, this may turn out pathetic. You can avoid that pitfall if you don’t exaggerate. Just write in the most realistic way and let the reader feel the emotions they want to feel.
5. How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay
It’s surprising to see how many students can go through all previous stages, but don’t know how to write a conclusion. You’ve already written the big chunk of your personal essay. This should be the easy part.
What’s the moral of your personal story? What did you learn from the specific issue, event, or cause you were talking about throughout the essay? How have you overcome a challenge and what did you learn from that experience?
This is not the type of essay that requires you to restate the main thesis. Just wrap things up into a logical conclusion. Write about the lesson you’ve learned.
Writing an essay about yourself is hard. The more sensitive your topic is, the harder it gets to write about it. With the above-listed tips, however, you’ll be on the right track. Just keep trying and you’ll write an impressive personal essay!