Personal Essays can be difficult to write. Even with all of the experiences that have graced our years in the past, choosing one to write an entire essay about may seem overwhelming. However, opening up about an event that affected you greatly is not only therapeutic for you to write but may change a reader’s life because of your meaningful words.

There have been many writers before you, who have done exactly that. If you have no idea what to write your next college essay about and are asking yourself, “who can write my essay?” then you can follow this link, Or you can continue reading and become inspired by other writers who have changed the world one essay at a time.

best personal essays

1. “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell

Maybe you have read his work before. Does Animal Farm or 1984 ring a bell? Before these were even written, Orwell spent some time in Burma where he learned about the negative consequences of Imperialism. One instance Orwell felt compelled to write about some personal essays was when he was faced the dilemma of shooting a presumed dangerous elephant or looking like a fool in front of the Natives.

In the end, Orwell shoots the elephant but is distraught by its suffering. This piece of work compares the elephant as another victim to British Imperialism and questions whether this action was truly justified.

2. “After Life” Joan Didion

Known as one of the classics, Didion moved the world when she opened up about her husband’s death. In this essay, Didion is honest about how difficult the grieving process can be. Despite being able to accept the physical aspect of his death, she still struggled to process a life without him. Because we all will encounter death of a loved one at some point in our lives, this essay is something we all can relate to.

3. “9/11: The View from the Midwest” David Foster Wallace

No matter where in the world you were, you can probably recount the day you learned about the tragic news of 9/11. Therefore, Wallace details his experience from hearing about the Twin Towers over the radio since he did not own a TV and having to rush to a nearby church with shampoo in his hair to watch the news with a bunch of old ladies. Though the details are quite comical, he touches on the sudden rise of patriotism when a nation needs it most.

4. “Once More to the Lake” E.B. White

Summer memories are probably the most cherished when you think back on your childhood. White plays into this by reflecting on his childhood memory of visiting the lake with his father. Now, he is a father taking his son to the very same lake. This personal essay is powerful because it recognizes the pain of nostalgia.

Though memories are precious, they are a reminder of a past that cannot be returned to. White weaves in and out of the past and present, doing an incredible job of revealing his feelings about the passage of time.

5. “Death of a Moth” Virginia Woolf

Despite this being a mundane subject, Woolf skillfully depicts a scene where she watches a moth slowly die. This little and insignificant event is described in great detail, giving the reader the sense that they are right there with Woolf, watching this happen.

Because death is imminent, this simple story is influential because everyone and everything must struggle against death eventually. Death is a topic many are either compelled or afraid to write or read about. From this essay, Woolf is honest about her battle with death at a time of depression when she wanted to escape, just like the moth in her room.

The above examples have one thing in common: honesty. When it comes to writing a personal essay, honesty is the key. Do not be afraid to write what you felt during that moment in your life. Personal essays can be powerful if the writer is willing to open up in detail. This is a difficult thing to do as a writer, but worth it if you essay moves the reader to reflect on their life and how it relates to your experience.



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