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Writing for College and Beyond

Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom

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CJ Kent

Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom explains how the many skills taught in the Freshman Composition course apply at work and in life. The composition class is a pre-requisite and General Education course for most colleges and universities in the United States. It reaches students in every area of study. As people wonder about the value of a liberal arts education and question whether colleges and universities are truly preparing students for the workforce, Writing for College and Beyond challenges those arguments by pointing out exactly how classroom policies and writing assignments apply beyond school walls. Professors, lecturers, and graduate students teaching Freshman Composition courses will find this book helpful. Administrators who service the Freshman Composition population, such as Writing Center Directors, will also find Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom a wonderful aid.

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Chapter Ten: The Personal Essay Isn’t About You

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CHAPTER TEN

The Personal Essay Isn’t About You



Presenting your values and interests through a narrative of your experience is what a personal essay does. The personal essay is not about the person writing it except in so far as the readers can see themselves in the writer. You want to construct a personal essay to reveal an idea that will be relevant to your readers, their lives and experiences. For that reason, audience and context matters a lot. Personal writing is one of the hardest things people do so give yourself plenty of time to revise, as that writing process will train your mind to become a better storyteller and that will help you present yourself better to those you meet.

The personal essay really isn’t about you. Only your parents and best friends want to hear about every small experience you had. Most people don’t care about mundane details of your life, like missing the bus, unless missing the bus made you realize something important about life.

You’ll likely never write personal essays at work, but you do need to learn how to present yourself in a way that is interesting to others. Most of the time, people don’t really care about who you are or what you do except as it is relates to their life. If all you ever do is tell stories about your successes, you sound like braggart. If you only...

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